Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Why A Husband Prefers Wine to Sex

LOST THE BATTLE TO CHARDONNAY wrote in to Dear Abby back in February:

The other day I asked my husband a question and told him to be honest. If given a choice between giving up wine or giving up sex with me, which would he choose?
This is asking for trouble. Wine never asks him questions like that.

You guessed it. He said, "Giving up sex with you."
Hmmm. I think even most alcoholics would at least say "wine". For men, sex is like pizza or a hoagie – even when it is bad, we'll usually still take it. He either must really be angry with you in general or you (plural) must have really screwed up the sex life.

I think I knew the answer before I asked the question, but hearing it out loud devastated me.
See – asking for trouble.

I know every woman wants to be No. 1 in her husband's life.
Not every. A wife with a healthy attitude wants to be No. 1 (or, a close second to God). But there are women who don't mind if their husband ignores them as long as he keeps bringing in the dollars or still interacts with the kids.

Am I wrong to feel so heartbroken?
Who can say your feelings are wrong? Is it normal to feel heartbroken? Sure, if you care.

Dear Abby advised:

But now it's time for a follow-up question: "Why?"
Don't ask that unless you are willing to listen and repress your initial inclinations to defend yourself or strike back.

One thing is certain: When you asked your question, you "uncorked" the fact that there's a serious problem in your marriage. And now you have an opportunity to do something about it.
But does she really want to do something about it? Other than hurt feelings, is she happy with the way things are? If she is, and he's not likely to divorce her, then she may not have enough motivation to change.

Why would a man prefer something else to sex with his wife?

Aside from homosexual orientation, hormonal deficiencies, or impotence on his part, there could be any number of reasons. Most husbands would rather have a plain or "ordinary" looking woman who is an enthusiastic lover than a highly attractive woman who is frigid or does an impersonation of a coma patient. We'd rather have bad or lackluster sex than no sex. But if a woman is hostile, emasculating, belittling, highly selfish, too much work for too little payoff (either by reciprocation or by letting him know what a great time she is having), or shows no regard for her appearance/hygiene/health, we may take a pass. For all we know, the letter writer has gained 200 lbs since the wedding.

One other reason: A lack of trust. If a husband suspects his wife is having sex with others, is trying to get pregnant even though she knows he doesn't want that right now, or may abort his child (that was a call to Dr. Laura not too long ago), he may stay out of her.

Guys – can you think of any other reasons? Ladies – have you encountered this problem?


  1. Ken, I know you have a great marriage with great sex, but I can sympathize with this guy. He's probably just tired of all the games you have to play and the constant rejection.

    To quote the title character in a British comedy movie called Shirley Valentine, "I think sex is like supermarkets, you know, overrated. Just a lot of pushing and shoving and you still come out with very little at the end."

  2. Happily my husband has never said that he prefers wine to sex. Obviously there are some pretty major problems in this relationship. I agree that some can and do come to an agreement where sex is no longer a large part of their marriage. Personally I find that sad. I think you hit on the major reasons this may be the case. If she cared enough to write Dear Abby she should have cared enough to ask WHY? Or maybe she already knows the answer.

  3. Actually, Peter, things are somewhat lacking right now. More on that later.

  4. The conditions I wrote about in this post - - still exist. It's only happening about once a week, and mostly vanilla, lights off, and brief. I'm not happy about that, but some of the factors should be changing before too long, so hopefully things will get better.


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