While I'm away, readers give the advice:
On marriage and the sex drive: One wife's take
• I am a well-off, professional, 38-year-old woman, married 10 years to another professional, with two small children. I love and respect my husband and our life together. I have little to no sex drive and, at this point, feel like I could happily go the rest of my life without having sex.
Is it unreasonable to request that advice columnists, doctors, therapists and husbands acknowledge that decreased libido can be a natural development for many emotionally and physically healthy women of a certain age, and instead of trying to get the wife to get horny, to try to get her to see marital sex as one of the many countless acts she performs daily to ensure a happy marriage and household?
I do not believe my lack of sex drive is something to be "fixed" with counseling, self- help books, medication or hormones. I am emotionally and physically healthy, I have no relationship problems and I am not a victim of abuse.
Though I recognize that these stated issues may be the cause of a diminished sex drive for some women, I propose that the run-of- the-mill decrease in libido that occurs in a married woman in her 30s or 40s with young children is biological, physiological, hormonal and makes sense from an evolutionary standpoint.
I thoroughly resent the suggestion that I should endeavor to force myself to desire sex against all of my emotional and physical impulses.
The reality is that it has become politically incorrect to tell a woman it is her "wifely duty" to have sex with her husband. The thought of coercing a woman to engage in sex when she does not want to is unappealing, but that is the issue here. So instead, we avoid the real issue by suggesting methods of resurrecting a woman's sexual desire, which frankly seems ridiculous.
A more thoughtful and helpful method of addressing this important issue is to ask the question, "What do spouses owe each other?"
I don't know if I "owe" my husband regular sex, but I do believe that I owe him certain things, including the ability to compromise, to meet halfway and to ensure his happiness to the best of my ability.
My husband owes me a rational, reasonable expectation of sex (let's say, less frequent than every night, more frequent than four times per month). We have regular intercourse, and I'm a good sport about it, because I do believe it is part of my, as anti-feminist as it sounds, "wifely duties."
I value the intimacy and fun it brings to our marriage. It is not painful, doesn't take very long and is a small act of giving to further a happy, strong marriage.
I am okay with being told that this is something I should do to maintain a happy marriage. I am not okay with being told that I should see a marriage counselor, buy a book or apply a cream.
One of Many