Partner turned you into a sexual asthmatic? She owes you an inhaler 

Dear Sexorcist:

I’ve been happily married for 25 years. Except for the first five years, my wife and I have had no sexual relationship. Her drive is very low and I lost interest in trying to find ways to improve it. Now in our early 50s, we are both still fit, attractive people. However, I have missed the scent, touch and feel of a woman’s body and I am not getting younger. I wish to remain married and, no, it’s too far for the two of us to find our way back to a sexual relationship. She still has no drive and has expressed she misses nothing. I look at women my age in restaurants, grocery stores, church — everywhere — and wonder how many of them have no sexual outlet like me. I’m trapped in a sexless marriage. What can I do?

— Too Young to Shrivel Up

Dear Too Young,

Marry the woman you love and take a vow of sexual poverty? I’ve met with our editorial board and we’ve voted you Hell’s official spokesperson. Because any man looking for an eternity of emotional, sexual and physical abuse couldn’t find a better place for it than where you’re standing.

Yes, abuse. Deny touch long enough and it causes physical harm. Intimacy is oxygen. Cut it off and you turn your partner into a sexual asthmatic — chronically coughing and wheezing in his attempt to breathe you in. He’ll experience a tightening of the chest and eventually his lips (among other organs) turn blue.

Ladies, make no mistake, when you constantly reject your partner’s advances with some version of “I got clothes to fold,” men hear it as “I don’t love you.” Or want you. So, go away.

It’s hard not to turn the rejection against yourself. To believe it’s all or partly your fault, that you’re no longer attractive, that your manhood is useless, your desire is pointless and your needs unworthy.

Worse, in a sex-negative society like ours, the deprived partner is seen as the “problem spouse.” Why do you have to have it so often, the sex-negative schoolmarms ask. Why do you have to have it at all? Why are you harassing your revirginized wife? Can’t you manage your wicked desires in another way? Have you tried Sudoku?

Well, you’re not the bad guy in this. She is. Not because she’s lost all sexual desire (it happens), but because she’s happy to see you suffer. New rule: If you give your partner sexual asthma, you owe them an inhaler.

Meaning, if she can’t provide the intimacy you crave, she owes you her blessing to find it somewhere else. What that means is up to both of you. Is it don’t ask/don’t tell? Is it only when either of you are out of town? Is it only with other happily married women trapped in their own sexless marriages? Is it becoming a frequent groper at the Pink Pony?

One diversionary point: You say you’ve tried everything to raise her libido. I believe you. But her libido isn’t yours to raise. Has she tried? When chronic sexual listlessness hits, there’s usually a physiological reason. Has she gotten herself checked out? Has she read the incredibly helpful book, For Women Only: A Revolutionary Guide to Overcoming Sexual Dysfunction and Reclaiming Your Sex Life by the sister sex-therapist team of Laura and Jennifer Berman?

I’m going to assume she has and that nothing has worked. Which brings us back to my main point: It’s time to cut a deal. This will be tough for both of you. You value your marriage. You want to protect it, but the thought of going on without intimacy is unbearable. The relationship is too good to leave, but too bad to stay. It’s time to face an excruciating irony: The only way to save your marriage is to have an affair.

Life is an endless series of not-getting-what-you-wants occasionally interrupted by the got-what-I-needs. Monogamy at any cost?

Got a burning or a why-is-it-burning question for the Sexorcist? E-mail him at Midtown resident Mike Alvear hosts HBO’s “The Sex Inspectors,” blogs at and teaches monthly blogging workshops with Hollis Gillespie.

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