When Did The Sex Start Going Bad?

I’ve talked in the past about The Two Week Rule, namely…
“Anytime you notice your partner being usually moody, odd, avoidant or devious with you, never let it go on more than two weeks without getting to the bottom of it.”
The earlier post was mostly concerned about the possibity that an inappropriate relationship was starting, and focusing on catching it early rather than just sitting back and hoping it goes away… because it won’t.
Widening the scope of the Two Week Rule a little, there’s any number of reasons that sex could decline with a couple: Birth trauma, new kids, sick kids, sick wife, sick husband, work pressure, deployment, work travel, medications… and on and on and on. The Two Week Rule applies just the same to all those things.
Unless you both can point to a clear reason that the sex is starting to disappear, you both need to find out what that reason is. The trouble is that with the mundane pressures of life, illness and ill fortune, the sex doesn’t just stop dead over night, it sort of just ebbs away over a few months or even a year.
Say a couple has had sex twenty times a month on average over their ten year marriage, and their sex numbers look like this…
So 2009 is a typical year for this couple. Some months are up a bit, some months are down, but it averages out to about 20 times a month. All is well.
Lets inject a bit more reality into 2010 though…
So it still averages out to about 20 times a month, but four months have unusual highs or lows. But there’s some sort of clear explanation as to why those months are unusual.
Then 2011 is quite strange…
At first all seems normal, but then there’s this steady decline down to nealy nothing at all.
2012 is simply awful…
So here’s the thing. By the time our imaginary reader finds MMSL in November 2012, they are in a great deal of emotional pain from the changes, and totally fixated on “2012” and will talk and ask questions about how to fix the sex life of “2012.” However “2012” is far more likely than not, a symptom of whatever happened back in May 2011.
So you have to think back long and hard as to what changed in your lives, when the sex started to go down hill.
What ever happened in May 2011 might be very clear in retrospect. Maybe that’s when your house started to get foreclosed on. Maybe that’s when she started on an anti-depressant. Maybe that’s when your mother moved into your house. Maybe that’s when she got the breast cancer diagnosis. Maybe that’s when the cutbacks at her work doubled her workload. Maybe that’s when you switched from condoms to a Mirena IUD. Maybe that’s when you lost your job. Maybe that’s when she started working the night shift.
So if you can find it out, and take steps to fix that issue, that might be the very best thing you can do for your sex life.
Plus if you had followed the Two Week Rule, while you probably wouldn’t have asked the probing questions in May 2011, I think by July 2011 you very probably would have. Thus potentially, “2012” may have be averted completely. 
Jennifer: Athol doesn’t track our sex on a graph lol, but he would definitely ask what was going on if the sex started to go away. If you stop small problems, they don’t become big problems.

Comments

  1. I know some of you guys will disagree with me, but I'm not liking this whole Jennifer adding in at the end of each post.

    Part of this entire plan is doing things without your significant other knowing your motivation behind it. In other words, if your wife or girl friend knew the truth behind why you changed your behavior, then they'd probably laugh and not take you seriously. I know mine would.

    Jennifer adding her own feedback is like reading a blog about committing the perfect crime, only to see a police officer at the end stating "yea it sure works against us".

    I saw the poles and a lot of visitors seem pro-Jennifer. I don't get it. I don't get it because if I'm taking advice from Athol, then I'd expect he'd be practicing what he preaches by using his advice against his own wife. However if his wife is in on what he is doing, then what the heck is going on here? If she knows his motivation behind his actions, then how the hell does it pan out???

  2. Anonymous says:

    This works. Ours was multi-cause — you might call it a culmination or cascade. Once identified and worked out, everything back on track.

  3. Anonymous says:

    > I don't get it because if I'm taking advice from Athol, then I'd expect he'd be practicing what he preaches by using his advice against his own wife.

    I don't believe Athol is using his techniques "against" Jennifer. He's aiming to be the best he could be, acting "in concert with" Jennifer.
    Jason

  4. Anonymous says:

    The sex was never great (and it's been 15 years). Last 10 years, it's really dwindled, too far back for to recall a specific trigger, though we've dealt with my career ups and downs, as well as ill and dying parents all-around.

    She's a very self-sufficient alpha (from a long line of self-sufficient alpha women). I've always been way too "beta" and now I'm starting to feel that (unless my wife has "issues" beyond my control), even if I do get fitter (yes, I'm doing this) and find a new job, I will never notch up my alpha and sex rank to the point where I can get her dopamine pumping. How do I keep at this and not just quit this relationship, so I can find a new woman of more appropriate rank?
    Jason

  5. Anonymous says:

    If, at the point your wife gets a breast cancer diagnosis, all you can worry about is the frequency of sex, your priorities are pretty badly skewed really, aren't they?

  6. Personally, I think this post is spot-on. If our sexual encounters started dwindling significantly without any obvious reasons, both Hubby and I would be looking for answers quick.

    Ryan: I don't think Athol uses his advice "against" Jennifer. I think that's where you may be missing the point of Game. The point is to improve your relationship and sex life, not turn it into warfare.

  7. Athol Kay says:

    If, at the point your wife gets a breast cancer diagnosis, all you can worry about is the frequency of sex, your priorities are pretty badly skewed really, aren't they?

    Yes and no. Breast cancer is one problem. Breast cancer and a sexually dead marriage is two problems.

    Breast cancer has been on my mind the last few days because I've been writing back and forth with an oncologist about possible solutions to the libido killing medications needed in breast cancer treatment.

    In any case, if the sex drops markedly and it is determined that the breast cancer is the clear reason why that has happened, it's vastly better for the husband to understand that the cancer and medications are the cause of his wife's lack of interest in him, rather than she no longer loves him.

  8. Trimegistus says:

    Ryan: I believe it was the blogger "Roissy" (now at Chateau Heartiste) who explained why it doesn't matter if they know what you're doing. Game, for men, is like cosmetics and a push-up bra for women. It's boosting our "natural advantages" to look more attractive.

    Point is, if your wife starts wearing cosmetics and a push-up bra on dates with you, are you going to be mad at her for manipulating your sex drive, or flattered that she's making the effort?

    The Rationalization Hamster is a powerful being.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Or to add on to what Trimegistus said: if your wife starts wearing cosmetics and a push-up bra on dates, are you going to think she's any less hot just because you know she's wearing cosmetics and a push-up bra?

  10. Anonymous says:

    "In any case, if the sex drops markedly and it is determined that the breast cancer is the clear reason why that has happened, it's vastly better for the husband to understand that the cancer and medications are the cause of his wife's lack of interest in him, rather than she no longer loves him."

    So there's a significant chance she might die a prolonged, painful death having been subject to life-changing surgery that will totally change her self-perception, and he should worry he isn't getting laid?

    Right.

  11. Athol Kay says:

    Anon – I'm saying he *shouldn't* worry he isn't getting laid.

  12. Anonymous says:

    > So there's a significant chance she might die a prolonged, painful death having been subject to life-changing surgery that will totally change her self-perception, and he should worry he isn't getting laid? Right.

    I don't believe that that's where Athol is going. A man whose partner is going through a major event like cancer should have his priorities straight, support his wife and expect changes. But say it was a lumpectomy, it's been two years and no recurrence, but sex is still not there. So, it helps to look back to the start. Did the man drop the ball in his support for his wife through the ordeal? Does the survivor have unresolved (perhaps irrevocable) mind-body issues arising from the cancer? It can't hurt to ID the cause and decide if anything can/should be changed.

    Sex is a an important component of a healthy relationship. Should it disappear, like it or not, it can impact the couple.
    Jason

  13. Anonymous says:

    That's funny, I've been keeping just such charts for 15 years. Of course, the numbers are more like 2-3 times a month, rather than 20-30. I can look back and pinpoint the reason(s)perfectly: kids. I am reliably informed that this is perfectly normal for married couples and that I am a deviant.

    I think she thinks we'll just pick it up again once she's done being a mom and has nothing better to do.

  14. Athol Kay says:

    Jason +1

    Thank you.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Jason, I was in a similar position (funny how this stuff seems to happen at year 15 for many people!) I got married and not playing the game and had little alpha in my marriage. She took control and the sex dwindle to nothing. We had two kids and then it really went to zero in a couple of years. She almost had an affair (that I broke up). It's a tough decision. I would run the MAP on her and push your alpha game to the max and see where it gets you. Some women that are in an alpha role roll over and love it! Some really push back. I've heard it called the 80/20 rule. 80% of the women love an alpha male and 20% no matter what won't respond to anything You have to find out which one you have and the only way is to up the alpha significantly!

  16. Jason,

    "Dominant" is NOT "alpha" in women. It's just dominant.

    Alpha in women is fertility. Unless you married your wife at 15, her alpha is sliding downhill fast.

    Your wife may not like dominant men or may not be willing to admit that she does. My wife is very dominant and will step in if I leave the slightest leadership crack in the relationship. It's exhausting.

    She wants me to lead in the relationship but she's NOT repeat NOT going to let anyone lead that isn't smarter, stronger, quicker and more thorough than she is.

    When she feels that she has to lead, she gets cranky. I have to do two things at that point: 1) call her on bad behavior 2) look for opportunities to lead.

    I talk much less these days but speak much more with far fewer words. She is recovering from minor surgery. She's done pretty well, but I have had to call her down twice during this week for 1) making reasonable requests in an unreasonable tone (NO excuses for being a screechtard) 2) getting digs in at the end of what had been a reasonable request (like you ALWAYS do, which never SEEMS to happen, since you aren't doing ANYTHING) Being a beeyotch does NOT get you what you want.

  17. Anonymous says:

    @Anon 12:59, Thanks. I believe that "15 years" is just when I discovered MMSL. Had I seen this earlier in my life, I probably would have made some different decisions. Sigh.

    @446: We're in our 50s. My wife is rarely screechy or bitchy. Just competent in most areas, subtly dismissive (fitness testing?) of my ideas and sexually cold (and a hoarder and a slob and obese). She did mention a long time ago that she wishes I were less "jello", and now it makes sense to me. She's highly respected in her field. My childhood role models were my manipulative/screechy mom and my WBAFC dad, who kept to himself unless he was having a temper fit. After an anti-social childhood, I "adopted" beta. I lucked into Glover's "No More Mr. Nice Guy" about 8 years ago and have been working to climb out of my hole, since (and about two months ago, MMSL).
    Jason

  18. Anonymous says:

    (For stats sake, Wife reading, found mmsl at year 15!)

    20 times a month? 36?! I feel like this is hopeless. Even when we were dating and first married we didn't have sex that often. 10-12 maybe.

    On that cerebral level, I get that this is not about numbers it's about us being mutually satisfied, but on an emotional level, those numbers, being presented as a norm, make me feel like I am trying to roll a boulder uphill.

    On a separate: "She wants me to lead in the relationship but she's NOT repeat NOT going to let anyone lead that isn't smarter, stronger, quicker and more thorough than she is."

    I can relate to this (as that woman). How do I let go and release control to someone who doesn't meet those criteria? I WANT him to lead, but he's not a natural alpha. Every minute of the day he is having to try to work on making the more alpha choice, and it's exhausting for him. He doesn't understand flirting or "game" as it were. He's never had any "moves" Those were the things that made him marriage material. He didn't play games, he was straight up honest–a "nice" guy who thought I was the shiznit. Now, we are reading and seeing that in order to ever make things better, he has to be totally different from how he's been. He has to take me down off the pedestal and start playing games. He has to figure out how to flirt at age 40. I don't think either one of us know how he is going to do that.

    He's working on upping his rank all the same, and I am trying to be more receptive to his awkward attempts at flirting.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Okay, I don't think there is an official, sanctioned NUMBER that everyone must strive for whether they wish to or not. Y'all need to relax on that point. 20 times a month, 50, 5, whatever you're both happy with in the end.

    My husband is older than I am; he's about 66. 10/20 times a month? Ain't gonna happen and that's okay. Quality, not quantity as they say.

  20. Your happiness is more important than my numbers.

  21. I read this as Sex is the canary in the coal mine. If it suddenly dies, that's a signal that something's wrong. If you know what's the cause, then ok. If you don't know, then you best find out.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Anon 9:47 AM:

    I am not a natural flirt either. What improved my standing w/ my wife was emphasizing leadership. Instead of "honey should we go out to eat?" It's "honey, dress hot, be ready at 6PM, we are going out".

    Also, my wife helps me be a better man. Maybe you can use your skills to help your man. Example:

    Me: "my boss wants me to do task A, that's not my job. No way".

    Her: "yeah, you are right. Isn't that part of programming service's charter and their responsibility?"

    Guess who's version I used for my boss?

    So you can use your strengths to help him.

  23. Anon @01:41 PM, I wish there was a MMSL For Couples with Kids.

    Before kids, it was daily sex [your rate may vary]. Why not? We had the time and still got in the food shopping and a bike ride and a lovely dinner we made together.

    Now, we do not have the time. We make some time but not enough to have sex at the rate we had before kids. It is a LONG time before they grow up and then they are teenagers and up all night so you can't be loud! You don't want to lose all that time having not enough sex — but I think most couples will have not quite enough sex but can have enough that they feel as connected as Athol does having sex daily.

    And if your kids are wearing dirty clothes your priorities are screwed up. There is a balance to be struck here!

    To anon @06:47 AM, I don't want my husband to lead, so that makes less angst on my part about all this. I find the site interesting in that I never thought about the role of the First Officer and that has made a huge difference for us. So if your husband isn't taking to the role you are putting upon him, maybe variants on a theme could still benefit your relationship.

  24. This two week rule does not work for me. He is impossible to reason with. Stubborn, angry, hypersensitive, and switches between beta-ultra and insane-alpha. This has been going on for four years now, and because only the first 9 months of our relationship were any good I no long blame myself that my interest in the sex has fizzled out. I am attractive and 40 – and as far as sex rank goes, I am still copping attention in an environment with plenty of much younger attractive women. It is beyond crisis point and I think I can leave with a clear conscience.

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