Sex Puzzle

In the post The Guilt of Mental Illness,  bipoblogger says:

Why not have your wife become one of those “pretty women”?

in response to

I do my best to control my manic behavior, especially when it has to do with yelling at my family or getting a little too comfortable with pretty women.

puzzleBipoblogger has opened a can of worms, or a puzzle.  My wife’s and my sex life has always been a puzzle to me.  We were each others’ first love.  We dated at 15 and 16 and then saw other people.  I was just a horny teenage kid with religious hangups with intercourse.  We fooled around, but I just couldn’t do the deed.  I was a very selfish lover as most teenage boys are,but I don’t think she minded all that much.

When we broke up and saw other people, I remained a virgin.  I didn’t want to, but the guilt I’d been taught about it held me back.  My wife, on the other hand, was free as a bird and had multiple partners including my twin brother and my best friend.  That still hurts a little today. There was revenge involved.  Our breakup was rough.

When we got back together in college, things were different.  We got engaged, and I let down my moral guard a little.  I lost my virginity to her.  But soon after, my moral hangups kicked in.  That changed my wife.  My guilt and moralism made her feel dirty.  That set the stage for a disastrous sex life.  We didn’t have sex on our honeymoon.  We’ve only had sex a few dozen times.  100 at most in 21 years.  She would deny that, but it’s true. I had more sex in my brief period of infidelity than I’d had in years.  And the best sex I’d ever had.  Animal.  No relationship complexities.

I had no idea how to woo her or seduce her or get her going.  I just wasn’t that great at it.  And neither was she.  She thought she was good because when you’re a girl having sex with horny teenage boys, you’re amazing.  You don’t have to be good at it.  I tried my best to learn how to be better.  Videos, books, trial and error.  But she refused to learn.  Sometimes I would show her what I wanted.  She would get defense and would hold out on me.  It’s a mess.

When I became hyper-sexual, things improved.  I didn’t have to think about what to do, I just knew what to do.  I became passionate, and she responded.  We went from having sex a few times a year to a few times a month, which seemed like a huge step in the right direction.  For the first time, we were happy with our sex life.

Then I had a break down.  I slept with a lot of women in a short time and she found out.  I began treatment, the hypersexuality went away, and so did our sex life. I shut down, sexually;  a combination of medicine and fear.  I was afraid to open up because of what had happened.  We have a lot of healing to do.

And so when Bipoblogger suggests that I turn my “pretty woman” charms toward my wife, it’s tricky.  My wife was attracted to me because I was funny (haha funny and quirky funny).  I was passionate about living and I was smart, but I wasn’t manly.  I was an intellectual and a little effeminate.   Until bipolar, I had the sex appeal of a Mr. Rogers.  My charms as a hypersexual bipolar, if applied to her,  would only remind her of me with other women.  So I’m stuck with the classic “hubby” playbook.  I woo her with doing chores, pay the bills, bringing her wine and ice cream, rubbing her feet and back…all of which lead to cuddling.  I’ve come to like cuddling, but I don’t know how to solve the sex puzzle.

I think my wife is over the whole moralism thing on some level, but the damage may be permanent;  both with our beginnings but also my affairs.  I know she wants to have a sex life with me.  And I know she feels guilty about it.  I’m patient.  I assure her that it’s ok, and that we will get it together when the kids move out.  We do better in hotels, and when she is intoxicated a little.  We’re hoping that will transfer to an empty nest.

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