Sunday, March 16, 2008

the tables have turned

Contrary to the impression this blog might give, in most of my past sexual relationships I have been pretty sexually dormant. I have always tended to start each new relationship with a surge of sexual energy that usually lasts the first few months and then peters out and often disappears altogether.

My vanishing libido has been a major source of conflict and heartbreak over the years. In fact, my crazy-drunk-ex used to tell me that she drank so much because I never wanted to have sex with her and she needed the alcohol to numb her against the pain of rejection. Wow.

At the time, I completely discounted this statement and chalked it up to her inability to take responsibility for her drinking problem. Until that time I had never been the one in any of my relationships who wanted more sex than she was getting. I had never lain in bed next to a hot girlfriend and felt the frustration of unmet sexual desire. Sure, I've had plenty of sexual frustration, but not that kind. Once the initial sexual magic wears off, I'm usually content to cuddle and am generally not the sexual initiator whenever sex does finally spring back into the relationship.

Well. Things have changed. As I've mentioned before, Mera has worked a one-woman sexual-revolution on my body. From the word go, things in the sack with Mera have been completely different than they've ever been with anyone else. All bets are off with Mera, I have no idea what I even *like* anymore. I like things I never liked before and I forget about things I thought I used to love. It's unreal.

Sadly, one of the many new things I'm getting to experience in this relationship is sexual frustration. Even though Mera is a voracious top, she's also a full-time grad student, working full-time at two jobs and taking care of a special-needs dog. She's busy, she's tired, she doesn't always have the energy for those two-hour poundings. And in addition to physical exhaustion there's also the complication of our power dynamic and her extremely sensitive top ego. Sometimes a simple-seeming conversation will end up alienating her and making her feel inadequate.

This is at least fifty-percent my responsibility. I can be a little too blunt sometimes and if I put myself in her shoes, I cringe thinking about some of the things I've said to her. And it's not just what I say, but how I say it. In my life I have been called "abrasive," "ascerbic" and (the less evil) brutally honest. I'm usually proud to be all these sketchy things, but these things don't help me in the delicate sexual milieu. "Abrasive" is no way to be when you're trying to gently steer your sensitve lover in a different direction during sex. Try as I might, I sometimes can't keep my attitude in check when it matters most. Mera ends up feeling alientated and distant and my chances of getting lucky any time soon disintegrate.

The other fifty-percent is on Mera, who believes she has a lot riding on her ability to fuck like a pro. In her darkest places, she thinks that's the only special thing she has to offer in a relationship, not necessarily because she's a sexual narcissist with low self-esteem, but because past lovers have given her nothing but positive reviews. How many women do you know who routinely cause their female lovers to ejaculate? I'm telling you, Mera is known for her skills and her reputation preceeds her -- she's in demand to a sickening degree. Three months into our relationship and the late-night booty texts have finally stopped, but there are definitely a lot of very disappointed people out there who wish Mera wasn't off the market.

But I digress... The point is: all those rave reviews from past lovers gave Mera the false impression that being a great lover is all she has to offer. She's already pretty sensitive and she struggles with abandonment and trust issues, so that makes it especially hard for her to hear anything that even remotely resembles criticism of her sexual prowess. I try and try to tell her that I *love* our sexual relationship and don't want her to change anything, even though I would like her to add a few elements, but all she hears at first is a complaint. That makes things difficult for both of us and it often takes her several days to recover her top-confidence and take back the reins again.

This alienation has left me on several occasions laying half-naked next to a snoring Mera, every nerve in my body alive and charged and waiting for the slightest stimulation. I had no idea how awful sexual frustration could feel! Now I have so much more compassion for my crazy-drunk-ex! I'm not excusing her drinking or accepting that my rejection drove her to drink, but I can now appreciate the agony of that kind of frustration. Looking back over all my previous relationships, I can finally see how I tortured so many lovers by losing my interest in sex. I feel like I should go back and apologize to all of them, and thank them for their patience.

What about you? Do you tend to want less sex than your partner, or are you the one lying there frustrated while your partner snores away. How have you managed it? And how have you talked about sexual issues that arise? I'll write more about sexual communication in the future, that's a big topic. For now, what about the balance of desire in a relationship? And thanks in advance for sharing, you guys rock.


mcCutcheon said...

I'm the one who snores ;)
By now I'm pretty sure every relationship has that issue, that chasm between two different sex drives. and I'm beginning to think it's normal. whoever I talk to - everyone seems to have that issue in one way or another. it can be pretty hard, but I think if there's communication about that in the relationship then it's not half bad. just imagine, if both sides had the same sex drive there'd either be no sex at all or constant fucking and nothing else (which isn't good either methinks).
Of course I feel bad if I'm the one not in the mood and my partner is left frustrated (I get the feeling I'm the worst person in the world). But on the other hand (no pun intended) I think that most of the frustration can be kept in check by simply jerking off. of course it's not the same, but it worked when I was single and without fuckbuddies for I-don't-know-how-long.

heather said...

what, no poll? how are you going to write a proper summation?

well if you're an idiot like me, you'll take this opportunity to look outside and almost completely devastate the relationship via another woman. on the other hand, if i hadn't done that, we wouldn't have ended up going to couples counseling, learning better communication skills, and improved our relationship so dramatically. it's by no means perfect, but it's certainly a lot healthier than it was several years ago.

Unbalanced said...

All my life it was my sexual desire that waned, often times for months on end. Once I came out of the closet and began sleeping with women, I've became insatiable and the tables have turned. Both of my long term same-sex lovers have had a lower sex drive than I do. Of course I have a lot of hang ups not about sex (not in the least) but about myself in general and one of the ways that I deal with the difference in sex drives and these hang ups is that I RARELY initiate sex. Honestly the rejection (and I can find it in the smallest ways) I feel isn't worth the payoff, it does much more damage than sex would do good, if that makes any sense.

Anonymous said...

Nothing frightens me more than lesbian bed death. I'll do anything to avoid this relationship-killer. Even if I don't feel like it, I'll force myself to do it anyway. I never regret it and feel more connected as a result. I'd rather do it when I'm not in the mood than deal with the inevitable bickering and dissatisfaction.

Zoe said...

I have a much higher sex drive than my partner. We were pretty well matched for the first maybe 4 years, but then she started taking medication that drastically reduced her drive. It was madding at first, and I've gone through feeling rejected, unloved, and unatractive, but it's something we've worked out. What made it worse is the more I felt rejected the more I needed the sexual concection, but for her the more I pushed the less she wanted sex.

I am the kind of person who when stressed, NEEDS sex. A lot. She is the kind of person who when stressed does not at all want it. I've had to learn that this is not a rejection of me. That doesn't mean I don't still sometimes still feel rejected, I just try not to get all irrational about it. And when I do start feeling rejected, I talk to her about it.

One thing we've done, is to set date nights for at least once a week. Since I'm ready whenever, I let her choose what night date night will be, and other than illness, sex is the priority on date night and it can not be pushed off 'til tomorrow. I've found that if we don't set date nights, sex is her lowest priority and I'll keep hearing, "I have to work, or I'm too tired, how about tomorrow." It sounds unromanitc, but this way she doesn't alway feel pressured, and I don't keep feeling rejected. And since the pressure is off of her, she will even sometimes initiate between date nights. And, she is more responsive if say that I just really NEED to have sex. Right now!

Of course the other thing I do is masturbate on a regular basis. It's not a secret, and I'm open about it. She even teases me about it.

I guess really the only way you can start dealing with it is to talk openly about it with out getting defensive. You have to be able to be direct about your needs. Life isn't a fairytale, it's busy and complicated and we have a million and one things going on. It is natural in all relationships for sex to drop off after the first 1-3 years, but that doesn't mean it has to disappear.

Melinda Barton said...

Just to let you know, I do read the blog when I can and I mean to comment. No, really, I do. Problem is: I don't date and I don't have sex. No neurotic hangups, just life being what it is.

My ego says I should point out that I had the same sort of reputation as your girl before I "retired" from my job as "lesbian party girl." I miss hearing the rave reviews.

Anyway, I'll try to contribute but don't expect anything too exciting from my end.

south carolina girl said...

the thing that jumped out at me is, well, no it was not your fault that drunk ex drank. she was going to drink anyway. you were a convenient excuse.