Dude and I had conversation a few weeks ago very similar to the one happening in this thread.
To set the stage:
MrS started out with a low-average sex drive (at 20 - when we got together), which has gotten lower over time. I started out with a high-average sex drive, which has gotten higher over time (I'm now in my late 30s). So from the beginning our sex-drives were mismatched and this has broadened over time (20 years). (NOTE: there are biological/hormonal reasons why this is a common scenario - as is the scenario where his starts out high and hers low and they get closer over time). However, the sex, when we do have it has always ranged from "pretty good" to "super-awesome-fantastic".
Despite the fact that our sex life has gradually dwindled (to the point of, at times, months in between), our relationship has broadened and deepened throughout the course of our marriage. We each agree that we love each other MORE, enjoy each other's company MORE, and appreciate each other MORE - with each and every passing year.
Dude has a very high sex drive AND his primary "love language" is physical touch. He looks at my marriage to MrS and wonders how it is that we have been so happily married for so long in a relationship that just doesn't involve much sex. ("So why would you not just be great friends, why did you get married?") I think a good marriage is based on so much more than sex. A fundamental shared "philosophy of life", shared goals, communication, companionship, commitment. Joy in bringing happiness to another's life. A desire to live out the rest of our days together with someone we love and trust by our side every step of the way.
To be fair, there have been periods of time (usually hours, but occasionally days or weeks) where I felt sexually frustrated, where I blamed myself for my husband's disinterest ("I'm fat." "I'm old." "I'm unattractive.") This was exacerbated by the fact that I was trying to get pregnant during some of that time. Once we realized that I was unlikely to get pregnant anyway (for unrelated reasons) that actually lessened the pressure I put on myself a lot.
I was able to see that some of my behaviors when I was feeling frustrated - "pesting" him for sex and getting disgruntled and grumpy and feeling sorry for myself when he wasn't interested - were interfering with the sex life we did have. Who wants to have sex with a whiny, needy, insecure person?
I knew that I could be sexy and attractive - regardless of whether MrS is interested in having sex with me at that particular moment. I knew that I was not somehow abnormal because I wanted sex more than my husband. I had other avenues to fulfill my sexual needs - I could masturbate, I could request sexual favours from him that don't require his physical arousal but just his desire to make me happy (PIV sex is not even remotely necessary for me to enjoy sex - it was the pressure of trying to get pregnant that made this a focus), I could seek out sexual relationships with women, etc.
Now that Dude is in our lives, he is happy (eager!) to provide that outlet as well. My sex life with my husband has actually become more active - I think that he no longer feels any pressure for sex and therefore is free to interact with me sexually as much or as little as he desires. He can play with me himself, or they can try to drive me crazy together. He can get me "started" and turn to Dude to "finish me off." He can tell me to go play with Dude cause he's busy, or declare that he's "staking his claim" for the evening. All good! Many happy-funtimes! JOY!
For those of us whose primary "love language" is NOT physical affection a mismatch in sex drives is a minor hurdle to overcome. Not much different, in my mind, than couples who differ over how to handle money (a cheapskate married to a spendthrift), or who come from different religious backgrounds. You talk about it, you work on it, you come up with creative solutions - in the meantime you are living your lives and loving each other.
Just my (very long) two cents.
PS. Sorry for the threadjack - but I think dingedheart is asking some questions that point to the fact that people have VERY different ways of relating sex and marriage which are highlighted when you bring poly into the mix...and where a lot of fundamental struggles can come into play
Me: poly bi female, in an "open-but-not-looking" V-plus with -
MrS: hetero polyflexible male, live-in husband (24+ yrs)
Dude: hetero poly male, live-in boyfriend (5+ yrs) and MrS's BFF
SLeW: platonic girlfriend and BFF
Lotus: "it's complicated"
+ "others" = FBs, FWBs, lover-friends, platonic G/BFs, boytoys, etc.
My poly blogs here:
The Journey of JaneQSmythe
The Notebook of JaneQSmythe
Last edited by JaneQSmythe; 06-02-2012 at 05:39 PM.