A friend of mine who is amicably divorcing his wife, told me a tale of woe the other day that he has felt unloved and sexless for many years.  He didn’t blame his wife, he blamed himself for putting too much emphasis on sex and not enough on intimacy.  “I should have done more cuddling,” he whispered to me.

It has always fascinated me how many young men are so fixated on finding a way to “get off” rather than trying to find a way to connect.  Part of that is the cause of modern culture.  “Really Manly Men” think they know how to conquer a woman, while women are encouraged to remain chaste and pure and clean.  The conflict between intentions can cause real damage in finding common ground for relationships.

My friend went on to tell me that his wife had a lower sex drive than he, but she was willing to do “whatever” to “help him get rid of the poison” in his body.  Instead of just accepting her offer, he would fight with her and demand that she enjoy what became a forced and mandatory sexual encounter.

The last straw didn’t come from her, but from him.  He got tired of feeling unwanted and untouched.  He wanted to please his wife, but she wasn’t really interested in any of “that” — and so she’d go through the motions, emotionless, but contempt-less, just biding her time until it was over.

After being apart from his wife for awhile, my friend started to realize that her want to cuddle should have taken over his demand for faked, passionate, sex.  In the separation, he began to see the value in the intimacy of bodies touching without any explicit end necessary.  The act of cuddling was an act enough.  After all, he reasoned, no man can keep it up forever, and maybe cuddling is nature’s way of making men human again.


  1. The problem seems to be that he was projecting his needs onto her and insisting that they were her needs as well. “Can I have some orange juice?” “Sure, have some grape juice!” “I said orange…”

  2. I like this article a lot. I have seen this kind of relationship in the media often and it is sad to say that it could have ended much worse than divorce. Things could have gotten aggressive and lead somewhere that no one wants to see. I’m glad that he seems to have come to a realization about how to at least balance sex and intimacy though.

  3. I am sad for your friend that he he found one of the answers too late. There are so many routes to sexual pleasure – even for the reluctant – it is just a matter of finding what works. Kissing cuddling and hugging and other forms of intimacy show women they are loved, wanted and needed and not just for sexual relief.

    Gordon – I love the example you give – if I was still teaching I would use that one!

    1. Too late is right, Nicola. Too often we wait too long to act and then it’s too late.

      Everyone is different. What one person likes, may not ever work for someone else and being a little more neutral and accepting goes a long way to getting to the end together.

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