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A Tale Of Naked Whoa
I just posted my Advice Goddess column responding to an e-mail from a guy who'd like to have sex three or four times a week, but whose girlfriend of a year is willing only once a week.

He writes:

I’d like to have sex three or four times a week, but my girlfriend of a year is willing only once a week. She isn’t on antidepressants or other medication. I’m guessing her sex drive is just low since she says she’s very happy with me, and just isn’t usually in the mood. I find begging unappealing, and don’t want to pressure her to do anything she doesn’t want to do. I know relationships require compromise. What would be a reasonable one regarding frequency of sex?

--Rationed

My response:

Relationships are filled with little tasks that don’t exactly bring a person to screaming orgasm. A man, for example, doesn’t wake up in the middle of the night with some primal longing to bring his girlfriend flowers, rehang her back door, or clean the trap in her sink. Like sex, these things can be expressions of love, but if a guy’s going to lock himself in the bathroom, it’s not going to be with “Bob Vila's Complete Guide to Remodeling Your Home.”

So, couldn’t putting out when you aren’t in the mood be seen as just another expression of love? Joan Sewell, author of I'd Rather Eat Chocolate: Learning to Love My Low Libido, told The Atlantic Monthly, “If you have sex when you don’t desire it, physically desire it, you are going to feel used.” Well, okay, perhaps. But, if a guy rotates a woman’s tires when he doesn’t desire it, physically desire it, does he feel used?

Actually, we all do plenty of things with our bodies that we don’t really feel like; for instance, taking our bodies to work when we have a hangover instead of putting our bodies in front of some greasy hash browns, and then to bed. For women, however, sexual things are supposed to be out of the question. I think the subtext here is not doing things we really don’t feel like if it GIVES A MAN PLEASURE. And no, I’m not advocating rape or anything remotely close to it. And, of course, if you find sex with your husband or boyfriend a horrible chore, you’re in the wrong place. Otherwise, if you’re with a man, and he’s nice to you, and works hard to please you, would it kill you to throw him a quickie?

The real problem for many couples is the notion that “the mood” is something they’re supposed to wait around for like Halley’s Comet -- probably due to the assumption that desire works the same in men and women. The truth is, just because a woman isn’t in the mood doesn’t mean she can’t get in the mood. According to breakthrough work by sexual medicine specialist Rosemary Basson, women in long-term relationships tend not to have the same “spontaneous sexual neediness” men do, but they can be arousable, or “triggerable.” In other words, forget trying to have sex. Tell your girlfriend about Basson’s findings, and ask her to try an experiment: making out three times a week (without sex being the presumed outcome) and seeing if “the mood” happens to strike her. You just might find the member getting admitted to the club a little more often.

Sexperts will tell you “a sexual mismatch needn’t mean the end of a relationship” -- which sounds good but tends to play out like being hungry for three meals a day and being expected to make do with a handful of pretzels. Expressway to Resentsville, anyone? If it comes to that, breakup sex is a better idea. You’re always going to have issues in a relationship, but for a relationship to work for you, the biggie’ll have to be something like your falling asleep after sex, not her falling asleep before.

The entire column, plus lots of comments, is here.

And while you while my column is banned from from my local paper, The LA Times, they're liking me in The Green Zone. This e-mail, in response to the above column, made my day:

RE: "Rationed" from Stars & Stripes, Sunday, 20 May 2007

Amy,

We, the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines of the Baghdad International Zone (aka Green Zone) (all of us guys, anyway) have elected you, "Woman of the Year," as a result of the incredible, spot-on advice given in your column in the 20 May 2007 issue of Stars & Stripes newspaper. We love our women and will slay dragons, change tires, respond to bumps in the night and many, many other things for them, tired or not. The reward, as opposed to withholding same, is a very effective motivator and we encourage that use. It's just that simple!

Thank you!

Posted by aalkon at May 31, 2007 2:39 AM

Comments

I agree with you and with our boys in Iraq, Amy! I'll never understand why some bitches find it so hard to bend over and give hole for 5 or 10 minutes out of the day.

Posted by: Lena at May 31, 2007 10:43 AM

I have been with my spouse for 14 years. We find having a schedule works very well. It allows me to be prepared and "get in the mood" and then he knows which nights he will get it. That doesn't mean that we can't be spontaneous, as he loves that too. It just means we don't fight about it because it is a regular schedule and we both stick to it even if one of us is tired or doesn't want it. Our schedule is three nights a week. Maybe that will work for all those guys and gals who want it more, but don't get it. And just maybe, it will help all those "not in the mood" people learn to just put out, even when they don't want to.

Posted by: Klin at May 31, 2007 10:54 AM

3 nights a week after 14 years? That's a lot more fucking than most couples who've just started dating. Obviously, you and your spouse are total sex maniacs.

Posted by: Lena at May 31, 2007 11:29 AM

Hey Amy- on your next vacation how about letting Lena be the Goddess-on-call?

That's cool about you being in Stars-n-Stripes. I woulda never guessed.

Posted by: eric at May 31, 2007 11:46 AM

Department of strangely-relevant New Yorker cartoons:


In this week's issue; the girl praying mantis says to the boy praying mantis "After we have sex and before I kill you, I want you to put up some shelves"

Posted by: Stu "El Inglés" Harris at May 31, 2007 2:00 PM

Cute response from those soldiers. Men are just so adorable in their simplicity!

Posted by: Wendy at May 31, 2007 4:56 PM

Especially if they have 7 inches or more.

Posted by: Lena at May 31, 2007 4:58 PM

Anybody who can quote from Vanity's "Nasty Girl" has to be all right, in my book.

Posted by: Wendy at May 31, 2007 5:23 PM

Lena is a size queen.

Posted by: Chrissy at June 1, 2007 11:07 AM

Complain, complain. Trust me: if she wanted it three times a day, buddy, you'd be a lot worse off. It's been 18 years, and I still haven't forgotten that lesson: it sucks more to stand in line than to wait a while.

Posted by: Radwaste at June 1, 2007 8:06 PM

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