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Sex in Marriage - How do you compromise?


Marriage & Life Partnerships Debunking the old-ball-and-chain stereotype one couple at a time.

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Old 12th December 2017, 6:41 PM   #16
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OP, is your spouse in constant pain from the RA?

Since sex is apparently sparse, how does she communicate her love for you to you? You to her?

I get the libido thing. It's real. What I'm trying to reconcile is, accepted, one avenue of expressing love, care and intimacy is diminished but that still leaves a world of interactions to express your marital love for each other.

Does the lack of sex in the bedroom leak out of the bedroom? If yes, how? Examples? One I've commonly seen is the sexually denied partner doing a quid pro quo with emotional intimacy, cutting that off or souring the milk. Does that apply? No? What?

Do you want a compromise? Does your spouse? Are you/she willing to look at the larger picture of marital intimacy as part and parcel of that compromise?
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Old 12th December 2017, 6:46 PM   #17
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except I could see where OP does communicate with the wifey and tell her how she makes him feel. And he wants to express that to her. Why doesn't she want to be with him? If it is a round about statement about age or doesn't need it...Then you can see that she just doesn't see him as the partner she married. Just a room mate. I can see that "duty-sex" is also gross. Partners who lay there are just as bad as anything else. Very emasculating.
She has rheumatoid arthritis, that is often a very painful, debilitating and tiring condition.
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Old 12th December 2017, 6:47 PM   #18
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Be_Strong -

Yeah that is kind of the ridiculous part though isn't it, I love most everything about my wife except for the lack of sexual intimacy so if I went looking for another partner what would that ad look like on the internet -

WANTED - A woman who is exactly like my current wife but likes sex - Thanks

Just seeing it spelled out makes me feel even worse.
dont feel bad because you want to share love making with your wife more often....i can tell from your post you want her to enjoy your lovemaking too......have you tried date nights time away from home just you and her....?.deb
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Old 12th December 2017, 6:58 PM   #19
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Carhill -

I think you could argue that she still shows love for me in other ways, she is still a relatively affectionate wife and we have fun together doing shared activities that we both enjoy. I do admit that her idea of showing love and affection and mine have always been a bit different. She had always been more about "acts of service" as she puts it, cooking, helping clean, taking out the garbage without being reminded etc. All of which I do, she really doesn't like gifts or grand gestures, she thinks they say more about the giver than the person getting them.

I, on the other hand, am almost exactly the opposite, I love a nice gift and a grand gesture would not go amiss. I have reconciled over the years that she is not one to do those things, she is one of the worst gift givers I have ever met. She is a very practical person and tends to give people things she would want or would be useful by her definition so prepare yourself for socks and sweaters at Christmas.

Like I said in my earlier post as the days between sexual encounters go on and I become more restless and embittered I do tend to become grumpy and withdrawn. I try not to be that way because I realize that only pushes her away but it is a measure of how desperately I need to feel that sexual intimacy that it becomes so emotionally difficult for me to go without. That is why I ask the question about the normalcy of those feelings, sometimes I feel like a drug addict who can only go so long without his "fix" and then he becomes unstable.

Where the RA becomes a problem isn't so much the pain, she actually functions well on her medications, its the side affects that cause more problems in finding time for intimacy. She doesn't like to take her RA meds during the week because they make her tired and listless so she usually waits until Friday night, which makes her tired and listless on the weekends instead so we run into this conundrum -

Monday - Thursday - "Want to have sex?" "No, too tired and stressed from work"
Friday - "Want to have sex?" "Sorry, took my meds and I'm so tired now"
Saturday - "Want to have sex?" "Sorry meds still kicking my ass, need to go to bed early tonight"

Sunday - Pray she doesn't start worrying about work on Monday.

Last edited by TexasRob; 12th December 2017 at 7:03 PM..
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Old 12th December 2017, 7:10 PM   #20
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Carhill -

I think you could argue that she still shows love for me in other ways, she is still a relatively affectionate wife and we have fun together doing shared activities that we both enjoy. I do admit that her idea of showing love and affection and mine have always been a bit different. She had always been more about "acts of service" as she puts it, cooking, helping clean, taking out the garbage without being reminded etc. All of which I do, she really doesn't like gifts or grand gestures, she thinks they say more about the giver than the person getting them.

I, on the other hand, am almost exactly the opposite, I love a nice gift and a grand gesture would not go amiss. I have reconciled over the years that she is not one to do those things, she is one of the worst gift givers I have ever met. She is a very practical person and tends to give people things she would want or would be useful by her definition so prepare yourself for socks and sweaters at Christmas.

Like I said in my earlier post as the days between sexual encounters go on and I become more restless and embittered I do tend to become grumpy and withdrawn. I try not to be that way because I realize that only pushes her away but it is a measure of how desperately I need to feel that sexual intimacy that it becomes so emotionally difficult for me to go without. That is why I ask the question about the normalcy of those feelings, sometimes I feel like a drug addict who can only go so long without his "fix" and then he becomes unstable.
i dont think you are a sex addict.....my ex is.........what defines a sex addict to me is a man or woman who causes harm to their partner by cheating to get more sex.....

my ex was hyper sexual ...we were together fifteen years....we had sex a lot......in the first five years......it wasnt unusual for us to have sex twice a day sometimes three times a night..in the last ten .....it was pretty much every day ..if not twice..we were intense together......

.i am hyper sexual in a relationship but thats where i stop....i dont go outside a relationship I am in which is common to sex addicts to stray..my ex went outside our relationship even though i had denied him once in fifteen years.....

i think you need to have a heart to heart with your wife not because you are a sex addict at all...but because your needs are going unmet...and a more mutual compromise be discussed....would your wife consider taking up yoga.......deb
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Old 12th December 2017, 7:18 PM   #21
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Thanks Deb -

I agree that I need to talk with her more about this issue though we have discussed it quite a bit in the past and it doesn't really change things much. At the end of the day as another poster pointed out it is the one who wants it least who tends to get their way.

She thinks twice a month is a good compromise but its not close to what I would be comfortable with in terms of frequency. I wish sometimes I had recognized this about myself before we married. I actually feel sorry for my wife being married to a hyper-sexual man who craves sex with her the way I do and gets grumpy and withdrawn when he doesn't get it. I can imagine it must be hard on her to know I want her in that way but be unable to make herself want it to.

I assume you mean do yoga for the RA? She tried that early on but got away from it because she was so tired in the evenings and didn't want to go after a long day at work, maybe I could try to talk her into going back.

Last edited by TexasRob; 12th December 2017 at 7:21 PM..
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Old 12th December 2017, 7:27 PM   #22
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Thanks Deb -

I agree that I need to talk with her more about this issue though we have discussed it quite a bit in the past and it doesn't really change things much. At the end of the day as another poster pointed out it is the one who wants it least who tends to get their way.

She thinks twice a month is a good compromise but its not close to what I would be comfortable with in terms of frequency. I wish sometimes I had recognized this about myself before we married. I actually feel sorry for my wife being married to a hyper-sexual man who craves sex with her the way I do and gets grumpy and withdrawn when he doesn't get it. I can imagine it must be hard on her to know I want her in that way but be unable to make herself want it to.

I assume you mean do yoga for the RA? She tried that early on but go away from it because she was so tired in the evenings and didn't want to go after a long day at work, maybe I could try to talk her into going back.
i think yoga might help....do you have a pool near you? water therapy....walking in water and exercising in water.........what about if you did couples yoga......could become spicy...:0) if getting to venues is hard after work what about in the privacy of your own home... take a couple of classes get the basics down pat..... then get some dvds.....suggestion number one... never drink and yoga...


when was the last romantic interlude your wife and you had together that physical intimacy ended the night...what does turn your wife on.....and last date night was when?
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Old 12th December 2017, 7:56 PM   #23
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Sorry to read about your post. Your marriage sort of sounds like mine though we are 10+ years younger.

It's very hard to be in a marriage like that and continue to be happy.

I am and have been actively looking for a new lover and am looking to leave my wife because of it. Hopefully the marriage changes or someone new materializes.
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Old 13th December 2017, 4:03 AM   #24
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Hey TexasRob,

I am a few years your junior (33) and my wife is 13 years older than me. I've documented my own problems which are seemingly a lot more comprehensive than yours - hence my thread was not strictly related to sex. Sex has been a big problem in our marriage though. Our (non-sexual) compatibility seems a fair way off compared to yours. It's good to read that at the very least the rest of your relationship is pretty good. Like you, I had my first at age 21 with my wife. My wife also had 2 kids from a previous relationship so we have 4 kids all up, including our daughter who is 7. I don't know about you, but for me having the step kids and our own has been a challenge. Her kids are pretty good really, but even good kids pose as an ongoing challenge in many ways.

Communication is one of our biggest problems. People often think that the age difference is a big deal when it isnt. When you year back all the layers, we as people see the world very similarly. From our political, social and ethical standpoint, we are very in sync. All of those alignments transcend generations hence age gaps bot being a factor. It's our application of our values which translates to our actions where there is a misalignment. It's that which commincation underpins - something which wouldn't change one iota if we were the same age or if she was even 13 years my junior.

Most of your feelings on sex and lack of it mirror mine. I can only last so long before I get really agitated and feel like emotionally withdrawing. Releiving yourself only works for so long before you crave the touch of your significant other. When they doll out all the excuses it can start to really get you down. I only had this discussion a few nights ago with my wife. Long story short, she says that she has too much going on in her head to even think about sex. She does handle all of the kid's stuff while I work, but sometimes it feels like she takes on additional responsibilities for people and the like just to have an outlet to avoid sex.

I'm also worried about the age gap and sex when she gets to 50+ years old. I could potentially still be in my 30s when she starts going through menopause. I have heard that some women's sex drive can pick up post-menopause so that is what I hope happens. By the time she goes through menopause, the kids might be old enough to be relatively independent. Her older 2 kids pretty much are now. I know that post-menopause sexual desire increase is perhaps unlikely in your wife's case because, even if it were to somehow happen that her libido increased, physically she probably won't desire thw act any more than she already does due to her RA.

All I can say is good luck my friend. I wish you all the best and it's good to know that other men feel almost exactly the same way I feel when lacking a frequent and fulfilling sex life.
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Old 13th December 2017, 9:12 AM   #25
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I think you have hit a new normal. Her body is not trying to reproduce so has settled in and having sex is a reward for you for the years in the past. Giving you some pleasure is her reward. That ritual sex has hit twice a month is better than many
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Old 13th December 2017, 11:07 AM   #26
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Hey TexasRob,

I am a few years your junior (33) and my wife is 13 years older than me. I've documented my own problems which are seemingly a lot more comprehensive than yours - hence my thread was not strictly related to sex. Sex has been a big problem in our marriage though. Our (non-sexual) compatibility seems a fair way off compared to yours. It's good to read that at the very least the rest of your relationship is pretty good. Like you, I had my first at age 21 with my wife. My wife also had 2 kids from a previous relationship so we have 4 kids all up, including our daughter who is 7. I don't know about you, but for me having the step kids and our own has been a challenge. Her kids are pretty good really, but even good kids pose as an ongoing challenge in many ways.

Communication is one of our biggest problems. People often think that the age difference is a big deal when it isnt. When you year back all the layers, we as people see the world very similarly. From our political, social and ethical standpoint, we are very in sync. All of those alignments transcend generations hence age gaps bot being a factor. It's our application of our values which translates to our actions where there is a misalignment. It's that which commincation underpins - something which wouldn't change one iota if we were the same age or if she was even 13 years my junior.

Most of your feelings on sex and lack of it mirror mine. I can only last so long before I get really agitated and feel like emotionally withdrawing. Releiving yourself only works for so long before you crave the touch of your significant other. When they doll out all the excuses it can start to really get you down. I only had this discussion a few nights ago with my wife. Long story short, she says that she has too much going on in her head to even think about sex. She does handle all of the kid's stuff while I work, but sometimes it feels like she takes on additional responsibilities for people and the like just to have an outlet to avoid sex.

I'm also worried about the age gap and sex when she gets to 50+ years old. I could potentially still be in my 30s when she starts going through menopause. I have heard that some women's sex drive can pick up post-menopause so that is what I hope happens. By the time she goes through menopause, the kids might be old enough to be relatively independent. Her older 2 kids pretty much are now. I know that post-menopause sexual desire increase is perhaps unlikely in your wife's case because, even if it were to somehow happen that her libido increased, physically she probably won't desire thw act any more than she already does due to her RA.

All I can say is good luck my friend. I wish you all the best and it's good to know that other men feel almost exactly the same way I feel when lacking a frequent and fulfilling sex life.
Itís the other way around for me, my husband lost interest years ago, been together 23 years, itís so unfair because now Iím late 40ís and my sex drive has increased big time, pre menopause maybe. Why canít my husband be like you guys, Iím jealous! Not trying to toot my own horn or anything but I think I like good for my age, Iím in great shape, workout 3-4x a week, I still have dudes hit on me, which really makes it hard when my husband isnít interested, I gave up on him a long time ago, I could only take so much rejection, in my eyes Iím a great wife, no kids but I do all house stuff and bills, all cooking, work 2 jobs, would love to just be groped by him, or him just to tell me I looked good before going to the Christmas party last weekend;( could it be all the beer and pot he smokes?? Sorry just venting...
So fed up!!!!
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Old 13th December 2017, 12:06 PM   #27
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After thinking about this some more, I think you should approach your wife and ask her if there is anything that she thinks YOU could do to increase her desire to have sex with you. It’s less confrontational that way and instead of coming across as a demand that she has sex with you more, it comes across as an offer from you to do more for her.
Would like to second this very good post that appears to have been missed.

Focusing on frequency alone is likely going to be counterproductive. What you want is for her to WANT YOU, right? Even if she reluctantly agrees to have sex twice as often as she currently does to appease you, does that really solve anything?

Talk to her to find out the 'why's.

It's also possible that with RA, the "standard" way of having sex (basically, a lot of thrusting) may be uncomfortable for her. In that case, it may be worth considering replacing some of that with something more gentle and less impact-inducing, like oral sex.
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Old 13th December 2017, 12:23 PM   #28
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I think you have hit a new normal. Her body is not trying to reproduce so has settled in and having sex is a reward for you for the years in the past. Giving you some pleasure is her reward. That ritual sex has hit twice a month is better than many
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Itís the other way around for me, my husband lost interest years ago, been together 23 years, itís so unfair because now Iím late 40ís and my sex drive has increased big time, pre menopause maybe. Why canít my husband be like you guys, Iím jealous! Not trying to toot my own horn or anything but I think I like good for my age, Iím in great shape, workout 3-4x a week, I still have dudes hit on me, which really makes it hard when my husband isnít interested, I gave up on him a long time ago, I could only take so much rejection, in my eyes Iím a great wife, no kids but I do all house stuff and bills, all cooking, work 2 jobs, would love to just be groped by him, or him just to tell me I looked good before going to the Christmas party last weekend;( could it be all the beer and pot he smokes?? Sorry just venting...
So fed up!!!!
These two kind of have both sides of the issue:

1) Why would anyone settle for twice a month in a loving relationship, that is just insane IMHO.

2) And for TreeHugger, this happens a lot for some reason. And you are correct, you are actually in your sexual prime, lots of women hit it in their 40's. And what are you to do. You either get him to step up, or ask for an open relationship, or get a divorce. And you would not be the only woman to divorce over as sexless relationship. Or the only man for that matter.

Why people get like this is just beyond me. I will never understand it...
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Old 13th December 2017, 12:49 PM   #29
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I've been here myself only in the reverse and had it far worse than you.

First, the idea that women dry up and effectively close up shop after 50 is total bullsh*t! I've known many, many women who are sexually very active long into their 50's, 60's and even 70's, myself included. My mother is 78 and still chases my father around the house. He's the one who can't keep up with her even to this day. Those who keep using old age as some blanket excuse for sexually uninterested women need to put a cork in it because it's simply NOT true.

Second, yes, it is very true that women have the short end of the stick when it comes to 'female issues' that can sometimes affect their libido. I get that. That being said, and in many cases, it doesn't have to mean a death sentence in the bedroom. I think the problem is that too many women give up on themselves after a certain point and get too complacent rather than fight to regain and reclaim their health and vitality. This can also go for men too.

Third, it could very well be argued that she is already compromising by giving you sex a couple of time a month when she would be fine with once or twice a year. It's a hard sell when one partner already thinks they're doing their part yet it's not nearly enough for the other partner in the relationship. This is when YOU need to figure out how important full on sex/penetration is versus other ways you can be intimate, achieve the connection you ache for and still feel sexually satisfied. Have you talked about that with her?

As for the sex you're currently having, what kind are you having when you get it? Are you creative in the bedroom? Do you stick to the tried and true positions only? Does your wife enjoy giving you oral? Would/could you be happy if your wife helped you masturbate either directly or indirectly? Does SHE masturbate? Do you include toys in your sex life?

I think posing the question differently to your wife will be helpful so she doesn't feel attacked. But I also think YOU need figure somethings out regarding what exactly you can live with and can't live without and communicate that to you wife too. Maybe you won't get swinging-from-the-chandelier sex 3 times a week but if you can increase your sexual intimacy and achieve that connection you talked about in other creative ways, why wouldn't you try for that?

And finally, you're definitely NOT a sex addict. The more some of us go without sex the more focused we tend to be on it to the point that it bleeds into our everyday lives and becomes toxic. I experienced that myself. When that happens, it's not good for anyone.

Good luck.
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Old 13th December 2017, 12:52 PM   #30
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Thanks for all the thoughtful reply's it is nice to know that I am not alone in the way I feel. To answer some of the thoughts and comments that have been made.

I do talk to my wife about how I can make her desire me more unfortunately the answer always seems to be that I am a great husband already and do many things that should "turn her on" it just doesn't happen much. She points out that when she talks to her friends they all say that I am as she puts it "Dreamy" and all of them have a crush on me and I would win a hot husband contest hands down. I don't let that go to my head because I've seen the competition and the bar is not set that high It just seems that she has reached a point in life that due to mental and physical changes sex just isn't a priority for her anymore. As she points out she just never thinks about it anymore, never gets excited or aroused really unless I am performing some outside stimulus on her but in everyday situations almost never. That is so hard for me to wrap my head around since I get aroused constantly, to the point that it is sometimes a distraction to me at work or in public. I have to make a conscious effort not to think about sex sometimes. I can't imagine why someone would be the way my wife is and not think that is strange or upsetting, heck if that started happening to me I would be at the doctor ASAP going "What the hell is wrong with me, why isn't my penis hard every two minutes like always!"

Instead my wife spins it back to me as my problem, she has suggested that I find a new therapist who could put me on medication to curve my unnaturally enhanced sex drive. The very thought is abhorrent and scares the crap out of me, its is bad enough that I am nearing the age when my sex drive should likely start tapering off on its own without me seeking out ways to hurry things along.

Trail Blazer - You and I sound very similar as you point out, my kids are generally good but there are a lot of challenges. My step daughter drives me a little crazy sometimes because she lacks direction, dropped out of school years ago and despite my prodding has never gone back. She works part time as a nanny but lives with us still and eats our food and takes advantage of being able to still live at home. There is no sign that she is ever going to get a life of her own and my wife sees no problem with that, she is perfectly content to let her live with us seemingly forever.

Having her living at home puts an added kink in getting alone time with my wife because I always have this other adult around who keeps irregular hours and my wife is often adverse to having sex if her daughter is awake. Ditto for our son although at least he keeps to his room most of the time and always had his headphones on so I can point out that he couldn't hear us anyway.

This morning was a good example of how things go these days, in a rare moment both kids were out of the house and my wife didn't have to work today. She took the day off to spend with her Mom who is celebrating her 86th birthday this week. She was supposed to see her Mom at 12:00 noon for Lunch. It was only 8:00am so I started flirting with her figuring I didn't mind going into work late if she wanted to fool around first. She complained first that she had too much to do today, when I asked what she mentioned that she wanted to go to the bank and drop off some clothes at GoodWill. I pointed out that those errands coupled with meeting her Mom couldn't possibly fill an eight hour day and we should still have plenty of time to fool around this morning. She then went to the restroom and when she came back started to complain that she wasn't really feeling well and she thought she might be running a little fever. You know, not one that would prevent her from visiting with her Mom and running errands, but the kind that would make sex a non-starter. I could sense where this was going so I backed off a bit and just went to get ready for work. Later she came in all dressed up to go to town bouncing around with a big smile on her face and it kind of pissed me off because she seemed so enthusiastic to get her day going now that she knew she had safely avoided having to have sex with me. She kissed me goodbye telling me how much she loved me and how great I am and then bopped out the door. Meanwhile I was upset and depressed all the way to work and I get to spend my day wondering about what might have been while she had a good time.

This is actually pretty typical, she always feels too bad for sex but is fine enough to do a hundred other things. I get that the RA and the medications drag her down but when it is something she really wants to do miraculously she feels o.k. to do it, unless its sex with me then all of the sudden she feels like **** and can't possibly go to bed with me right now.

I once commented that I thought spouses had a responsibility to each other to do their best to stay in least a semblance of physical shape and health and she just laughed and said "God I hope not." So while I work out six times a week and am in good health she makes her RA worse by sitting around eating sugary snacks, gaining weight, and doing nothing to be physically active. I'm not criticizing her looks, in spite of going from 120 pounds to close to 170 since we met I still think she is an attractive woman, its just given her circumstances you would think she would be trying harder to keep healthy and maybe her libido would improve along with that.
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