Love Affair

Men always want sex. That's the message you hear from your friends, from talk-show experts, from TV sitcoms. Except when they don't. What if you find that you're the one craving a deeper sexual connection, but he simply doesn't want sex very often - or ever? How can you rescue your sex life? Read on for couple-tested solutions for bringing intimacy and heat back into your relationship in this exclusive excerpt from the new book by REDBOOK Love Network expert Michele Weiner Davis.

Maybe your marriage started out on fire. You couldn't keep your hands off each other. But somewhere along the line, your husband lost interest in sex. Or maybe the signs of his sexual sluggishness were there all along; you just assumed things would get better, but if anything, they've gotten worse.


You've grown tired of always being the one to initiate, always being the one who cares. The fights have become exasperating. The loneliness is killing you. And he just doesn't get it. Or worse yet, you wonder, does he get it? Is he doing this to punish me? You ask yourself, what's wrong with me? Am I not attractive? How did you find the one man in the world who would prefer doing just about anything other than making love to you?


The truth is your husband isn't as unusual as you think. In fact, after almost three decades of working as a couples therapist and learning what really goes on behind closed doors, I'm convinced that low sexual desire in men is America's best-kept secret.


Here's something you need to know: Your husband's indifference to sex probably has nothing to do with how attractive you are or how much he loves you. He may have a personal issue, such as depression or stress, that's sapping his sexual desire. Or the culprit could be a physical problem — such as illness, obesity, or trouble maintaining an erection (just to name a few). Finally, many men lose interest in sex for the same reason many women do: unresolved feelings of anger, resentment and hurt that make the idea of making love not very appealing.


If you suspect that biology or personal issues may play a part in your husband's lack of interest in sex, he should start with a visit to a doctor or a therapist. But even if he refuses to get help, there's a lot you can do to change the "I'm hot, he's not" dynamic in your relationship.


There are no one-size-fits-all universal methods for boosting sexual desire. So don't get too bogged down trying to figure out the perfect place to start. Just start somewhere.


Sex Starter: Focus on the exceptions

I always ask couples, "What's different about the times the two of you are getting along better? What are each of you doing differently?" People are typically stymied. They simply haven't been paying much attention to problem-free times — or if they notice good times, they assume the good times are flukes. But good times don't just happen. When things are going better, it's because at least one partner is doing something differently.


Jeff had become less and less interested in sex. When I asked his wife, Zoe, what had changed, she told me that before they had kids, sex was more spontaneous. Now they had to have planned sex dates, and that was a turnoff for Jeff. Then she said, "The only other thing I can think of is that in the past, I said dirty things when we had sex. I sent him e-mails with erotic messages. I stopped because I've been mad about his lack of interest in me sexually. Now that I think about it, he really used to get fired up when I talked dirty."


It became clear that by doing two simple things, Zoe could help heat up their sex life again. First, she could find ways to introduce spontaneity into their lovemaking. Without telling Jeff, she got her kids invited for sleepovers at friends' houses. When he came home, she seduced him with lingerie and a sexy video. Zoe also used her surefire passion-building technique of the past: talking dirty. Once she realized how well the old trick worked, it was easy to put aside her resentment for the sake of her sexual satisfaction.


Continue »

Tags: sex therapy

Recommended for you


Comments on "The sex-starved wife"

Jesse March 28, 2010 | 1:09 PM

The ONLY movie my uncle has ever talked about in his life is Coolhand Luke. His favorite quote: "What we have here is a failure to communicate." or how about that song? "Communication is the problem to the answer." I have spinal damage. I can walk and my "equipment" functions, but it makes it difficult to "function" reliably. What my wife and I have to do is, first, RELAX. Stressing over it will rob you of the emotional bonds when the time comes to enjoy intimacy. And don't expect male enhancement products to solve everything. In my case, and others like it, those won't work. Second, communicate. If you and your spouse aren't talkng before those occasions when he (or she) is able to function, then by the time you get each other in the mood, the ability will be on hold for another day. There's a song "Strokin." the question is asked "What time of day do you like to make love?" Whenever someone sings that song in karaoke we always say to each other "all day" with a laugh. Because we consider our conversation to be "making love." The physical act is just another aspect, but we're "making love" from the moment we wake up. communication again, stop playing games. Head games, dominance games, whatever, aren't good for you. If the physical lose of in your marriage is the straw that's breaking your back, then you haven't been spending enough time on the other aspects of your life.

S.K. November 13, 2009 | 7:50 PM

Basically this article is saying that the woman should play "head games" in order to have . I think all of this is horrible advice. If there is a problem, you should talk to your husband about it. Don't sit and worry that he may not want to hear it. That's what a relationship is all about, give & take. It's not all going to be roses all the time.

macel October 23, 2009 | 5:18 PM

sjlslkjÅŸal kjkjs jqkljsklajÅŸJÄ°JDSÄ°

his into porn October 13, 2009 | 1:54 PM

the wife needs to change; be good friends with his mother, see only the good side in caracter of her brothers inlaw( or other men), clean youre house, no yelling even at youre kids, dont dress up like a porn lady-men learn from eachother if he sees other men married men checking you out he will think it ok look at porn, why porn is bad- it another topick. dont feel sorry for other women out loud-everyone makes their own bed. please cook and cook good food-men love to eat porn can't make the food as good as a wife, always greed other people with a big welcome smile- if youre husbans sees the everyone likes you even it you dont look like a porn star- he will like you the way you are, always buy something cheeper- if they see you spending less money on youre self-he will become less selfish and see that porn, beer, going out to the bar is too expensive and he cant aford it. also tell him that porn hair, nails, shoes, makeup is very expensive and that you rather spend that money on youre kids or support some one that is dyeing from hunger. Also if its youre first marriage then be friends with the people that are also in their first marriage.always be friends with someone that has less work then you so you look better-but only tell youre husband that, not youre friend-beacause you will loose a good friend .one more thing clean the bathroom every day and the place were he watches porn. this will make him think about you. he will realize that the porn girls only take his money and time. and kill him with kindness.

Don January 21, 2009 | 2:22 PM

"probably has nothing to do with how attractive you are" This is true for blind men but for the men who can see looks do matter.

kizzy January 10, 2009 | 1:28 AM

i am in a less marriage and its driving me crazy

Aljabur2009 October 30, 2008 | 3:58 PM

I want y

+ Add Comment

(required - not published)