Advice on the Sexless Marriage

QUESTION: I use to be very interested in sex. My wife was insatiable and very active sexually prior to our relationship. Our sex life has slowed down from when we were dating. I don't find sex as a "need" as often as she does. I just don't need it as frequently as she does and this has led to several fights between us. Everything else is so beautiful in our marriage except our sex life. I think its my fault but I don't know what to do to rectify it. Can you help us? I don't know if its me physically or mentally … I do feel pressure from my wife to have sex. We have had some heated arguments about her not being satisfied. O. Hernandez — New Jersey

ANSWER: O, it is wonderful that your marriage has many strengths and that you obviously love your wife. It's not uncommon for couples to disagree on the frequency of lovemaking in marriage. You're not alone. And it's often the case that when the more sexual spouse puts pressure on the less sexual spouse, it makes the less sexual spouse even less interested. But it's important for you to know that your wife's unhappiness isn't just about not having sex. She doesn't feel wanted by you. She doesn't feel loved or sexy. She wonders whether you're still attracted to her. There is a lot you can do to fix this.

Start by agreeing to see a doctor and get a complete physical checkup. She will appreciate your interest in finding a solution. Then, if she expresses interest in being physical you should, whether you're completely in the mood or not, allow yourself to be receptive to her advances, touch, kiss and fondle. See if this turns you on. If so, great. Go for it! Millions of people need to be physically aroused before they get in the mood for sex. So, this might be true for you.

If you're still not up for lovemaking, you should do something to please her. Ask her what she'd like for you to do and do it. Good marriages are built on mutual caretaking.

And keep in mind, a sexy marriage isn't just about having intercourse. In order to keep passion alive, you need to compliment her, be physically affectionate whether it leads to sex or not, flirt with her — send her a sexy e-mail or flowers — grab her in the hall and say sexy things, and so on. Treat her like you did earlier in marriage. She'll be happier and that will be good for both of you!

QUESTION: My husband and I are only 27 and we already have a lack of interest in sex. At first it was my husband who wasn't interested, but after years of sexual rejection I feel my sex drive dropping as well. I still feel that sex is important to our marriage, though. I'm afraid that since we're still young and your sex drive decreases with age, we are headed for disaster. Do you recommend anything in particular for younger couples or couples without children? Andi — Texas

ANSWER: First of all, it's important for you to know that older couples do not have a corner on the low libido market. Many, many young couples, who are busy in their lives, with and without young children, experience a drop in desire too. You see, low sexual desire isn't just a medical problem. It can also be caused by many factors in your lives including underlying issues in your marriage. Relationship problems can happen anytime in marriage. In fact, of the marriages that will end in divorce, 50 percent will end within the first four years!

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