Dr. Susan vs. Dr. Laura: Is it okay to decline marital sex?

Oh, boy oh boy. Oh boy. Here goes (question taken from Dr. Laura’s YouTube channel):

The question: Five and a half months ago, I gave birth to our first baby, and my husband and my sex lives seem to be off. I can never seem to pinpoint what exactly is wrong, is it me, is it him? He would be happy having sex two to three times a day. I of course don’t need it as often, but have tried to give him what he feels he needs. I can usually get in the mood once things are going but I’m not satisified each time. There are times that I would like to just spend time together instead of in the sheets, but I have a hard time finding a good way of telling him without an argument or hurting his feelings. He has been looking forward to it all day, and I end up saying I’m not feeling up to it, it almost leads every time to an argument. Do I deserve some space, or do I need to be more understanding and be the lover my husband wants me to be?

Dr. Laura
Dr. Laura: living a life made possible by feminism, and then bitching about feminists.

Dr. Laura’s answer: You take your space at other times of the day, and you need to be the lover your husband signed up for. And don’t tell me an orgasm isn’t a great release and reward for taking care of a kid all day. And if you’re not satisfied, well, then honey, we’re not finished yet. You need to hand him a vibrator or tell him what position you’d like, or whatever it is that gets you to that point. But that’s a very healthy part of your life. We tend to look at “oh, I’ve been taking care of the kid all day, and now I have to take care of him, this is such a burden.” Are you kidding? Consider him your sex toy with no necessary batteries. I mean, remember when you were younger and you didn’t have any kids and “wow, that was a great feeling,” and then you just went to sleep, well let’s get back to that, okay? This is not a chore, this is not something you do because you think he needs he needs he thinks he needs whatever, that’s a horrible way to look at it. This is your sensuality, and your sexuality, and your reward for your day, and your way to show your man that the two of you are still one entity. So, uh, put on the negligee. Or, take it off. Whatever.

My answer: You. Have. Got. To. Be. Kidding. Me.

You had a baby five months ago. Labor, and breastfeeding (if you are doing it), screws with your sexuality. It takes a long time for your body to get back into shape hormonally, it takes a long time for your mind to get over the fact that a child ripped through your vagina, it takes said vagina a long time to heal from said ripping. Any human being who cannot respect that and is asking for sex multiple times a day, and getting angry when you say you don’t want it, is an asshole.

Even if you hadn’t: you get to choose when you have sex. You. Nobody else. Your husband can offer, but he can’t demand. And the fact that Dr. Laura not only wants you to say yes, but expects you to be grateful for it – that you should see it as a reward when you don’t even want it in the first place – is nothing short of disgusting.

Yes, you get to take space. Take as much as you want.

The only thing that Dr. Laura says that makes the least amount of sense is that if it’s not working for you, it’s time for him to try harder. Sex should be enjoyable for you, and if it isn’t, that can be worked on. And maybe, if your asshole husband starts making it more fun for you, you will be in the mood more often. But maybe not.

If you do not want to have sex, you are not obligated to have sex, period, the end.

By Susan

I am old and wise. Perhaps more old than wise, but once you're old, you don't give a shit about details anymore.

17 replies on “Dr. Susan vs. Dr. Laura: Is it okay to decline marital sex?”

Sex 2 and 3 times a day, every day is excessive, particularly when you’re trying to work and take care of a baby.  It seems like he’s using it to avoid dealing with something in the relationship.  In other words, he’s the one with the issue, not him, and she shouldn’t blame herself.  He’s doing nothing to make this easier for her and is only concerned about his needs, which is a huge warning sign.  How does he help out with parenting and keeping the house running?  It doesn’t sound like a whole lot!

I’d say he was an asshole and kick his ass to the curb, but that’s just me.  There is no “I” in team, and when you’re in a marriage, you’re in a partnership and you have to work together as a team.  If he’s not willing to do that, then it may be easier on the wife to cut her losses now, divorce his asshole ass, and find someone else who will treat her as an equal.

Have you ever had to squeeze a baby out of your vagina and then wait on said baby 24/7? It’s fucking exhausting, and certainly wouldn’t be made easier by suddenly having to do it alone. Why the hell should she have to make her life even harder because her husband wants to have more sex? She’s not disinterested in sex as a concept; she’s tired and probably sore right now and he needs to stop being a selfish ass.

I know, right? What about him being the lover SHE signed up for, which I would imagine being someone who respects her fucking wishes and boundaries; someone who is willing to talk about problems rather than start an argument repeatedly over the same thing; someone who acknowledges the fact that it doesn’t matter how horny you may or may not be, sometimes you are just legitimately tired and do not want to do it.

Susan, I totally agree that the dude sounds like an asshole, behaving childishly when his wife doesn’t want to have sex. It sounds borderline abusive, honestly.

But I want to make a small point: the letter writer doesn’t mention that she’s having any physical effects or aftermath from having a baby – if anything she implies she’s tired and would just like to spend time with her husband not having sex – but you assume that it must have been awful and terrible for her: I don’t think that’s fair. Surely it’s just as normal for having sex to be fine after having a baby as it is to take a while to feel like having it?

It certainly has a hint of the coercive about it, as in the husband’s behaviour. The writer suggests he wants her to be his “lover” but – perhaps I’m simply being pedantic here – but a “lover” is about more than sexual intercourse.

But yes, I was wanting to reply to this to echo your points on sex after having children. Someone people are initiating their sex lives (happily and with consent) after weeks, for some it’s months or years. There aren’t rules as to how sex lives should be after having a child, whether that’s time periods before having sex again, to how often sex is then had.

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