Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Tears Before Bedtime

Well, last night was kind of a debacle. We had arranged a sex date to make up for the other night.

I was really looking forward to it, and this made me happy. Because the sorry fact is that, while I spend a lot of time thinking about sex, I don't always get excited about opportunities when they arise. Part of it is self protection. There have been so many occasions where things haven't worked out as planned that I don't like to get my hopes up. Its just too crushing.

And part of it is a kind of sadness about how I know it will go. What I want is for the man I love to want me for himself, to see desire in his eyes. Or, failing that, for him to at least touch my hand or kiss me at the door in a way that tells me that tonight will be special in some way. There is something about the matter of fact way that my partner acts like it is just another night, except that he has added making love to me to tasks like taking out the garbage, that just robs the whole thing of eroticism.

Don't get me wrong. I appreciate the thought and the effort. While I would love for us to rush towards each other with total, spontaneous mutual abandon, I do see the love and thoughtfulness in the earnest gathering of all remaining physical resources by a sick man to please the woman he loves. Seeing the effort he is making does make me love him more. But the honest truth is that, when he turns towards me with the same faint-but-determined expression as he turns towards a pile of unwashed dishes, it doesn't turn me on. It touches my heart but it turns my body stone cold.

Especially when I've been expected to keep myself on ice for three lonely, sexless months. Icy has become my default mode in this endless winter where it is never Christmas.

So among other things, I have been worrying about the way I seem to have turned off to him. While I have felt all the usual frustrations, I have not been able to feel that having sex with him in that I-don't feel-like-it-but-its-good-for-the-relationship way he does it is actually going to meet my needs or address any of the issues. And this worries me because, well, when one partner is sick or their libido is low, the other needs more enthusiasm for things to work, rather than less. And if that doesn't happen, then sex between us will die. And what lies beyond that is a country I don't want to explore - of complete sexlessness, of endless solitary masturbation like a goddamned teenager, and, even worse, of an instability that undermines our love and the security of our much loved child, of possible infidelities and betrayals.

But last night, I just had this little flicker of desire, hope, anticipation - this feeling that things might go differently.

But of course, they didn't.

By the time I'd had to ask, well into the evening, whether it was going ahead (nothing in his manner sugested that anything of particular interest would happen that night), by the time I'd watched him string out chores as long as was humanly possible, by the time he'd settled down in the front of the TV until so late that, even if we started, our baby would wake up any minute (and you know how impossible it is for a woman to focus in on sexual pleasure when a baby might cry any minute) - well, by that time my little flicker was totally snuffed out.

And I was disappointed. And I was angry. And I was sad. And, to be honest, even though I knew it would be better to do it just to give him some encouragement in the trying, I just didn't want to have sex with such an utter dork.

So when he finally grabbed some candles and headed confidently into the bedroom, happily anticipating my excitement and gratitude, he didn't get the response he was expecting.

There was no sex. There was just tears before bedtime.

At least the tears before bedtime resulted in something - after the initial drama, a decent discussion about what went wrong, some plans to work on his overall health and for him to have some counselling about his feelings of depression and depondency about his health, and genuine empathy on both sides.

But still, there was no sex. We could have gone to bed with each other. But instead, he got to go to bed with a big, steaming pile of guilt and inadequacy and I got to go to bed with my frustrations and fears for the future.

Maybe we should have just watched TV.


Blogger So Gone Over You said...


That's all I can really offer... no real pearls of wisdom - sorry girl!

2:25 PM  
Blogger Rob said...

"Maybe we should have just watched TV"

Well, yes, that would be one approach but consider this. If while trying to learn to ride a bike, do you not get up on it and try again? So, as the saying goes, if at first you don't succeed then try try again. Platitudes to be sure perhaps but all I'm saying is this. Since you've told your husband in no uncertain terms (I would presume) how he dropped the ball last night, why not sit him down and announce to him that - damn it! - tonight you and him are going to give it another shot! Sure it's planned, not spontaneous sex, but so what? He'll feel better and so will you, rather than let this unresolved issue just fester within your souls. Agree or disagree?

3:09 PM  
Blogger Tajalude said...

I've been there. I know what it's like to feel like you're on the "to-do" list, as though you were something that required a check mark upon completion. It would just be nice to be a "Want to do" list instead of a "promised to do" list.

We've had the exact same scenario... carrying the candles to the bedroom, feeling proud of the effort, and me not being able to get past the resentment that it felt artificial and forced. And gone to bed with tears and inadequecy.

No advice, just empathy.

6:12 PM  
Blogger cagedone said...

Hi Emily, I did follow u from Digger, plus your a fellow aussie...sooo...

I totally understand where u are coming from. I can go to bed completly ready and raring to go, then I have to wait for hours on end while the precious soapies finish and its so late that I have gotten so pissed off that I have to wait around and then still ask....I actually don't feel like it then I resent myself even more because I try anyway!!!

Actually there is a nice looking lady who lives accross the road from me, she has the same trouble with her husband, they are both good looking people, she very fit, works out etc, and she can't generate any interest from her husband.....he won't even look at her when she strips...I don't get it!!! I look at her hungrilly all the time, I feel a bit like a wolf at dinner time!!!...needless to say it can be hard with someone like that living accross the road...especially when her husband is always telling me (jokingly) won't YOU go and take care of her for me!!! The point is, imagine how that makes HER feel!!!....actually my wife says the same to me....but of course if I did I would be dead meat...in any case a lot of the time I can't even if i tried :()

I have been married for umm 15 years, and I used to think that eventually the desire and rejection would be "burnt" out of me. it still hasn't...At least playing wiv a cage spices up what would be a completly non sexual boring existance.

I often think about sugesting to the lady accross the road to buy a cage for her hubby because he is always telling me about the sticky stuff he looks at when she is not arround. I know that would "fix him!!"...but its too close to home to discuss kinky stuff like that. In any case he would never wear it, he won't even take horny goat weed let alone viagra. My wife actually tried taking horny goat weed for a while, but the pills were too big for her to swallow.

8:27 PM  
Blogger Emily said...

Thanks for the sympathy. It does help.

Rob - I take your point. But given that the other night was the third planned evening in a row (it was supposed to be Friday, which became Sunday, which became Monday - which was the debacle night) which didn't work out, I think we need a few days rest from the whole subject. But we are going to give it another shot this weekend.

Cagedone - Yes, the whole I have 100 things to do before I go to bed with you is a bloody annoying one. Actually, I was struck by your situation with the lady across the road. Maybe it actually is a solution?????? I'm not completely confident I could resist, myself, despite all my good intentions...

5:32 PM  
Blogger Bromley said...

Is there a certain time set when you two "plan" an evening? If not it might help to plan to have the baby down and meet in the bedroom at 9:00 sharp.

That would take care of him and his chores and if he is a worker bee, just tell him 9:00 and then give him a list of things you want him to do to get ready for the hook up.

If he is suffering some depression over his health issues and, those health issues play a role in his lack of sex drive then I'm pretty sure he also suffers quite a bit of anxiety over whether he can follow through with the plans.

If anxiety does play a role then a setting time and keeping his mind occupied with other things until the planned time could help lessen his anxiety.

9:49 PM  
Blogger cagedone said...

You have no idea how many times I have thought about it. Just across the road tho is really asking for trouble, and it would only end one way...in tears, mine or someones. Fortunitly although we mess about when we have had drinks there has never been a opportunity. I doubt it would go so well if we floped down on the kitchen table in front of our respective spouses. Now if the right circumstances came up, that could get hard...literally....

In any case the best I could do is a tongue lashing right now..lol..now there is a thought!!

9:52 PM  

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