Recently a gentleman commenting on something I wrote said, “Every man has two sex lives – the one with his wife and the one in his thoughts” (paraphrased). I would like to tell you he is wrong, but he is not.
He had a sex life in his mind long before he met you. The hormone surge that ushered in puberty caused him to start thinking about sex every waking hour. From that moment on, he had a mental sex life. Every sexual thing he saw, read, or did became a part of his mental sex life, shaping and altering it. Even if you were the first girl he kissed, he had a massive mental sex life before you, and it did not go away when he married you.
If your hubby somehow avoided porn, peer “sex education”, and teenage sex, his mental sex life might be healthy. Sadly, I have not met such a man in the USofA. At best, men enter marriage with a distorted idea of sex; for most, it is far worse. They want things no real woman wants, and they expect things no real woman can do. They are sexually selfish because their bodies are loud and their “training” tells them women like men who are all about getting theirs. Married sex is a huge shock to men because it is nothing like what they expect. Shortly after marriage, men decide their wife will never be the woman in their mental sex life. Thus are born his two sex lives.
If a man becomes wise with age, he works to merge his two sex lives into one. Doing this is painful because it means cutting away parts of his mental sex life that have been with him for years or decades. It can feel like cutting off parts of his body! Those who do not get wise, or who find it too painful, tolerate or embrace their duplicitous sexuality. This leads to lust, fantasies about other women, porn use, and even adultery. One common result of a man’s two sex lives is secretly masturbating to fantasies of his mental sex life. Some work to make these fantasies about their wife, some cannot because they know she would never do those things. Some fight their mental sex life, hating it when they fail. Of course, all this hurts his sex life with his wife, and may lead to negative feelings about her.
Please do not take this to mean your husband is secretly a horrible pervert! His mental sex life may be similar to what he has with you, just more frequent. What he wants might not be wild or kinky, just a bit more than he has ever had with you. Maybe you would be okay with what he has in his mind, he is just afraid to share it.
You Can Help – Maybe
When a man gives up on his wife being the woman in his mental sex life, he usually stops asking for certain things. He may hint or joke, but he is not honest about what he wants. This is because of embarrassment, or fear, or thinking some of what he wants is not fair to his wife. This drives his two sex lives further apart. Opening an honest dialogue about sex with him will help. Initially he will resist or hold back, but if he learns you will not hate him (or “cut him off”) for what he says, he should open up. Make it clear you want to hear what he thinks and feels, and will not judge him. Also, make it clear hearing about something does not mean you are going to do it. At first, he will let out little bits, testing to see how you react. If he gets braver, he may share things prefaced with “I know this is wrong…” or “I would never want to really do this…”. Accept him at his word on these things.
As you get a sense of his mental sex life, ask yourself if you are willing to participate in parts of it. If you are sure you are okay with something, just do it, or say you want to do it. If you are unsure, tell him you are willing to try it to see how it goes. Make sure he understands up front doing something once or a few times does not commit you to doing it again. Do not push yourself to do things that really bother you. Pick and choose, and go slow. If you do not feel up to something he has discussed you might be able to do something similar.
Just allowing him to share his mental sex life will make him feel closer to you. If you do not react with shock or revulsion, he will feel closer and more accepted. What’s more, getting things into the light reduces their hold over him, making it easier for him to let go of things. Adding some parts of his mental sex life to his sex life with you will have a profound effect on him. He will feel deeply loved, understood, and accepted.
If he is reasonable, and his mental sex life is not too far out, listening and/or trying will bring his two sex lives closer together. It will take time, but with your help, he may achieve a single sex life.
Thoughts? Comments? Rabid rants?