My Photo

The Out Campaign

Atheist Blogroll

Blog powered by Typepad
Member since 05/2005

« Atheist Meme of the Day: Atheists Know What Atheism Is Better Than Believers | Main | Atheist Meme of the Day: Atheists Aren't Angry At God »



I am the stereotypical male who wanted it more than my now ex wife, who wanted it infrequently.

I agree that his advice was quite dismissive and preemptive, but speaking from personal experience, his solution would have ultimately been about 20 years more efficient for me.

All of the things you mentioned in your post are spot on, and I tried them all, except for the open relationship idea. That subject actually got broached, but by that time, I had no interest in preserving my relationship with her, so I just wanted a fresh start.

The problem was that she wanted only what she wanted. She never looked at it as a community issue, only a personal one. Her "compromise" was that it was her body and she wasn't budging a bit from exactly what she wanted. She was happy with sex being a once a month or less activity. She thought that was reasonable and my interests were somehow unwholesome. I was closer to a daily kind of guy, so you can see where that relationship went in a hurry. She also had some serious hang ups about masturbation, even just for me.

Counseling with her was a joke. Her idea of a compromise was to do exactly as she pleased, and for me to give up any thought of something different.

My current fiancee has tastes that are very similar to mine. I couldn't be happier! I am just sad that it took me 22 years to get it through my thick skull that there was no way to fix the first relationship.


Dan Savage likes to have what I call his "I'm just going to tell everyone they're fucked," columns just to be funny or ornery or something. It never occurred to me to take that particular column seriously, since I have seen him give advice like yours before.

David Scott

It was only after I left my wife of 32 years that I realized that for me, sex meant being loved and accepted. Without sex I didn't feel loved. But my wife was expressing love in thousands of ways that I couldn't feel or recognize. And I realise that women often have a completely different experience of sex. For my ex her experience was of being lied to, used, and discarded - "I wanted a virgin. You were a virgin. You're not a virgin any more, so see you around." Young guys will say anything to a woman to get sex. Promise anything. When they get sex, they feel loved and accepted, and released and ready to move on. That's not what a young girl feels when her boyfriend "gets what he wanted" and splits.
So my advice for mismatched libido couples is: Figure out what sex means to you. Talk about it. Why is sex with a womahn better than using your hand? Really it's all about communication. Maybe love is being expressed in ways you don't feel, and if you could feel them you wouldn't need sex every ten minutes.
I'm now about to marry a wonderful woman, but I still miss my wife a lot. If I'd known what I know now before we broke up, I'd probably still be with her. Just jerking off a lot more often.


"Young guys will say anything to a woman to get sex. Promise anything. When they get sex, they feel loved and accepted, and released and ready to move on."

Dude, speak for yourself.


"When they get sex, they feel loved and accepted, and released and ready to move on."

That seems totally weird... "WOW, I feel so loved and accepted... Guess I have to get the hell out of here!"

Isn't where you feel loved and accepted where you'd want to hang around? Unless you have some serious issues? That seems more like a "thrill of the chase"-thing and similar "games", that doesn't really have to do with love and acceptance.


Rex, maybe I'm wrong, but I'd expect those kinds of personality traits to show up in other parts of life in addition to sex. Am I wrong?

Rick Miller

Despite counseling and lots of effort towards communication and understanding, a person's feelings are still what they are.

If there's a mismatch, then deep-down one person is going to feel neglected and the other is going to feel harassed. There isn't any way to change that.

I agree with giving up. A relationship should not be a constant battle to change one's own deep-seated feelings.

Even being divorced and celibate for two years, I feel better than I did in a marriage with occasional sex and more frequent elbows.


Hi, Greta.

I wound up at this blog from a link in the Reasons-for-faith article, which in turn was linked from a mostly-atheist forum I frequent ( -- isn't the internet great ? I love what you have to say and how you say it. I'm thrilled by the mix of atheism and sex talk.




Counseling should be nearer the top. I did not see Separate Self-Pleasuring, which should be after Counseling --so both spouses understand the parameters. We pray all can be fulfilled by legitimate thought and action.

Greta Christina

al: I didn't do these in any particular order: chronological, order of importance, or any other. "Separate self-pleasuring" comes under the category of "re-defining sex." And if you read more of my blog, you'll find that praying for anything at all is, to put it mildly, not very high on my list.


Could you do me a favor and include an addendum of some sort about birth control? Your article presumes that the libido of each partner is a known quantity - aka, it just "is what it is". Well, what if not? What if one person's low libido is caused by something medical? That's something which really needs to be considered and weighed before you give up on ever being on the same page and start to consider ways to work around it. I'm speaking from personal experience here - about a year ago, my sex drive went from "high" to pretty much gone. I never had sexual thoughts, never was turned on, never really wanted sex, although I was capable of having sex and would make the effort for the sake of my partner. But he could tell the difference and it sucked for him, not to mention that yes it started to feel stressful and demanding on me to constantly do this thing that I have no interest in doing. The key here though is, this was not normal for me! I used to love sex and want it frequently! And I had no idea what had happened to me. I wish there were more people out there talking about how birth control can kill your libido, because I stayed on the pill for 6 months after my sex drive died, and because it took me so long to find the problem and stop, it's been very slooooow progress getting my libido back, and I'm still only at about 40% of my former sex drive even though it's been about four or five months since I was on the pill. Still, 40% is a hell of a lot more than 0, and we can work with this. But I'd like to see articles on the topic address possible causes for unnaturally mismatched libidos. Antidepressants should probably be in there too. Because if there's an actual, solid, concrete reason for one partner's lack of interest, you just can't happily resolve the matter if you don't figure out what is causing it.

Buck Fuddy

My wife's libido went from low to nonexistent when she hit menopause. It's totally understandable. The hormones that fueled her desire are no longer coursing through her veins and hot flashes don't make you feel very sexy. Besides, she doesn't produce enough natural lubrication to make intercourse practical, and having uncomfortable sex when you're not turned on to begin with is probably a lot like being raped.

Why are we still together? Why not? I married her because I love her--the person that she is, not what she can do for me, sexually or otherwise.

How do we do it? Simple. I have sex with other women. We came to this solution after months of frank, honest, often difficult discussions about the nature and meaning of our relationship--a conversation that every couple really ought to have before the consider making it official and continue throughout their relationship.

We came to the conclusion that my having sex with other women posed far less danger to our relationship than the emotions I was beginning to feel as a result of my imposed state of abstinence. Despite my firm conviction that she was in no way obligated to satisfy me sexually, and my resolve to honor my commitment to her, I found myself acting out in ways that made me feel ashamed, remorseful, and deeply concerned about our prospects for staying together. It occurred to me that I might be experiencing what other couples go through: no one sets out to have a failed marriage. I felt as if we were in the grip of forces we couldn't control, and that they would eventually tear us apart.

From this perspective we were both finally able to see that, while her unwillingness to have sex with me was acceptable, her refusal to allow me to seek it elsewhere was not. I could accept her lack of interest in sex, but I could not accept her imposing celibacy on me.

Things began to change right away. Even before I had my first extramarital liaison I felt more loving and sympathetic towards her. I was able to more emotionally intimate without expecting any physical intimacy to follow.

And it has only gotten better since then. I've seen several women and had sex fairly often. I'd be lying if I said I didn't have feelings for them--I love some of them very much--but I have a commitment to my wife, and I'm very happy with her.

To me, fidelity is all about honoring commitments, not about who you have sex with. Anyone who said I wasn't faithful to my wife has a perverted idea of what it means to be faithful. The people who are unfaithful are the ones who divorce after promising to love "until death." Divorce is the ultimate act of infidelity. Staying together, honoring your commitment no matter what it takes, is the ultimate act of devotion.


This article was very healing for me to read. I am a woman who has always had a very high sex drive. I consider myself to be a sexy woman, and the rush sex gives me cannot be beaten by anything.

Anyway, my current problem is I have been with my current boyfriend for over a year and a half now. We are both in our lower 20's, and all my friends in our age group have amazing sex all the time. Unfortunately for me, his sex drive has almost completely died, and we have sex barely once a week. When we go to bed at night I always feel so turned on with him laying next to me, I often can't sleep. Yet if I try he always grunts something about being tired or some other bullshit. I have experienced my first batch of low self esteem in my life. I feel ugly and stupid. I am trying to move past it, but feeling like he's not attracted to me causes me to latch out on him and treat him with less respect. I have seriously considered calling it quits. I will try some of the above information, but at the end of the day, he just might not be right for me...


This is my first time i visit here. I found so many interesting stuff in your blog especially its discussion. From the tons of comments on your articles, I guess I am not the only one having all the enjoyment here! keep up the good work.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Subscribe/ Donate to This Blog!

Books of mine

Greta on SSA Speakers Bureau

  • Greta Christina is on the Speakers Bureau of the Secular Students Alliance. Invite her to speak to your group!

Your email address:

Powered by FeedBlitz

Powered by Rollyo

Some Favorite Posts and Conversations: Atheism

Some Favorite Posts and Conversations: Sex

Some Favorite Posts: Art, Politics, Other Stuff