EDIT: Some comments have noted that I failed to give stats; I'm 39, 5'10", ~185 lbs.; not in great shape, could be leaner but not "fat"; just started lifting. I have always taken pride in dressing well. I'm not the best looking guy but I'm far from repulsive.
So I'm brand new here, have been dealing with a low-sex marriage basically since it began 20 years ago. I'd been hanging around DeadBedrooms for a few years but not really getting anywhere and I stumbled across MRP about a week ago; since then I have been obsessed with reading all I can. I've already read dozens of helpful posts on here, as well as MMSLP and NMMNG (both are life-changing); I'm now beginning WISNIFG.
Sorry if this ends up being a long post, but I'm really perplexed about what happened last night and I'm seeing everything with new eyes since beginning to read these MRP materials. I think the context of our relationship is important for good advice so I hope you'll bear with me.
I THINK I'm "Scenario 2", "Slippery Slope of Beta," but I've always had a strong Beta streak so I worry that I might actually be a Career Beta--though I fought for and won my wife over a strong rival when we were dating, and I had a lot more confidence and potential back then, so I think I may have had more Alpha than I realize(d).
I'm also struggling with a MAP because I think I might actually have the higher objective Sex Rank--my wife is pretty but has put on significant weight. I'm no physical specimen but I'm decent-looking, have a solid and high-paying career, and am a good father and provider.
Anyway, because of my time in DeadBedrooms and other things my wife has told me, I have basically become her little bitch-boy in a desperate attempt to get good sex from her (a concept I've only realized over the past week since finding MRP). She doesn't make outright demands and doesn't criticize me, but she manipulates me through claiming to be "stressed" or "tired" or "sore" or whatever so that I will do more around the house (I work a high-paying and demanding job; wife is a SAHM for our two young kids). I've been conditioned to know that if she's tired or stressed or whatever, there is ZERO chance for sex that day, so I have been trying to do everything in my power to make her more comfortable and remove those problems for her. I know now that this is highly Beta behavior and I think that she has lost respect for me because of it, so she isn't desiring me sexually.
I wonder if she CAN desire sexually or if she ever did desire me, though, because for our entire 20-year marriage we've had sex just 2-4 times per month, and it's always been lackluster. It's very rare that she is an enthusiastic participant in sex; she usually just starfishes and offers me duty sex because otherwise I will complain. She has never (literally NEVER) given me a blowjob and will not let me give her oral sex either (she has a lot of anxiety). I consider myself a good and attentive lover and I deeply care about her enjoyment of the activity; she just doesn't seem to care for herself.
For at least the past year or so, initiation of sex always begins with me making some physical advance--rubbing up against her, kissing her deeply, or most often, giving her a backrub after we go to bed. Many times, that's where it ends, she tells me she loves me and goes to sleep. Sometimes, though, she will validate this advance by asking if i want to "do stuff", which means that she will starfish (either laying on her back or stomach) until I'm finished. I've explained to her that I would love to involve more foreplay and other activities, but no changes ever happen.
This weekend really changed my perspective. Saturday was a big day for me with a high-stress project involving a great deal of money that took most of my day; I succeeded very well and I was proud to report my success to my family.
EDIT: Just to clarify, this was a personal, family financial project, not a work thing. Every dollar in my favor on this deal from Saturday went DIRECTLY to our family's account. This is particularly important for this story because my wife has been really focused on our buying a house lately (we currently rent and hate it), and I have told her my master plan for accruing a down payment, of which this project on Saturday was a large part. So this should have made her VERY happy. /EDIT
Then Sunday I decided to pamper my wife; I made lunch, watched the kids while she took a 3-hour nap in the afternoon (her daytime naps often are a prerequisite to sex); I helped prepare dinner, and I got both kids to sleep (each kid is a stressful and time-consuming game) so that she could sit on the couch and watch the stupid Grammy Awards. Then I took the trash out and cleaned up dinner.
Once the Grammys were over, my wife announced that she was taking a quick shower. I thought to myself that I had set the perfect stage for sex by giving her a nap and removing kid-based stress, plus I had scored an Alpha-style victory on Saturday. She had also been complaining that her back hurt, so I set the bedroom up for a real massage (with dimmed lights, relaxing music, etc.) and when she was out of the shower, instead of letting her get dressed, I barged in, grabbed her hand, and led her to the bedroom and told her to lay down. She was naked and I spent a good hour at least giving her a strong, therapeutic massage with real oil. I tried to throw in a sensual touch now and then as well, but mostly kept it focused on relaxing her muscles.
When she flipped over I finished the fronts of her legs, then moved to her breasts (again mixing real massage with sensuality), and then to her V. I rubbed it for a while but wasn't really getting any response from her at all; she never opened her legs, or reached out to touch me, or even gave any vocal encouragement. I tried to kiss her and she kissed back but reluctantly.
Then it hit me, clear as day: my wife is not attracted to me sexually. She has no desire at all to engage in sex with me. It was so clear that it made me emotional and dizzy. I asked if she wanted more massaging anywhere else, she said no; I cleaned up the oil on her, told her to get up when she was ready, and headed to use the bathroom. On my way out, she said, "Do you want to do stuff"? When I returned she was still laying there naked, and said "You didn't answer my question--do you want to do stuff?" But she was laying there motionless, and made no affirmative showing that she wanted sex. I felt strongly that she felt that I had made this a covert contract (something I do a lot) where I had it in my head that if I massaged her, I'd get sex, and she was offering starfish/duty sex to avoid a later confrontation about this "breach" of covert contract. I was still so emotional from realizing so clearly her lack of desire, and from seeing EVERYTHING so clearly now, that I couldn't bring myself to have sex. I told her that it was okay and she could get dressed, and I'm sure I saw relief on her face when I did not accept her "offer."
So now I come to you, o gurus of MRP, to ask how I should have handled the situation when it happened. Aside from my very Beta behavior during the earlier day, was leading her to the massage an Alpha or Beta move? Should I have been more aggressive during the massage in suggesting sex (though I was not very subtle about it)? Should I have just climbed on top of her at the end of the massage, even when she wasn't responding? Should I have accepted her offer to "do stuff" even though I could, for the first time, clearly see the dynamic between us? Did I screw up by not just having sex with her even when I knew she didn't want it?
Any advice, specific or general, would be really helpful. I've just been replaying the events in my head all morning and I cannot figure out what the "right" way to handle it would have been.