I’m a 50-year-old male. I’ve been married for 23 years and have two grown kids. The problem is my wife. She has never needed or been interested in sex. I have tried everything — books, videos, even suggesting counseling. She says no, there’s no problem. Our wedding night was a disaster. Is there any hope for me? What can I do?
High and Dry
File for divorce or pray for a painless, early death. I just don’t see another way out for you, sorry.
That was flip and a little cruel, and I do apologize but only sort of. You knew that sex was not, let’s say, a priority for her way back when you were dating, what, 25 years ago? And you married her anyway and cemented your relationship by having children and further enforced the union’s permanence by staying with her after the children were grown. I’m going to assume that you did all this because you actually love your wife, not merely because you were willing to sacrifice yourself on the altar of nice-guyism. Either way, you don’t sound like you’re going anywhere, and I applaud that. But your wife is right: there is no problem, or rather, she does not have a problem, and the fact that you have one is not her problem either. Since she isn’t broken, you can’t fix her. She is the “doesn’t need sex” model, and there’s no kind of rigging her up with after-market parts that’s going to change that. If you love her and don’t want to leave her, I’m afraid you’re stuck with it.
I print your letter not so much because I think that hearing “Sorry, you’re stuck with it” is going to be of any earthly use to you but as a warning to the many much younger people who write in wondering if their otherwise “perfect” boyfriends, girlfriends, or — worse — fiancés can be induced to change their apparently deeply wired sexual preferences (or lack of same) before the wedding. I said no. I still say no. I am using you, somewhat without your consent, as an exhibit, Exhibit A, the purpose of which is to demonstrate how much I really meant “no” when I said it. No. People who are already interested in some kinds of sex can quite often be induced to try some other kinds. People who are reluctant to be sexual may be coaxed into letting go of fears or inhibitions. People who simply do not care about sex — the way I simply do not care about, say, sports — are probably not going to change. It isn’t like I’ve never seen or played any sports. I have done both. I’m just not excited about it, and no amount of nagging at me to get excited would ever have the desired effect. Quite the opposite.
What does it mean when a woman does the “walk and bump,” meaning a guy is standing there minding his own business, and a woman walks by and bumps his crotch with the back of her hand when she clearly has room to clear without contact? I have asked females about this, but I can’t seem to break the code of silence. I perceive several different reasons why they do this. but I want to hear what you have to say.
Do the Bump
This doesn’t really happen, does it? Readers? Has this ever occurred anywhere, ever, outside my correspondent’s fevered imagination? And correspondent, I ask you: which is more likely — that there is a secret cabal of crotch-bumping women and their supporters, who may not bump crotches themselves but are sworn to uphold the secrecy of those who do, or that you are a little bit nuts?
The closest thing to the “walk and bump” that I’ve ever encountered, and that only in fiction, is “elbow titting,” a disgusting pastime of sniggering, pimply youths who could not make proper, consensual contact with said body parts if their miserable, sniggery lives depended on it. There are no citations for “walk and bump” except a few descriptions of the walking habits of poorly trained dogs, which is pretty much apropos but not what we’re looking for.
I’m hardly the “women are from Mars, men crawled out of the swamp and ought to crawl back there” type, but I’ve got to say that women do not, as a rule, grope strangers on the street. Some men, very low and ill-bred men but men all the same, do. In Japan, it is the women who require protection from grabby-handed men on the subway, never the other way around. I dare say, Mr. Bump, that conscious or not, you are “walk and bump”–ing your crotch into their hands, and one of these days one of them is going to “bump” you back, with rather more force than you’ll find comfortable, so you might want to consider not doing that.
Andrea Nemerson has spent the last 14 years as a sex educator and an instructor of sex educators. In her previous life she was a prop designer. And she just gave birth to twins, so she’s one bad mother of a sex adviser. Visit www.altsexcolumn.com to view her previous columns.