How It Feels When Your Man Doesn’t Desire You

Anytime I’ve ever brought up the idea of compromising on chemistry, someone pops up in the comments and shouts at me that I don’t understand how important it is.

I’ve never said otherwise. Attraction is important. Good sex is important. But there’s a third category that falls in a slightly greyer area and that is called desire.

Attraction can be an appreciation of physical beauty.

Good sex can be a skill.

Attraction can be an appreciation of physical beauty.

But desire is something that’s more primal – a drive towards sex – that makes a couple’s physical relationship to a whole new level. The hard part is that desire usually drops due to hedonic adaption – the longer you have something, the less you desire it. Next thing  you know, there’s a married couple who hasn’t had sex in a year, not out of anger or repugnance but indifference. That’s what happens when desire isn’t there.

Enter Sarah Einstein, who wrote this searing essay on what it’s like to have a husband who doesn’t desire her. 

An excerpt: “…it’s taken some getting used to, this being the one who desires rather than the one who is desired. Being the one to say,”I want you.” The one to extend the goodnight kiss beyond sleep well and into let me touch you. The one who mutters in the middle of it, my god, you are beautiful. The one who sometimes whispers, thank you. The one who afterwards makes up the outside part of the spoon.

It would be a lie to say that I never miss the flash of longing in a lover’s eye, the low growl of desire near my ear during lovemaking, the thrill of being wanted, urgently, by someone. The opportunity to say yes instead of to ask, would you? The quiet pleasure of acquiescence to someone else’s need.”

You may read the piece and think it’s sad – and, from one perspective, it certainly is. Yet this is a woman who is loved unconditionally for all of her other qualities – and her husband’s only crime is answering her questions about desire honestly. I’m not saying whether or not anyone should have a relationship like this; I would only point out that all relationships involve tradeoffs. I couldn’t give up having a woman finding me honest and funny, even if she appreciated other parts of me. I can understand why a woman could have everything else from a man and still not feel satisfied without his desire.

Your thoughts, below, are greatly appreciated.

 

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