How It Feels When Your Man Doesn’t Desire You

Do Men and Women Think About Sex Differently?

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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  1. 1

    Is she loved unconditionally by him though, Evan? I’ve thought about this article a lot since I first read it years ago. When she wants sex, she has to ask for it. When they’re done she says “thank you” and he says “you’re welcome.” She wrote as much in her essay. She longs to be desired – would a man who loves her not endeavor to make her feel so? Regardless of whether or no he thinks he “should” need to? How hard would it be for him to initiate occasionally? How hard would it be for him to reply, “No, thank YOU” to her “thank-you”?

    To him, his love of her (such as he feels it, for the reasons he feels it) might feel of paramount importance, and he might see her desire for desire as a serviette. How can one person who loves another see that person’s desires as a serviette? Such is not love. It is selfishness.

    1. 1.1

      I suggest that each of them value authenticity very highly. So it is not that he sees her desire for desire as unimportant, but that for him to pretend desire would violate values they each hold dear.

      I myself am one who generally feels desire very seldom, and usually only in response, not in initiation, of engaging in sex. While engaged sexually with someone who radiates desire for me, I respond to it and reflect it. I am probably an outlier in this respect. Nevertheless, it does not invalidate my other feelings of appreciation, respect, comfort, nurturing, loyalty, bonding, … many different ways to love.

      So I think he might well feel love, and also express his love through authenticity, and these are not mutually exclusive.

      1. 1.1.1

        Ultimately Narcissus must lift his gaze from his own reflection and consider Echo. Else she will be gone, leaving nothing more than sound.

        1. KK

          Oh Jeremy,

          This isn’t even close to Narcissus & Echo. Nor is the other recent post that has over 100 comments. By the way, I agree with the other ladies, including Emily, that said you have the power. I had told myself I wouldn’t comment but couldn’t help but reply to you; in disagreement, lol, but still…

        2. Mrs Happy

          Narcissus doesn’t mind if Echo goes. He is happy with his own reflection. Very content, he is great company, and few compare.

          The difference between secure and anxious – it’s massive.

        3. Jeremy

          Mrs H, why would anyone want to be with someone who doesn’t care if they stay or go? How dysfunctional would their avoidance and fear be?

          KK, I do think that the comparison to Narcissus is apt, purely from the pov of utility theory. A couple each has a car. The husband’s car has a full gas tank, the wife’s is empty, and she requests a few drops of his gas. The gas he gives does not match the gas she receives in terms of utility. He doesn’t need it except to stay full, she needs it to keep going. Should he refuse her the gas because he insists on having an always full tank, should he prioritize his own paradigm over her ability to go on, the utility she would receive compared to the utility he’d lose? He’s indeed be a narcissist. No one is saying he can’t generally prioritize his authentic self. 95% of the time, even. No one is saying (on that other thread) that women can’t dwell in their own fantasies…. 95% of the time. Just not 100.

        4. Mrs Happy

          Echo would be foolish to stay with Narcissus. But the very crux of the myth is that he does not want anyone else. You wrote “Ultimately Narcissus must lift his gaze from his own reflection and consider Echo”, but no, in fact he doesn’t do that, there’s no ‘must’ about it. He dies rather than be with anyone else. Echo is a bit of a sop anyway, isn’t she.

          They’re my favourite flower; I know the back story. Plus I like the tale – so completely loving the self, it has its advantages.

        5. Jeremy

          Ah, the flower, very pretty. Yes, there are advantages of loving the self. But disadvantages too. What can the mammoth do to you?

          Sure, Narcissus didn’t care if Echo stayed or went. But I assume the people who post here do so because they’d ultimately like to keep a partner, and just aren’t aware that certain tendencies that they believe make them authentic might be seen as narcissistic by others. Like Beaker.

          Sorry to hear about all the fires down your way. Wishing you rain in the near future. Your husband sounds like my kind of guy, thinking ahead about safety. My family and friends thought I was nuts when I installed a natural gas whole-house generator. I looked at our reliance on furnaces in winter and sump-pumps in summer and reasoned that we’d be sorry if we ever lost power for more than a few hours in bad weather. The same people who thought I was crazy were sleeping in my basement during the 4-day region-wide winter blackout that occurred less than a month after the installation. Forward-thinking. Not confidence 🙂

      2. 1.1.2

        “While engaged sexually with someone who radiates desire for me, I respond to it and reflect it. I am probably an outlier in this respect.”

        That is actually very typical for women. I feel terribly for the author of the article. I hope she has found peace in either the marriage or in a life without her Golden Adonis.

    2. 1.2

      I agree
      Being loved and not desired or having to ask for sex. It is such an awful burden on you mind and in your heart to feel inadequate to your partner.. like you just do t do it for them anymore …

  2. 2

    Ugh. Reading that article kind of hurt. I’m not even sure I believe she’s really happy. There is this deep longing in her article that her husband can’t quite quench, beautiful as he is. Even as much as he loves her. Then again, that’s the risk of marrying someone younger and who looks better than you.

    “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.”

    This passage, in particular, stood out for me. It’s what so many people want. Or strongly prefer. Is it necessary, though? That’s a question her article brings up. And how many other important compatibility traits could one trade for this passage, this quenching of longing?

    Of course, one could have both. Or to not be so binary, there are a variety of traits and values different people can find from their partner, desire being one of them. At least I hope!

    Desire is a tricky thing. Most of us don’t want to be without it, at least in the beginning. But most of us also don’t do as well centering desire only, focusing exclusively on its whims, and not considering other factors.. There is this very special middle ground of compromise and people miss that. It’s not either/or. I repeat: it’s not either desire or no desire.
    Desire itself isn’t static. It’s fluid. People talk about it going down but it can also flow back, especially in later years when children are out of the house or no longer as much of a focus. It can fade with hormonal changes, it can come back. Gosh, I wish we in society talked more about FLUIDITY. Nuance, flow, change.

    It’s easier for me to respect this couple’s marriage and their choices. I don’t think I’d make the same choices for myself. But I also wish I could hear from long-term married couples more. Like couples married for twenty-five years or more. I want to hear the spectrum of compromise. On a meditation retreat I sat next to a woman who had been married for fifty years. It was only after the retreat did I get a chance to speak with her. She didn’t seem unhappy in her marriage. She did say she hadn’t forgiven her husband for some slights (I don’t know what they were. Could be small, coulda been huge.) and wanted to go back more open and receptive when the retreat was over. Fifty years. I wish I had had more time to really speak with her. I appreciated her realness. I probably could learn a lot from her about compromise in relationships!

    In this blog, the comments are often about what is being compromised on: looks, money, humor, intelligence, etc. I’d rather focus on the idea of compromise itself. There has to be some some give and take in relationships. Of course we all differ on the things that we will compromise on. As long as people can accept their choices and be happy (is this lady happy?), then I believe their relationship can be successful.

    1. 2.1


      There are two parts to desire. One is general desire, aka a need/drive for sex. Such can obviously wane or spike. And then there’s desire for a specific PERSON. That should not wane, at least not for prolonged periods of time. Of course, after a fight, the only thing you desire is to throttle them.

      Even if – because of physical problems or outside circumstances – you don’t really desire sex in general, you can still feel desire for that person. Basically at least look at them and think “man, I wish I still desired sex”, because something about them still turns you on. .

  3. 3

    I think it’s one thing if your husband has no desire at all, but it’s an entirely other thing when he has desire just not for you. I am not saying he’s cheating with another person, but he’s usually using porn and masturbating rather than being with his wife. I have been there and it hurts, it hurts a lot. I could not tolerate the relationship. I expect that not being desired hurts both sexes a lot, but gender norms and society says that men should always want to have sex, and be used to being turned down, and women should be desirable and with lower drives. This is why the woman is often blamed for the man’s lack of desire. It sucks. That is all.

  4. 4

    Sounds exactly like my relationship.

  5. 5
    Mrs Happy

    Should the author’s partner fake desire to make her feel better? Lie to her about how attractive she is to him? If he doesn’t desire her, what is the solution? To pretend to?

    Is it ever right to lie to your partner?
    This morning on my dawn walk I bought high quality tender beef for dinner, because I’m craving red meat. Today I baked a lemon teacake. Normally when I bake it’s something chocolate but I’m chocolate-ed out as I’ve eaten it so much lately.
    Both these decisions were for me, but my husband will much prefer them to other food options. When my husband comes home from work tonight, should I pretend I chose and cooked these things for him – “honey I cooked you a lemon teacake today”? This would be a lie, but it’d make him feel really good. It would be easy to lie, thus easy to make him feel good, and cause little discomfort for me, except, except… I don’t want to lie to my husband. I’d feel uncomfortable.

    1. 5.1

      Yet it seems he does desire her, just not the way she would prefer. He’s failing to conform to the expected gender role of being the sexual initiator with a high libido. Something which women often seem to find annoying or threatening in men, but at the same time miss when its not there. For this sin he must be a narcissist (according to Jeremy) or a secret porn addict (according to Lisa).

      1. 5.1.1

        One can be a sexual initiator or a sexual responder, Chris. But even a responder can be sensitive to the desires/needs of his/her partner. The narcissism I referenced wasn’t regarding the author’s husband. It was regarding the notion that one’s own perspective, one’s insistence on adhering to it as an indicator of personal authenticity – and hence value and ego – is fundamentally narcissistic.

        How does one know, for example, that one would feel uncomfortable telling one’s husband that the food she cooked was for him? Perhaps she would….or perhaps the smile on his face (that might occur) might make her feel good about herself that she made him feel good. Might even motivate her to honestly cook for him in the future so that she can have a more genuine repetition of that feeling. Perhaps. What is one’s GOAL? Is it a happy relationship with a satisfied partner, or is it the maintenance of personal authenticity? Is one obsessed with ideology, or is one open to praxeology?

    2. 5.2

      I think that’s an interesting point to consider.

      From your POV/example, “lying” to your husband about a dinner choice – an arguably minute thing that probably has little to no consequence either way – is still a lie and you don’t want to do that; totally understandable. I would argue, however, that not all lies are equal. To me, if you craved a lemon tea cake, decided to cook it and later said “honey, I cooked this for you” it isn’t really a “lie”. Especially not a significant one. If he were to somehow “find out” that ‘well, really I made that dish because I wasnt feeling chocolate’…would he be mad? Or would he be like, ha ok then. I just dont feel like thats a lie, per se. Stretching the truth, sure. But I think the word “lie” carries a negative connotation and calling something so minute and insignificant a “lie” seems harsh to me. I wouldnt think twice about telling my partner I cooked something for him even if, deep down, it was for me. Doesnt it still make them (and you) happy? Then who cares the motive behind it.

      To tie it back to the matter at hand – if I were in the article author’s shoes, I absolutely would prefer my husband “lie” to tell me he desires me and finds me attractive. And I’d drive the point home that he needs to come onto me more and make me feel desired. How horrible it must be to feel unattractive to your partner. Sure, they love you and find you interesting, but for all intents and purposes, if my partner told me a list of 100 things he found attractive about me, but mentioned that physical attributes were definitely not one of those things, that is all I’d hear and remember.
      I’m intelligent? Yep. Witty? Cool. A hard worker? Lovely. …but you don’t find me attractive? Wow. I would be heartbroken.

      My last boyfriend was significantly more plain and less attractive than I am – not to sound like I’m some super model (hardly LOL) but there was an obvious difference in where we’d fall on a scale of 1-10. I would never – NEVER – have said that out loud when we dated. He became attractive to me because of his personality; I liked a lot of things about him once we got to know each other, and that made him physically more attractive to me (somewhat), but I still would NEVER EVER have said anything to the contrary if he had asked if I found him attractive. I think to not compliment and flatter your partner, and to instead tell them point blank that you dont find them physically attractive is a huge misstep and slap in the face. That article made me very sad for the author.

    3. 5.3
      Emily, to

      Mrs. H,
      “I don’t want to lie to my husband. I’d feel uncomfortable.”
      But would you want to be with a man who told you he didn’t find your body attractive? That’s what the author said her husband told her, all in the name of “being honest.” I mean, why are these two even together? How does she undress in front of and continue to have sex with a man she knows isn’t all that into her physically? If a man said that to me, the factory would be closed. Permanently.

      1. 5.3.1
        Mrs Happy

        I don’t know if I’d want to be with a man who told me he didn’t find my body attractive. I’m trying to imagine it. My baseline instant reaction to that question is, my body isn’t me, or that important a part of me, but that’s MY opinion on my body, or about my partner’s body. (I’ve happily been with men others would find physically unattractive, and it hasn’t mattered one jot when I was with them, though I now look back and think, hmmm, interesting it didn’t matter; and really, as previously mentioned, I do – at heart – have a type I get the woozies for. It’s just the type, their body, is an extra, not the main thing. I think.)

        If the man I was with thought my physical attractiveness was an important part of me, and he thought I wasn’t attractive, … wow. Just wow. I suppose I’d wonder why he was with me?

        I’ve just always assumed if guys ask me out they’re interested in the whole package, mainly my personality and mind. Since being on this blog I’ve come to learn they were mainly, at initial-ask stage, interested in my looks. Yawn, how superficial, is my immediate feeling about that, but obviously I’ve just had to accept it even if I don’t respect it. In conjunction with this I’ve assumed if they weren’t asking me out, my body/colouring/hair etc. didn’t suit their taste. For example I have annoyingly big breasts and these probably aren’t to every man’s taste. In fact the person who compliments me the most on these at the moment is my 6 year old son who breastfed until he was almost 3 and is obsessed with breasts. My husband explains our son is just following a long line of males in their family with this interest, but I fear I’ve psychologically impaired my son in some way by breastfeeding too long …. I have no doubt my son’s future girlfriends will be well developed in this area.

        ETO, maybe the author values the other things she has, apart from looks? E.g. if a man told me I had terrible artistic abilities (which is true) it wouldn’t really matter to me, because I don’t value my worth in artistic abilities. In this case it would only matter if the man wanted an artist partner, but got me, I suppose. So maybe the author’s partner doesn’t value physical appearance very highly, so it doesn’t matter that she hasn’t got that?

        The age difference is important. Probably the worst-body man I dated was a man almost 20y older than me, me in 20s he in 40s. We got engaged but not married. The author is feeling the age difference, I think; 40 is very different to 30 w.r.t. the look of youth has just gone by 40.

        1. Emily, to

          Mrs. H,
          “For example I have annoyingly big breasts and these probably aren’t to every man’s taste.”
          Have I got a male friend who would love you! 🙂
          “I have no doubt my son’s future girlfriends will be well developed in this area.”
          Well, they say we all date our parents. 🙂
          “ETO, maybe the author values the other things she has, apart from looks?”
          I see what you’re saying .. but she seems to really want him to desire her. She seems to be longing for it. Of course it’s possible to be turned and excited but much more than someone’s appearance, so if we take her appearance out of the equation, his sexual interest in her sounds a bit flim flam.

        2. Emily, to

          Mrs. H,
          Also, it doesn’t matter what she values. If he values a woman’s appearance in order to feel sexually desirous of her and he doesn’t find her appearance a turn on … Houston, we have a problem. Of course, we don’t know this to be a fact.

      2. 5.3.2


        I’m with you. That would pretty much be the end. I guess he could still serve as an automated sex “toy” until something better comes along, but that would be about it.

        1. Emily, to

          ” I guess he could still serve as an automated sex “toy” until something better comes along, but that would be about it.”
          Nah, I’d be done the minute he said he didn’t find my body a turn on and off looking for it someplace else. There’s plenty of cheap, easy sex to be had. 🙂 Why shackle yourself to someone who tells you such things?

  6. 6

    Maybe they are happy? I think this is the author and her family. They look happy, though of course, we can’t know for sure. She has a new book out and her Instagram looks fairly excited about it. The boys are in their teens so the couple has been together for awhile. And if this is her, her husband is aging too. (He’s totally not my type so I can’t speak on if he is handsome or not. I don’t see it, but the boys would be considered fairly good-looking so maybe he was when he was younger.)

    The above essay is from a book about desire at mid-life. I know the essay does sound sad, but now when I see this author and her family, she has a whole life, you know? I am now considering they might really be happy at least at this moment. Hey, who am I to judge?

    I don’t think we can actually be in other peoples’ marriages. What works for us may not work for them and vice versa. I know how *I* would feel but I will give them the benefit of the doubt. Again, it’s just a photo and I know that people can put on appearances. (And it may not even been the right Sara Einstein.) But we really don’t know either way.

    1. 6.1

      S., the author’s name is Sarah Einstein, not Sarah Epstein. But thank you for pointing us along this track, because I just did a Google Image search for Sarah Einstein and her husband, and she is much better-looking than he is. So I cannot fathom the premise of this article. Sure, everyone has different tastes, but… seriously… what?

      Take a look yourself (I accept that possibly, people would think just the opposite).

      1. 6.1.1

        Thanks, Jo! I think found a picture of the right couple. She’s blonde, right? He does look younger to me, but not necessarily better.

        But, maybe this is a lesson in general which is why I searched for photos. It’s in the eye of the beholder. She *feels* plainer than he is. She says she never turned heads. Does it matter what we think of her looks? Shouldn’t he be the one that tells her that she’s beautiful and actually mean it?

        All of these couples just look like normal, everyday people to me. The point for me, is I think one’s spouse should not lie to you, but genuinely believe in you and your attractiveness whatever you look like.

        1. Sandra

          Her hair is gray (brunette in a younger photo).
          Other than her weight, they seem evenly matched.

        2. jo

          S., I think you’re right about beauty being in the eye of the beholder. And that’s why I also agree with your earlier comment about this story being so sad. Sarah is actually pretty. But if she spends most of her time with someone who treats her as if she is not, then that is just horrid. I don’t care if he is nice in every other way. That probably taints her reality.

          If I could advise her, I’d tell her that whenever they’re in mixed company, she should dress beautifully (men seem to like dresses and skirts) and leave his side and talk to other men. She’s pretty enough to make their eyes sparkle. Let him observe that she gets attention from others. That might change his behaviour and the way he views her. Yes, I realise we’re not hearing his side of the story. But it sounds as if she has the right take on the situation; we almost always know when we’re wanted by others.

    2. 6.2
      Emily, to

      Hi S.,
      “(He’s totally not my type so I can’t speak on if he is handsome or not.)”
      Funny, if that is indeed the right Einstein, that she described him in the article the way she did, as if she was yearning for something she couldn’t have. I had pictured a lean man with an artistic ponytail! Some art history professor type. Someone who still turned the heads of much younger women. Someone she’d always have to keep her eye on. When, really, they just look like any other perfectly ordinary family.

      1. 6.2.1

        I think that was the wrong couple, but Jo pointed me to the right one. Who actually fits the description that you wrote! Kind of. But hot? I don’t really see it myself and neither did Jo.

        Very interesting.

        1. Emily, to

          Ok. I looked up the pic of that other woman and her husband. What’s that song by U2? “Love Is Blindness”? I don’t see him as being exponentially better looking than she is. Younger, yes, but they otherwise look like a normal couple to me. It’s sad because she sounds really in love with him but, from her description, his feelings aren’t as strong.

        2. S.

          Did you read her full essay? I don’t think he doesn’t love her. I think he doesn’t love her body. Is that the same thing? That’s the question. If she were thinner would he love her body then? It’s so weird. Can you objectively not like your mate’s body type but love them to pieces? I think so.

          The difference here is this usually happens after years. Many men complain about their thin, young wives gaining weight in their middle years. But he married her in her 50s. I’m trying to figure out what’s different from those men really loving their wives but not their bodies anymore and this couple. The only difference is it seems he never liked her body.

          I’m rereading her full essay and am annoyed. She says that she was maybe pretty for a few years in her twenties. It’s like plain women only have a few years to be really desired and then that’s it?! She’s not bad-looking, good grief.

          He says he finds her sexy. Does there have to be that raw desire for the flesh at some point (doesn’t last that same way forever for most) for it to be called love?

          I’m sure you have an opinion. 🙂 For me, I’m not sure. Who am I to call a long-term married couple’s–self-identified by both as happy–marriage not love?

        3. Emily, to

          “She’s not bad-looking, good grief.”
          I agree. She looks fine. She had described herself as some kind of troll.
          “Does there have to be that raw desire for the flesh at some point (doesn’t last that same way forever for most) for it to be called love?”
          Love and lust are two different things. You can certainly love someone without lusting after them. And have sex with them without lusting after them. And you can certainly have lust without love.
          “Who am I to call a long-term married couple’s–self-identified by both as happy–marriage not love?”
          I didn’t say they didn’t love each other. And if they’re both happy, great. I detected a note of sadness and longing in her essay, that she was missing something. But maybe I read too much into it and she’s made peace or compromised with whatever she didn’t have and she’s ok.

        4. S.

          You said his feelings weren’t as strong. Not his lust wasn’t as strong which may be more accurate?

          So in that case she is missing something. And there is longing. But that doesn’t means she’s unhappy.

          I don’t think everyone gets 100% of everything their looking for in a relationship. Just have to be able to be happy with whatever you’e chosen.

          I also think, for this woman, a lot of it is about her relationship with her appearance. She hasn’t been lusted after a lot in her life. She’s at peace with her looks but not quite with that. It might not just be about him specifically. We age, things change, one can only be as graceful about it as one can. Her being-lusted-after time was short and she acknowledges that in the essay.

        5. ezamuzed

          Sara and her husband Dominik seem to be pretty prolific writers and have a blog of their own with a decent following. Here is a blog post from just a year before she wrote the article referred to in this post. Her and her husband are the second couple pictured.

          Much respect for her for writing such a vulnerable article while also having a fairly public life.

        6. Emily, to

          Hi S.,
          “So in that case she is missing something. And there is longing. But that doesn’t means she’s unhappy.”
          The word “longing” implies to me a certain emptiness or a deep-seated need that’s being unfulfilled. But of course I don’t know the woman. She could very well be happy.
          “I don’t think everyone gets 100% of everything their looking for in a relationship. Just have to be able to be happy with whatever you’e chosen.”
          I agree.
          “She hasn’t been lusted after a lot in her life.”
          This I find strange just from talking with guy friends.There’s a lot of emphasis on SMV and what’s considered traditional attractiveness in the posts on this site but I haven’t found that to be as true irl. In terms of my guy friends, there were a range of types of women they found appealing.

      2. 6.2.2
        Mrs Happy

        It’s a testament to Evan’s site’s popularity that when I started typing into google “Sarah Einstein” the option “husband of” popped up about 4th, primarily from this blog I suspect!

        I agree ETO and S, these people in these photos, including the correct one, look the same, same attractiveness level, same age, same race, etc. In fact looking at the wrong photos initially then the right photos but coming to the same conclusion about both, makes me think, maybe almost ALL people look roughly the same in attractiveness, and it’s only the top and bottom 20% outliers who are noticed at all?

        ETO I agree, I thought she was describing a taut young man with long Greek-God type blond hair. In the eye of the beholder, definitely. Though I recall a criticism of the Bella-and-Edward vampire novels writing was the focus on visuals, and critics likened it to a teenage girl’s diary entry, fawning on and on about appearance. Each to their own desire.

        1. S.

          Mrs. H, I’m with you. I think this is how most people look. These are real people, both couples. This is why I’m not obsessed with looks because honestly 95% of the people I meet every day look just like these people.

          What does matter is that the people are happy and attracted to who they decide to spend their lives with. Just like the other post with the hot lady, it doesn’t really matter what this woman looks like. Does *he* want her? Clearly he does. Maybe not entirely in the way she would like but he does.

          Now the guy is the hot one in this example. Did he ‘settle’? How the hell could we know? He doesn’t seem to be complaining unless his wife asks very specific questions of him.

          “This is my body, and I live in it more happily than I would endure the awful things I’d need to do to make it appear young again; the plastic surgeries and starvation diets, the trips to the salon and the cosmetic dentistry. Where the years weigh heavily on me, it is because they were good years lived well, and I have no desire to make my history invisible.”

          Hey, it is what it is. This couple made their choice and say they are happy. Sounds like the dude ‘stood on 19’ as Evan would put it with his Blackjack analogy. Maybe he could have found someone younger, thinner. But it wouldn’t be Sarah. All the years that rest heavy on her body are the same years that gave her her way of in the world, her humor, intelligence, that he really does love. If she tried to make herself young again, she wouldn’t be . . . her. She’d be someone with different values.

          That’s not true for everyone, but that is what this woman writes.

    3. 6.3
      Mrs Happy

      S, The adults in that photo look about equal in looks and age to me.

  7. 7

    It is not clear from this woman’s article that she even wants to be desired. She just seems to be telling us a story about the state of her relationship. If she wants to feel desired I’m wondering if she asked her husband why he doesn’t desire her? I looked up their photos online and it made me wonder if it has something to do with her appearing to be very overweight and him in good shape. The most important thing for me in feeling physical desire for a woman is how she looks physically and a very overweight woman I do not feel desire for at all, even if she has the most beautiful face on the planet. In a previous blog post titled: “I’m Hotter than My Boyfriend and I Feel Like I’m Settling” the woman’s main complaint seemed to be that her boyfriend was overweight and out of shape. The point is, if you don’t feel physically desirable and want that, you should start by getting into shape. And I realize that is easier said than done in a lot of cases.

    1. 7.1
      Yet Another Guy


      Sarah definitely did the post-menopause spread in a big way, but Dominik Heinrici is not exactly a looker. He is an average looking guy with an ectomorphish build. If he was a stud muffin, I could see your argument, but I do not see Dominik as a man with options. His saving grace is that he is basically an ectomorph, which means that he does not have to work very hard at maintaining a healthy weight. He will eventually gain weight and thicken as his testosterone level continues to drop, but he will never have to seriously fight fat. If Sarah wants a man who makes her feel desired, she needs to move on. There is a lid for every pot. However, I suspect that, like most overweight women, Sarah does not desire an overweight man, and very few fit men desire seriously overweight women.

  8. 8

    “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.”

    Hmmm. I think this is something a woman rarely experiences to begin with. And this is exactly what I mean when I point out that too often, men mistake desiring sex with desiring the woman. The difference between “I’m so horny” and “you make me so horny.”

    Interestingly enough, in all the long-term, HAPPY relationships I’ve seen, the couple still clearly displayed that desire for each other. My grandparents were the best example. At 79 years old, my grandmother would walk into the room, and my grandfather’s face would light up. And he’ll tell us that she is still the hottest woman he’s ever known.

    But even if it wasn’t sex, I agree with Evan. Once appreciation is gone (no matter for what), there’s not all that much sense in sticking around.

    1. 8.1
      Emily, to

      “And this is exactly what I mean when I point out that too often, men mistake desiring sex with desiring the woman. The difference between “I’m so horny” and “you make me so horny.”
      This is a huge distinction I don’t think most men understand that a lot of women want. Desire that is specific, not generic. It’s why women love rock stars. Their songs seemed to be aimed directly at the listener — Baby, I really want you, You’re the only one I want, etc. Even if, intellectually, the woman knows the songs are aimed at millions of women, it only matters what it feels like when she’s listening.

      1. 8.1.1
        Mrs Happy

        But Sylvana and ETO,
        if you’re with a man, and things are heating up, …. don’t you just assume it’s you he is hot for? I know I always have. I mean, you’re the woman in the room with him, it’s you he has just spent non-horizontal time with, I assume it’s you he is getting turned on by. Unless he has just visited a strip club or watched porn or something, but that’d be a rare circumstance.
        Maybe someone with a male brain will correct me, but I’d be surprised if men routinely fantasized about one woman while having sex with another, that seems like quite a difficult mental juggling act.

        1. Emily, to

          Mrs. Happy,
          ” I mean, you’re the woman in the room with him, it’s you he has just spent non-horizontal time with, I assume it’s you he is getting turned on by. ”
          Because you’re the woman who’s there. I remember you writing about that guy you had really great sex with. Did it turn your world upside down? I had one like that in college and the experience was overwhelming. But not for him. It was something to do. It took me two years to get over it and I compared every guy in that time frame to him. I don’t think it works that way for men. I’m just talking about the sex/desire part. Not the emotional part.

  9. 9

    That looks like me! My husband has diabetes and is 50 yeqrs old, so there are health limitations to our sex life. When I talk to friends who are more or less my age, It seems I have too much energy compared to other people, which is not a bad thing in itself. I know he does love me. So I try not to think about It too much, and enjoy life in all other possible ways. No marriage is perfect and I think I’m happy for all the other things we share.

    1. 9.1
      Yet Another Guy


      If your husband is a type 2 diabetic, you should have his testosterone levels checked (total and free). Low testosterone is a reason why many men lose the vitality they once possessed. Low testosterone and type 2 diabetes go hand in hand. In fact, many researchers now believe that low testosterone levels drive the development of type 2 diabetes (i.e., low testosterone levels precede the development of type 2 diabetes). If you discover that your husband does in fact have low testosterone, skip the endocrinologists and work with a urologist that specializes in male sexual health. Not having a healthy sex life is now a choice, not a fate. If your husband is not using his illness as an excuse, there are many treatments available today that were not available twenty years ago, and there are cutting-edge therapies on the horizon.

  10. 10

    No. Just no. This isn’t compromise. It’s self degradation. There is no way this woman has any self-respect.

  11. 11
    "just friends"

    Well what would happen if she no longer “desires” him. with age she’s gonna not want sex anymore and have any desire for him. i’d bet a dollar when that happens the shit is gonna hit the fan, cause “he doesn’t feel loved ” anymore. he’s getting his needs met right now, she WANTS him, he feels desired. he just doesn’t feel the need to give that to her. yes you can have a relationship with no desire, no sex and even no intimacy, it’s called friendship, but not a love relationship. was gonna say marriage, but yes you can have a marriage without that also. i could take care of my spouse, treat them with respect blah blah but have no passion for them and we could get along great, even have sex , as room mates. that’s what makes a relationship, intimacy, passion,and yes even arguing. everyone says love is commitment and i do believe you have to have commitment to stay together, but passion is the glue to keep it together and make it work right. it’s the oil to the machine , so to say. i think that also happens to women and their children. a mother can be responsible for her children, take care of them, feed , clothe them but have no passion for them and show no emotion for them and neglect their emotional development which screws them up bad! i know, i’ve seen it more than once. people need the emotional part of their relationships active. he is just a parent to her, caretaker at best. i bet he has passion for some other woman somewhere, if the truth was known.

  12. 12

    I was in a relationship like this that we had to end. We had essentially everything else in the relationship. Intimacy, get along great, laugh together… in fact we remain friends because we got along so well but just didn’t have the desire and I didn’t know how to bring it back or work around it as much as I tried. He was always so mute about what he wanted sexually.

    I feel her pain, I was there for about 18 months. When I became single again, I felt like no man would desire me because he didn’t. It really did a number on my self-esteem… BUT, when I started dating and the first guy complimented me on how beautiful I was and actually desired me, I felt a little better… It has since happened a few more times while I date and I no longer feel unattractive. I actually feel sexy again. Too bad now I have to navigate the single male pool and try to find what my ex and I had PLUS the desire.

    And about a couple months back my ex finally told me it wasn’t me and it his medical condition… which I knew about but he never addressed while we were together. I say, too little too late. I now have no desire for him either.

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