She might as well be alone, as suggested by the headline "No Sex Please, We're Married—Are Stress, Kids and Work Killing Romance?" Women's magazines often reinforce this theory of DINS (dual income, no sex) couples. They say that for many of us, long hours at work, child care, and other responsibilities leave little time or energy left over for lovemaking. We are stressed out, or just plain exhausted, and have forgotten how to make time for love. This seems like a convincing argument, and often goes on to suggest ways to fi t your spouse back into your life, culminating, usually, with the inevitable idea of "date nights"; in other words, penciling romance into your schedule and trying hard not to cross it off for something more appealing—as if sex were just one more tedious chore to check off your "to do" list.
Forcing sex back into your life won't work. However, it is important to make time for each other, and not forget why you fell in love in the first place; indeed, to remember when you could always find time to be with your partner, because when you fi rst met that was a top priority. A walk in the park, a movie, dinner out, and any time alone, especially away from the kids, is critical. It will bring you closer, it will be different, and no matter what happens, you both win.
Now, is he too tired or not? Although 44 percent of our female respondents thought that their husbands were too tired to be intimate, a mere 14 percent of the men agreed with this. Neither women (18%) nor men (6%) bought into the worn- out excuse of not enough time, perhaps remembering that if you want to do something badly enough, you can always figure out a way to pencil it in.
Why do women think guys are tired when they aren't? Well, it can be another shift of responsibility, a belief that if he wasn't tired, everything would be fine. Or the men's fatigue might be an indicator of depression, something, as we mentioned earlier, guys are often reluctant to admit. It can also be a convenient cover-up for impotence, anger, boredom, or the unfortunate fact that he masturbated to online porn right before going to bed.
He's Having an Affair
"Has this happened because he is having an affair, or is he just not in love with me? How do you know when your husband will not talk to you about it?" (Woman, 40s)
Another woman? Not likely. Only 20 percent of the men said they had, or were currently having, an affair. This number is slightly lower than the one published by the University of Chicago's National Opinion Research Center (21.2%), or the 2006 Elle Magazine/MSNBC survey dealing with long-term relationships and sex in America (21%).
Curiously, most men who were unfaithful did not seem to indicate any desire to leave their wives. This man (61) has been married to his wife (56) for thirty years:
"I have had many affairs with other women. One of those is long-term. Yes, I've replaced my wife's role as my sex partner, but I haven't replaced her emotionally."
He indicates that he loves his wife, and wants to share his life with no one else, but is no longer aroused by her. While it's possible that he needs new partners, and/or the excitement of cheating to perform, it's equally possible that a fear of intimacy is preventing him from committing fully to the woman he loves. He doesn't say if his wife has a sexual surrogate of her own, but we strongly doubt he thinks she does.
And this man has been married for sixteen years: