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Not tonight - headache

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Hephaestus2 posted 4/16/2019 14:49 PM

Withholding sex is a common trope in popular culture. "Not tonight. I have a headache" has become a cliche in stand up comedy.

A person might refuse sex because they are angry. Or sad. Or discouraged. Or bored. Or frustrated. Or disappointed. Or disgusted. Or scared. Or anxious. Or depressed. Or tired.

In some recent popular books on marital relationships, the authors assert that women increasingly refuse sex simply because they are exhausted. Whereas their grandmother's primary jobs were to care for children and the elderly and to take care of the household, women today must perform the same roles while in addition holding down a full time job. Consequently, many women today have almost no leisure time.

A person might refuse sex in order to get something in return. The Kama Sutra recommends withholding sex to keep a partner's interest - things that are easily achieved are seen to be less valuable. In "Lysistrata" the women of Greece famously withhold sex from the men of Greece to force an to end the Peloponnesian War.

A person might refuse sex because they feel that having sex with their partners amounts to giving up power. Conversely, withholding sex can be a means to assert oneself, or to gain power, or to regain control. Withholding sex can sometimes be coercive.

In a recent thread on, one person said that they withheld sex from their partner because their partner was insufficiently kind, considerate, thoughtful, and unselfish. A second person responded by saying that they withheld sex to prevent their partner from complaining about the infrequency of sex. "Many partners don't seem to realize that they would get a lot more sex if only they would stop complaining about the lack of sex". It goes without saying that complaints about the lack of sex are a big turn off.

A third persons approach was more subtle and therefore much more impressive. This third person found all of the talk of rewarding good behavior with sex far "too transactional". They found the "quid pro quo" unappealing. They wanted their partners to be kind, considerate, thoughtful, and unselfish simply for the sake of being kind, considerate, thoughtful, and unselfish but without any expectation of receiving sex as a reward. They wanted their partners to love, honor, respect, and cherish them them but without any expectation of receiving sex as a reward. They would be more likely to feel sexual if their partner expected no reward. If their partner were to expect sex, then they would find their partner much less attractive.

hikingout posted 4/16/2019 15:11 PM

These are interesting points.

I think that often sex does get polarized in relationships. The more one pushes sometimes the more resistance the other gives. In my first marriage, I was the higher drive person. The more insistent or upset I got by the mounting rejection the less sex we had. Girlfriends who have had marital problems in this arena it seems all touching of any kind leads to sex and so they didnít even want to have affection at times that they did not want sex. I find that sad because sometimes the foreplay can last all day or into a couple of days when there is hand holding and back runs and things that stoke the fires of love and not just be about someone getting an orgasm.

I Donít want my husband to wash dishes to get sex. Thatís often the way that it is seen. But I do want him to treat me like an equal partner- I work all day too. Giving consideration to my needs for rest certainly make me feel loved. Listening to me, spending quality tome with me because you like being around me....A woman who feels loved feels desire. A man who feels desired feels loved. And the more he feels loved the more he will do in return. Itís a cycle that is as important as sex - and itís one that provides an environment in which sex flows.

But I see so often that sometimes just one of the partners isnít in to sex. I do not know what the solution is in those cases.

[This message edited by hikingout at 3:17 PM, April 16th (Tuesday)]

Hephaestus2 posted 4/16/2019 15:59 PM

Hello hikingout. I agree that "often sex does get polarized in relationships" and that "the more he feels loved the more he will do in return. Itís a cycle that is as important as sex". A couple can get into a virtuous cycle that leads to a better relationship and better sex. Unfortunately, sometimes it goes the other way - into a downward spiral with a detereorating relationship, more resentment, less sex, and more bad sex.

>>sometimes just one of the partners isnít in to sex. I do not know what the solution is in those cases.<<

Me neither. It is a sad state of affairs, though. I have been thinking a lot lately about three women who I know quite well. Emma married in her early twenties and had two children almost immediately. As her marriage progressed, she became increasingly sexually frustrated. As you said, the more she pushed for sex the more her husband retreated. Eventually Emma divorced him and their sexual problems were a major reason for her to divorce. Sadly, Emma later remarried (and then divorced) a man who cheated on her. I think she always regretted divorcing her first husband. He was a good man and she felt she had been too impatient with him. She let her frustration get the better of her.

Olivia married in her late thirties and she and her husband had no children. Her husband always claimed that he was interested in sex but sex just never seem to materialize. When she would try to talk to him about the problem he would dodge, blameshift, or accuse her of being at fault. They divorced after about twenty years of marriage for several reasons but her sexual frustration was almost certainly part of the mix.

Isabella and her husband married in their mid thirties but they had no children. In her late thirties, Isabella noticed that their sex life was drying up. Isabella and her husband are now in their early sixties and they have not had sex together for well over 10 years. They get along quite well. Ironically, they are both very attractive people. Isabella is blonde, slender, and very fit and takes great pride in appearing attractive and youthful. She doesn't understand why her husband isn't interested in her sexually. From time to time she wonders if her husband might be having sex with other women.

Strangely, none of these three women has ever been unfaithful to their husbands in spite of their sexual frustration.

For some reason it seems especially sad when husbands will not have sex with their wives. Somehow, husbands seem less bewildered when their wives refuse them sex.

LostHope8008 posted 4/16/2019 16:09 PM

I would say itís by far the number one issue from a husbandís point of view. If D wasnít so expensive, I would walk away due to the lax of sex and sexual desire from my wife.

Hephaestus2 posted 4/16/2019 16:19 PM

I feel you, LostHope8008. It is hurtful to be turned again and again over many years. It just hurts.

crazyblindsided posted 4/16/2019 16:36 PM

I'm not even sure I'm withholding sex as much as it's just that I'm not feeling it anymore. I have no desire to have sex. I'm not sure if all the badgering and complaining about sex... to the affairs... to our open M and threesomes. I think I burnt myself out.

Most of the time I feel exhausted and WS is in a shitty mood so that is a turnoff.

And the more I hear about not having sex the more I don't want it.

This is where I am stuck

cocoplus5nuts posted 4/16/2019 20:23 PM

I have never withheld sex. I have turned it down, mostly because of pain. Sometimes we plan on having sex and mu fch falls asleep. He says he wants more sex, but rarely does anything about it. I am almost always the one to initiate. I don't think he is withholding sex. I think he's just tired. It would be nice if he initiated more, though.

I don't like the idea of withholding sex for a reason. I don't see that as the same as not wanting it for whatever reason. Withholding sex is a deliberate, manipulative act.

Oftencheatedon posted 4/16/2019 21:14 PM

Not that this is happening in this thread - but I hate when men start complaining about how their wives don't want sex and that's why they cheat.

I am now 70. I think I know of 100x more situations where men withhold sex rather than the other way around. I know so many women who did everything to try to get their husbands to have sex - but were rejected over and over again.

It is usually a power play. Not a function of ED or lack of desire. It's more of a "I can deny you what you want". Although in a few it is a man who is being "faithfull" to his mistress. yuck.

Greeneyesbluezy posted 4/16/2019 21:26 PM


I just donít see your stats.

All my friends complain about their husbands always wanting sex and they donít.

Tired, jobs, children, housework, their reasons run the gamut. Not un-warranted, just what they cite.

Perhaps itís changing in this pornhub, cam girl world, but not my experience at all.

havequestions posted 4/16/2019 21:28 PM

I agree, anyone who uses it as an excuse to cheat is just trying to justify their actions. There are many reasons women donít want sex and I have been very understanding. Then I was told by my wife that she only has sex with me out of obligation. Basically, she decided I wasnít attractive enough for her. She still has sex, just not with me. This is plain cruel.

hikingout posted 4/16/2019 21:43 PM

Havequestions - I agree.

There is no valid excuse to have an affair and that type of talk is blamesjifting. We have an affair because we want to - itís never the fault of the bs. There is always another choice.

I will say on this site it seems like the motivating factor for women seems more emotional than sexual. Itís odd when I typed that I was thinking - my first husband never wanted sex. Tonthe degree I actually thought perhaps he was either gay or not attracted to me. I did not cheat on him, I divorced him and cited that in my top three reasons (the other reasons were very strong as well - we should never have married). It lasted a year- about the whole time in which we were 20 years old.

In this marriage we have always had a lot of sex. Enjoyable and mutually satisfactory sex. Yet this is the marriage I had an affair in. I know that is because the affair - sex was not the motivation for it. It still boils down to the motivation is not nearly as important as the outcome of anything. You can be motivated to do anything but the action still holds the same result.

LostHope8008 posted 4/16/2019 21:53 PM

I think I know of 100x more situations where men withhold sex rather than the other way around.

That may be the craziest statement ever made on this site. I donít know who your hanging around with, but that is not the real world. Think about it, if you know just TWO guys that are not getting any sex, then you also know 200 women not getting any??

LostHope8008 posted 4/16/2019 21:59 PM

Itís not only the flat out rejections, itís the subtle ones too. Like her idea of good sex is bending over and giving me about three solid minutes to get it done. No emotion, no connection, nothing. Pulls up her pants and sheís good for another week. Terrific.

farsidejunky posted 4/16/2019 22:27 PM

Assuming the HD partner is fulfilling the needs of their LD partner prior to the dwindling of sex, the best thing for the HD to do is to simply do less.

Be out more.

Immerse yourself in hobbies.

Dress better.

Stop meeting the LD's emotional needs.

When the LD asks for something, calmly tell them no.

When the inevitable blow up happens:

"If you want more from me, you can start by doing more for me."

The foundation of the above is living the quote that is in my signature.

Striver posted 4/16/2019 22:52 PM

One kind of tangential factor in my marriage that I did not care for is the women clearly ruled the roost in my xW's extended family. It was an uncomfortable dynamic to me in retrospect.

It is not a political or religious thing. I am not talking about subjugating anyone. Women have plenty of abilities, can be better than their husbands in things all the time. It is just about being feminine and letting the man be masculine. Wise women will even guide or hint to their men so they can remain masculine and that pleasant sexual dynamic persists in the relationship and marriage.

Someone here told of a woman earning six to seven figures, where the man earned a lot less or stayed home at times. And that woman made sure he had his ways where he could be the man, be masculine. That is all I am looking for. It was a dynamic that was a little absent in my xW's family.

Krystlebefore posted 4/16/2019 23:10 PM

just to (sort of) support - oftencheatedon - there is a place on the internet (not sure i can name it here), they have a sub called deadbedrooms - last time i looked over 100,000 people on it and loads of women....

silverhopes posted 4/16/2019 23:54 PM

Oftencheatedon's experiences are her experiences. If that's the common situation amongst her friends, who is anyone to doubt her? If anything, I'd be curious to ask what her friends' descriptions are of the dynamics around sex in their Ms. Each person's story is revealing.

Like hikingout and others, I was the high drive partner in my M. I wondered a lot why my H lacked interest, especially since he used to brag about his sex life before me. Here's what I can guess:

1) He was emotionally troubled. Due to his mental illness and its symptoms, due to his own trauma and baggage, due to his experiences of our relationship (I'm thinking ours was offering him more stability than he was used to, so perhaps sex under those circumstances felt more vulnerable for him than he was used to or something to that effect). Those kinds of factors could understandably interfere with his mood.

2) He struggled with ED. Emotional baggage, mental health symptoms, anxiety, anger, excessive smoking of cigarettes (and later marijuana), and everything else that was going on caused trouble for him when it came to getting or sustaining erections. Which created a vicious cycle - anxiety/low self-confidence around his performance, causes more trouble, repeat.

3) His waywarding.

4) His use of porn, which began shortly after we got the OK to recommence sex, after we had our son. It was also around the time he had me and Lil Silver sleep on the couch and either began or ramped up his pot use. Stress over being a father, especially with all the past trauma there around not growing up part of a loving or stable family (no family at all, in fact), plus my changing role as a mother, plus preoccupation with our son... I'm sure porn was worlds different from us sexually, so he went with that because it was something he could enjoy with less anxiety.

5) Some turn offs about my body. Which is hard to know because those kinds of comments only ever came out when he was in a bad mood - otherwise, I would beg him to tell me if there was something different I could do, or something about me that was a turn-off that I could change, and he would say, "No complaints." But to this day, I think there are things about me that turn him off, and when I try to fix those things as best I can and ask for feedback, I don't get straight answers. (Though at the moment we're not in proximity with each other to have sex - anytime we are, however, we do. Married, after all).

6) His own past around sexual abuse (different things that happened in his life), and psychological abuse with a particular past lover. She was on his mind A LOT during our earlier years together, and I know it took him a long time to even begin to process what she had done to him (she was his teacher's aide in her 40s, very much married with 2 daughters his age, who had allowed him to move in with them, beginning his pot use and facilitating his drop out from his senior year of high school; they began sleeping together when he was 19 - meaning she preyed on him) and to reconcile that with his experiences (he'd felt it was consensual at the time and felt he was in love with her).

7) Anytime I nagged him about sex. As others have said, pressure = turn-off. I regret that I pressured him and over time have completely changed that about myself. But I wouldn't be surprised if anxiety still lingers around it for him.

8) My high drive intimidates him. He's accused me almost since the beginning of our relationship of sleeping with other guys (I haven't) because apparently my high drive means I must be unable to control myself. Or perhaps it makes him feel self-conscious or bad. Either way, he seems to have never expected me to remain sexually faithful to him since I've always had a high drive, even though I've NEVER ONCE even hinted to him that my high drive would equal some kind of excuse to cheat (because it wouldn't!). Or maybe because I have a drive, that means I have definite preferences and I know my own needs... maybe that's strange to him. He's resistant when I show him what I like, and he gets insecure when I tell him and then assumes I must have learned it with someone else as opposed to solo time and imagination (and magazines and sex guides, lol), and then it becomes a downward spiral...

So wow. Looking at all of that, I can totally understand why he had so many troubles around sex.

I'm still fairly high drive, but something has definitely changed. My own past history of sexual trauma dampened my drive, but not enough to cut it down completely. The biggest change, though, was the conviction that I am hideous and not deserving of sex. It's partially from his selfishness over the years and selfishness of past lovers of putting their needs first and acting like I had minimal to no needs because I am a woman; partially from my weight gain over the past 3-4 years; and most especially because of some of the comments my H had made over this time. He started out saying I am beautiful and that he prefers heavier women, like his past girlfriends - then he called me a pregnant fat-ass when he was unwell, which hurt - then back to compliments - then in more angry moments saying specific things about me physically that "have always" repulsed him (those things were brutal, detailed, and meant to hurt and embarrass like hell) - and a few times recently he let it slip that he wants me to continue looking like this so that no one else will be attracted to me.

My greatest nightmare is becoming like my abusers. I don't ever want him to feel like I assaulted him. I feel ugly. So I don't initiate, don't pressure, don't approach, don't dream of him wanting to meet my needs. I've only recently started masturb'ing again. Sometimes he tells me not to so I can "save it all for him" (only for HIM to masturbate, get off, and then lack interest when that aforementioned time rolls around). Oh yeah, and he's back to skirting boundary lines with other girls. I still have a drive, but it's an inhibited one now.

[This message edited by silverhopes at 12:16 AM, April 17th (Wednesday)]

Phoenix1 posted 4/17/2019 02:07 AM

I got frustrated, and angry, because when I said no it was because I was exhausted. Yet Xhole reacted like I was lying or exaggerating for the purpose of "denying" him. We still had an active sex life, just not to the level he wanted.

In a nutshell, during this time, I was raising three young kids (Dr appts, sports, homework, school projects), had three large dogs, took care of three geriatric "kids," worked full time, took care of the house (including lawn mowing), and, oh yeah, was going to grad school and was his secretary. I couldn't do my own school work until after kids went to bed, and often pulled all nighters, maybe catching a cat nap of ten minutes before starting the next day. I was freaking tired!! No exaggeration. No lie. Just tired!

I even went to my gyno to have hormone levels checked because he had me feeling bad about my lack of interest. My gyno asked me to describe a typical day (after all tests came back normal). I told her and her response was, "Are you seriously wondering why you aren't in the mood? You're exhausted and running on fumes. Tell him I'm prescribing some uninterrupted sleep!"

The more he badgered me, the more I withdrew. His lack of support and understanding was a true buzzkill for me.

demolishedinside posted 4/17/2019 02:57 AM

Oh, Phoenix, me too! I had my levels checked. He made me feel awful and like I was asexual or something! The truth is I was exhausted! Twin babies and older son, full time work and grad school! Oh, and a new job. Yes, I was never sure if I was coming or going.

Now, Iím so messed up about sex because of all of this. I wonder if any future partner will be patient enough to let me work through it all.

cocoplus5nuts posted 4/17/2019 07:13 AM

Women often need an emotional connection to want sex. I know I do. My fch would be disappointed after a 6 month to year long deployment when I wasn't ready to jump in the sack with him as soon as he got home. I needed to get to know him again, to have gentle, loving moments with him, to reconnect on an emotional level.

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