Dear Sirens

27 January 2022 by Emma Jane Taylor in Life

Dear Sirens,

My husband and I have struggled with mismatched libidos for years. Though we’ve been married for two decades, his sex drive has barely diminished. If it were up to him, we’d have sex at least three times a week. But he has always been very patient with me, and insists that I set the schedule. Honestly, if we never had sex again, I wouldn’t miss it, but I try to initiate at least once a month, for the sake of our marriage.

Then, six months ago, I finally got up the courage to see a sexual dysfunction specialist, and I have been taking Bliss ever since. My husband keeps asking me if I feel any different. And here’s the thing: I do, but not around him. I want to jump every guy I see . . . except my husband.

I can’t tell him that the drug worked, because then I’ll have to lie to him for the rest of our marriage, and have even more sex that I’m not into. But if I tell him that it didn’t work, then I’ll still be lying for the rest of our marriage. Because, honestly, I don’t know if I want to stop taking the drug. I can never un-know what this feels like, to desire again.

I love my husband, and I don’t want to hurt him. I don’t even want to leave him. But our marriage suddenly seems smaller. And I feel like a terrible person, because my husband has no idea.

For decades, my husband has hung in there with me, even when I barely wanted sex with him. He never cheated on me, or even so much as pressured me to have sex more often than I wanted to. So does this mean that it’s now my turn to hang in there with him?

— The Bad Wife

Dear BW,

You have five choices (okay, so you have way more than five choices), but you have four ethical choices:

1 — Stop taking Bliss and pretend nothing ever happened. Take up knitting. Your truth: “It didn’t work.” (Because it didn’t: the drug didn’t fix your lack of desire for your husband.)

2 — Continue taking the drug, in secret, and learn to appreciate the fine art of masturbation. This is the least honest, and therefore our least favorite, solution.

3 — Confess everything and ask for an open marriage. Bonus points for complete honesty and also for letting your husband help decide the future of your marriage.

4 — Confess nothing and ask for an open marriage. Bonus points for preserving his ego, we guess?

5 — Leave your husband (with or without confessing, that’s up to you).

It’s just that simple. And it’s just that complicated and heartbreaking, too. As Zach Braff said in Garden State (and all these years later, we have yet to forgive him for it): “Good luck exploring the infinite abyss.”

In the meantime, we are going to write to the manufacturers of Bliss and suggest they add the following warning to their fine print: Bliss is not intended to treat or cure monogamy.

— Sirens


Sirens columnist Emma Jane Taylor is the author of two novels, Love Me Like You Hate Meand Big Country House. As the Em half of the sex writing duo Em & Lo, she has also co-authored nine how-to books on sex and love.

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