Dear Sasha,

I am a 46-year-old male who, given the opportunity, would greatly enjoy having sex once a day, on average, with my spouse. We get along well together and I am no alpha male, as she has jokingly commented in the past. She’s satisfied with sex approximately three times a month. We’re both healthy, sociable, understanding people.

I’ve tried to interest her in articles aimed at increasing desire and pleasure, to no avail. After a day at the office, she’d rather play computer games or watch TV for hours. Lovemaking is something that is free, releases stress, increases joy, affection, etc., yet she shows no interest in increasing her monthly “amount.”

I’ve even asked her if we could give up sex altogether, as I would rather have no sex than so little. I’d much rather enjoy and savour a large piece of chocolate cake than a very thin one. And if the thin slice that only whets my appetite is all that’s on offer, in my opinion it’s better to have none at all.

She refuses to give up the three sessions a month and tells me I can “take care of myself” for the other 27 days. Great, now I’m back to my high school years.

I don’t understand this reasoning. If someone told her there’s a cost-free, painless and simple way to lose weight while eating more cake and ice cream, she’d be all over it, but if I tell her there are cost-free, painless and simple ways to increase her sexual pleasure, which will in turn reduce stress, increase feelings of joy, contentment and affection toward each other, she says, “No, thanks.”

Steve

Saint Peter presiding over his ledger at the gates of heaven has long been a popular image in single-panel cartoons and is almost always used, albeit in a playful fashion, to symbolize fear of judgment. Whenever you pull out your ledger, Steve, in which you’ve scrupulously detailed your wife’s dissatisfying sexual habits and your polished arguments about why she should be offering you more, you are inviting fear, shame and judgment into your already strained sex life.

Everything your wife does for pleasure and relaxation is being held up as the reason for her not making love to you, thereby feeding an atmosphere of bitter vengefulness around these activities. Making love (I can’t believe I’m 42 and this term still makes me snicker — what’s wrong with me?) is indeed free and pleasurable, but when the person making the pitch is doing so in such an aggrieved fashion (I mean, honestly, is there any need to bring the frantic desperation of high school into it?), it becomes rife with tension. You’re selling utopia but you’re behaving like a dictator.

Having said that, it doesn’t sound like your wife is being in the least bit sympathetic to your case. You have to look at it from her point of view, though. It’s hard to be compassionate and giving with someone who’s suggesting that you’re deliberately withholding pleasure and treating you like an appliance that simply needs a proper seeing to in order to get into working order.

And though I am a chronic offender when it comes to the sex-as-food analogy myself, these things are fundamentally very different. You are not a piece of chocolate cake, Steve. You are a man. Men are complicated creatures. So are women.

I think what you may need at this juncture is a referee, a sex therapist who can help you both address your feelings and needs and lead the discussion with compassion and experience. You will find a list of them here at bestco.info.

A long distance by foot

Dear Sasha,

I’m in a long-distance relationship with a med student from London, England. I am a sexually open woman, and he’s a mostly straight man. We both have a foot fetish, and a D/S relationship. I’m dominant, but it’s getting difficult to come up with requests that he can carry out throughout his day. He’s not here, so I can’t force him to suck my toe per se. Do you have any ideas on how to incorporate some foot fetishism and D/S into an LDR?

Foot Domme

LDRs, no matter what proclivities are being stoked across prairies, mountains, highways or oceans, require a great deal of creativity and patience. And believe it or not, this is the best thing about them. You’re obliged to acknowledge and live what every relationship needs to flourish: variety, attention and resourcefulness.

Because you can’t just stick it in, you must, with the modern advantage of technology, do things up old-school with letters, packages, Skype sex and trip planning. When you always have a lover underfoot, these exciting and creative gestures tend to fall by the wayside in favour of the more obvious ones.

You imply that your relationship isn’t entirely monogamous, nor is your partner only heterosexual. If I’m correct in assuming this, then how about sending him off to a bathhouse with strict instructions not to leave until he’s worshipped a few pairs of feet and provided you with all the details? Open the rules of engagement in this regard. Explore your abilities as an erotic writer, a photographer, a pornographer. Go pick up a coral hanky (the symbol for shrimping in the hanky code universe) and wrap a few enticing Polaroids in it. Make him wear the hanky at work. Send him a pair of shoes you’ve been wearing to suck on.

Acknowledge that the distance is part of the relationship rather than a space that has to be filled between visits. Be present with your lover in these moments, as present as you would be if you were face to face. Just because you can’t touch doesn’t mean you can’t feel.

Ask Sasha: [email protected]

Sasha Van Bon Bon

Sasha is a nationally syndicated sex columnist whose work has appeared in a variety of Canadian weeklies and online magazines for over 15 years. Her column appears weekly in NOW magazine. She is also...