Wildflowers

Perfect Buds

The If-Busters

Late Bloomers

Early Bloomers

Living-Togethers

Sexual Explorers

Sexually Dissatisfied Wives

Overcoming Rejection

Why Sacrifice Pleasure?

A Way of Classifying Sexual Identity

How Pleasure-Claimers Get Better Orgasms

Some Observations from the Survey

Sexually Dissatisfied Wives

"Sexual attraction had some importance in my choice male partners until I passed thirty, when it became of little importance at all. Shortly after my thirty-forth birthday, I married a man because he also wanted a child. He is a wonderful father and a very good man. We don't have a lot in common, especially sexual chemistry . I have asked myself lately if I regret the marriage, but I don't. What I regret is that I had to become almost forty before my hormones kicked in. I should have felt like this at twenty when I could have had fun with it. now it is too late."

-a New York lawyer

            She's a woman who appears to have it all-career, marriage to a handsome and successful man, motherhood. But, behind the public fašade, she is a sexually dissatisfied wife. For many reasons, she plans to stay in the marriage, though she find it sexually unfulfilling. She isn't comfortable with the idea of having an affair either. Where does that leave her ?

            "I am trapped," she says.

            The phrase is repeated often by women in this category. The trap is a state of sexual frustration to which some women have sentenced themselves because while they believe the sex in their marriage can't be improved they also believe extramarital sex is wrong for them. Their motives for staying married are security-based and include:

            "I can't make it financially on my own, at least not in the style to which my children are accustomed."

            "I like the perks of marriage, country club membership, the freedom to quit my full time job and work part-time whenever I want, a big house, trips to Europe. On my own, I would be just another forty something former wife living in a small condo with paperboard walls."

            "I am emotionally dependent on my husband, on being married."

            "I like my husband. I like our life together as a family. It's the sex I don't like."

            They stay, they say, for the sake of the children, the house, the lifestyle, the comfort and convenience of companionship-sometimes even in fear of disappointing parents, his and hers, if they left. And, they don't stray, because adultery violates their religious or ethical code or because getting caught would leave them vulnerable to losing everything they cherish.

Who Is She?

The dissatisfied wives are only 19 percent of my married (or formerly married) respondent. They are women who:

  • Are, or were, monogamously married. In some cases, the divorced women ended the marriages because of the sex, but more often they were left by their husbands for other women.
  • Rate their sex lives as dissatisfactory.

            The majority of the group are late bloomers, with almost half having married after age twenty eight. More than half have been married less than seven years. There seems to be no guarantee that marrying later ensures happiness-or that the seven-year itch won't strike a lot sooner. In fact, several recent studies have shown the onset of marital dissatisfaction is more likely to be the four-year mark, not the seven.

            The dissatisfied wife is the woman who didn't need an orgasm a few years further down the path of pleasure denial. Now she is chafing under the erotic restrictions she imposed upon herself when she decided other goals were more important than orgasms. Perhaps she has given up on sex altogether. She's not driven by the need to protect herself from pain as the sexual victim is, but, she is often afraid of something: intimacy or exploring her own sexuality, for example.

            Because she puts more responsibility for sex on men, she blames her husband for her dissatisfaction.

            "He says he's too tired," writes Ginny, the thirty-four-year-old wife of a corporate vice president ten years her senior. "Or he says my timing is lousy. Or he says I push him too much. He's the male version of the spouse who says, 'Not tonight, dear, I've got a headache.' I could meet him at the door in garter belt, black stockings, and high heels-and he would say, 'What's for dinner '

            "If we have sex once a months, it's a good month. I don't know why I bother. I spend a lot more time thinking about getting it, scheming about getting, than I actually do getting it. Me and high school boys-we think alike."

            In her 1987 book, Women and Love: A Cultural Revolution in Progress, Shere Hite drew critical and media fire by declaring the majority of the 4,500 women she interviewed were not happy with men, sexually or any other way. Most experts thought the picture she painted of women and sex relationships too dismal. Regrettably, some authorities have used the disagreement over the latest book as reason to discredit her earlier works, The Hite Report and The Hite Report on Men,which I consider excellent studies, much more on target than the recent one.

            I didn't find a high percentage of discontented women. But the wives who are dissatisfied are very dissatisfied, and their state of malaise has in most cases persisted too long to be dismissed as a passing phase. They rate their sex lives 'not satisfactory"-or worse. Their evaluation of their husbands' lovemaking skills is lower than other married women's. Close to 15 percent report never having had an orgasm during lovemaking via any form of stimulation. Nearly half say there have been extended periods during their marriages, ranging from one month to five years, during which no sex at all took place.

            They are, however, less likely to masturbate than either happily monogamous wives or women who are having affairs.

            "I am not comfortable masturbating," was a frequent response. They almost as often said " I wouldn't feel comfortable having an affair."

            Interestingly, fewer than 5 percent have ever been (or are) in sex therapy , although many women claiming they've suggested therapy but their husbands have refused.

Next >>

Sexual Victims

Discarded Women

The Clock Women

Independent Women

Revirginized Women

Monogamous Women

Second-Chance Women

Surviving the Droughts

Wives Who Have Affairs

The Saboteurs of Pleasure

Conclusion: Your Sexual Turning Point?

The Women Who Doesn't "Need" an Orgasm

What Does She Know About Sex that You Don't?