Hey look! There’s a bloody great elephant in the room.

Finally! 18yrs after We first got together, 16yrs after I moved in with my Wife-to-be, 14yrs after We bought a house together, 13yrs after We got married, 8½yrs since I decided to try to reinvigorate our flagging sex life, over 900 blog posts since my Wife happily accepted The Infamous Red Lingerie, 6½yrs since She rejected The Classy Blue Lingerie, getting on for 3 years since We last fucked, 2½yrs after I moved out of Her bedroom, something like 45hrs and 4 different counsellors between us, and finally … finally … finally … yes, finally We sat down (with Kirsty, our current relationship counsellor and sex therapist) to finally talk about SEX.

The last week hasn’t been good. The last few weeks haven’t been good – COVID lockdown compounding the friction between Us. There have been ups and downs since we started working with Kirsty – probably more ups than downs, and the last week has seen more silence than many, peppered with a handful of fights or arguments.

In today’s session, my Wife referenced a comment of mine about how I felt We need to acknowledge our problems, accept our respective responsibilities, and take ownership of the situation, if We are ever to be able to move forward. [Ed: It would be easy to interpret that as blame, but there’s a strong argument that the only difference between blame and responsibility is frame of reference.] This led to the question, what did We need to confront? to which My response was the unholy quartet of politics, sex, religion and money – the most contentious subjects imaginable. And was there anywhere particular We should start? I pointed out that throughout our times in counselling, I had tried to get Us to talk about sex, to no avail.

And finally, 8yrs after We first spoke to a Relate counsellor, and 10 sessions with Kirsty between us since we all agreed We need to talk about sex, We finally started to talk about sex.

It quickly became apparent that over the years, my Wife and I have had significantly different perceptions of our sex life.
We have both always known that We had disparate libidos, and my Wife has become aware that, when faced with long term rejection by Her, I have found this increasingly tough.
She felt We had, until I moved into the spare bedroom, at least had sex every month or so. My perception, indeed my certainty, is that prior to moving out of Her bedroom, in each of the previous 4 or 5 years, We have gone at least 6 months without sex.
Kirsty asked about any other intimacy in that time, and I related how We had still curled up on the sofa together, cuddled in bed, and even kissed. But as the emotional rift widened, all of that became less and less common.

The questions inevitably turned to the future:
From my Wife: It’s is nigh impossible for Her to even contemplate a sexual relationship if all the other conditions for a romantic relationship – trust, respect, emotional security, etc – are not in place first.
From Me: If We can’t have a sexual relationship, Our marriage is over. I completely empathise with Her need to have Our relationship in a considerably healthier state before I could even contemplate sex with my Wife, but if a functional sexual relationship will never even be a consideration, there is no point in even trying to resolve all our other issues.
From Kirsty: So what would good enough look like?

That question was posed to Me.
I knew the answer as I had anticipated the question and given it much detailed thought in the last week or so. And I said just that. I also said I was not comfortable discussing it. I was comfortable discussing sex – I always have been – hell, I’ve actively been asking for such discussion throughout all our years of counselling. But now, I was not comfortable saying what I felt would be good enough, sexually. [Ed: Let’s hope that both Kirsty and AM’s Wife understood the subtext – that He is not comfortable having such conversations with his Wife, as opposed to not being comfortable talking about what He would regard as good enough, sexually. And that is far less than you might imagine Loyal Reader.] Not only that, I explained that I was aware of the paradox – that without openly discussing this, I am depriving myself of the very conversation I need to have in order to judge whether Our marriage really has reached it’s natural ending.

The hour ran out inevitably quickly, with so much hanging Damoclesianly above Us. Our next session is due for 7 days time. Whilst it would doubtless be of benefit, whether I request an individual session in the interim remains to be seen.

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