I’m Too Sappy But I Look Like I’m Cheating?

I’ve run into a mental stumbling block with this cover thing.
I mess around and come up with something that expresses a “pro-marriage” vibe and it’s tooooooo sappy and Beta.
I mess around and come up with some sexy and fun and it looks like I’m “pro-cheating” and it’s toooooo evil and Alpha.
Oy…. still thinking. The book covers so much ground that it’s hard to sum up in single image or a 12 word sentence without falling into one or the other of the sappy or evil groups.
But I’ve had a growing thought today as I’ve looked at hundreds of photos today. I’m at a loss as to why a image of two people locked in a romantic and sexy embrace gets flagged as “young lovers,” “boyfriend looks at girlfriend,” “passion,” “office affair,” ‘infidelity” and so on. There’s nary a “husband” or a “wife” or “married sexy” flagged in there anywhere. Even photos of women getting screwed in their wedding dress don’t get flagged as “wife.” “Bride” yes, “wife” no.
To me getting married was an erotic expectation. Having a wife meant having sex. Wives do more than just have sex of course, but isn’t it odd that “stripper” is a hotter sexier word than “wife?” One you just get to look as she jiggles her boobs and spins on a pole. The other takes all her clothes off and opens her legs for you. Isn’t a wife far sexier in reality than a stripper? If you could choose to have either a half an hour with your wife or half an hour with a stripper, which would you choose?
Why the hell have the very words that define our most important sexual relationships, been strip mined of their eroticism?
Anyway I’ll figure the cover and title out eventually, I’m tired of thinking about it for today. But it’s bugging the crap out of me that “Married Man Sex Life” plus a sexy image automatically makes a mental jump to adultery a la Ashley Madison.
I might have to call the subtitle “Wife #$%^ing 101″ and be done with it. How else can I make people understand?


  1. That attitude is why so many marriages fail these days. People think of it more as something they're giving up than what they're getting. "Fun time" is over, so I may as well settle down with this chick. Sex is for single people. You're supposed to be wholesome and tame when you get married.

    I've been on message boards where guys have said they're going to enjoy doing all of the "nasty" stuff now (cumming on a woman's face, f*cking her mouth, etc.) because they can't do that sort of thing with their wife. They don't want to "degrade" her. So they settle down and live boredly ever after.

    As far as your cover, do your sh*t man. Value everyone's opinion, but at the end of the day this is something you have to succeed or fail with, so the last thing you want to do is choose something that you're not in love with or that you don't think conveys the message you want to get across.

  2. haleyshalo says:

    Strippers are teases with all of the necessary accoutrements – they off the promise of what could be. Wives are tired at the end of the day and cut their hair short and wear sweatpants and demand that you love them as they are. That is why wives are not considered sexy. Unless you're old enough and rich enough to get a wife young enough to be your daughter.

  3. Simon Grey says:

    "Why the hell have the very words that define our most important sexual relationships, been strip mined of their eroticism?"

    Because they're common. That husbands and wives have sex with one another is a given. That a random husband has sex with a specific stripper is not a given.

    Alternatively, the husband-wife dynamic is defined by more than sex. Since sex has never been strictly confined to marriage, it doesn't quite make sense to associate with marriage (in statistician terms, the r-value for sex as it related to marriage is well below 1).

    Plus, marriage is about more than sex. At the risk of sounding like a sappy beta, marriage is about sharing a life with someone you can trust with your life. It's a spiritual relationship with another human being that no one else can have. It's special and precious, and is more than mere biological urges. It's about sharing a future and growing old together. It's about raising children together and sharing those special moments that make life worth it: that kiss when you say "I do," that moment when you first see your wife's pregnancy test is positive, that special weekend in the cabins, the family vacation to the Grand Canyon, the pride you feel when watching your son graduate from high school, that bittersweet feeling you get when walking your daughter down the aisle, the joy in welcoming each of your grandchildren into the world, and all those other precious moments. Marriage transcends sex, and as such cannot be defined solely by sex, for marriage is so much more.

  4. Had the same reaction to the cover Athol. Too beta for a viewer ouside your relationship. I'll message you with some ideas.

  5. Anonymous says:

    How about the symbol for men and women (the circle with cross under it and circle with arrow pointing diagonally up to the right)? Arrange them so that the arrow is in the circle of the woman-symbol. This way you insinuate sex, you have 2 circles next one-another that could be interpreted as rings and thus marriage (though I'm not sure how many people would go that far). Put that on the cover with the title "married men sex life". The cover then pretty much sums up the content and hopefully the symbol will make enough people curious enough to have a closer look at it.

    In my opinion this would be a better approach than to put a generic picture of a couple on the cover.

    My 2 cents.


  6. How about a mans hand, ring prominent groping a brides butt?

  7. Urgh. I hope that works.

  8. Try combining the words wife and stripper to get that sappy and evil feeling all mixed together.


    or my preferred choice:


  9. The Social Pathologist says:


    Can I suggest the following images.

    link 1

    Link 2

    Link 3

    And I suggest the title

    Wife Management 101.

    Just a thought.

  10. Confidunce says:

    Ditto Deeva's idea. Find a friend who aspires to be a professional photographer (everyone has at least one of those friends) and stage the picture yourself.

    I've asked several artistic types about your predicament. The consensus is that you need to commission some cover art.

    And not for nothing, but of course you're not going to find the right art in the public domain. The biggest reason men these days are either too beta or too alpha is because of the mass media. That's the whole appeal of your approach.

  11. Anonymous says:

    I think the real issue is that your marriage is not the norm. You are looking at it from your perspective, which is understandable, but in my experience most marriages become devoid of sex over time.

  12. Anonymous says:

    A marriage becoming devoid of sex in frequency or interest level is not something that has to happen and that is what Athol is trying to teach men. Taking back what is rightfully a man's by nature and desire and finding it a restoration for the woman and the marriage. Athol's marriage is not unusual,it is healthy and what is the true normal. I myself experienced this same thing in my marriage before my darling passed away. There is a lot of destructive thinking around us re. sexuality and marriage. Athol is on to something and so is Jennifer.

  13. As someone else suggested, you should commission the art. The ideas you're proposing are outside the norm of what most expect of a marriage, even when they are actually married. Don't use some uninspired image.

    Perhaps you can search on a site like deviantart.com. It's a great resource and the prices of many of the artists can be quite reasonable. Some of the artists can even provide drafts, if not completed work, within a week or so of a request.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Deevaa's Pic is an AWESOME IDEA! lOVE IT! Hits the nail on the head.

  15. Just a College Girl says:

    I personally like both Deevaas' link and The Social Pathologists' links. (Oh, so that's what happened to your wedding picture, I'd been wondering.)
    Repost of Deevaas' image URL for the leery of large URLs.

  16. Dave in the cave says:

    Athol, stick to your guns and go with your gut.

    The whole point of your blog (and the book) is to get more sex with your wife. It's the idea that your wife can be your own personal stipper / whore / slut / sexual fantasy…and still make your breakfast or pick out your tie.

    The idea of doing dirty things with your wife might go against societal perceptions, but that's ok. You might have an optimistic take on marriage as far as some people are concerned, but that's ok too.

    I do think it'd be good for your cover to use words like "sexy" and "wife" or "married man" and "sex life without cheating" that others have pointed out "don't go together in people's minds." You're about changing the common perceptions of marriage, aren't you?

  17. Dave in the cave says:

    And if all else fails, pretend your book is a chick trying to get your male readers to take her home. What would make her attractive and sexy? What would make them want to do her?

  18. Ahh Athol, Just go with #3 and get 'er done. I would make the copy smaller on the backside and make 2 or 3 paragraphs. Looks a tad too busy there. If you want to redesign in the future when the coffers are replenished, I'm here for you! We in the design field call this situation you're running into now "design by committee" and it's never fun! (for now, that photo is fine, trust me.)

    Hey Cave Dave, I've made my husband into my own personal man whore AND I get foot rubs!

  19. Quick idea:

    Women with a nice apron on (show ring), a wooden spoon, and a nice ass…

    The ring shows fidelity, the apron symbolizes a classic wife, the wooden spoon is kinda kinky…and the nice ass…well….SEX.

    But, I could just be excited about my new fancy apron that came in the mail today…

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