Pepe Le Pew and You!  Breaking Up Sexual Gridlock

Pepe Le Pew and You! Breaking Up Sexual Gridlock

Breaking Up Sexual Gridlock

“You are the corned beef to me and I am the cabbage to you…”

Remember the old cartoon? If you don’t or just need a refresher check out this youtube video so you can have context for this post. Happy Le Pew!

A Communication Issue?

Most married people can relate either to Pepe Le Pew’s or to “LeKitty Cat’s” sexual dilemmas. Many women (and some men) find themselves running from sex like LeKitty Cat, never feeling at peace about it. Many men (and some women) find themselves always running after sex like Pepe, never making love as Pepe describes but always chasing.

As a matter of fact, the idea for this blog post came from a husband I work with who thankfully can have a good chuckle at himself when he recognizes his inner Pepe.

My hope is that you can have a good chuckle at yourself (be you a Pepe or LeKitty Cat) and perhaps find a way to change things for the better in your married le sex life.

Most – scratch that – every couple I see starts out in the therapy office saying that they have a communication issue with their spouse whether the issue is sex (Pepe/LeKitty Cat style) or money or parenting. They believe that if they had better communication skills – or if their partners had better skills J – they would understand them and give them more of what they are looking for.

My question for you is this: Do Pepe and LeKitty Cat really have a communication issue?

A Power Struggle

Pepe is not unaware of what LeKitty Cat is communicating by her constant running away.  Anymore than LeKitty Cat is unclear about what Pepe is communicating by the chasing and grabbing. The communication is more obvious than the wilting tulips in Pepe’s wake! Is it not more descriptive to say that Pepe has taken up residence in chase mode and LeKitty Cat has taken up residence in hide mode – rather than a communication problem?

Gridlock is not a communication issue.

Our communication in marriage is just fine. We just don’t like le message our partners’ are sending and we don’t know how to stand still in the face of it. Pepe can’t stop his chasing and LeKitty Cat can’t stop her running. It’s not a communication issue but a growth one.


For our inner Pepes, le stud skunk, even though sex has become…well…less than le passionate, we not only settle for it, but we find ourselves chasing after the little bit we can get like this pittance is more than just the trifle that it is. We have given up ourselves and what we really want in exchange.

What our inner Pepe really wants is to make love – to le connect – but how can we ever do this if we’re always le grabbing? How can we feel good about ourselves or our le sexuality if we keep giving in?

We fear that if we stand still, calm ourselves, hold out for more authenticity (thereby becoming more authentic) le Kitty Cat will never really come to us. It’s a rock and a hard place. Either stand still and fight our “biological needs” and go without.  OR keep doing what we’re doing and take what we can get, settle for (let’s face it) the mediocre sex we’re having.

What most Pepes find is that when they calm down and become more self-controlled and authentic their Kitty Cats come a purring and they can begin to make love like they never have before. (Don’t want to over simplify here. This takes a lot of work and time.)

Le Kitty Cat

For our inner LeKitty Cat sex has become a burden, a chore, and seems to always require bathing in le tomatoe juice to remove the stink. We may start to think that something may be wrong with us or that perhaps we’re just not le sexual at all. The fact that we can’t stand the smell of skunk or that we’d rather not be grabbed and pulled emotionally seems irrelevant to our inner peace.  Especially in the face of the cultural pressure we face in our monthly subscription to our so-called women’s magazines.  But to date, we have not found a way to say no without feeling like we have to runaway afterward.
We refuse to stand still in the face of our anxiety about saying no. We either go against our authenticity by having sex with Pepe just to get him to calm down or to leave us alone for a little bit OR we stop having sex and connection with Pepe altogether.  Often blaming him for our unwillingness to stand still and say no – present, engaged, honest.  LeKitty Cat’s rock and a hard place is to say no and run or to say no and stay engaged. I call this work “owning your ‘no’” – saying ‘no’ from a place of principle rather than fear.
What LeKitty Cats find is that when they learn how to not have sex on their own terms, peacefully and respectfully, they discover their inner sex kitten and over time making love becomes a profound opportunity for expression and creativity.

Is This Normal?

This tug of war is so normal that it can be seen as a standard developmental milestone in the human life cycle. It is the very process that challenges us to develop more authenticity – saying no without running and not just taking what we can get in life. It’s not about standing up for yourself in

marriage. It’s learning how to stand still for yourself in marriage. It’s about calming the world, one marriage at a time.

Miriam Bellamy is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and has been in practice for 13 years.  She is passionate about helping couples grow and about changing the landscape of how we approach marriage and conflict. You can find out more about her and her services at where you will also find her blog about growing after an affair.

9 Responses to Pepe Le Pew and You! Breaking Up Sexual Gridlock

  1. Man, I dont know if my wife and I have ever hit the sexual roadblock or gotten caught in the gridlock. Now I know most women feel so different cause my wife even tells “Not in the Mood” and “Cant turn it on like you can”. I have come to realize that a little effort goes a long way in the sexual relationship part of marriage. Awesome piece Miriam and being the crazy fool I am, I am talking about what you wrote and Daria, once again you strike gold, well silver and platinum. thats better

    • I agree – platinum is much prettier than gold. :) Thank you Scott. Miriam really hit on a core part of marriage – the power struggle over sex that happens to almost all couples at one point or another. You newlyweds that think you will always want it? Just you wait! ;) No, it’s not that bad, but kids, stress, LIFE can take a toll on a couples’ sex life for sure.

      Thank you Scott and Miriam!

      • No kidding the part about kids, stress, being tired. I learned the hard way that my wife didnt want me hanging on her bugging her for sex all the time when the 4 kids had been hanging on her all day. Marriage is a long journey and so much is involved in it. Sex is just the fun part

        • Sex can be the fun part for sure! I personally love the feeling of being settled and safe. There is nothing quite so reassuring as when my husband puts his arms around me and I know he would protect me with everything in him. Not just from physical pain, but emotional too… I also love the flirting with just silly banter that we still manage to continue even after 10 years of marriage. That is fun for sure. Then there is the pride in our kids – amazingly fun to watch them excel. LOTS of fun apparently! :)

      • Hey Daria and Scott,

        Thanks so much for your comments! Somehow I missed that this post was up so I’m so sorry I haven’t commented until now!

        Yeah – it’s amazing how core the sexual part of a relationship can be. Getting truly “naked” pushes us all to get clearer about who we are.

  2. Thanks Miriam for a great post.
    Yes Daria, I love flirting with my husband too, and I really need that to get in the right mood. What I have learned (23 years -wow) is that I can take the imitative to flirt and slow down to make sure we are on the same page. To be able to say NO is necessary to be able to say YES!

    • Hi Irene,
      Twenty-three years, huh? Congratulations! And I love that you and Daria are talking about flirting and about your ‘no’s’ and your ‘yes’s’. There is such a direct relationship between the two.
      Thanks for your comments!

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