Am I having too much sex?

Something's going right. Does that mean something's wrong?

By Cary Tennis
Published August 31, 2012 12:00AM (EDT)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       (Zach Trenholm/Salon)
(Zach Trenholm/Salon)

Dear Cary,

I have an unusual problem. Or do I?

My wife and I have been together nearly two decades, total. Like any married couple, we've had our ups and downs. We've stuck together through the birth of our wonderful kids, family deaths, serious illness issues, and a miscarriage. We've fought and made up, laughed and cried. Overall, we make a great team and, while not perfect, seem to get along as well as or better than many married couples we know. We're both in our mid-40s now, and starting to have that long perspective that only comes from age and experience.

Fairly typically, the one near-constant point of disagreement is that my wife's sex drive has been less than mine. This includes when we were dating and "doing it" fairly often, when we were first married and things fell off a little, and especially after kids. In fact, over the last five or six years, we had fallen into a routine wherein we typically have sex somewhere between one and four times a year. I wasn't thrilled about it, but given her many wonderful qualities, our solid relationship, and our beautiful, talented kids, I felt like having less sex often than I'd like was a relatively small trade-off. It had been frustrating to me and we occasionally argued about it in earlier years, but the last decade, I've mostly been able to ignore the issue and put the focus on our otherwise near-perfect life together.

But about two months ago, that all changed. She let me know she was interested one night, and suddenly the flood gates opened. Out of the blue, we're having sex nearly every night, frequently multiple times. I think we've only missed two nights. We've probably made love more in the past two months than in the prior 10 years combined. It's been wonderful to reconnect in this way, and I'm thrilled that it's carried over into everyday activities. We're holding hands more, cuddling more around the house, kissing more and just generally being more affectionate.

And yet, there's something nagging in the back of my mind. Why now? Nothing has changed that I can appreciate. I didn't get her a gift or do anything dramatic to prove myself. We've had no recent tragedies or triumphs that might spark a revival. I've heard that women who reach menopause sometimes have increased sex drive, but she doesn't seem to be exhibiting any other symptoms of menopause.

I've tried a couple of time to gently to ask what's changed, but no answer seems forthcoming. I've even couched it as "tell me what I'm doing right, so I can keep doing it." I want to be careful, because I don't want to return to once a year sex or, worse, drive her away entirely out of irrational jealousy. But still, part of me wonders what the heck is going on. If it's not something inside the relationship, is it something outside that I don't know about (but should)? She's given me no reason to be suspicious of infidelity -- current or past -- but who really knows, right?

It feels crazy to be questioning this revival when I should just be appreciating it. And I know this isn't a problem on the magnitude of others you typically tackle. But I'm definitely a little freaked out about what SHOULD BE an entirely positive development. It's started to affect me in several ways, because I can't quite shake this nagging feeling that maybe this bright light at the end of the tunnel is really a train about to run me over.

Cary, am I nuts? Should I just walk around with a permanent grin and ignore that little voice in the back of my mind? Or, should I press her for more information? I'm serious about this, and seriously confused.

Too Much of a Good Thing?

Dear Too Much of a Good Thing,

I'm going to make this short and sweet: Enjoy it.

Just walk around with a permanent grin. Ignore that little voice.

Enjoy it.

Cary Tennis

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