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A tale of naked whoa

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A Tale Of Naked Whoa

I'd like to have sex three or four times a week, but my girlfriend of a year is willing only once a week. She isn't on antidepressants or other medication. I'm guessing her sex drive is just low since she says she's very happy with me, and just isn't usually in the mood. I find begging unappealing, and don't want to pressure her to do anything she doesn't want to do. I know relationships require compromise. What would be a reasonable one regarding frequency of sex?

-- Rationed

Relationships are filled with little tasks that don't exactly bring a person to screaming orgasm. A man, for example, doesn't wake up in the middle of the night with some primal longing to bring his girlfriend flowers or clean the trap in her sink. Like sex, these things can be expressions of love, but if a guy's going to lock himself in the bathroom, it's not going to be with "Bob Vila's Complete Guide to Remodeling Your Home."

So, couldn't putting out when you aren't in the mood be seen as just another expression of love? Joan Sewell, author of I'd Rather Eat Chocolate: Learning To Love My Low Libido, told The Atlantic Monthly, "If you have sex when you don't desire it, physically desire it, you are going to feel used." Well, OK, perhaps. But, if a guy rotates a woman's tires when he doesn't desire it, physically desire it, does he feel used?

Actually, we all do plenty of things with our bodies that we don't really feel like; for instance, taking our bodies to work when we have a hangover instead of putting our bodies in front of some greasy hash browns, and then to bed. For women, however, sexual things are supposed to be out of the question. I think the subtext here is not doing things we really don't feel like if it GIVES A MAN PLEASURE. And no, I'm not advocating rape or anything remotely close to it. And, of course, if you find sex with your husband or boyfriend a horrible chore, you're in the wrong place. Otherwise, if you're with a man, and he's nice to you, and works hard to please you, would it kill you to throw him a quickie?

The real problem for many couples is the notion that "the mood" is something they're supposed to wait around for like Halley's Comet -- probably due to the assumption that desire works the same in men and women. The truth is, just because a woman isn't in the mood doesn't mean she can't get in the mood. According to breakthrough work by sexual medicine specialist Rosemary Basson, women in long-term relationships tend not to have the same "spontaneous sexual neediness" men do, but they can be arousable, or "triggerable." In other words, forget trying to have sex. Tell your girlfriend about Basson's findings, and ask her to try an experiment: making out three times a week (without sex being the presumed outcome) and seeing if "the mood" happens to strike her. You just might find the member getting admitted to the club a little more often.

Sexperts will tell you "a sexual mismatch needn't mean the end of a relationship" -- which sounds good but tends to play out like being hungry for three meals a day and being expected to make do with a handful of pretzels. Expressway to Resentsville, anyone? If it comes to that, breakup sex is a better idea. You're always going to have issues in a relationship, but for a relationship to work for you, the biggie'll have to be something like your falling asleep after sex, not her falling asleep before.

Can't Regret There From Here

Nine months ago, I broke up with my girlfriend of several years over major differences in personality and values. She's got a new boyfriend now, and I'm happy for her. I've been wanting to send her an e-mail to say I'm sorry for hurting her, and that she was right about a few big things. Is that a bad idea?

-- Repentant

Love is sometimes refraining from saying you're sorry -- especially when there's a chance "sorry" will come off like "Can I open up a can of worms for you?" or "Here, how about a nice warm slice of false hope?!" Sure, your ex-girlfriend has a new boyfriend, but that doesn't necessarily mean she's over you. Until you're positive she is, stockpile your regrets; maybe write them all down and shove them in a book or paste them on a 4-by-6 postcard and send it to the anonymous confession blog, postsecret.blogspot.com (mailing address at the site). If, after all that, you still feel the need to unload, go ahead, say everything -- ideally, to some stranger who looks too drunk to get up and move to the other end of bar.

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