Polyamory.com Forum  

Go Back   Polyamory.com Forum > Polyamory > Poly Relationships Corner

Notices

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #11  
Old 10-17-2011, 11:30 PM
ray's Avatar
ray ray is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 819
Default

I am rather biased in the area of discretion. From the point of view of the secondary, if the couple is demanding secrecy it can become unhealthy and even harmful for you. I was in a relationship that demanded I keep it secret from my friends, our mutual friends, their family etc. Some secrecy can be good/necessary but it went a lot farther than that. And, one day, when a mutual friend found out, he broke up with me and broke my heart saying that I had betrayed him. Now, I'm not saying it would necessarily go like that but making it such a high stakes thing is asking for trouble some times.

I found that the friends who did find out were pretty ok with it. They might not have understood fully or maybe even liked it but they were supportive and there were no direct negative consequences in those friendship because they knew. I don't think you have to come out right away but as a relationship gets more serious it's gonna come up sooner or later. You can always start out by introducing the person as your friend and gradually taking more folks into confidence about it. Sometimes it helps to start with one person who you really trust who will be likely to react positively. Just be aware that who ever you get involved with deserves some recognition of what they mean to you. Don't hide them away like your dirty little secret. Keep in mind, that that secrecy can strip anyone, esp. a single secondary, of their much needed support system. I would say, only keep it as secret as it needs to be.

I remember I compared my poly relationship when explaining it to a friend to being gay. I said, it's a different way of doing things just like if I told you I was gay. They thought about it for a bit and said, oh, ok. Overall, my friends reacted supportively to my poly explorations. If you have lots of pagan and gay friends, there's probably a good chance that they won't be very judgmental about it. What are you most worried about when it comes to telling people?
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 10-18-2011, 06:53 PM
Rootlet Rootlet is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Vancouver, Canada
Posts: 14
Default

Everyone I've told so far has been okay, and I'm certainly comfortable with backing up my decision to friends. I also would want to behave with integrity with anyone I was involved with, not just my wife, so yes, taking that person's needs and feelings into account is important, as is making sure everyone is treated in a way that values them. I expect I'll sort out where the lines are between discretion and secrecy for the specific people involved when the time comes.

It's all hypothetical right now, as I'm not seeing anyone other than my wife, and probably won't even remotely go there until the dust settles on our relationship change. I'm still grieving the loss of the relationship I'd hoped to have with her, and once that is done I trust that I'll know what to do then.
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 10-19-2011, 08:27 PM
Magdlyn's Avatar
Magdlyn Magdlyn is online now
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Metro West Massachusetts
Posts: 3,500
Default

Hi Rootlet, welcome to the board.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rootlet View Post
I just wrote that subject line and thought to myself, "boy are you screwed!" (no pun intended).
At least you haven't lost your sense of humor completely, even if it's dark!


Quote:
I'm a woman who has been with my wife for over a decade. My wife went through menopause about 5 years ago and lost her sex drive almost completely.
That sounds very hard for you. For about half your relationship, your wife has been asexual!

Later in the thread, you say your wife went through menopause early. May I ask how early, and what was the condition that led to early menopause? Were her ovaries removed? Did she have a hysterectomy?

Quote:
...she's gone on hormones...
Which hormones? Estrogen, progestin, or both? Testosterone? In the US Estratest (estrogen and methyltestosterone) is not approved for treating low libido in women but can be prescribed for hot flashes and lack of vaginal lubrication. A "side effect" of this can be an increase in libido.

Does she see a doctor who specializes in lesbian health? Is her doctor aware her loss of libido is affecting her emotional relationship with you, her partner?

Does she have high blood pressure? Is she depressed and untreated? This can cause lack of desire. Is she on SSRIs? Some of these can ironically cause lower libido, but some don't. She can have her doctor prescribe a different one and see if her libido increases.

Quote:
but finally we (actually she) decided enough is enough about two weeks ago.
You say she lost her libido 5 years ago, and for 4 years you both "just waited" for it to return. If I am doing my math right, she tried different therapies for one year and then gave up. She rewarded your 4 years (helluva long time) of waiting with one year of trying this or that therapy, including hormonal therapy, but not counseling/sex therapy?

Are you angry? Do you have a loss of self esteem? 5 years of being rejected sexually sounds insanely hard to me.

Quote:
After another couple of months to grieve (I'm smart enough to know I'm not dateable right now) that my wife doesn't feel like being sexual with me (or anyone) any more, or rarely, if so, I've made it clear that I'm going to need to see other women. She's not crazy about the idea, but gets that it's necessary, and is good with it as long as I'm discreet... I'm sure she doesn't want everyone to know she lost her libido.
Has she said that? I don't know. If any of your lesbian or Wiccan friends are peri or post menopausal, I am sure it wouldn't come as a huge shock. Women's libidos are notoriously tricky.
Quote:
My wife and I are good partners to one another, and have a lot of family and other glue tying us together, but I fear sometimes that going poly is a way of just bargaining with the inevitable, that we're doomed.
Does your wife think you two are doomed to break up because of her loss of libido (which could still be treatable)? Is she ready to take on polyamory and all its attendant challenges (jealousy, time management, NRE, the "gossip" you mention, coming out as poly, etc) when your main motivation is looking for the sex she won't give you? Does she have no sense of personal responsibility in all this?


Quote:
I know this is kind of a light discussion area
No, it isn't.
__________________
Love withers under constraint; its very essence is liberty. It is compatible neither with envy, jealousy or fear. It is there most pure, perfect and unlimited when its votaries live in confidence, equality and unreserve. -- Shelley

me: Mags, 58, living with:
miss pixi, 37, who is dating (NRE):
Master, 32
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 10-19-2011, 08:54 PM
Magdlyn's Avatar
Magdlyn Magdlyn is online now
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Metro West Massachusetts
Posts: 3,500
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rootlet View Post
I just want to desire and be desired again, and be able to act on that in the world, to connect with other women in that way. Monogamy was something I fell into with my wife, more by her choice than mine, and because for the first several years our sex life was so rich
Oh how you must miss those fun rewarding times of the first few years!

Quote:
About my wife's loss of libido - she's still working on trying to get it back, but not particularly urgently from my perspective. She mostly thought it would resolve on it's own once she got through menopause, so we spent about 4 years just waiting, and then more recently she's gotten some medical help with it. She's correct in saying it's something she has to work on in her own way. She's gone to her doctor, who has done some helpful things, but mostly the information about loss of libido in menopause seems to be 'lots of women in menopause lose their desire; live with it'.
That is very sad. Especially with lesbian sex. I mean, with a het couple, the woman who has little to no sex drive can just lube up and lie back and let him put the Jolly Roger in. But being lesbians requires some actual ... activity, no?

Quote:
I've asked several menopausal women I know, and 8 out of 10 of them said, yes they'd lost their libido mostly and it's a relief for them. They seem about as disinterested as my wife is in doing anything drastic to get it back. So I'm not feeling really hopeful.
They may be fine with it, but how do their partners (if they have one) feel? Unless both partners are fine with it, it's not "fine!" What did these women you survey do when their libidos no longer matched their partner's? Were they lesbians or with men?

Quote:
About my use of the word 'asexual'. I understand that it's used to refer to someone who may maintain romantic and cuddling relationships with others but isn't interested in sex, which fits my wife. I get that it's a lifelong identity for some and if people think my use of the word to describe my wife is disrespectful to those who identify that way, I'll find another term.
That was just RP's opinion. I would disagree. If you wife never cares to have sex, I'd say she's asexual, even if she can have an orgasm when "forced" to.

Quote:
I'm a decade younger, and my desire is still fine, and she went through early menopause, which exacerbated things. We've been trying this and that for about 5 years now, and I just can't respect myself and wait any longer... 'Willing to' is so vastly different from 'wants to' that it still makes me cry.
Yes! Very upsetting. One can and does take it personally, even if we know intellectually it's not our own desirability that is the real issue. It feels so good to feel desired and sexy and irresistable.

How old are you and how old is your partner? Are all your friends your age or do you have close friends who are peri or post menopausal?

Quote:
Our current arrangement is that I will not initiate sex (it is just too painful for me to be turned down all the time, or to maintain that hopeful place) and if she wants to she will initiate. If she's only having sex to please me, we need not to be having sex. We haven't tried the sex therapist, but we've agreed that she's the lead on her own process and body, so she'll have to decide on that.
As I said in my previous post, her lack of motivations to get more help for her lack of libido is not just about her, it affects you and the relationship. Seems she'd rather risk opening your marriage than trying every avenue possible to be more sexual with you!

Quote:
I need to talk to my partner a bit and agree on what I will give as a reason for our shift... I have a conservative, private wife whose boundaries I need to respect too, so I'll have to feel my way on this one with some consultation with her.
Yes, indeed. So many men (I am bi) approach me on the dating site ok cupid for sex, because their wives have lost interest in it. However, sometimes when they tell their wives they have potential or actual other partners, the wives finally get more sexual! Reverse psychology, territoriality, desire fueled by his new assertiveness, etc., seem to be factors.

Quote:
Anyhow thanks for the feedback. I'm doing a bit better today. Weekends are hard, with a lot of time for all the layers of feeling to hit. I'm mostly focused right now on building some support for myself, as my wife can't be expected to be the sole place I bring my grief and sorting out to.

Thanks again,
Rootlet
I am glad you're reaching out here!

Since you don't know me, I will tell you I am a pansexual woman, age 56, post menopausal. Pansexual, currently partnered with a woman. My sex drive increased when peri menopause hit and hasn't slowed down in the 16 years since. I think about and talk about sex a lot. Um, I do it a lot too, altho my female partner's drive is not as high as mine. I'd like sex about every day but we don't manage that anymore. We've been together 2 3/4 years and I am nostalgic for the frequency of our first year.
__________________
Love withers under constraint; its very essence is liberty. It is compatible neither with envy, jealousy or fear. It is there most pure, perfect and unlimited when its votaries live in confidence, equality and unreserve. -- Shelley

me: Mags, 58, living with:
miss pixi, 37, who is dating (NRE):
Master, 32
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 10-19-2011, 09:37 PM
Rootlet Rootlet is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Vancouver, Canada
Posts: 14
Default

Hi Magdlyn,

No, I haven't lost my sense of humour, fortunately...

My wife started going menopause starting at about 43 and has been completely menopausal (no period) for a few years now, I forget how long. Just natural early menopause, which tends to hit harder, I've read.

All I can say is that we weren't culturally prepared to figure this stuff out. People say 'lesbian bed death' happens. People say 'it's normal to lose interest in menopause'. People say 'insomnia and stress will do that to you'. Doctors give you ten minutes and don't ask or answer nearly enough questions.

She was on testosterone, which did nothing, and is now on natural progesterone, which helps her sleep and reduces the hot flashes (hot flashes suck, as if you try to cuddle she gets all sweaty and clammy, which means we weren't cuddling either. That at least is fixed.). She is also on intravaginal estrogen which helps the vaginal lining get back to optimum. I thought about depression, but she also has chronic arthritis pain and trouble sleeping. Her blood pressure has always been low. Since we've been sleeping apart, she's getting more sleep and is feeling better. The hope is that that will help with her libido too, but I'm not holding my breath anymore.

Things just kind of crept up on both of us, until one day I realized that we had stopped having sex, and that I was too young to be celibate. It took awhile to recognize and sort it out from the 'stress at work' or hot flashes or whatever.

Yes, it's been hard. I'm mad and I'm hurt and I'm sad and frustrated. But now I'm hopeful. She's doing what she needs to do to look after herself and so am I. I'm feel hope about getting back in touch with some juicy parts of myself that haven't been expressed lately - and I mean much more than my sexuality. It's hard to articulate, and probably will be for awhile as I sort out how I'm feeling.

As to, does my wife think we're doomed? I don't think so. Does she bear personal responsibility in this - yes I think she feels guilty, and honestly doesn't know how to resolve what's going on for her. For a long time she didn't do enough to try to fix things, and I still resent that, but she's doing a lot more lately, which is helping. Am I still hurt, yes, which is why I'm not rushing into anything until I feel more grounded. I'm figuring out what I need to do for myself and this is what I've chosen to do for now. I don't know if she's ready to take on polyamory, but we'll figure that out too.
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 10-20-2011, 12:42 AM
AutumnalTone AutumnalTone is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Kansas City Metro
Posts: 2,186
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Magdlyn View Post
I mean, with a het couple, the woman who has little to no sex drive can just lube up and lie back and let him put the Jolly Roger in.
Um...no. There's always this little bit in play: "...'Willing to' is so vastly different from 'wants to' that it still makes me cry."

That situation is a tragedy in most any sort of relationship.
__________________
When speaking of various forms of non-monogamy...it ain't poly if you're just fucking around.

While polyamory, open relationships, and swinging are all distinctly different approaches to non-monogamy, they are not mutually exlusive. Folks can, and some do, engage in more than one of them at a time--and it's all good.
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 10-20-2011, 03:45 AM
Magdlyn's Avatar
Magdlyn Magdlyn is online now
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Metro West Massachusetts
Posts: 3,500
Default

Well yeah, AT, I know the difference between willing to put up with it, and eagerly wanting it!

You missed my point. Hmmm... Not too be too graphic, but I guess a low libido lesbian could just lie back and let her partner hump her leg or something, even if she doesn't want her erogenous zones touched... She could hold the horny partner while she masturbates, and maybe bring herself to twiddle a nipple or something...

I'm sure a sex therapist would have some ideas, but Root's wife won't even go to one.

I'm glad her hot flashes are more under control and she is sleeping better now. That's some progress at least. Be nice if more rest and less annoying hot flashes led to her feeling more sexy eventually.
__________________
Love withers under constraint; its very essence is liberty. It is compatible neither with envy, jealousy or fear. It is there most pure, perfect and unlimited when its votaries live in confidence, equality and unreserve. -- Shelley

me: Mags, 58, living with:
miss pixi, 37, who is dating (NRE):
Master, 32
Reply With Quote
  #18  
Old 10-20-2011, 05:48 AM
nycindie's Avatar
nycindie nycindie is offline
Moderator
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: The Big Apple
Posts: 7,115
Default

It's interesting how differently women experience this process. I'm 51, and this month officially marks one year without a period. I've always had a very high libido and only experienced a slight drop when I was on anti-depressants a few times over the last ten years or so. My menopausal experience included a very lo-o-ong peri-menopausal stage during which my periods were really out of whack and unpredictable, and then a year of hot flashes and that's it. My libido is back up to where it always was, and sometimes feels like it's sky-high, but it's hard for me to know what is a hormonal response and what is emotional/psychological, because my husband asked for a divorce and moved out about a year and a half ago, so it's been a tumultuous year after the "bottom dropped out" in my life.

Rootlet, if you and your wife are interested in an herbal or natural approach to menopause, I highly recommend Susun Weed's book "New Menopausal Years: The Wise Woman Way." Since you're Wiccan, you will probably glean a lot from her perspective. She's not just an herbalist; she's also a High Priestess of Dianic Wicca, a member of the Sisterhood of the Shields, and a Peace Elder. I'm more than a little proud that Susun added a chapter on thyroid health in her revision at my request (she sent me a free copy as thanks!). I'm not Wiccan, but back in the early to mid-90s, I apprenticed with another herbalist and took some workshops with Susun. She has an encyclopedic knowledge of herbal medicine in the Wise Woman tradition, and of women's processes.

I remember her saying once that the drop in certain hormones is balanced by a rise in others during menopause. In her book, she explains that, women have "too many" hormones during menopause, not too few. Progesterone decreases and estradiol stops, but baseline estrogen, LH (Luteinizing hormone), and FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) increase dramatically. Hot flashes are part of the process the body undergoes to handle such a flood of hormones. The liver is also taxed by this. She recommends phytoestrogenic plants (in whole form or herbal infusions/teas rather than supplements), to stimulate sex-hormone-binding globulin synthesis in the liver, (whatever that means) and bring about hormonal balance. She includes several pages of those types of foods, but they mostly consist of seaweeds, roots, seeds (including grains), buds (like artichokes), and berries. Susun says that some women find that eggs, meat, and butter (better if organic) do help women with menopausal symptoms. And a diet with whole grains, beans, and leafy greens also helps.

She says that menopausal change is a metamorphosis, or change at a cellular level, and each stage (premenopause, climacteric, and post-menopause) has its own special needs and offers different challenges. They also coincide with the stages of isolation, death, and rebirth/reintegration. It sounds like your wife is near the end of the climacteric if her hot flashes are subsiding. For this stage, she recommends frequent red clover or oatstraw (both available online or at herb/healthfood stores) infusions to replace depleted vitamins B & C, magnesium, potassium, calcium, and most trace minerals -- and Kundalini meditation.

Susun's chapter on sex is short but interesting. About libido, she says: "My Rx for low libido is seven orgasms a week, whether you feel like it or not. You can do one a day or all in one day. Continue for at least three months." LOL, she doesn't explain why she recommends this, but I guess after three months of that, libido returns!

This is only a tidbit, but I do think you will like the book.
__________________
The world opens up... when you do.

Oh, oh, can't you see? Love is the drug for me. ~Bryan Ferry
"Love is that condition in which another person's happiness is essential to your own." ~Robert Heinlein
Reply With Quote
  #19  
Old 10-20-2011, 07:15 AM
redpepper's Avatar
redpepper redpepper is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Canada
Posts: 7,634
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Magdlyn View Post
That was just RP's opinion. I would disagree. If you wife never cares to have sex, I'd say she's asexual, even if she can have an orgasm when "forced" to.
no it isn't my opinion actually, maybe you should read the other tagged threads on "asexuality" and do some research. Its actually a bit of a bone of contention amongst the asexual community that people who have lost their sex drive call themselves asexual. I heard from a moderator of the most popular asexual forum on line the information I have given (link is on one of the other threads tagged "asexuality"). I have no opinion one way or another, just passing it on.

Sorry for the hyjack Rootlet, but I had to make sure that this was corrected.
__________________
Anyone want to be friends on Facebook?
Send me your name via PM
My blog

Last edited by redpepper; 10-20-2011 at 07:18 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #20  
Old 10-20-2011, 08:11 AM
nycindie's Avatar
nycindie nycindie is offline
Moderator
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: The Big Apple
Posts: 7,115
Default

If the word celibate usually refers to choosing no sex, and asexual is only supposed to be reserved for people who naturally have no sex drives, what word would be appropriate for someone who lost their libido, for medical reasons? Abstinent? Chaste? Nonsexual? Libidoless? On the web, I found two supposedly correct medical terms for loss of libido: "female sexual dysfunction (FSD)" and "hypoactive sexual desire disorder." But what a mouthful! I think asexual works, despite the fact that people who identify as asexuals want to own the word, but maybe "sexually dysfunctional" could be used without sounding too weird.
__________________
The world opens up... when you do.

Oh, oh, can't you see? Love is the drug for me. ~Bryan Ferry
"Love is that condition in which another person's happiness is essential to your own." ~Robert Heinlein

Last edited by nycindie; 10-20-2011 at 08:30 AM.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
lesbian, menopause

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT. The time now is 08:52 PM.