Tales from the Front: They’re out of hope, too

Cheryl Lavin Creators Syndicate
Cheryl Lavin

Out of Hope wrote in several months ago complaining about his sex life, or lack thereof, and his wife’s refusal to discuss it or go to counseling. Other men have written in to say they’ve contemplated everything due to lack of sex, from divorce to affairs to suicide. Today we hear from wives of men like Out of Hope.

MAY: My husband put Out of Hope’s letter in front of me and said he could have written it. He’s right. And this is my reply to him:

Things were good when we dated. Then we got married and started, by today’s standards, a large family. Now my responsibilities include cooking, baking, shopping on a very tight budget, cleaning the house, taking care of the pets, doing all household repairs and maintaining the house.

I take care of the gardening, including planting the flowers and vegetable garden (I moved eight 100-pound railroad ties). I take care of everything concerning the kids: homework, behavior, school functions, sporting events, emergency runs to the store to buy the poster board they didn’t remember they needed until nighttime, rules, activities, punishment, hygiene and laundry. I’m in contact with their teachers, and I take care of them when they’re sick.

I do many things for my husband, too. I do his laundry. I make special meals to accommodate his dietary problems. I make sure he gets relaxation time before meals. I field all phone calls, read the mail, correspond with his family, send out Christmas cards and thank-you notes and run errands. I take care of household projects, such as washing windows, cleaning the garage, power-washing the house, staining the deck and shoveling snow.

I do all this and more. I worked part-time outside the home for many years, and at one point I had two part-time jobs. Even when he was out of work the list of responsibilities didn’t change. I spent years crying and begging him to help.

What does he do? He works his 40-hour week, eats his meals, complains about everything, watches TV and goes golfing.

He reaped what he sowed when it comes to our sex life. Women want to be loved and treated with respect. Marriage is a partnership, not servitude. If one partner consistently puts his own selfish interests before the other, he does not deserve the respect and unity that a marriage needs to survive.

I don’t know one woman who wants to have sex with a man she doesn’t respect. It isn’t making love at that point; it’s just another chore.

ANN: Out of Hope really makes me angry. His wife is probably postmenopausal, and he probably has no idea about what sex is like for a woman then. After menopause, sex hurts. Men have sexual needs and desires. I realize that. But is it worth hurting the woman you love to satisfy that need?

DORA: I’m 51 and have been married to the same man for 30 years. He has the equipment, but we only have sex when he wants it. I’ve lost all interest in sex because it’s always been “wham, bam, get dressed and let’s do something else now.” I would be perfectly happy if I never had sex again, but I go along with him every so often just to get him to stop nagging me.

I’ve tried talking to him, but he’s really not interested in putting any effort into pleasing me. It’s all about him. My husband will read this and feel sorry for the poor guy I’m married to, not realizing it’s him.

It’s almost June! Was your wedding a disaster? If so, tell me about it.

— Got a problem? Send it, along with your questions and rants to And check out my e-book, “Dear Cheryl: Advice from Tales from the Front.”