Freezing Your Eggs Doesn’t Always Work Out

Every so often, I receive an application from a woman who wants private coaching who is torn: invest into finding lasting love or freeze her eggs to potentially have children. If she has a finite amount of money, as most of us do, it’s often an either/or.

I’m aware of the potential conflict of interest in giving advice in this situation, but my opinion has never wavered: the best thing you can do – and the surest ticket to long-term happiness is to become happily married and then figure out how to start a family together – IVF, adoption, surrogacy, etc. And yet, for many women who long to have their own biological children and see their window closing, they opt to freeze their eggs first and try to find a guy later.

The best thing you can do – and the surest ticket to long-term happiness is to become happily married and then figure out how to start a family together – IVF, adoption, surrogacy, etc.

Perhaps this article will give them pause.

It’s the story of Brigette Adams, who spent $19,000 to freeze 11 eggs in her late 30’s, only to discover, at age 45, that her insurance policy wasn’t as airtight as she thought.

“Two eggs failed to survive the thawing process. Three more failed to fertilize. That left six embryos, of which five appeared to be abnormal. The last one was implanted in her uterus. On the morning of March 7, she got the devastating news that it, too, had failed.”

This is not an uncommon story.

“James A. Grifo, a fertility specialist at NYU Langone Health who is one of the pioneers of the procedure, calls the whole notion of being able to “control” your fertility — perpetuated by the media and embraced by feminists — destructive.

“It’s total fiction. It’s incorrect,” Grifo said. “Your whole life it’s beaten into your head that you’re in control and if you can’t have a baby, you blame yourself. There has to be more dialogue about what women can be responsible for and what they are not responsible for.”

To be clear, it’s not that egg freezing is a bad option. If you freeze your eggs when you’re under 35, you have a very high likelihood of fertilizing them. Those numbers drop steadily through age 45, when harvesting 6 eggs only offer a 5% chance at a live birth. For a fortysomething woman counting on egg-freezing to save the day, that can be a rude awakening.

“Individual clinics are often reluctant to share their own information, she said, and many don’t refer patients to academic studies that attempt to quantify the probability of success. Only a few such studies exist: A 2016 Fertility and Sterility study of 137 women who tried to use their frozen eggs found that women who froze 10 eggs at the age of 36 faced a 30 percent likelihood of achieving a live birth. Last year, researchers writing in Human Reproduction calculated that the same women should have a 60 percent success rate based on their mathematical model.”

A 100% drop between the mathematical model and reality; that’s a pretty big difference between what doctors hope will happen and what actually happens.

The decision to conceive a child without a father is an intensely personal one, and the only person who has the right to make that decision is the woman involved. Still, I think it’s essential that women start with a full set of facts.

The fact is that egg freezing has a highly variable success rate, dependent upon the age of the woman and the availability of viable eggs.

The fact is that telling a guy you’ve frozen your eggs is NOT a huge selling point. I’ve seen women put this in their profiles as if it would attract a 40-year-old man who wants to be a father. It’s not. He’s still going to reach out to women 25-35 if he wants time to fall in love and get married without the iffy nature of egg freezing determining his future.

The fact is that telling a guy you’ve frozen your eggs is NOT a huge selling point. I’ve seen women put this in their profiles as if it would attract a 40-year-old man who wants to be a father. It’s not.

The fact is that even if you have a child, dating as a single mom to an infant or toddler is extremely challenging, and most men will tend to avoid the situation, if possible.

Once again, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t freeze your eggs. If anything, you should just realize the limitations of egg freezing while weighing your options.

Your thoughts, below, are greatly appreciated.

 

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Comments:

  1. 31
    Marika

    Mrs Happy said if we didn’t have the male sex drive, we’d probably still live in cities with buildings and infrastructure, water and electricity, because we would still have people who could invent and make such things. I’m at work right now and it’s not so I can have sex.  It’s because I find my work cognitively stimulating and I want to pay my mortgage and bills and buy nice chocolate”

    I don’t think you’re open to what the guys are saying. You’re not a man, and you don’t appear to have a particularly high sex drive. The guys are consistently saying that sex drives a lot of their behaviour. Why try to argue that it doesn’t/shouldn’t? Not only is this not news to me, it also is something I am used to.

    Have you ever been in a relationship with a man with a low sex drive? Or who had other problems (e.g. was getting it elsewhere). Did you feel bad being rejected or trying to figure out why his sex interest waned or was inconsistent? If so, and it’s only happened to me once or twice, but I imagine my sex drive was doubled and it happened to me consistently (the experience of many men, especially in long-term relationships). It doesn’t feel good.

    Don’t take regular sex for granted, or your husband’s interest in having sex. Or, if you can’t do that, at least try to understand what the guys are saying.

    1. 31.1
      Chance

      There aren’t words in the English language that can sufficiently illustrate how much I wish that I didn’t have my sex drive.

      1. 31.1.2
        Jeremy

        LOL you two.  Do you want to get rid of it enough to take medication to rid you of it?  🙂

         

        I remember after I made the decision to get a vasectomy (after my 4th child) I kind of hoped it would reduce my sex drive.  I’ve read a few reports of that happening, though it is not common.  My wife worried about that – ironically.  But she understood something that eludes some of the ladies here – get rid of the sex drive…..and what else goes with it?  You two understand that very well though, it seems.

        1. Mrs Happy

          Dear Jeremy,

          Your wife probably had her own motivations for you keeping your sex drive.

          (I tried to resist but it was futile.)

        2. Jeremy

          LOL.  See, I’d never have lasted 2 days with our bet.

        3. Gala

          From what you are describing i don’t know why would anybody want to have this male sex drive. I really pity men with high sex drive. When others can do something predictive (that includes women and other men) these poor testosterone crazed creatures are solely focused on finding a lay, like a perpetually hungry person focused on finding food. I would never want to be that vulnerable or addicted to anything. Perhaps there should be a medication to moderate this sex drive in men when it cripples their every day functioning.

        4. Yet Another Guy

          @Gala

          You would be surprised to discover how many of your male friends have high sex drives. As I have mentioned several times, show me a successful man, and I will show you a man with high sex drive (i.e., drive = drive, there is a correlation between drive to succeed and sex drive in men). Most men are not vocal about it. They just set the table for one quite often to diffuse the tension, even when they are in a relationship.

        5. Mrs Happy

          Dear YAG,
          so poetical and a charming way with words – you made me smile.

        6. Nissa

          Jeremy, maybe it wouldn’t hurt for your wife to try to increase her testosterone with supplements – natural aromatase inhibitors such as red wine, grape seed extract, resveratrol, DIM, cocoa, coffee, and black or green tea. If she’s willing to try it.

      2. 31.1.3
        Tron Swanson

        Put me down as #3.

      3. 31.1.4
        ezamused

        I’m really happy with my sex drive. Especially now that I’m out of a bad marriage and have discovered most woman in their 30s an 40s still have high sex drives also.

    2. 31.2
      Mrs Happy

      Dear Marika,

      I am open to the mens’ points.  I am trying to offer an alternative point of view, and consideration for the rest of the population that doesn’t have a sex drive equal to an average male’s.  I’m also cognizant of the harm sex has done throughout the ages; it’s not all roses and kittens.

      Thus it’s not that I don’t understand, I’m simply offering other ideas.  I really do understand what the guys are saying and feeling – the concepts introduced in this thread haven’t been difficult to comprehend.  I understand they think sex drives male desire to achieve (I only agree with this in part, sometimes and for some men; I believe some men aim high in life even when not after sex), and much of their behaviour with women.  I’m saying, there are also other people on this earth, who desire to achieve, who work, who have drive to invent, experiment, build, succeed, and who don’t have the supposedly directed sex drive of your average adult male – a lot of people.  Lots of women, older people whose sex drives have waned, men with lowish sex drives, asexual people.  These people aren’t negligible in our society.  The whole world wasn’t built because men want sex, in my opinion. Some of it, sure.  But if you removed male sex drive, you’d still have civilisation, because it is humans who have built the non-natural world, and men-minus-male-sex-drive would still be human.  There would just be fewer humans and probably less suffering.  Maybe more co-operation and less competition.

      I say, sex is important to me, but not the most important thing in my world.  Then I am told, you’re wrong Mrs Happy, it is of utmost importance.  Marika, I understand, but I disagree.  I’d like to be able to state a hierarchy of my own priorities without being told I’m wrong in them (!) because they don’t align with a man’s.  It’s circular and frustrating to dialogue in this way, for all of us.  Also, I’m no Freud expert but I knocked down Freud a smidge because he was a white male who also postulated almost everything revolved around sex.  This doesn’t make Freud right, it just means the guys above agree with him, and think and feel as he did.  No surprise, they’re all males, and that takes us all back to the original premise of this exchange.

      (And oh boy do I know the serviette was a poor metaphor full of holes… but I’d no idea it would develop such a life of its own, it was from a few blogs back.  I was trying to example something which was good to have in my day but not life shattering.)

      1. 31.2.1
        Yet Another Guy

        @Mrs Happy

        I implore you to name one major construction project that was completed by women?  I can assure that not one exists.  If we look at the triple-D (dirty, dangerous, and demeaning) jobs that make modern society possible, one will find that men dominate these positions.

        The hormone testosterone is responsible for sex drive in both men and women.  The average male testosterone level is an order of magnitude higher than that of the average woman. A man’s testosterone level peaks in his teens and twenties. That is why younger men are driven to find a willing sexual partner to the point of being tone deaf about their behavior.  I can assure you that you have no idea as to how high a man’s sex drive is when he is young, and it is entirely due to high levels of testosterone.  It can be debilitating at times. I referred to it as the “Purple Haze” because it is like a funk.

        Competition among men is entirely driven by testosterone.  There is more than a grain of truth to the saying, “It is not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog.”  Aggression and determination to win at any cost is a testosterone-driven thing.  Show me a successful man, and I will show you a man with a high level of testosterone. Why do you think that so many of those accused of sexual misconduct are powerful men? The reality is that success translates to a higher quality sexual partner for most men. In that regard, men are competing for breeding rights with select women.

        Men do not experience relief from the effects of testosterone until around age 50. That is why grandfathers are more nurturing than fathers. The huge drop in testosterone that many men experience also leads to a huge drop in energy, drop in/loss of libido, and a reduction in overall drive, which also means that most men over age 50 experience a drop in their drive to succeed. Why do you think that testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) is such a hot-button area in medicine today? Men seek TRT as a fountain of youth.

        In the end, sure, there are outliers, but outliers do not build civilizations. Denying that competition for breeding rights is behind the advancement of civilization is akin to denying that our planet is round.  Men built civilization, and men are sex-driven creatures.

      2. 31.2.2
        Nissa

        I tend to agree more with you, Mrs Happy. Yikes, this debate. It’s as simple as, each of us is responsible to get our own needs met in a way that causes no harm.  Honestly, my eyes are glazing over reading all these posts that basically say: but it’s important to meee! One of the other posters, Cathelei (?) did an excellent job of explaining how if it was just about sex, masturbation and prostitutes would be filling that gap – and how they aren’t.It’s a search for lots of other things that’s getting attached to sex. In that way I agree with Jeremy, that it’s both need & desire, but most people find ways to meet both of those without doing harm, and I’d argue that this is the most significant point. It’s that jump to the entitlement of another’s body & behavior that crosses the line for me.  I would argue that men and women want whatever they want, whatever they need. All of us have the right to pursue both of those right up until it hits someone else’s rights. That’s the line. But all these arguments are about as convincing to me, as it would be for me to say to the men, that most women need sexless commitment and marriage, that society would collapse without it, and men need to understand how important it is to women, how we can’t function without it. Yeah, I’m not convinced either.

        1. Marika

          Nissa

          I don’t think the guys are saying (or most anyway), “I need sex and women need to give it to me where and when I want!!!”

          Sure, people need to get their needs met without doing harm..but isn’t the whole point of this blog to be the kind of partner and find the kind of partner who will happily meet each other’s (reasonable) needs in a relationship? A reasonable need, for me anyway, is sex in a committed relationship. I think rolling our eyes at immature men for daring to want to share a physical relationship with their partner is unfair.

          And it’s not just men. For me, a marriage/committed relationship without regular sex is a marriage/committed relationship in trouble. Of course, there are many other important things, and you shouldn’t feel like you are just there to meet your partner’s need for sex, but the defining nature of a relationship which separates it from a friendship is physical intimacy.

        2. Yet Another Guy

          @Nissa

          You do know that male orgasm via intercourse is more intense than orgasm via masturbation as well as that men most tend to masturbate more frequently when they are getting sex on a regular basis than when they are not?  Also, sex from a prostitute does not fulfill the primal urge to pursue and conquer.

          Any woman can run an experiment to prove that sex is the primary driver behind men pursuing women.  All she needs to do is take the possibility of having sex completely off of the table.  I guarantee that the percentage of men who break pursuit goes to 100.

        3. ezamused

          Yet Another Guy

          Mostly true. But there are plenty of guys who for whatever reason are not interested in sex but still want a relationship with a woman.

          I know woman who are in open relationships simply because their boyfriend have no interest in sex and they do.

        4. Yet Another Guy

          @ezamused

          I know woman who are in open relationships simply because their boyfriend have no interest in sex and they do.

          A relationship without sex is a friendship.  There is nothing wrong with just being friends, but to call it a relationship is a stretch.  I was in a loveless/sexless marriage, but I prefer to refer to it as a MINO (marriage in name only).

          I personally do not get the whole poly thing.  Something is lost when a person steps out of his/her relationship to date and have sex with another person. One is either in a committed relationship or one is not.  In essence, the term “open relationship” is an oxymoron. It is like being a little pregnant.

        5. Nissa

          Marika, isn’t the whole point of this blog to be the kind of partner and find the kind of partner who will happily meet each other’s (reasonable) needs in a relationship?Oh, I agree, but aside from Jeremy (who is talking about marriage) most of them are talking about dating – and the first month of dating at that.

        6. Clare

          YAG (and the other guys in this discussion),

          I think you’d be surprised at how many women (most) fully understand men’s need for sex. Most of us were raised with full awareness of it in one way or another. All of us have had to make peace with it somewhere along the line. I would argue that it is not that women don’t understand or aren’t fully aware of men’s sex drive, it’s that its power and intensity is a bit frightening to us. This is something men have to understand as the physically stronger gender. Women know that most men have the ability to physically overpower us. We also know (from experience and common wisdom) that men have the ability to emotionally hurt us by abandoning us after they have got what they need. How men cannot understand that these two massive factors alone make us cautious is beyond me. Your explaining the male sex drive to us ad nauseum is not going to make these fears and wariness go away.

          Also, like most women have experienced, once you sleep with a man, it is like turning on a faucet full blast that you cannot close. It is a bell you cannot unring. It becomes virtually impossible to slow a man down once you have done this. You can only hope (and pray) that he does not hurt you at this point. So while women are physical creatures too, while we enjoy sex and want to have it, we are physically and emotionally different from men, and much of the emotional risk early on in a relationship lies with us. You need to understand these aspects, because no amount of hammering away at how much testosterone and sex-drive men have will change them.

          By the way, I am a woman with a healthy sex drive. When I start dating a man I’m very attracted to, the only thing I want to do is rip his clothes off. But I have learned from experience that it is a poor strategy to do so until an emotional bond of some kind is established. This emotional bond/relationship is the biggest guarantee of your physical and emotional safety. So I am speaking from both sides here. I’m not unsympathetic to men in this area. I just know that there are certain facts which no amount of debate will change.

        7. Yet Another Guy

          @Clare

          I completely understand what you are saying.  Most women do enjoy sex as long as their is an emotional bond, but there is a sizable proper subset of women that consider sex to be a task they must perform in order to keep a man.  From what I can ascertain, they are not asexual.  They are just women with very low sex drives, and the problem gets worse after menopause (Buck25 has discussed this problem several times).  Why any heterosexual woman would want to be involved with a man sans sex is beyond me.  It is definitely not for friendship and emotional support because women are much better when it comes to being empathetic and supportive.  That is why men often friend-zone a woman. They find a woman who can provide the half of a relationship that does not involve sex, but there is absolutely no sexual desire for her. I will be the first man to acknowledge that there is not one thing a man can offer a heterosexual woman other than physical intimacy and possibly provisioning that a woman cannot offer a woman better.

        8. Jeremy

          YAG, you wrote, ” I will be the first man to acknowledge that there is not one thing a man can offer a heterosexual woman other than physical intimacy and possibly provisioning that a woman cannot offer a woman better.”  I think you’re having trouble with empathy because it is difficult to change one’s point of perspective.

           

          I was just at a wedding and it was fascinating to me to note the difference between what the bride said about the groom versus what the groom said about the bride.  The groom said he loved her intelligence, her compassion, her beauty, her humor.  The bride said that she loved the fact that her groom was like a rock in her life.  Dependable.  Strong.  Emotionally stable to contrast her own lability.

           

          Very few men become attracted to women for the reasons this bride gave about her groom.  Many, many men become attracted to women for the reasons the groom gave about his bride.  What women want in men is not the same thing men want in women, generally speaking.  That’s why most men marry women and vice versa.

        9. Nissa

          @Clare – you have hit the nail on the head completely when you say, once a woman has sex, it’s like “a faucet turned on at full blast” or “it’s a bell that cannot be unrung”. 100%. It’s as significant for (some) women as it would be for a man to hand over his wallet and to say “do whatever you want”. There’s a lot of trust involved. @YAG, I actually had never heard that bit about more sensation with a woman than without. However, I would still guess that the more significant factor is having a person with whom to share that experience as being what makes it more pleasurable. But even if you have a steady diet of broccoli, you are not going to starve. Of course, you’d enjoy the chocolate cake more, but Jeremy’s discussion of ‘sexual starvation’ doesn’t hold for me, because there’s still multiple outlets for both the physical and emotional. As to friendships, I find it easier to be friends with men in some ways. When I want to do an activity, it’s easier to get a man to make time for that – women usually have a zillion things to do and will prioritize all kinds of things over a girl’s night. Men don’t. Men in general are better at prioritizing their own needs. Men are simple and easy to please. When you are not in a relationship with them, they can be surprisingly insightful, honest and blunt, which I love. Women can spend ages beating around the bush, have trouble figuring out what they want, and sometimes even then will hem and haw over that. It’s circular, and I prefer straightforward. Men are also GREAT in that they understand that you don’t really want to go to his cousin’s wedding, his sister’s baby shower or his mom’s fiftieth anniversary. Now, some people might like that, but I need a greater than average amount of time alone. Men understand that a ‘no’ to those things does not mean I don’t like him, that there’s a problem, or that suddenly we aren’t friends anymore. Women don’t always understand that. And when you do have sex with a man, even if you aren’t in the mood, it’s fun to see someone else having fun. It’s the same reason people give gifts. You could argue that the person giving doesn’t get anything, but the pleasure of giving the gift is reward in itself. And pretty much anything you do, they like. Lingerie? Yes. Naked? Yes. Saran wrap? Yes. Whipped cream? Yes. That’s not a task, it’s a pleasure. The only time it’s a task is if the man treats you completely impersonally, which generally doesn’t happen in a relationship.

        10. S.

          that most women need sexless commitment and marriage, that society would collapse without it, and men need to understand how important it is to women, how we can’t function without it. Yeah, I’m not convinced either.

          Hee!  Some women do need that, though.  And society would collapse without healthy women.  But I’m teasing a little.  🙂

          The thing is women understand men’s need for sex.  It’s something you learn as a very young girl.  But the thing is you can know about it, but what can you do about it?  Having sex whenever one wants doesn’t work for most women because most women want more than that.  If having sex guaranteed a relationship . . . but it doesn’t.  So here we are.  I think both men and women understand what the other needs. (I know there are many POVs in between btw, just being binary for a moment to make a point.)  But they can’t always meet the other’s needs in every instance.  Just can’t (and won’t) do it.  And that’s okay.  It really is.  There are women out there with super-high sex drives.  Not every woman.  There are men out there with super-low sex drives (guys I used to date). It’s rare, but true.

          About fear.  Hmm.  I’m not afraid of men wanting sex.  I’m afraid of violence.  There is a difference.  Most men are not violent.  They really, really aren’t. Unless I’ve met some special snowflakes but I’ve been around men all my life and most are good people who wouldn’t physically hurt a woman. We are mostly afraid of folks we don’t know, the very few out there, but it bears repeating that those folks are few.  Even in this violent culture we live in.  I’m also super sensitive and avoid people who are violent in speech so maybe I’ve self-selected to protect myself. Maybe I’ve simply been lucky. I can admit that.

          I’m not afraid of a man having a high sex drive.  A guy with a high sex drive is not more likely to hurt me.  I don’t believe that.  No one here explicitly said that, but I’m stating my opinion anyway.

          What I worry most about isn’t turning on a man’s full sex drive.  If I’m with him I want it on full-blast. 😀  But I want it to be with the right person. Every man’s full sex drive isn’t identical.  Some men I can handle and some I can’t. That’s not about sex, that’s just a personality mismatch. Some men can’t handle me.  When I turn on my full emotionality (this is usually along with sex) they can’t handle that.  They can handle my full sex drive, sure.  But the attachment and emotions that come with it? Not always.

          So here we are folks.  This is how we are.  So Evan’s advice holds true. Women wait to have sex, while knowing a man’s primary interest is sex. Men make women feel safe and understood during this process. After some time, there is is full trust or no trust.

          I trust men. I like them. Not afraid of them.  A little fear of the unknown is fine, but that’s about life, not men. 🙂  Not every man is for me and I’m not for every man.  I thought most people knew this stuff? Just me?

        11. S.

          @YAG

          It is definitely not for friendship and emotional support because women are much better when it comes to being empathetic and supportive. 

          There are some men who are actually better at emotional support than some women!  And it depends on the support to. Sometimes you need a shoulder to cry on, sometimes you need to rationally list out things to do to attack a problem.

          Men aren’t that great at full-on mothering support. I agree with you there.  But I do remember one of my mother’s boyfriends.  I came home one day from high school with terrible menstrual cramps. She must have told him and while I was curled in a ball waiting for Bayer aspirin to kick in he made me a cup of Lipton tea with sugar. And left.  When I woke the tea was still warm.  I was blessedly alone but I didn’t have to get up since the tea was right there on the coffee table.  It was one of the nicest things anyone ever did for me.  To come over to make sure I was all right and then to leave me alone.  They broke up but whenever I see him in the old neighborhood I give him a big hug.

          I tell you I’ve had such great experiences with men. This is what I mean by true kindness.  So they can provide emotional support.  It’s not the way my mom would have done it, but in that moment, that’s the support I really needed.  No talking, no explaining, just be present and then leave me be.  I don’t need that all the time.  But sometimes that’s the emotional support you need.

          🙂

        12. Tom10

          @ Clare (and the other women in this discussion),
           
          “You can only hope (and pray) that he does not hurt you at this point. So while women are physical creatures too, while we enjoy sex and want to have it, we are physically and emotionally different from men, and much of the emotional risk early on in a relationship lies with us. You need to understand these aspects, because no amount of hammering away at how much testosterone and sex-drive men have will change them.”
           
          I think you’d be surprised at how many men (most?) fully understand women’s risk of emotional pain when considering sex with a new man. Most of us were raised with full awareness of it in one way or another (cue Billie Jean; “people always told me, be careful of what you do, and don’t go around breaking young girls’ hearts). All of us have had to make peace with it somewhere along the line.
           
          Indeed, it’s probably the main thing holding back men from sleeping with women they’re not very interested in: the vast majority of men don’t derive an inherent joy from inflicting emotional pain on women.
           
          When men are very young, however, their sexual starvation is often so strong that it simply exceeds the guilt of potentially inflicting emotional pain. This balance mellows in time though (early 30s usually). Thank goodness. Damn mother nature!

        13. Clare

          YAG,

          “I completely understand what you are saying.  Most women do enjoy sex as long as their is an emotional bond, but there is a sizable proper subset of women that consider sex to be a task they must perform in order to keep a man.”

          Are there? Ok, let’s say for the moment there are. First of all, I’m having trouble believing it if you are talking about youngish women (women below the age of 45). If you are talking about older women or menopausal women, I can believe it. Sex drive does wane with age, and lifestyle factors such as diet, exercise and medication can affect it too.

          But let’s say for a moment that there are these women. Why would you be with them? Why would any man, who requires regular sex and requires the woman he is with to enjoy it, be with these women? I have, once or twice, had a relationship with a man whose sex drive was lower than mine. It caused me to feel pretty unhappy and rejected, and… you guessed it, the relationship ended, as well it should have. Let the low sex drive people be together. Find a woman with a healthy sex drive, even if it doesn’t quite match yours.

        14. Jeremy

          @Clare – because they don’t start off that way.  Because that’s not how the first years were.  Because by the time it gets that way, you are well and fully enmeshed, and ending it would often cause more harm than good.  This is the essence of what is behind Evan’s latest post on why some men cheat.  It is why the men involved thought that the female author (their mistress) was being childish when she suggested having a conversation – as if they never had conversations.  Those conversations go nowhere.  Or when she suggested asking the wives why they no longer want sex – as if they had any conscious knowledge of why, or wouldn’t just make shit up to avoid sounding bad.  No reasonable man marries a woman who has little interest in sex at the time.

        15. Yet Another Guy

          @Jeremy

          because they don’t start off that way.  Because that’s not how the first years were.  Because by the time it gets that way, you are well and fully enmeshed, and ending it would often cause more harm than good. 

          Bingo!  Women with low sex drives will in fact have a lot of sex with a new man that they desire to secure.  It is only after they have secured a man, that the truth slowly comes to the surface.

           

           

        16. Clare

          YAG & Jeremy,

          I’m not discounting your experience, because I’m sure it happens the way you say. This is, after all, one of the oldest laments of the married man. Even back in the 50s, you had magazines for women telling them how to dutifully please their husbands. I know this kind of advice still gets doled out in churches etc. as well, so there must be a reason for all of that.

          I’d just like to offer a different perspective, being an (ex) wife who started off having lots of sex with her (ex) husband, which eventually dwindled to every 2 weeks, and even then I wasn’t very enthusiastic about it. For my part, I know for a fact that the reason I stopped wanting to have sex with him had nothing to do with my having achieved my goals and secured him into marriage. It was the fact that (as I discussed previously) I felt condescended to, wrong and insignificant. I felt like he was incapable of understanding my thoughts and feelings if I shared them with him. This slowly created an emotional gulf between us where I stopped wanting to share my ideas and feelings with him, and, as sex has a huge emotional component for women, this gulf translated to our sex lives as well. For me, I know that my desire to have sex with a man is a function of how connected I feel to him, or how connected I could feel. Like Evan says, women want to feel heard. If I feel like he is listening to me, cares (even if he disagrees) about what I have to say, if he just respects my perspective, I am able to connect sexually with him easily.

        17. Jeremy

          Clare, I get what you are saying.  I often write about arousal and comfort, on and off switches.  You are describing a situation where your off switches were triggered by your ex’s behavior.  I get it.  My brother and sister-in-law have such conflict.  Unfortunately they have grown to hate and resent each other, and I doubt they have been intimate in months/years.  No amount of arousal triggers would make a difference when your sexual brakes are firmly active.  This has nothing to do with meta-goals.  This is very different than a situation where there are no brakes active but a woman loses interest because there is no arousal.  No meta-goal.  Nothing in it for her.  It sounds like what you experienced had a very different root cause than what I did.  But one important thing to note:  Even in cases where the problem is the brakes, it might evolve into a problem of arousal despite everyone’s best intentions.  Woman is bothered by man’s behavior, talks to him about the problem.  Man alters his behavior.  Woman sees man altering his behavior, believes she *should* now be more aroused by him, but finds that she isn’t and doesn’t understand why.  It’s because he is now just following her instructions.  He is jumping through hoops for her to get sex.  She looses respect for him, and with the loss of respect comes loss of attraction – not just in spite of the fact that he’s doing everything she asked, but BECAUSE of it.  Insidious.  Common.

  2. 32
    Marika

    Mrs Happy

    I’m trying to understand, I really am..but if I’m struggling, I can imagine every man on here is too. .

    Re-read what you wrote..for me, anyway,..it comes across like the male (or anyone’s) sex drive/motivation is a lower, lesser pursuit that your much more, non-sexual noble one.

    How it reads to me, anyway.

    Perhaps you’ve never been declined for sex? Because you’ve definitely made far better relationship choices than me. But try dating a cheater, or a man who can no longer get excited over ‘normal sex’ (because he’s used to threesomes!!), yep, I’ve been there. It sucks. But for a woman that experience is RARE. Imagine if it was a common occurrence. Like it is for men. (Not what I’ve experienced, but the lack of interest in sex for whatever reason).

    My penchant for dating the ‘bad boys’ has at least taught me to understand the male sex drive, very well. I hear what the guys are saying about rejection/lack as I’ve had a tiny taste of it from a couple of guys myself. It messes with your self-esteem.

    Trust me, your husband hassling you for sex is no big deal. A compliment, really. How hard is it to just enjoy your husband’s body and advances for a little while every week/few days? I’d personally be far more concerned if that stopped.

    1. 32.1
      Jeremy

      I think it’s largely about fear, Marika, and I’m not being specific to Mrs Happy but rather to the general female perspective on this issue. Above, we were discussing whether sex is a need or a want for men, and one response was that it is obviously a want, and that even a child in kindergarten knows the difference. Except….that wants and needs exist on a hierarchial spectrum and blend where they meet. Do children *need* physical touch, or just crave it? Depends how much of it they get. We know that if children are not touched in a comforting way somewhat regularly, they fail to thrive. But once past a certain threshold of frequency, wanting more is a desire rather than a need. So is touch a need or a want? It is both. Is this a kindergarten subject, or subject that requires understanding and nuance? So why assume that sex is any different?

      I’ll answer that question: Because if sex is a male need, what does that mean for women? Women who, throughout history, have been forced to meet men’s needs/wants by force and coercion with no regard for their own needs and wants. Women who are worried about being raped and forced. Women don’t WANT sex to be a male need – because if it’s just a want, they can tell men to just tone it down and get a grip, no pun intended. Fear – it colours our perceptions. It prevents us from realizing that there is an ocean of difference between saying that women OWE men sex in a marriage and should be forced to acquiesce, versus saying that if a woman marries a man she should realize that sex is going to be something very important to him and she can not view it as a serviette or else she is effectively viewing everything else in their marriage as a serviette too. Just as, to choose a random example, there is a world of difference between giving women advice to choose boring careers to accommodate children, versus advising women who WANT to spend lots of time with their kids to think about that when choosing their careers.

      1. 32.1.1
        Clare

        Jeremy,

        I’d just like to comment on the two points you’ve raised here.

        First:

        “We know that if children are not touched in a comforting way somewhat regularly, they fail to thrive. But once past a certain threshold of frequency, wanting more is a desire rather than a need. So is touch a need or a want?”

        Surely the answer is that it is subjective? First, I would go further than saying “if children are not touched in a comforting way somewhat regularly, they fail to thrive.” Studies have consistently shown that physical touch is far more fundamental than that. Children do more than simply “not thrive” if they are not touched. It actually causes severe pain and mental issues. Refer to the study involving the monkey who was given the choice between the mannequin which dispensed milk and the one which was soft to touch. It consistently chose the one which soft to touch. Studies have shown that withdrawing affection triggers the same parts of the brain as physical pain. Finally, prisoners who are placed in solitary confinement for long periods of time and denied physical touch come out of it with irreversible brain damage nearly 100% of the time. Ergo, physical touch is far more fundamental to human beings than you allow.

        Second:

        “It prevents us from realizing that there is an ocean of difference between saying that women OWE men sex in a marriage and should be forced to acquiesce, versus saying that if a woman marries a man she should realize that sex is going to be something very important to him and she can not view it as a serviette”

        I don’t know what laws are like in the U.S. and in other parts of the world, but I studied law, and here in South Africa we have something called consortium which forms part of marriage law. Essentially, consortium is the obligation of spouses to meet each other’s emotional and physical needs – it encompasses things like affection, support and sex. In the past, before no-fault divorces, loss of consortium was grounds for divorce. Spouses could even sue each other for loss of consortium, although it was almost impossible to enforce. While no-fault divorces have largely done away with that, consortium still exists as a legal concept here (and our law comes from Roman-Dutch law, which is still the basis for many legal systems in Europe as well). This says to me that providing sex and affection is viewed far more seriously in a marriage than simply wanting to or not wanting to. It says to me that the law recognises it as a need between spouses. I’m not saying for a moment that husband or wife should be forced to provide it; I’m just saying I think the urge/need for it is stronger than you give it credit for.

         

         

        1. Clare

          Sorry, my point about the need for sex and touch being subjective was that different people view it differently. You cannot generalize. Some only need a certain threshold or maybe don’t even enjoy being touched. On the other end of the spectrum, you get people who are very affectionate and require touch and sex to feel comforted and loved. And you get every shade in-between.

        2. Jeremy

          I don’t think you and I disagree on this topic, Clare.  Of course it’s subjective.  I often quote Dr. Emily Nagoski, whose book on sexuality I find very instructive.  She claims that sex is not a “drive” but rather a goal-driven curiosity.  An “itch.”  I concur fully.  An itch is an excellent metaphor.  Every June, my eyes become terribly allergic to grass.  The itch is pervasive and ever-present.  It is maddening.  It drives me to want to gouge my eyes out – to rub them incessantly, even though I know that doing so is harmful and that as soon as I stop rubbing them they will burn like hell.  But sometimes I can hardly help myself.  That’s how bad the itch is.

           

          Some people don’t itch.  Some people have a mild itch.  Some people itch like hell, to the point where the need for relief is more than just a desire – they literally can’t think about anything else.  That’s how your average teenage boy feels about sex, just about every minute of the day.  He is taught that he is entitled to nothing, that he must earn what his body and brain yearn for.  So the athletic one will become a jock to impress women.  The nerd will try to gain status to impress women.  Here’s an excellent series of articles about the creativity/success curve and how it relates to sexuality:  https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-scientific-fundamentalist/200807/men-do-everything-they-do-in-order-get-laid-i

           

           

          Regarding touch – I absolutely agree with you.  My point was never to say that touch is not a basic human need – it absolutely is.  But rather to say that, like any need, once we get a certain threshold the desire for more is no longer a need.  So how much is needed and how much is desired?  Therein lies the subjectivity.

        3. Clare

          Jeremy,

          Yes, I think you’re right. We don’t seem to disagree now that you explain it that way. I thought you were saying that touch was a lower level need, so much so that it could almost be argued to be a want and not a need, whereas I would place touch and human contact only just below food, water and air. But it seems like we agree 🙂

          As far as when one’s basic need for touch is met, over and above that, it becomes extremely subjective. I would still argue that some people find a lot of touch to be important in meeting their emotional needs – for these people, they would view it as a need, not a want, and would leave a relationship if they weren’t getting the required amount, even if they loved the person they were with. For others, it might be a “nice to have” and thus more of a want than a need. And still others, might actually dislike touch over and above a certain basic threshold. So I think even whether or not it is a want/need is subjective. Maybe it’s a repetition of what you were saying, but I think the same principle applies to sex.

  3. 33
    Adrian

    Hi Jeremy,

    You said, “It is EXACTLY Beta – without the shit-storm of scorn we heap on it by calling it “beta.”  Beta is comfort.  Alpha is arousal.  Beta is putting others first.  Alpha is putting yourself first.  Take the bullshit out, and realize that every woman needs a mix, but the mix any particular woman needs will depend on her personality!….Because while just about every woman I’ve ever met is more aroused by Alpha, I’ve known many, many women to completely ignore the part of their brain that feels aroused and walk from guys who lack BALANCE

    Personally Jeremy I’ve given up on trying to explain to guys that looks are NOT all you need or that you can be very good looking and still struggle getting into a relationship. I think  many people are always looking up at attractive people so they don’t realize that being good looking is not some kind of ALL POWER solve it all for dating. Sure you can attract the opposite sex easily but the advantages stop there. Also people don’t realize that to a person just as attractive your good looks/arousal is less of a scale tipping factor so you will need to bring more to the table.

    …   …   …

    Though with all that being said Jeremy I am curious what in your opinion is female arousal and comfort verbs? I mean what are things outside of looks that women can do to elicit arousal and comfort in men? Or do we men have no instances where a woman’s beta actions can create arousal like it does in some women?

  4. 34
    Adrian

    Hi Mrs. Happy,

    You said, “I suspect your cousin is at a point in life – 30’s or 40’s with numerous young kids – when almost all working mothers feel they never have enough income and free time.”

    Now that I have started dating again I have noticed that it is almost impossible to avoid being with a woman that has children if you want to date, but like Evan says trying to filter out certain things will only limit your dating pool. Anyway I have noticed that many women with children seem to exhibit a weird dichotomy where they really love their children and are but seem exhausted by them and want to get away from them.

    This seems weird to me, would you mind explaining this mindset to me? I can’t tell the difference between a woman who is happy she “intentionally” had her children even if they are tiring and a woman who had children, love them but she never planned on having them.

    1. 34.2
      Mrs Happy

      Dear Adrian,

      firstly I’d think during your 20’s or early 30’s you should be able to find child-free women to date and have relationships with. If it’s important to you, perhaps make that one of your (?is it 3) allowed non-negotiable criteria.  It’s a very reasonable criteria to have.

      The below is what happens for most but not all mothers.

      Mothers love their children like nothing else on earth.  Babies preoccupy their human mother’s mind to the exclusion of most else for the 1st year, and that’s how it has evolved to be, and the mammalian species who didn’t have that primary maternal preoccupation and protection died out – their newborns got left on the plains to be trampled by dinosaurs or starved to death or something, and didn’t live to reproduce, so goodbye species.

      For something as helpless and needy as a baby to survive, a parent/mother has to feel and believe their baby is worth them experiencing almost any discomfort or suffering, so that the mother will keep doing the (exhausting, draining, repetitive, resource-rich) tasks required to keep that helpless newborn alive.  The mother is instinctively drawn towards keeping the baby fed, safe, healthy, happy.  It’s a primal thing.  A woman doesn’t decide to do it, it just occurs, like breathing.  That intensity gradually decreases as the child ages, but the cord is never cut.

      Children are draining and fatiguing.  Completely suck the life out of you.  Thus it’s great to get a break from them.  I silently ruefully shake my head when my child-free friends and ex’s talk of having no free time – Ha! they have NO IDEA.  A mother has few minutes a day to call her own, everything is rushed, lists to do, emotions to carry…  The book ‘Discretionary Time’ is interesting in this regard – it looks statistically at the free time different nationalities, genders, and social levels of people have, single, cohabiting, with and without children.  Also the loss of flow that comes with children being in your vicinity is hard for most women/people to tolerate; I’m trying to recall the book that explains that ‘flow’ but I can’t.  It’s why the Texan questionnaire found women prefer cleaning their house to being with their children – cleaning allows uninterrupted flow.  I think the book is either ‘Scarcity’ or ‘Thinking Fast and Slow’, probably the former.  All these are required reading if you’re considering taking on stepchildren!

      Whether a pregnancy was planned or not doesn’t usually alter the love, attachment and connection most women feel towards their children; it might change the degree of resentment or regret the woman has though.  Unless the distinction between the 2 types of women in your final paragraph is important to you for a particular reason, it’s probably a non-issue.

      1. 34.2.1
        Jeremy

        Flow was discussed in both of the books you mentioned, but the one they both referenced was the works of Mihaily Csikszentmihalyi, who pioneered the work on the subject of flow, and wrote several books on the topic – very worth reading.

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