When She’s Just Waiting For The Hammer

Reader:  I think I already outrank her, and she knows it.  She has said more than a few times that if we ever got divorced, she has no doubt that I’d have no trouble finding young, cute, interested women to date, and she’s convinced she’d probably never marry again. When I compliment her looks, she says I have low standards.  In light of all this, it seems that the typical problem that MMSL addresses (betaized man outranked by wife) may not be my problem at all. We have sex 2-3 times a week, but she doesn’t seem to be into it and she doesn’t ever orgasm with me.  It makes me worry that maybe I just have a wife who simply does not like sex. 
Athol:  If you both know you outrank her and she makes defeatist statements, it means she’s fishing for you to respond with an indication of the direction you plan to go in. Namely do you plan to stay with her or dump her. She does this because she feels outclassed by your Sex Rank, and she doesn’t feel she can catch up with you, so you have all the advantage in the relationship.
Also because she’s a woman, she’s probably making the mistake of assuming that you are thinking like a woman… by which I mean she thinks you are very, very angry at her and 6-12 months ago you decided you wanted out of the relationship and nothing will ever change your mind. You’ve just been rolling out this exit plan ever since, and it’s working and she’s pretty much screwed.
She very likely is emotionally withdrawing from you to soften the blow of you dumping her and because she thinks you’re angry at her. Thus the conflict of giving you sex to keep you, but she can’t actually give herself to you and orgasm et al because you leaving will hurt too much if she lets you in all the way.
I have seen this before several times now. It usually happens when the husband has trumped her Sex Rank and is well into Phase Three of the MAP, but he hasn’t pushed into Phase Four and stated his demands. So she just imagines the worst. Not all forty-year-old women have divorce fantasies, some of them very much see that they’ll be living a very modest lifestyle while their husband basically moves on to a new woman.
So the solution is to actually move into Phase Four and state some clear expectations for the relationship and frame how you want things to be. As long as the frame is reasonable and she can actually do what you’re asking of her, she’ll probably go for it. You may also have to reveal the whole bag of tricks that you’ve been using and MMSL (et al) that has propelled you on your path.
Some basic framing for Phase Four…
(1)  I expect you to have a good sexual relationship with me / I expect you to be attractive as you can.
(2)  I expect you to hold up your end of the marriage and be productive as a good wife.
(3)  Defeatist talk about our relationship is unacceptable. I expect you to support the relationship.
(4)  As long as you do (1), (2) and (3) you will never need fear that I will leave you or cheat on you.
(5)  I really do have strong feelings for you.
Or put more simply… “I’m the Captain, you’re the First Officer and this is what the First Officer role is. Are you on the ship or off the ship?”
Jennifer:  That Phase Four framing seems awfully familiar…


  1. Anonymous says:

    "We have sex 2-3 times a week, but she doesn't seem to be into it and she doesn't ever orgasm with me. "

    My wife is into sex, but there comes a point where she just wants it to stop, without orgasiming (I don't think she's had an orgasm in her life, at least that's what she says, I don't really know if she has or not as I'm not terribly experienced in these things).

    So it gets to a point where she's really into it, but then she squirms and pushes my hand away from her clit, and basically at that point she's done, and she's happy for me to 'finish'. When I ask her about it she says she feels like she's going to pee, but it scares her, so she wants it to stop. Or she just says it feels like enough already, generally. It bothers me….

  2. Anonymous says:

    You could use one of those bullet massager toy on her clit, I can GUARANTEE you she can orgasm in less than 1 minute. Trust me she will love it.

    I use it with my husband all the time. Less hand work for him.

  3. Anonymous says:

    anon 2:14
    My wife used to be this way, actually still is but doesn't seem to be into sex at all any more. She has always stopped me before she gets to the "top of the hill". Like yours, she says she feels like she's going to pee and it scares her so she wants it to stop. More often she's had enough before she even starts up the hill. She will not even consider any toys or even any lube, videos or even lingerie. Lately, she won't even let me touch her parts, but will offer up a BJ to get me off her back. I don't know what to tell you, other than to say you aren't the only one in this boat. I am anon -ripped off from the "Is there hope when she never was into you" thread from a few days ago.
    –ripped off

  4. Anonymous says:

    What have you decided to do? Have you discussed an open marriage?

  5. Anonymous says:

    Having orgasms with a man you're in love with is like superglue. Without it, I don't see how it could be anything other than your income or the lifestyle (and her own fear or laziness to achieve this on her own) that is bonding the two of you.

    To the reader above in Athol's post: she's supposed to naturally become more attracted to you if you've been following the MAP; instead, she's just become more depressed. Maybe the Phase 4 will shock her out of it, but I really think she's got some low self-esteem issues to deal with first. Regular exercise definitely helps.

    Feel for you. Living with someone like her must be a barrel full of laughs.


  6. Anonymous says:

    Funny, I was going to say the exact opposite. Perhaps if you touched her softer and slower. Vibes don't work for everyone.

    It sounds like she is nervous of the feelings building up to orgasm.

  7. Anonymous says:

    True, vibes aren't for everyone. But if she's into sex already and turned on, I'm assuming she wants to orgasm.

    The massager toy is just something to get her there quicker and in a most effective way. She CANNOT fake it.

    If you're just doing the "touching her softer and slower" move, that will not get her to orgasm.

  8. Comments like hers stem from fear and poor self image. Athol is right on target that she may be emotionally distancing herself so it won't hurt as much.

    Is it that she can't orgasm with you or won't? It's a big difference and has distinctly different remedies…

    I would expand #3 to include defeatist negative comments about herself as well. If she thinks she is unacceptable, what does that say about your choice in wife? Perhaps you could use your alpha-ness to encourage and/or demand changes that would help her feel better about herself?

    While the site Taken In Hand isn't for everyone, you might find suggestions you can adapt to fit your relationship.

  9. I don't ask this as a criticism, but it seems to me something that should be ruled out before you basically threaten to walk out on the marriage:

    If you outrank her sexually, she is giving it up 2-3 time per week, and doesnt' seem to be into the sex: could it be your technique? Do you mix it up and try different things to get her excited? Have you tried spending an afternoon seducing her to get her all hot and excited about sex that evening? 10 Second kisses and all that?

    It *could* be an issue of her just not knowing what she wants sexually. The fact that you outrank her is enough to keep her giving it to you on a regular basis, but that itself is not enough to guarantee she is going to enjoy it.

    Barring a physical or mental impediment, one very logical explaination for her not liking sex is that she hasn't been properly fucked.

  10. Look up female ejaculation or g-spot orgasm.

    I'm not sure if you are stimulating her inside her vagina at the same time, but you might be hitting the holy grail sweet spot without even knowing.

    If she feels like she has to pee, it would be a natural reaction for her to want you to stop, she may be worried about making a mess.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Is she closeted?

  12. Anonymous says:

    There's a lot of reasons why she may not be into sex. To name a few, she's not turned on enough (wrong time of the month), she's too tired, or not enough foreplay (hence not lubricated enough)…

    And sometimes you just have to accept that some women don't like/enjoy sex as much as men.

  13. I beg to differ but slow and soft certainly can bring some women to orgasm as I speak from experience. There is no single pre-prescribed way that will bring every woman to orgasm.

  14. At some point you may just have to realize that she is simply just not your ideal mate. She sounds like a quitter to me.

  15. Anonymous says:

    The feeling like she needs to pee – there's a medical condition that can cause that….although, i'm of course not helpful enough to remember what it's called. But "Strange Sex" (i think?) did a show on it where the woman developed it later in life. That was the only symptom and she ended up needing surgery to correct…i hope it's not that…

    In the line of more helpful right NOW advice – I would highly suggest she lay down in the bathtub with the water running onto her clit. She'll probably want to do this alone the first time so she doesn't have to worry about you. then if she DOES pee, it just gets rinsed down the drain, no biggie, but if she doesn't, this is an EXCELLENT way to get to orgasm as it's relaxing – you can just kick back as long as it takes…

    Third suggestion. Are you touching her clit DIRECTLY? Some women are more sensative and that's not a good sensation. For many it helps if you leave the hood covering it and rub that: inddirect pressure. The feeling of too much pressure on your clit kinda could feel like the "i've got pee" sensation.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Has she been treated for depression? You might want to start there and see if the sex improves when she starts feeling better about herself. I'd also second that she should be encouraged to do things that make her feel sexy: exercise being my fave, but also maybe a massage, new hair do (somewehre NICE, not supercuts. A nice woman's dye, cut, style, is about $150+). Or getting her nails done or a new outfit. Or a bikini wax Take her out somewhere she has to get dressed up for. This is general maintenance that keeps you feeling sexy….

  17. Anonymous says:

    When "Sex and the City" aired on HBO, it lifted the curtain on a subject that normally made women squeamish. Many episodes dealt with masturbation and vibrators (The Rabbit), oral and anal sex, and everything imaginable.

    Among my girlfriends, none of this talk is taboo or even something to be even remotely embarrassed about.

    I don't know where men find these throwbacks. But I would definitely say that a woman who is not interested in getting herself off is not going to want a man to do it either, nor will she be able to teach him since she doesn't even know how to herself.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Losing control sexually can be terrifying for some women, especially those who have been told (at any point) that being sexual is bad.

    This doesn't say anything about you, or how she feels about being married, but it sure does say something about the inside of her head. This may be coaxing the shy horse to come to your call kind of territory, not a physical disfunction. She'll have to feel very safe – and be reassured that you still love her and that she's not ugly/slutty/whatever after she finally does come for the first time.

    Since you have ramped up the alpha, praising her for enjoying herself might help, even if she doesn't go all the way. "I enjoy seeing you have fun" or "good girl" or… whatever. Rome wasn't built in a day, and neither were her walls.

  19. These "throwbacks" are more common than you might think. These are the sort of women who won't even WATCH Sex and the City, never mind discuss it! The idea of even thinking about it is abhorrent to them, never mind discussing it.

    But you're right – you can't sell them something they don't want, and they can't tell you what they not only don't know, but don't WANT to know.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Yes!! See Athol's "Textually Speaking" post. I had to cross the language barrier before we could talk about what each of us wanted. Yes, he had to coax me out. Yes, I wanted a passionate sex life, but I didn't think I wanted "dirty" until we got there. He claims he had never tried any of what we did together, but I kinda don't believe him because he came out the gate sooo good at it all! Hehe! Okay, I'm exaggerating, but I was pretty inexperienced myself, so maybe.in comparison he felt like an expert. We dove into this together, wanting to use sex as our glue. I imagine OP will not have it as easy. But, like everyone is saying, build the trust. Support her as she deals with her self-esteem. Encourage her to be the best she can be, for her own benefit, and for the marriage… Not just to keep you. Small successes. Talk with her as Athol prescribes, and include a bit about how you want the sex because it's how you express your feelings for her. Alpha/i love you/Alpha sandwich.

  21. Anonymous says:

    could you possibly link that? or know what lable that's under? I'd like to read it, but no search…

  22. Anonymous says:

    Google tip: enter the domain you want to search, a colon, then the keywords

    So, a random guess at "marriedmansexlife.com: textually speaking" gave me:


    This won't answer all the questions, it was just a step in our process.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Definitely a possibility to be explored. Then again, in order to explore it, you have to be able to talk about it.

  24. Anonymous says:

    "Do you mix it up and try different things to get her excited? Have you tried spending an afternoon seducing her to get her all hot and excited about sex that evening? 10 Second kisses and all that? "

    Sometimes it's not just about "getting her excited and aroused". It's about making sure her basic needs are met before getting her to spread her legs, for example, if she's too exhausted from doing all the domestic chores, she simply won't be into having sex with you.

  25. Numbers 1 and 2 could be a deep blow to some wives. Number 1 might be hard for someone like OP's wife to hear because she probably thinks that at 3x a week, they DO have a good sexual relationship or at least as good as she can manage. I wonder if these requirements will actually make her withdraw more but maybe that is the point(?). If she withdraws from the demands, he is free to leave?

    Jennifer, since you imply you went through this, I wonder if you rolled up your sleeves and got to work on these things right away or did you have a period of shock and dismay where you withdrew before deciding to forge ahead?

  26. Anonymous says:

    Absolutley agree on the idea of making her feel sexy. When she looks good, she would feel sexier naturally. Encourage her to go and get her nails done or her hair done occasionally.

    Oh and yeah, don't forget that we do like to be treated as a woman and not just mother of your child, or the cleaner or the cook. Take her out on a date night, take her out on a movie without the kids. Show her that you still desire her as a woman.

  27. Anonymous says:

    I agree with above poster. More often than not I like "indirect" stimulation to my clit. I get overly sensitive if the hood is pushed up and he is going to town on it directly. It is TOO SENSITIVE at that point and uncomfortable…not enjoyable.

  28. Anonymous says:

    You have to consider their age group as well. I just turned 30. For me (and I may be behind in the times) I did not even think about waxing the girly parts until my mid 20s. When I started working with a few women that were 10-15 years older than me they were "shocked" when I said, hey we should go get bikini waxes. Not closed minded but just not part of their "adult culture." They did it and loved. So, when we are talking about women even older than that you can't say that is no longer taboo to discuss sex stuff openly…it may be for them. Each generation has become more sexually open and about sharing their experiences but that doesn't mean that older ladies just jump on the bandwagon and start doing it too.

  29. Anonymous says:

    Maybe these women were shocked that you suggested going for a Brazilion because they are COWORKERS.

    Sex and the City has been off the air for 10 years. These women have undoubtedly seen all the episodes. Unless they are religious, of course.

  30. Athol Kay says:

    There's a search box in the top left corner of the blog.

    Orgasms evoke a massive oxytocin response in women and it's the oxytocin that bonds her to the guy that gives her orgasms. If she stops orgasming, she bonds less, so if and when he dumps her, it will hurt less.

  31. Anonymous says:

    I've read this five time, and still have to ask… What do you mean by this?

  32. Anonymous says:

    Mobile version takes away the search function, so people need to know to switch to the desktop version of the site.

  33. I was going to mention age, also. I am in my 40's and have never seen "Sex and the City". I've also never been in a situation with other women where there was reference to sex, except in the most oblique of ways. The most frank discussion I've been part of (still very tame) was with women younger than I am. Some of us "oldsters" are living in an entirely different world.

  34. Anonymous says:

    Um..I didn't go mentioning waxing on the first day of work. These are ladies that I worked with for several years and became great friends with. We spent more time together outside of work than we did at work. I still keep in touch with each of them years later. Not the oh, "Hey co-worker, let's go do something somewhat personal together so we can get to know each other better." And…why are you so stuck on Sex in the City. I am 30 and have seen the occasionaly episode. However, I have not jumped on Netflix to ingest every last one. I don't look to Samantha to get my sex tips. I think you are weight a lot on that show that really just is not there. You have those who have never seen because they have never seen and you have those who have not seen in by choice. I don't like to "create" my world around any television show.

  35. Anonymous says:

    Last time I use a phone to type out a post. There are far too many grammmatical errors in that last post. Regardless, I feel the poster speaking about Sex in the City does not realize that the show is not for everyone. I don't understand why she is surprised that there are actually adult women out there who have never seen it, whether by "not knowing about it" or by "no desire to see it".

  36. Anonymous says:

    But what if you hardly still do desire her as a woman? After taking the red pill, I've finally been allowed to be honest with myself and acknowledge that my wife's weight is downright off-putting and a turn-off from sex just like my having bad breath is a turn-off to her (and I'm not an asshole simply for being a normal guy). So what do you do? I don't even know how to approach the subject without crushing her already low self-esteem about her body. Sometimes now my lack of desire bleeds into day-to-day interactions and I think I'm reaching a juncture where I need to address the issue directly somehow before she withdraws herself and there's even worse hurting. I had even started to initate and therefore have sex more often (thank for the men-are-iniaters-women-are-responders insight Athol!) but now that the politically correct blinders are finally fully off I just don't have much desire these days. Ugh.


  37. K_C – that's such a heartbreaking post =( I'm really sorry and your analogy to bad breath is excellent. Is there anything left about her that you're still attracted to? Can you draw those into prominance?

    I dont know how overweight she is or what her previous habbits were, but whenever I fell off the wagon and gained 10 lbs or so (i'm a very fit marathon runner, so that IS a lot of weight on my frame) my husband would say "lets work out tonight, You're so much happier when you exercise" It's a VERY soft way of broaching the topic if she does in fact have a history of exercising.

    then there's a couple of other angles I'd suggest, one being the health angle. You can broach that with "this guy at work just had a heart attack, he was about 50 lbs overweight and he LOOKED totally healthy!" etc. To hope that she might come back with "yes, i've thought about that myself" and open it up.

    The next thing that's worked well when I was trying to get my husband to loose weight was just getting a group together and going "we're joining weight watchers and then once a week we're gonna watch the biggiest loser together and bet on the results" and at the begining, he wasn't game, but after a while he's slink in to watch the show and pretty soon mentioned "maybe i should go to those meetings."

    Also helpful if she has a friend who's in a bit better shape or has lost a chunk of weight that might be able to help her along?

    Could you schedule dates that are active? walks in the park, hiking, bike rides, rock climbing – depending on her ability level.

    Can you get junk food out of the house under the guise of "the kids shouldn't have access to that stuff?"

    That's really a tough place to be in. You're right where most women around her are: I love you, but I'm not in love with you.

    Loosing weight is tough, esp if it's an overwhelming amount. Make sure you're reasonable with your expectations.

  38. Anonymous says:

    Jane, thanks for the response and suggestions. There are many things I'm still attracted to in her personality-wise and she does still have a fairly pretty face. Sometimes, I see glimpses of the hot woman she has the potential to be if she just dropped the weight and I'm truly not expecting perfection either. She actually works out pretty regularly but doesn't seem to have the stamina and discipline to really stick with it as long term as necessary.

    One thing she did say the last time she tried hard was that if she didn't stick with it through December (using Weight Watchers online and tracking everything herself) was that she'd start actually going to meetings. But, she never did, so I think if I could carefully remind her of the promise she made to herself that could work.
    Partly though, I still need to continue to suck it up myself and keep my mood and emotions in check so that I don't sabotage things before they have a chance to work their natural course. I'm only a few months into running the MAP myself and still struggling with upping my severe Alpha deficiency.


  39. ok, if she's done some ww in the past, you're part of the way there! You don't have to worry as much about the approach caus she's clearly aware of the issue. That's excelllent! SHE NEEDS TO GO TO THE MEETINGS!!!! I tell you it works like a charm! There's nothing like weighin in in front of another person to keep you on you toes and keep the weight loss at your focus!! Do you have any weight to loose? Like even a few lbs? Maybe you can go with her? And try a few meetings, some are whiney and annoying, some are super funny and motivating.

    You also mention that she is pretty good about exercising. If she's already doing well there, you can probably more easily nudge that one along. What if you and she signed up for a half marathon in another city?? This works especially well if neither of you have done it before and you get to train together. Also, there are training groups where she can make friends who will kick her ass when she doesnt show up for workouts. PAY FOR THE RACE AT THE BEGINING! If she's at all frugal, that will motivate her to get her ass in gear so she doesnt waste her money!

    Have you ever heard of Beachbody? They make a product called p90X and a ton of other stuff that's all great and you can do it at home, but the bigger thing is the coaching and online message boards – super motivating!!! Maybe you guys could do a program together? something like p90x would be a good fit if she likes the hard core boot camp style stuff or something like turbo jam is she likes fun peppy stuff. There's a bunch but you could probably find somethign where you could get buffed out and add size if you dont have any weight to lose….just an idea to change things up if the gym isn't working for her…It really is helpful if your hubby does it with you cause then you feel guilty when you slack =)

    Also, how are you responding when she DOES track and work out? Are you "expecting" her to fail? Do you eat crapy food in front of her while she snacks on carrots? do you critisiz her choices? Are you super understanding of her failures? More compliments and attention? Maybe just pick the opposite approach from what you've been doing, some women need more support, some need a drill sergent…

    And on a more imediate level, if she has a pretty face, how bout a new hair cut or color? or a session with a makeup artist? or a shopping trip? Those are things that can bring attention to her attractive features and give an instant confidence boost that might be helpful in terms of getting her FEELING motivated to start loosing the weight….

    Good luck, I feel for both of you, i really do. I get super depressed when I gain a pants size (and i'm currently in the process of trying to take one offf in prep for a race….), so i know how tough it can be to be on her end and how sensitive it can make you. I also completely feel for you in not finding her attractive. You can't really control what you're attracted to. nor can you control what another person puts in their mouth….

  40. Thanks again Jane for all the suggestions. I think you nailed it when you said "Maybe just pick the opposite approach from what you've been doing." I've been supportive always and have never, ever, not even once, criticized her for her weight. This approach has gotten me nowhere really and I need to take a subtly different tact (like I need to do with so many things in my life).

    I do present a good example to her as I do work out myself and don't eat junk food but have only really started doing this in earnest the last few months. Even when I do eat dessert she's commented on how small my portions are in comparison to hers so I think some of it is slowly sinking in.


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