Men's Health: Reviving Mate's Sex Drive

Reason #6: Body stuff. Even if you find your partner as beautiful as the day you met her, she may be feeling self-conscious about how childbearing, gravity, and age have changed her shape. "My wife says she feels foolish having sex because everything jiggles," says Bill, a 42-year-old engineer whose partner has gained 20 pounds since their wedding day 20 years ago. "My feeling is, who cares? But she doesn't believe me."

What to do: Ask yourself whether you've been adding to her self-consciousness by nagging or teasing her about her weight or lack of firmness. If you have, you're reaping what you've sown: Who wants to have sex with someone who's made it clear that he doesn't like the body he's holding? Instead, keep reassuring your partner that she's immensely desirable and that your lovemaking is about more than what your bodies look like.

Get Her in the Mood

Reason #7: She's not turned on by what turns you on. Satisfying sex means different things to different people, and it's self-centered to suppose that other people's sexuality mirrors our own. This assumption, says Love, is the number-one problem in relationships.

This was the case with Charlie, a 39-year-old architect, and Cathy, his wife of 12 years. Two years ago, Charlie looked at his sex life and didn't like what he saw — a well-meaning husband who wanted quickie sex five times a week, and a loving wife who'd accommodate him, oh, every 10 days to two weeks. When Charlie would approach Cathy for sex, she'd complain that he was distant, that quickie sex made her feel as if she was being used.

What to do: If you want more sex with the woman you love, start creating the emotional conditions she requires to feel like having more sex.

"I started calling during the day just to say hello," Charlie says. "I paid her compliments, asked about her day, and started talking about how I was feeling, which I hate to do. But it made her feel closer to me, and that made her want to have sex with me more. It got us unstuck."

Charlie is a numbers guy, so he's been logging his progress on a calendar (a fact he hasn't shared with Cathy, since she'd probably brain him). A year ago, he and Cathy made love seven times in one "quarter." This fiscal, they're up to 34 times and counting. Charlie's discomfort with becoming more of a snag (sensitive New Age guy) is outweighed, he says, by his wife's happiness, which registers frequently in the bedroom, on top of the washing machine, under the dinner table — wherever the feeling strikes.

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