Libido & Frequency of Sex

Parent Q&A

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  • Questions for folks interested in sex whose partners are not: 

     Has anyone here lived in a sexless relationship and if so, how's it working/worked for you?

    Would you do it again?

    If you want sex and your partner doesn't, how do you not resent them?  How do you maintain your own sexual confidence?

    This is a VERY difficult topic. Hotly contested between anecdotal, familial, and professional viewpoints. The long and short of my viewpoint is that you need to feel appreciated, and maintaining your sexual confidence is tremendously important. I'm recently separated, but this was a issue in my relationship as well. I can't speak to what you SHOULD do, but I can tell you that redeveloping my sexual confidence feels amazing. Having this part of who I am muted over time because of a sexless relationship was more impactful to my emotions, temperament, general demeanor than I had realized. All this is to say that, in my opinion, I would absolutely not do it again.

    Post-babies, there have been periods where we only had sex 1-2x/year. I think understanding WHY the relationship was sexless made it easier to bear (though there was definitely some resentment at times). My husband said he was terrified after seeing me give birth (I had 2nd degree tearing); another bout of fear came after I got a painful post-sex UTI which he sorta blamed on himself. The sex when we were trying to get pregnant for #2 felt like work, and enough to hold us over for ~2 years. 

    Mainly we were just too damn tired. Between late-night wakings, toddlers waddling into the room at random hours, work, general running of a house and household... It has finally gotten better over the last ~half year now that my kids are 3.5 and 6. But even then I wouldn't say we are having a ton of sex.

    What is "sexless" versus "a ton" though is subjective-- what matters is how much each of you would want, and coming to some amount you can both accept. And working on the issues that may be causing the lack of sex drive. Also, understanding what you want out of sex-- for me, I realized we had hit a point where we barely even kissed or cuddled, and that's what I missed most, so I made it a point to initiate that.

    In terms of sexual confidence, it helped to have conversations with my partner and hear that it wasn't that he found ME unattractive-- he just wasn't feeling sexual, period. Overall, remember you do NOT need a partner to orgasm. You are your own sexual being and you can own your own pleasure-- by yourself (or with toys). There's other ways to feel confident in your own body as well (exercising and yoga helped me a lot, post-baby). 

    Good luck!

    If you haven't discovered the truly helpful work of Dan Savage (Savage Love podcast and column) then I would recommend that you start listening/reading. He states clearly, over and over, that for those of us who are not asexual (not sure what the most helpful term is), sex is as important to our health as exercise, food and clean air. Sex doesn't have to be partnered, but he makes the powerful argument that for those of us who want partnered sex, the discussion needs to shift from "if" to "how". He has lots of advice about how to explore the myriad options available to you and your partner -- depending on the reason why the relationship is sexless.

  • Do you still have a desire for intimacy?

    (17 replies)

    My brother-in-law in a guy to guy conversation asked me if I still had the desire for intimacy with my wife.  He is in his 50s and said he still does but his wife has no interest what so ever.  As this is not the kind of question I can ask women at work or church, I thought I would ask here.

    BPN women/ladies who have been married to the same guy for many years do you still have a desire to be intimate with your guy?  Has your desire increased, decreased or remained the same?  If you have lost your desire but your guy has not do you play along?  If you have lost the desire for intimacy is there anything your guy can do to get you in the mood?
    Or, and this is what’s going through my brother-in-law’s head right now: were you never interested in intimacy and just played along to have kids and raise a family.

    Women/ladies, I hope you are open to sharing your feelings and desires about intimacy so “us guys” can understand your feeling about intimacy as our kids get older.   This is my post, so going to be selfish here. Just looking for responses from women who are in a long term hetero-marriage with a guy whose children are late teens and older. Feel free to post anonymously.  Again I’m looking for your feelings and desires for intimacy, not any of the specifics of when you are intimate.

    Thank you

    Just over 50 empty-nester here, married for 25 years. I would say my desire for intimacy fluctuates, but is generally pretty good. I think my husband totally underestimates how being warm, affectionate, tolerant and a little emotionally indulgent of me makes all the difference. We know each other. I know when he is just being kind when he doesn't technically have to be. And when he does, it is a great aphrodisiac. It makes me feel like we are a team, a couple. It is also essential in my experience, for women to have a great ob/gyn to deal with the hormonal fluctuations and side-effects of getting older. I can honestly say after I got that sorted, my enjoyment and positive experience increased exponentially and is even better now than when we were youngsters. I haven't asked him directly but I think he feels pretty good about that. Not much of a talker. Hope that helps.

    I fit your profile -- very happily married to my husband for 26 years, kids out of the house.

    I have bad news for you: my husband and I have not had sexual relations in too long to remember. I mean, for a few years now.

    However, our marrige is still intimate... just not sexually. We adore each other, and are often very romantic. Sexually, he satisfies himself solo.

    It was NOT my intention or expectation when we married that this would happen. We were very active the first few years. He did predict it, though, and to my amazement he turned out to be right.

    I am happy with our status quo. Sex takes a lot of energy and time, which I don't have a lot of these days... and neither does he.

    As someone I recently read wrote, "Sex is not confined to physical relations."

    I do not have any desire for intimacy with my husband or anyone else. I am in my early 50s and it has been this way for almost 20 years.

    My husband has a lot of issues related to his self image that were formed in childhood that he refuses to get help with, and they cause aggression, negativity and hurting others before he might get hurt.

    That makes it unsafe for me to be vulnerable or emotionally and therefore sexually intimate.

    To him marriage meant all of his needs would be fulfilled, and he seemed surprised that there is another person who needs things that are sometimes different and we must negotiate and hold one another in mind, and it is not "if you get what you want, it follows that I can't get what I want" and vice versa.

    His childhood emotional injuries are apparent if he is asked a question like, "Did you take out the garbage yet?" with the intent to find out if I can add something to the can. Because he was constantly criticized he assumes the question means I am criticizing him for not taking it out. This response can be applied to almost any similar thing, and it creates a terrible dynamic in which the person he married is invisible because my harmless or good intent is not even a possibility in his mind. I am the bad guy through the filter in his mind without him being able to see through it to the nice, thoughtful, kind, caring person in front of him. (Do not mistake this description for me thinking I am perfect-- on the contrary but the difference is, I do the personal work, but it is hard to do couple's work alone.)

    Despite my dedication to my own therapy and growth and the 5 years we spent in couple's therapy, he is just not willing to come face to face with the pain of his own childhood where he was made to feel bad about himself, in his own therapy.

    It keeps him from the closeness he could have. If he could see that he was treated badly, go through all the feelings about it, understand how he was injured, that he didn't deserve it, see that others aren't automatically doing the same, see the good in others and himself and that a different opinion or need is not an attack, then maybe he wouldn't be so defensive, angry, mean and hurtful and it would feel good to be close.

    Many times sex is not about just an act of sex, how good your spouse looks, how talented in bed they are, in fact it is often not about those things. It is about trust, openness, vulnerability, safety and being seen. I can't have sex with someone I am invisible to.

    Yes, I do. However, menopause has had a huge impact on my drive. Hormones are powerful; their absence is powerful too. My husband always initiates, but I’m almost always game once he gets things going. I think open communication between the couple is crucial. Couples counseling may help your brother in law and his wife. She may want to talk to her OB/gyn too about her loss of drive. 

    What a thoughtful inquiry. I'm in my mid fifties, I've been married for over 16 years to a man I love very much, am a mom of a teen. I don't have strong physical desire for intimacy but I am game for weekly sex as it's good for our relationship and it makes my husband happy. I enjoy the experience.

    My husband and I have been together for 40 years and have two adult children. And, yes, we are sexually active.

    It is safe to say that people in their 50s and 60s are not the horn-dogs we were in our 20s. Menopause does reduce - but not extinguish - libido.

    Personally, I feel that a lot depends on the quality of the relationship.  Ideally a couple who have been together for a long time make the transition from being passionate lovers to being best friends.  If the relationship is not optimal, that could be a turn-off. If the guy treats his wife like a domestic serf, well, yuck. There needs to be fun in your daily lives.

    When our kids were very young and I was absolutely exhausted I had an epiphany:  straight men start acting crazy if they do not get sex. I would watch my husband get whiny and irritable, and could recognize when what he needed was sex, rather than just being exhausted from commuting to Silicon Valley.

    Therefore, since I love my husband, I decided that had better have sex with him whenever he wants it.  That way he will be at ease, and not look for sex with other women.  If he wants sex and I am not in the mood, I put myself i the mood.

    It would be helpful if more women realized this about male psychology.  It is hurtful to men when we reject them sexually.

    Guys cannot control their wife's/partner's libido, but if they treat us well, it will help get them sex.  However, if I have sex with him when I am not particularly in the mood, it would be embarrassing if he made a big deal over my having an orgasm. Sometimes I have an orgasm, sometimes I don't. It is not important to me.

    Every couple is different, but this is the understanding that has served us well for a long time. We are happy together, we are each other's best friends, and we have sex a couple of times per week.

    Sixty-seven year old lady here. I started dating my husband at 28, broke up for a year, then got back together, marrying at my age 40. One kid by adoption.
    I was raised in a relatively sex-positive way, for the times, and sex always worked well for me. This isn't true for all young women.  (Love and romance worked a bit less well.)  My husband's parents were quite repressed. We broke up over my wanting more and his wanting less, and my feeling judged for being too sexual.
    In every other way my husband is both my rock and my best friend, but the sex issue remained for years. Things got much better, but a lot of damage had been done, and with the added stresses of parenthood, I can't say we ever got where we might have had we started out better. We are still sexually active on a pretty scheduled basis, and it's OK.  
    As for your BIL, I wonder if sex ever worked well for his wife, at least with him.  If sex between them didn't work well earlier in their relationship, they may lack a foundation of good mutual experience to help carry them past youth.
    Second, sexual passion tends to wane over time.  Lots of study on that.  After 20 years or so with the same person, you can maintain good intimacy, it's just not so shiny-new.
    Third, menopause. For women, sex can become uncomfortable, indeed painful even with lubricant, because of thinning,less-responsive vaginal tissues. I use a vaginal estrogen cream, and before sex I take Viagra.* Without medicine, I'm not sure intercourse would be an option anymore. Your BIL's wife may find sex less enjoyable due to menopause or other physical issues.
    Fourth, emotional connection. My husband and I do better, including sexually, when we take the time to maintain emotional intimacy, going on walks, spending private time together talking, trading backrubs, etc. We don't always take the time, not nearly enough. Are your BIL and his wife maintaining emotional intimacy?
    Your post implies your BIL is unsure what's going on with his wife, and that they haven't communicated very effectively about sex and intimacy. They may need to develop more emotional intimacy before they can even address what's happening with sexual intimacy.
    At this point, Dear Abby would recommend a counselor. A book that helped my husband and me a lot is "Passionate Marriage: Keeping Love and Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships," by David Schnarch. BPN has a section titled "Libido & Frequency of Sex" with a lot of perspectives.
    (*Vaginal walls contain tissues that poof up in response to stimulation, analogous to men's erectile tissues. Viagra helps that poofing to happen and improves sexual feeling. There is another drug commonly called "Viagra for women," but it has a completely different function.)   

    I can understand why you’re interested in finding out what is normal. Unfortunately every woman is different and every relationship is different.

    For one data point, I am 53 and have been married for 28 years. I still enjoy sex as much as I did in our twenties. Frequency has decreased — down to about once a week now. I am blessed with a husband who makes sure I have an orgasm first. Even so, dryness is usually an issue now, so we use a lubricant.  

    You said he is in his 50s. She must be, too? Menopause could be a part of this. Maybe intercourse is painful for her and she doesn’t want to talk about it. You can see lots of different perspectives as well as specific medical recommendations on past menopause threads. Note that some women mention libido returning after they thought it was gone forever.

    I think there is no guaranteed good advice for your brother-in-law. If the cause is medically fixable, then the goal is for her to realize she misses physical intimacy and get comfortable asking her doctor. Being caring and sweet, asking about her day, giving her neck rubs, never asking about sex — all those things might help get her to that point.  But only if she realizes it on her own.  It would be awful if he were to suggest medical help directly to her. 

    Is it possible that your brother in law was hoping your wife would talk to his wife?  That might be the answer if they have a good relationship and are close in age. 

    Intimacy? How exactly do you define that? I am assuming he wants PIV sex. However, when his wife wants intimacy, it is verbal/emotional intimacy. If she doesn't get her needs met, she is going to be unwilling to meet his. How to get her in the mood? I made a list. I am sure it could be much longer. 

    1. Apologize when you do something wrong. 

    2. Cook, clean and help with homework. 

    3. Complement her on her looks AND other qualities. 

    4. Listen carefully. Respond with compassion.

    5. Be affectionate without expecting orgasm

    6. Smile

    7. Talk about work, hobbies, friendships without being negative

    8. Just be nice

    My husband and I are in our 50s and don't have sex very often. I would be into it more if he did certain things, but he doesn't so we don't. I've tried many times in many ways to explain to him what I would like in terms of "romance" but he never seems to get it or remember it for long. Here is what I would like, maybe your BIL's wife is similar: 1) Affection throughout the day "just because" not just in bed or when he wants sex. 2) Romantic "dates". This doesn't mean something specific like dinner and a movie but the feeling of specialness. "Flirt" with her (i.e. make her feel special, show interest in her, be playful). 3) Make time for romantic build-up, don't just roll into bed as she's falling asleep and expect to make things happen. 4) Create a sensual environment: lighting, aromas, music; make sure there is no unromantic sights, smells, sounds ruining the mood. Also I think it is a good idea to agree on a schedule, as unromantic as that may sound, so that they both can expect/anticipate it at specific days/times and make sure to prepare as described. I've definitely gone along with it when I wasn't in the mood to start off with and it's always been enjoyable at least. It does sometimes feel like it's not worth the effort, but if he made a certain amount of effort I would go along with it a lot more often. Hope some of this is useful to you! 

    It is true that everyone is very different but I think my input might add a little perspective. I'm in my fifties and have has 2 kids (teens) with my husband of almost 20 years. My sex drive plummeted to zero for close to a year after the birth of each child and I understand this to be very typical. Now I really don't think about sex when we are not actually doing it. It is not that I don't want it, I simply do not think about it, it's just not on my radar, at all. 

    My husband is, also typically? very different. Sex is really important to him and so is my enjoyment of it. I am lucky that I've suffered no sexual trauma in my past and have always enjoyed sex. My orgasms are long and intense and pretty consistent. But still, when we are not having sex, I couldn't care less. Weird, huh? We have resorted to scheduling sex once a week -  little too long for him but just about OK for me (really I could probably go 3-4 weeks before missing it). Hubby does not like taking spontaneity out of the equation, but he's good with having something he can count on. Even with the scheduling, I have to put it in my calendar and try not to forget.  I have to say that I've never felt the need or desire to fake enjoyment, plus I don't have much confidence in my acting abilities.

    Last year I started on low dose anti depressants. I still enjoyed sex (foreplay) but organisms went from 95% of the time to maybe 25%. So now I stop the pills a couple days before "our night" and that seems to have helped a lot. I asked a couple other women I know how anti-depressants affect them - one said no difference at all, still have sex often and love it (only married a couple years in this case). The other said she didn't have much of a sex drive before and as of when we spoke had not had sex with her husband for at least a couple of years.

    Things that might help - since you asked. touching between sex - hold hands, small strokes while working together in the kitchen, no-pressure cuddling. Those are things that I like. We use lubricant regularly. being partners in everything. If I spend the evening cleaning while he's on the computer, that's OK but not every night, not most nights. 

    Things that get in the way - worry, anger or annoyance with him, anti-depressants. My frequent inability to focus (trying to get into meditation but it's difficult to make it a priority), talking before sex - kids, parents, work, cats, whatever. Fatigue. Feeling in opposition with him . if sex becomes a control issue and we are both trying to get our way rather than figuring stuff out together.

    hope that helps

    You are brave to ask this question, and I appreciate that you have asked it respectfully.

    I fit the description—mid-50's with 18 & 20-y-o children. I've been married for 24 years. My husband and I met and began dating in college. Due to conflict in our family life, intensified by the substance use and mental health challenges of one of our children, we no longer live together, although we remain married for the time being.

    I would describe our sex life in our dating and early marriage years as quite good. Although he generally initiated, I was a willing participant. Once we had our children, I was often exhausted, yet we found a way to keep our sex life up. As life became more difficult with his demanding career and travel and our challenging children for whom I was primarily responsible, our relationship in general and communication particularly broke down. Over time, we spent less and less time with each other, and he showed less and less interest in me unless it was for sex. Sex began to feel like a chore for me, one more task required to take care of someone else. My menopause symptoms were manageable. Yet, I lost all interest in having sex with my husband because he seemed to loose interest in me as a person. He's not a bad guy, quite the opposite, and he's quite handsome and fit. Yet, despite years of marriage, family, and individual therapy, he's unable to do the work to be open, honest, and vulnerable with himself, much less me. As I've gotten older, the emotional part of the relationship is more important than the physical part of the relationship. Without a solid emotional connection, I have little interest in sex.

    I recommend your brother-in-law take a look at "The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work" by John Gottman and The Gottman Institute website. The Gottman's take a holistic approach to a satisfying marriage. I'd be surprised if the only challenge in the marriage is the sex. I wish him the best.

    I am almost 50, married for 25 years to the same guy, teen kids. We still have desire, probably about the same as always. We have sex probably 1-5x/week. I would say that I don't always have desire but I am more likely to be receptive to get in the mood for more intimacy when he frequently does extra dishes (often with a wink-wink, just want to please you extra joking) or other housework, doing other special things for me, admires  how I look, saying sweet things, apologizing when he is curt or rude or angry, trying to do extra nice things for me. then at the moment he gets me in the mood with lots of warm and cuddly affection and clear desire linked with saying that I absolutely don't have to do anything I am not in the mood for but just letting me know that he is interested and finds me sexy and is initiating romance. He also exercises a bunch and does pushups/situps so he is in good shape. He constantly lets me know he thinks I am sexy and beautiful (and I am not conventionally particularly so, just an average Berkeley unmade up and not fashionably dressed middle-aged woman), not just when he actually wants to make love. also at the moment that he is interested, he starts with gentle kissing and stroking or dancing and hugging, not moving too fast toward anything more until i start to respond so I don't feel pressured. also lubricant helps with actual pleasure and feeling like having sex. but yes, I play along even if I am not interested and feel too tired, no desire, etc. as I think it keeps our marriage happy and usually I can get myself into the mood with a little focus and end up enjoying myself usually at least a little and sometimes way more than I ever thought possible at the beginning when I thought I really wasn't in the mood, too tired, too angry, etc. 

    Hope that is helpful!

    Lots of women lose interest because of problems in the relationship - be it serious issues or just the overwhelming burden that women have these days with work, child rearing, domestic duties, etc. The mental load can be overwhelming. And when husbands don't step up enough, it feels like you are caring for another child in some respects, which is not sexy. Another thing that is not sexy is when men communicate that it is a *need* that you should be fulfilling for them. That pretty much just takes the passion and sexiness out of it. Women want to feel wanted, not like they are just satisfying a need. But all that aside and not knowing your BIL's situation, I'm sharing the following article as it has some really insightful info on women's need for novelty. We have these outdated stereotypes of men needing to spread their seed and women being most satisfied with monogamy, but it may be almost quite the opposite. I don't know that it will help solve anything for your BIL, but maybe will help him and others understand that there are lots of issues at play.

    Thanks for asking this question!

    I am in my early 40s with elementary school age kids. We have been married for 19 years. I cannot remember the last time we had sex. My interest in sex has always been lower than my partner’s and I am an early bird, so by 10 PM, I am sleepy and wiped out. Logistically, it has been nearly impossible to find the right time and place to have sex. Carrying the burden of an extremely demanding full time career and raising young kids have made it logistically so difficult that we don’t even try anymore. when kids were younger and we were more happily married, we would hire a babysitter and have the sitter take the kids out so we can have the house to ourselves.  I used to have desires once in a while but when I initiated, he was too tired and not interested. When he initiated, I was too tired. He was very disheartened that his initiation was rejected, so he stopped trying. So, we sadly just live with the unspoken understanding that it isn’t happening. Sometimes I get sad about the situation, as I am young and dare I say a rather attractive and fit female in her prime. But, I have a hard time getting myself in the mood when there are dirty dishes piled up, 5 weeks of unfolded laundry, tennis ball sized dust bunnies, half eaten crackers molding somewhere in kids’ room and when both of us have fallen behind on personal hygiene due to work/kid demands and now Covid. I wonder if things will improve for us in about 5 years when kids are older and more independent...

    I just hit 40 during a pandemic, with three kids, ages 11 and under, with whom we are schooling at home, and a spouse who is a traveling MD for CV19. Oh, I have a full time job working from home and to adhere to distancing rules, have no help whatsoever. Here's the deal, I have a desire for intimacy. Obviously due to life circumstances, we've had our challenges making it happen. I have to say, someone mentioned that straight men more or less get cranky without sex. I read that and laughed out loud because that was my realization as well, specifically when many of my friend's and their partners were encountering relationship friend's spouse said to me, "I think S prefers scrolling through Instagram than sex with me!" I think it's so obvious and so true that many men have a need for sex (not to say that women don't and obviously it's far more complex than just a need). There are so many parts to intimacy. I am no therapist but I have been a long time observer of relationships and am now seeing marriages breakdown (most of my friends have been married for 7+ years) and there's a slew of reasons for a lack of desire. My husband has observed the side effects of many medications is a lower libido or discomfort from sex. And childhood issues...those childhood issues. We tend to find partners who replicate some familiar pattern; the same is true with them. I think it's very normal to have a waning desire; in the case where life gets in the way, planned sex is  a life-saver. We've been on this plan for awhile. It seems so unsexy but it's not. I know that 4 days per week, I'm getting some and he doesn't feel rejected. He knows this too. No pressure if it doesn't work out. We can always make it up. With our schedules, we have three nights per week where we have trained our kids (this took 8 weeks) to not open the door for our meeting.Then, one more night per week, we send our kids to our friends who are social distancing and they send their kids to us the next night (Saturday). It was really hard at first but now they know that they have to stay in their rooms or we put a movie on. They are not allowed to interrupt us until the 60 minute timer goes off. We pay our 11-year-old to watch the kids (it's a cheap date night of $12). The rest of the week, we are all business, so this has been great for us. 

    I'm mid 40's, married with a younger kid (not teen). We haven't had sex since early 2018 or late 2017. I honestly don't know how we got here. We're both busy and stressed with work and then this pandemic really didn't help things (we are basically homeschooling our kid while working full time, and  have no outside help). I have half heartedly tried to initiate by saying "I'll do all the work", but my partner laughs it off, saying "yea right...". We're not very physical either, we fall into bed exhausted every night, often times not at the same time due to one of us needing to catch up on work. We've joked that maybe we'll get around to it in 2021. We both miss it, I assume, but don't know how to find time for it. 

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Questions Related Pages

Is there really such a thing as sex addiction?

April 2007

Could someone please explain what exactly is sex addiction? Is there a concrete definition, or is there only a vague diagnosis? Does it actually exist, or is this a ''thought-up'' problem? Please share your stories; I have no idea. Thanks, Curious

Sex addiction is as real a condition as addiction to substances. There are quite a few ways in which it can manifest including addiction to pornography (web and print), paying for sex, affairs and quite a few other behaviors.

There are a number of 12 step programs that offer help to the sex addict who is ready to receive help. One of the biggest in the Bay Area is Sex Addicts Anonymous. The national website is and the local website is:

To get an understanding of this addiction I recommend the book ''Out of the Shadows'' by Patrick Carnes. It does an excellent job of describing this addiction and is helpful to both addicts and people who care about them.

There are also a growing number of therapists who are familiar wit this addiction and can provide support. Anonymous

I dated a man for several years in my mid-20s who finally came to the conclusion he was a sex addict. I was definitely in denial about it although he left many clues-- most of them intentional. The last straw was when I realized he was actually sleeping with men. I realized I was putting my life at risk, so I ended the relationship. I was very skeptical at first (is this an excuse for philandering?). However, he sought treatment through a 12-step program, and while I'll never truly trust him, he seems to have gotten much better. There are several movie stars who check themselves into rehab for ''exhaustion'' who are going through the same thing (I'm in a business where I know these things). I DO believe it's a legitimate problem and that it takes many forms. Pornography, magazines, actual hook-ups. I wasn't able to stay with this person because my trust was destroyed and I vowed never to spend another night wondering when/if he might come home.

Happy to report I'm blissfully married to a wonderful, trustworthy man. If nothing else, I took away the knowledge that I would never put myself in that situation again.

I hope things work out for you. It's a difficult road. anon

I'm not an expert on sex addiction, but my husband has tendencies that way, so I've done some research. I really appreciate this quote I found online (sorry, don't know where):

The unique driving force behind sexual addiction is the attempt to escape the natural, healthy need for intimacy. Some people escape intimacy more than others. Some escape differently than others. But all sexually addicted people have one thing in common: To some degree, every sexually addicted person flees from intimacy and turns to fantasy to meet his or her needs for a healthy, loving intimate sexual relationship. anon

Google search: sex addiction. There's a lot of good information out there. anon

I'm 42 and I'm not interested in sex anymore

February 2007

Hi all. I'm happily married, have three sons, beautiful home, good job, but of course nothing is perfect in this world. I'll be 42 in March and I'm just not interested in sex anymore. My husband is a wonderful, responsible, loving, tender man, and that's why I feel so awful. He will not press the issue when I don't want to but then I feel extremely guilty and sometimes find myself simply giving so that he doesn't feel rejected. I just don't know what's wrong with me and why I'm just not interested. I'm not depressed or anything. I'm losing weight for health benefits and I'm taking care of myself mentally but I don't know what's wrong with me that I'm not interested in the physical aspect of sex anymore. Has anyone else ever experienced this? If so, what did you do? Thanks. Wondering

Please consider whether you are unduly fatigued, which will definitely cause decreased libido (interest in sex). In busy mothers, this is a frequent cause. Rest and relief from responsibilities at regular intervals help a lot, although these aren't always easy to get. Also, please talk with your physician. Being hypothyroid, which can be easy to fix, can have a number of symptoms. Decreased sex drive is one. You might think about discussing your wish for more interest in intimacy with your husband, just so he doesn't pick up on subtle cues and feel rejected. Hope things work out for you. Judith
This is quite common actually. (Ask Oprah, she knows!) I'm 39 and haven't been interested in sex in a long time. Check out books and web sites and esp. this website: And a book: (There are lots of other books on this subject out there.) A low sex drive can be due to mental or physical reasons, or both. I also think it's ridculous that people in our modern society expect us to be regular sexual creatures, esp. with the same person whom we are living with in such close quarters. This is an interesting social experiment. Right there with you
What I found out was that I just wasn't interested in the kind of sex I'd been having since I was like 20 years old. Our bodies and feelings change, and when how our bodies and minds respond to sex changes, we might have fun looking around trying to figure out what *is* enjoyable for us. I would recommend surfing around to see if anything there seems interesting for you or your husband to watch/use/wear or if it even just gives you the extra mental picture to think about that can make sex more fun for you and less like you're ''simply giving so he doesn't feel rejected.'' I did that for a while, but believe me my husband knew and it did bother him and even hurt his self- esteem (which in turn made him a less enthusiastic lover, which made me even LESS interested in sex- such a vicious cycle!).

SO I would suggest looking around their site and picking up something to try right away since it can (but doesn't always) take a while to ship, so then by mid-March when you can use this coupon, you'll have a better idea of what's good for you and your husband. Now everybody who doesn't want ''too much info'' can stop reading before I scar you: but as a wife who was clueless and asexual not too long ago, I know that I would have tried things out sooner if someone had shared some concrete experience with me (vs. the vague ''just explore!'' stuff I was reading). SO: these days when I think I might like to try having sex that night, I'll wear these Kegel exerciser balls during the day (that I actually bought to exercise for incontinence after having one of my babies). When hubby gets home from work I have him pull the exerciser out-- not very sexy, but it does start the giggling, which starts the hugging and ''I love you's'', which then makes the sex (even if it's just a tired quickie before bed) feel more fun and loving and less like something I'm pretty indifferent too, which is how I felt about it for a while. And my husband says it makes him feel really loved that I wear them during that day (or even just in the evening before he comes home) because he knows that I'm thinking about him while we're apart and love him enough to want us to have a happy sex life. Best of luck to you in finding what you enjoy now-- you're young yet, but still: don't expect sex to feel the same for your body or mind as it did a few years ago, and I'm sure you'll find things or even just thoughts that *will* make it better for you than it is right now, just maybe in new and different ways.

You're not alone, to be sure. But, that said, I did spice up our sex life (it sounded very similar to yours) by taking a trip to Good Vibrations and getting some ''toys'' to use. It made my husband happy to see that I was trying - and me happy to have the variety. One thing that helped a lot was a book of short story erotica - I take a peek now and then and it helps me to get in the mood. Can't wait to see what others say. Don't be shocked at the number of people who will say they do it every other night and love, love, love it. I think there are a lot like you and I out there that just don't write in. Anon, please.
Dear Not Interested,
I can offer my experience as someone who lost interest AND as someone whose spouse has. Please, please, PLEASE seek help. This is not a good place, physically or mentally to be in.

I became really irritated, lost nearly all interest in sex, and more when I went on a different birth control (the no period for three months kind). I noticed the change in my patience and mood, and boy did my husband. I immediately switched pills and noticed a huge difference. I think hormones (from pills or our own body changes) play a huge role. Please talk to your DR.

From a different perspective I can also tell you how frustrating (in more ways than one!) and painful it is to be constantly rejected by your spouse. We were in marriage counseling for a year (and now I'm going myself) to work out our childhood/marriage issues. This resulted in my husband gradually and then totally withdrawing intimacy. I can't tell you how much pain, anger and frustration this causes. I'm hoping that things will get back to normal soon but please, for the sake of your marriage, do something to get your sex life back on track. Good luck! Been There, Done That

If you are breastfeeding right now, it will help to know that breastfeeding releases hormones that repress your sex-drive. Also, even women without trauma during vaginal birth experience pain for a long time after giving birth. I couldn't have sex without pain for well over a year after my daughter was born. Additionally, being so sleep-deprived and exhausted all the time only compounds the issue.

So, I don't really agree with the implication that you are ''rejecting'' your husband from some of the other posters. You are going through what most couples go through the first year to TWO years after first giving birth. My husband and I certainly don't have much of a sex life still, after 18 months (I am still breastfeeding). When we do, though, it's great!

Perhaps there are some other ways that the two of you can ''make love'' that don't require intercourse, so that your husband can feel loved and sexually nourished (and you as well!) and you don't feel impinged or put-upon and in pain.

Best of luck Still All The Way Back In The Groove

Boyfriend doesn't want sex anymore

November 2006

I am in a two-year relationship with a man ten years younger than I am (I am late thirties, he is late twenties). We have been living together for the past year, along with my elementary school-aged daughter.

At the start, our life together was wonderful: It was tender, passionate, and seemingly perfect. We felt we were really meant to be, and he moved in about a year after we began dating. At that time, however, he started avoiding having sex with me, and now we almost never have any physical contact. He does not have any erectile or medical issues--he is just anxious about sex and avoids it almost completely (we have had sex once in four months). We started counseling about five months ago, I have my a therapist, and he has his own therapist now too...but very little actual change seems to be occurring.

I have always been an intensely physical woman, and this really has me reeling. I feel rejected, unwanted, and hurt by his lack of attention. I have no intention of having an affair, but I have realized that I recently began to understand the rationalizations people make just before they ''step out'' on their partners--''my relationship is great, except...'' I don't want to cheat, and I don't want to pressure him, and I don't really want to leave him either. Does anyone out there have any experience with this kind of situation? anonymous, please

Well,it sounds like you have a pretty serious problem on your hands. In reading your post, I wondered if maybe your boyfriend was somehow inhibited from being sexual now that he lives with not only you but your young daughter? You say you are already in counseling, but the only solution I can imagine is to try another counselor, perhaps one who specializes in sexual issues. As a woman in your thirties you are at your sexual peak and it's going to be hard for you to be happy in a relationship devoid of physical intimacy. Good luck to you.
Have you spoken with him? you dont mention that at all... and since the therapy, has the topic been broached? part of a romantic relationship is sex. if you want to be able to keep this relationship alive, these things must be discussed lovingly and directly, but they MUST be discussed. and NO it is NOT easy. but if life was easy, we'd all be billionaires with ''perfect'' lives (what ever perfect is). cw
I don't have much advice for you, but I want to say to try not to take his lack of drive personally (even if it does affect you adveresly). I have totally lost my sex drive and it has always dropped in all my relationships after the more passion-filled early stage of the relationship. It's just how my body is. My poor and tolerant husband is the greatest and I would never want to have sex with anyone else, but I just don't want to have sex with anyone. I'm so tireds with a young toddler, I'm overweight and have mild depression and anxiety, all which drops the libido. Perhaps his anxiety (and depression?) is causing this. Please don't cheat. Wait some time for therapy to start having an affect (it can take months and months). If things don't change after much counseling, it may be time to leave. Just please don't take it personally. I feel such horrible guilt and self-hatred over my lack of sex drive. It has nothing to do with my husband and has everything to do with me and this may be the case of your boyfriend, too Wishes to be free from the burden from having to have sex
Does you boyfriend show evidence of a mood disorder? Depression and/or bipolar disorder can result in loss of interest in sex, and often responds to medical treatment. Try and make sure that your boyfriend's therapist is knowledgeable in these disorders and their treatment. This often means a MD type rather than a counselor. Robert

My wife is rejecting me 6 out of 7 days

October 2006

I can relate to most of the posts. My wife, of over 30-years, would be perfect \x96 except for S-E-X. We had sex more often before the kids and I can understand what kids can do to a healthy sex life. However, our kids are grown but the sex frequency is infrequent (Saturday or Sunday AM, once per week) and boring (she doesn\x92t like to receive or provide oral, doesn\x92t respond touch (not matter how gentle) and makes absolutely no sounds or requests during sex). Little things that shouldn\x92t matter become arguments because of sexual frustration \x96 mine.

I don\x92t want to end the marriage because she\x92s been very loyal to me (I went through a long period of depression) and we both couldn\x92t survive without each other\x92s income \x96 pathetic isn\x92t it? I\x92ve tried everything -- nice dinners, long walks, get away vacation, doing laundry (she doesn\x92t like the way I do it), I do the dishes every evening, and was a \x93soccer dad\x94.

Whenever, I suggest we need to talk, or get professional help, she says I get more than most men! I\x92ve suffered from low self- esteem but getting rejected 6 out of 7 days in literally killing me. Any ideas?
Desperate Husband

You had my sympathy, more or less, up until that last line: ''I\x92ve suffered from low self-esteem but getting rejected 6 out of 7 days in literally killing me.'' Sex once a week may be frequent, or infrequent, depending on the couple; getting pestered EVERY DAY about it is going to be a huge turn off.
Has your wife gone through any serious health crisis? Ie:surgery etc or maybe menopausal,different types of medications etc?

I had the same problem with my husband who was vey ill for 2 years. (including heart surgery) It was not until recently that we were able to rekindle our sex lives. It drove me nuts as I am only in my mid fourties. I actually started to get a wandering eye. But anyway it took awhile but he was able to gain his strength and confidence and now we are really enjoying it. Remember her lack of interest probably has nothing to do with you. Keep working on her to get her interested and keep trying to get her to see a therapist. Elf

I am sorry to hear of your unhappiness, but it might comfort you to know that in my book, you are getting a decent amount of sex (as to the quality, that is another story). My husband and I have been together 20 years and have a very satisfying quality to our sex life, but due to the usual reasons -- young kids, fatigue, etc. -- we only have sex twice a month!!! I know my husband would like more -- what man wouldn't -- but it is about all I can manage.

As for the quality of your sex life, it really sounds like you two could use some counseling. If she knew that you are on the verge of leaving over this, it might jump-start her to make some changes. No outsider can know the reason for your wife's disinterest, but the fact she is still willing and able to have sex weekly speaks to her love for and committment to you Anon

I'm a married man at least ten years your junior, and I can tell you are getting more than your average share of intimacy from your wife. Also, you're not doing enough around the house. You sound like a complainer. Grow up, start acting like a man (make sacrifices), be happy and love your wife.
This is such a common issue with couples--differing levels of desire.

I think open, caring communication is key. If you can't talk about it, you can't find common ground.

One thing that has helped in my marriage is agreeing on a mutually-acceptable level of frequency and sticking to it. Doesn't sound very sexy, but it helps avoid that awful feeling of rejection (for the person with more desire) and that awful feeling of being hounded/harassed (for the person with less desire). This needn't be a schedule, but just an understanding of how much is enough. Sounds like you all haven't had that sort of conversation yet.

Other things to talk about: where does her lack of desire come from? Fatigue? Resentment? Just plain old biology? What can you do to satisfy yourself when you are on and she isn't? What does not having sex feel like for you? What does being pressured for sex feel like for her? Are there things you can do together that are sexual and satisfying but not full on intercourse? Are there other areas of intimacy in which you are not as close as you once were? What other aspects of your relationship need to be tended to? Anon

Your wife is correct that once a week is pretty good. This seems to be the universal lament of all long marrieds. I know from my perspective that the reason I never want oral sex from my husband is because he is really really bad at it. I wish he weren't believe me. He also is not the greatest kisser. What to do? Divorce him? I work with what I have. I love my husband and he is pretty hot to me still...just lacks some skills. I think asking your wife what she needs without making the discussion about what YOU need might help a bit. Do you desire your wife or just sex? Your comment about the fact that you need each other's salaries made me sad. If that is why you are still together after 30 years then maybe you should start talking about what you both want. Talking, in my opinion, never hurts a marriage. Even if you are talking about why it isn't satisfying Long Married
This is as much a heads-up to the many moms who post about their reduced sex drive as well as a specific reply to the gentleman who posted the query. I'm answering as a single mom in my 40's who is also unashamedly a part-time ''provider''--I advertise on Craigslist--I'm paid for sex and companionship by men from 25 to 65, mostly married, whose wives can't or won't engage in intimate relations (some ever, some infrequently like your wife). I'm not a ravishingly gorgeous siren; you couldn't pick me out in line at the berkeley bowl. I don't do anything particularly skillful or kinky; what I do is something far simpler, for which there is vast demand: I authentically enjoy sex (albeit on a commercial basis) with husbands like you.

More--many more--men get entangled in affairs than see a pro; the repercussions of affairs, when they become emotionally involved, have been well documented on this list. As someone with a very strong libido (which is never extinguished by disaffection--something i am always told is a ''male'' attitude), I can relate to the frustration of being with someone who is content with a much lower frequency or less variety of sex than you are.

Whatever those of you reading this may think of me, I'm positive I've seen more than a few husbands of happily married BPNers on a professional basis. I try to send them home feeling satisfied, desirable, and appreciative of their wives'strengths as well as their limitations. If that seems threatening to the women on this list, consider the fact that there are many, many willing women with less firm boundaries--paid and unpaid--for your husbands to avail themselves of in their search of what's ''missing'' long-term in your marriage. In my opinion, if a woman is not willing to address either the underlying problems in a marriage nor the possible psycho- or physiological reasons why she doesn't enjoy frequent sex with a husband who desires her and is committed to the marriage, then (if divorce is out of the question) you as the husband are justified in discreetly ''supplementing'' your sexual needs with other women while your wife keeps her head in the sand. An Opinionated Hooker

It is not uncommon in marriages for one person to want sex more than the other, but this sounds troubling, as your wife does not seem to think there's even a problem. Some things to consider for your own well-being are:

1) what seems like a comfortable amount of sex and frequency for you?

2) when you do have sex and both enjoy it, what is happening differently? Do you have a babysitter at those times so you're not distracted? Are there certain things that she finds more arousing than others?

3) how much general affection do you show towards one another? I have seen couples where they have a low level of affection in general, so when one person approaches another for sex, it seems like a duty more than an extension of tenderness and love that is ongoing and fluid. what is your need for affection, and what is hers?

It seems like professional help might guide you towards a solution, but without both people wanting to participate, it's somewhat difficult to have a successful outcome. Maybe she thinks that seeing a professional means there's something wrong with her, but if you think about it, people go to medical doctors all the time without shame or embarrassment. So why should seeking couples help be any different? As for ''you're lucky you're getting any sex,'' that seems like the sound of a pressured, upset person who needs some understanding and perhaps a little backing off for the time being. Just some thoughts... Lisa

You indicated that your wife only wants sex once a week and that being rejected 6 our of 7 days is ''killing'' your self esteem. If you know that she only wants it once a week then why are you asking for it every night? The effect is that it upsets you unnecessarily and probably makes her feel badgered, so she has sex with you on the weekend not because she wants to but because she feels she owes it to you. Why not just let the romance build up to the big night (or day) through romantic letters or gestures and take your cues from her? Your self-esteem should not depend on whether or not your wife wants it that night. That's putting a lot of pressure on her and your neediness probably turns her off. There should be many other ways in which you nurture your self-esteem through factors you yourself control. It is not healthy to rely to that extent on others for validation. And it's not sexy. Just because your wife doesn't want to get professional help doesn't mean YOU shouldn't get it for yourself. Many couples have differing needs, but that shouldn't break up an otherwise good relationship. It's part of the normal process of compromise that healthy couples work around. If your wife is ''perfect'' in all other areas, as you say, you owe it to both of you to see a therapist on your own to work out your self-esteem issues. And wait for your wife to approach YOU when the mood strikes anon
I don't have an answer for you but I think that you need to clarify the reasons for your desire to go to therapy. It seems she feels you're asking to go to therapy so you can get more sex from her. From what you say, you are interested enjoying a mutually satisfying sex life with your wife. Indeed, she probably has some issues to deal with (and she may not even realize she does), but try coming at it from the angle of working toward something that will make you both feel healthy, happy and satisfied. anon
With regard to the post by the sex worker, I must say that there are a few more avenues to explore before resorting to a method that could potentially destroy the good faith and trust of a mate. I don't object to employing a sex worker as a general means. In fact, this method would be preferable from my vantage point as a wife because sex workers have been shown in scientific studies to be much more careful than the general population with regard to safe sex. From an emotional perspective, there is far less likelihood of emotional attachment. Though I have had a few girlfriends (who worked their way through school as exotic dancers) relay more than a few occasions where the married client lost his head and believed he was ''in love.'' But, this concession would do little to ease my mind that my husband cheated on me. And I might feel pissed that a chunk of our discretionary income went to that end. If there was something physiological or physiological that rendered me incapable of having sex with my husband, I would be the first to suggest a pro. But I would truly be outraged if my once-a-week encounter just wasn't enough. (This is more than most SINGLE guys get.) Wives are pretty aware of household finances these days, not to mention that uncanny sense we seem to have when another woman has been too near. A missing few hundred bucks is likely to be noticed, as is a change in behavior or foreign scent. Anon
You should try to see things from your wife's perspective. She may need more LOVE, cuddling, empathy. Maybe even more time. (My chores can intrude on my enjoyment of sleep, sex, dinner out, etc.). Give it a try! Lighten her work load, cuddle w/o expecting sex, ask SINCERELY what you can do for her-and do it! Enjoy your desire and let it grow! I also agree w/ the \x93hooker'' response. It\x92s discouraging (and unappealing) to have someone say, in so many words, if you don't have sex with your husband on demand, I will, and and he'll pay me for it b/c I\x92m \x93professional.\x94 Neener neener. I\x92m glad you enjoy your paid work. But let's be realistic. Most women enjoy sex as much as their husbands. Some women are also living with men who can be selfish. Someone who is getting paid for sex doesn't have to pick up his dirty underwear, clean out the toilet, or ask him 17 times if he would please remember to come home on time Thursday for the kids' school event. I don't know women who enjoy giving all day and all night without having a little refreshment themselves. On the flip side of the ''happy hooker'' idea, that doesn't mean we all run out to get more satisfying sex somewhere else (and god knows we wouldn't blow our hard-earned cash to pay for it!) Most women/men understand marriage doesn\x92t mean sex on demand, and is a commitment to the person/family, which usually implies honesty, integrity, fidelity (other mutually-agreed-upon lifestyles notwithstanding). Even my own husband is undesirable sexually when he is oblivious to my life or our life together, in or out of the bed. But when he's empathetic, laughs with me, and pays attention to me and kids, I'm much more inclined toward him. It even makes it easier to ignore the mess he left for me in the kitchen sink (again). Try thinking from her perspective. Find a therapist to help. Don't get defensive if you find out that some complaints are legit. She doesn\x92t hate you, just wants to make it better. Just like you
Editor note: a number of complaints were received about the letter above from an opinionated hooker. Those comments are here .

Husband is upset about my lack of sex drive

July 2006

My husband and I have been married almost 9 years and together for 13. We have a very good and solid marriage, lots of respect, we share the workload of household and childrearing-, and we rarely fight at all. We have a 2 1/2 year old son. I love him deeply.

The problem is sex. Since having the baby, I don't care about it, don't really notice when it's not happening. But he does- and isn't happy about it. The other night I was talking with him about how sad I was that we can't have another child-and he suddenly brings up that we don't have enough sex..again! He keeps track of how long it's been since the last time and anything but actual intercourse doesn't ''count'' as sex. Although he doesn't hound me for it, I know it's always out there. Sex night is supposed to be Tuesdays but it frequently passes without me noticing it, or me dreading it and trying to find excuses to avoid it without saying ''no'' outright.

We've talked about how I feel sex is kind of ''dirty'' now (after becoming a mom.) And how I'm embarassed to really get into it when we're having it. I hate it when he talks dirty but he still does it and I cringe with embarrassment. I like sex when we have it and I get into it(most of the time) but it often takes me a looong time to get into it and sometimes I don't want him to touch me and just have sex to make him happy. We probably have sex 1-3 times a month. I've also gained about 12 extra pounds in the last year so I don't feel sexy-even though he tells me all the time I am. I think he's very attractive-so it's not an aversion or anything like that.

I miss sex in a purely theoretical way. I know it's important to the marriage and I feel guilty that I am not making him happy in that regard. But I am just totally disinterested. I have a therapist but I'm even embarassed to talk to her about this. I've read the ''confessions of a naughty mommy' and that just made me angry-how it all just works out in the end for her. I want to want it-but I just don't.

Any suggestions for me? Has anyone else found sex to be embarassing after childbirth? How do you get over it? Do you just grin & bear it? Please-I welcome any suggestions! Anonymous

Ask your doctor about this. I've heard that a topical cream is available to re- energize the sex drive. This is more common then you think! been there
I don't have any answers for you. Just want you to know that you are not alone!! Since having 2 kids, my sex drive is even lower than it was before kids (and that was low). We haven't done it in months. My husband doesn't bug me about it too much (yet). We actually joke about it now. We both figure that when we're both not so tired, we'll pick it up a long lost hobby (we have two toddlers). I guess the key would be to start spending more 'alone' time together, which we never do. Are you and your husband able to be together without your child at least once a week? Date nite? I look forward to hearing the advice on this one anon
I did not find enough info in your letter to know for sure, but I am guessing as the child is 2 1/2 that you are probably occupied dealing w/ him a lot. I was in massage therapy training when I got pregnant w/ my child. From pregnancy through, oh, age 3 or 4, I not only was less interested in sex, (though that came back gradually, before 3 or 4, but not all at once) I lost all interest in massage therapy. Maybe I am lucky because of this.

Because I got the perspective that it was not really about sex, but about touch, and about how much one person can handle before going into overload. I nursed and held my baby a lot, and she was on me a lot as she got older, but less and less as she got older. The less the kid was physically attatched/on/touching me in one way or another, the more my desire to touch and be touched w/ others came back. Your child deserves as much of you as you can possibly give him at this point, and if you still love your husband, and he you, then hopefully you both can weather this out, as it will come back. It's better to give the child what it needs now and assure your husband he is not in for a life of monkhood. If he wants to accelerate the proccess, then finding ways to have someone else take the child on a regular basis...grandma, playdates, babysitter, etc., for significant amounts of time that give you the chance to recharge and actually want ot be touched again, this will help I think. Good Luck

I felt similar to you right after I had my baby, but it started to fade. One thing that happened that made a difference was at orgasm my milk would come out! Combined with the sweat, and sometimes tears (the release of it all). It sounds funny, but it made me feel like I was all one: mother, woman, sexual being, nurturer. I felt like the primeaval woman! My husband thought it was funny and liked it. We brought humor into it also. The other thing that used to happen was the baby would wake up right at the time of orgasm (not from the noise) really bad timing! She must've known that something was going on. Maybe there are different things he can do to make you feel more comfortable (like NOT talking dirty). Anyway, I think you will get back into it, but maybe taking it slow and talking more about how you feel ahead of time with your husband might help ease the pressure anon
First of all, it is really important to keep having sex - even if you are going through the motions, you need to do it for him in order to stay connected and reassure him that you love him. But I think you know this. Second, some reassurance - I lost my sex drive after the birth of my baby too. It came back. I found two things that greatly affected it: the mini-pill killed all desire, so we switched to condoms, and once I stopped breastfeeding my drive greatly increased. Finally, you need to talk to your therapist about this -- if you're paying one, you should get your money's worth and this is obviously an issue that should be addressed. Good luck BTDT
Wow! I could've written this post. I know exactly how you feel and have the same problem. After the birth of my daughter I was pretty injured so sex was just downright painful for a long time. It finally got better, but I was pretty much only interested in it to please my husband. My daughter is now 2.5 yrs old and I'm pregnant with another baby due this October. (I got pregnant again really quickly once I stopped taking the pill.) My husband has been very sweet and patient about the lack of sex, but I know it bothers him. It's just so uncomfortable again now while carrying the baby and I'm so tired at the end of the day after working a full-time job, cooking dinner, and getting my daughter off to bed. What worked best for us btw pregnancies was to use my daughter's afternoon nap time. I had more energy then. Often I was just trying to satify my husband's desires, but I tried to not think about motherhood and get into the experience while it was happening at least. Go easy on your husband on this. Men do have a genuine need for sex more than women and nothing has changed to his body the way it has with yours. I feel stretched to the hilt already, and as heavy as ever, and I still have over 3 months to go. Sigh. I'm looking forward to reading what other posters have to say on this topic. This is just to let you know you are not alone Also Anon
I feel hounded by my husband for sex too. I want to say, ''I'm tired, you jerk.'' I still have a sex drive after kids, but he literally pesters me every day. Once or twice a week would be just fine. I don't really have any advice for you, but I feel your aggravation! Also, maybe there is something you can do to increase your libido so that you look forward to your time together. Exercise makes me feel better about myself and more horny. Good luck! anon
I just wanted to let you know that you are not alone! I have gone through exactly the same as you once I became a mom...the lack of desire for sex. My husband and I did some couples therapy which I believe helped us work things out. (My desire is still low, but I try my best to get interested and have fun). When one partner desires sex more than the other, it really puts a strain on the relationship, as I well know. And yet it makes sense to take the time for eachother in order to save the marriage. The book ''Passionate Marriage'' could be good for you to read. I personally would be fine with sex a couple of times a month, but my husband needs more. It has taken us some work to discover and respect eachother's needs. Communication and working on boosting your desires should be beneficial. Good luck! in the same boat
Oh My Goodness! I don't really have a solution, but I swear it was like me writing that story. The ONLY difference is that Wednesday night is suppose to be our sex (hump) night. And just like you, I make up every excuse I can & sometimes wait until he's sleep & creep into bed. Wow! So basically, like you I will just wait & see what other people say to do. I mean it's so gross to me that now when we do have sex I tell him to use a towel to ejaculate in, I don't even want that stuff in me. EH! I feel your pain, so this is really just to shed some light to tell you that you are NOT alone! anon
Your situation sounds similar to ours. A combination of innate differences, life circumstances, and medical issues have left us with very differing levels of interest in sex, touching, etc. We have been dealing with this for more than 10 years, and although it is sometimes still a struggle and a source of worry, we mostly have accepted the situation--and that is, I think, because we compromise. We agreed on a frequency of sex (not a night, per se, but a general figure) that would be acceptable to both of us, and we do make a point of considering all forms of sexual intimacy, not just intercourse, as part of our sexual life together.

I do have sex sometimes when I would rather not; I used to think this was awful -- but don't we often do things we don't want to do for people we love? Likewise, my husband goes without sexual contact when he would really like it. We try to respect each other's positions, and give a little when we can.

We worked on this issue in couples therapy (difficult, but worthwhile) and also read (together) a book called Hot Monogamy that was very useful at reassuring us that our different levels of interest are A) very common and B) not insurmountable. I think that loving couples can manage this situation with good communication, kindness, and a willingness to compromise. Good luck! Low Libido
You don't say if you're breastfeeding your son or not, but breastfeeding does release hormones that dampen sex-drive. If you have not been breastfeeding for a while, than this is probably not playing a role. Either way, I strongly urge you to talk to your therapist about your embarassment about sex. Doesn't it strike you as an interesting and telling contradiction that, now that you are a mother, you see sex as ''dirty'' and embarassing--after all, you wouldn't BE a mommy without it! That says to me that there may be something else going on, something emotional-- regarding sex as dirty and embarrassing is something that is *learned*, so you can UNlearn it, as well, but you'll need your therapists help.

It may help you to think of it this way: a healthy sex-life (one that you are enjoying, too, not just going through the motions) is important to a healthy marriage, a healthy marriage is extremely important to the emotional well-being of your entire family, including your SON. Your relationship with your husband is the model that your son will follow when he grows up -- so you have a big responsibility here, what kind of example do you want to set for him?

Your therapist can help you (or, if your therapist can't, find another therapist!), please give her a chance to do that and talk to her about what is coming up for you, for your sake as well as your son's and your husband's.

Testosterone cream for libido?

June 2006

Does anyone out there have experience using testosterone cream (applied to the clitoris) to help with extremely low libido? I have a prescription from my MD but am hesitant to actually use it. Any advice (usefulness, side effects, better treatments or, ahem, how-to) would be appreciated! Signed, anon!

First the obligatory caveat about drugs as a last resort for this sort of thing, blah blah.

Have you tried Wellbutrin? A little publicized clinically studied side-effect is to enhance the female libido: I'm a guy(55), my MD prescribed it for depression and *my* sex life has reached new heights and a couple of lady friends swear it has put a new bounce in their step. I had previously gone through all the SSRIs which had a depressing effect on my libido as well as other unpleasant side-effects. It's like the difference between dialup and broadband ... Just make sure your man can keep up (hoho).

If you want technique, try Clint Arthur's New Sex Now (DVD). It has 4-5 star rating at Amazon: Basically, it's G-spot massage. Watch it together and move your sex life into overdrive. One friend told me 'I never knew a man could touch a woman like that!!!'. I'll resist the urge to offer a demonstration ...

Have fun .. Steve

April 2006

My wife and I are struggling (as so many are!) with balancing full time jobs, two kids (4 and 6), managing a house and dog, AND paying sufficient attention to one another. Invariably, our relationship ends up last on the list of things to do. We are both in counseling (individual and couples) and one of the issues that has come up has been my wife's lack of sex drive. We have heard that testosterone creams could be used as a ''libido pick up'', but my wife is reluctant to try it. She has heard of some side affects of the use of this unregulated product to be both unpleasant and irreversible. We would like to hear from other women who have had expereince with using this treatment. wondering husband

My husband and I went through what sounds like the EXACT same thing. I did try the cream, but stopped after a couple of weeks. It just felt artificial to my mind. Also, I started having violent dreams at night. I would witness war, murder, shootings, all in darkness, in these dreams. Scary. Made me wonder how men live in their bodies. Anyway, it was effective in raising my libido, no question, but I also felt like I was the one who had the ''problem'' that needed to be ''fixed''. There's a lot more to deal with than just low frequency of sex: sexual politics, individual responsibility, priorities, all those good things. In the same boat
When my libido plummeted in my early forties, I talked with my gynecologist. She offered me a prescription for Methyltestosterone 2.5 mg, a very gentle and natural form that is safe for women and at the proper dose will not cause the irreversible side effects.

I started out at one per day and noticed a bit of effect but not enough to get me back on track. Now I take one daily and then one additional approximately every other day for a total of 10 a week. This is the maximum that she will prescribe to be safe and it works for me.

Kaiser has to have this prescription compounded at an outside pharmacy, and for some reason Richmond is the only pharmacy that will fill it for me. My GYN told me that there's also a manufactured testosterone supplement that's safe for women, but I'll stay with natural as long as I can get it. I haven't looked into the test patch for women since I'm happy with this.

Once I hit menopause, loss of estrogen began to cause me problems with lubrication, orgasm, and libido, so now I use a vaginal ring, ''Estring'', that locally and slowly releases estrogen which is not absorbed systemically. It's made a big difference!

Also, Viagra can enhance sexual responsiveness for some women by improving genital blood supply. Another option worth looking into. Cece

run, don't walk, to your local bookstore and buy a copy of the book ''Confessions of a Naughty Mommy, How I found my Lost Libido'' by Heidi Raykiel. Read the book yourself, don't just suggest it to her. Nothing is sexier than a husband who wants to solve a problem as part of a partnership :-) Bravo for posting. Haven't tried the cream, but this book was great--it really helped us. been there
I look forward to ending my child-birthing/nursing years so i can get more testosterone cream! I did the oral medication--before they had the cream-- and it was great but it had side effects and I had to go off of it. But I have heard that the cream has less problems. If a doctor recommends it and supervises it I think it is worth trying for sure. Definitely would not do it without a doc's careful eye. Getting more cream soon
If the goal is to increase testosterone levels one thought is some of the recent though debated research on how certain types of exercise (namely high intensity)can increase testosterone levels. very sympathetic

Overwhelming sexual energy in late 30's

April 2006

Ever since hitting about age 36 two years ago I've found myself with the sex drive of an 18 year old boy. This has caused me to flirt with colleagues, browse ''casual encounters'' on Craigslist, and generally spend way too much time thinking about sex when I should be thinking about my motherly, wifely, and other more wholesome life activities. I've discovered that sex of all kinds is certainly available to women in my situation, but I've not acted on such opportunities. My husband finds it amusing, he cannot keep up with me and says (that's SAYS) he would allow me a limited excursion into a ''sex- only'' experience, so long as it was protected and he got to hear all about it. This goes totally against my rational side and the monogamous values I hold in the bright light of day. But then when an attractive man passes by, I'm all aflutter again. Some days I think I need therapy and other days I'm happy to feel so vibrant and alive. Is it all just raging hormones? Will it taper? Am I the only otherwise happily married mom and wife with this struggle? anonymous, obviously

It seems to me to be a sign of the healthiness of your marriage that you have shared your fantasies and urges with your husband and that he seems to understand. You express, however, some doubt that your husband would be able to deal with the reality of having another man fulfill your fantasies, and that's one reason to exercise caution. It might damage your shared trust and happiness. Have you considered how you would feel if your husband decided to act on fantasies of his own? Maybe it would be perfectly OK with you and maybe not, but it certainly would be only fair if he tolerated sexual excursions for you. My big worry for you (and I sympathize because I share your mid-life sexual surge feelings, as you'll see in a minute)is that you might underestimate the link between sex and emotion. I know that in my case I was wildly attracted to a younger man. My marriage was not as healthy as yours and I went on this extra- marital excursion without telling my husband, so thte situation is different in that sense. But once I was involved sexually with the other man, I fell in love with him, and he with me. It was an impossible situation and we broke up (to be honest, he broke with me), and I have been heartbroken now for nearly nine months. Our marriage is nearly in ruins because I don't want my husband to touch me (and he did find out, so I feel guilty for hurting him as well). I have the other man too much on my mind. You may be completely different from me temperamentally and able to enjoy casual sex. But I was able to enjoy casual sex as a younger woman and I think I thought I would be able to do that with this lover as well. I was wrong. I am far from judging you or condemning non-monogamous life in general, but I would urge you to think about the emotional repercussions not only for your husband (which you have already considered) but yourself and the other partner. guilty party
A very interesting situation you've described! My sexual energy was also high high high in my 30's, but I was single and free to do as I pleased with it without any conflict of interest. In my 50's, I still have a high sex drive, although nothing compared to my 30's.

There is nothing intrinsically unwholesome about sexuality or, in fact, in any expression of sexuality between consenting adults! There's also nothing intrinsically wrong with flirting- it's fun and, just for itself, harmless. And there's nothing intrinsically wrong with surfing pornography or casual encounters for the stimulation and fantasy of it, it's just that women aren't ''supposed'' to be interested in such things (and pornography is mostly geared to men's interests).

Fantasy is great, and masturbation is great, and the two go together very well. I myself have many sexual fantasies that I don't expect to ever act on (as well as others that I've tried out in reality) and they come in very handy in my relationship with my fingers and vibrator!

It's good that you can be open with your husband about this, and he with you, although it sounds like he may not be taking it seriously to heart. But maybe it's really okay with him for you to experiment and he enjoys the idea of being a voyeur in your adventure(s), it may be titillating and arousing to him. Again, anything is okay, nothing is intrinsically wrong.

One word of experience, quite a bit of experience- casual encounters are more often sexually disappointing than not. Really good sex is as hard to find as really good love! I've done them, and have found that what I really enjoy is putting on a short skirt and heels, going out on the town, and flirting with a stranger.

I have a (maybe) off the wall idea for you and your husband. You could go out together, you could dress up as sexually outrageously as you like, and you and he split up at your destination (a bar or club?). You could flirt your little heart out but know who you're going home with. Your husband could watch you in action and get his titillation. Who knows what might happen in the bedroom when you get home!?

Creativity is the spice of life! Another sexed-up woman

Guess what! What you are experiencing is completely normal. Women reach their sexual peak in their early 40's. Men reach their sexual peak in their early 20's. Go to Good Vibrations and buy some fun stuff since this sounds more up your alley than going and having some sexual experience (which could wreck your marriage.) Go buy some goodies and jill off! Enjoy! Jillin' and chillin'
You are not alone. I am a 37 yo married mom of two and feel just the same way. I have always been very sexually minded and just thought this would change when I go married/hit 30/had kids...etc., but that has not been the case. I think there is an expectation in society for that to happen and often it is taboo to bring this up (I'm so glad you did). It's not easy to admit that we have these feelings, but I've come to accept myself for the most part. Sometimes I feel really different from the other moms/wives that are exchanging recipes, making playdates, etc. when I have all these other thoughts running through my head. Maybe there are more moms out there like us than we think? Sexuality is a beautiful part of being human, yet most people are too afraid to explore outside the box. I think it's great that you can talk to your husband about this, and that he is so open-minded. I am also lucky in that my husband and I have been able to talk about this since even before we got married. Over the years we have explored non- monogamy at times. It has not always been easy, but it feels more natural and real to us and I can't imagine closing off that part of myself. Feel free to contact me through BPN if you wish to talk further. anon
Same thing happened to me in my late 30's, with 2 kids and a 12-year marriage, and just at a time when my husband's interest in sex was greatly diminishing. All I could think about was sex, sex sex. I NEVER had experienced that kind of high octane desire, not even when I was 19 or 20. In retrospect it seems like the body's drive to have one last glorious chance to reproduce. I was just driven by the hormones. Living in a college town with all these cute boys all over the place doesn't exactly help matters. They ALL look cute. Anyways, after a couple years of being tormented by constant sex crazed obsessions I ended up having an affair (thank God I kept my head enough to stay away from 19-year-olds). It was wonderful and it was terrible at the same time. It broke up my marriage. I got married again, and I am happy now, but going through a divorce with kids is no fun. It really is a steep price to pay. My advice would be: you have to be crazy to think that you can have sex with no strings attached. Even though your husband says he's ok with it, can you really predict how things will turn out? What if you fall in love with the new guy? What if you fall in love with the way you feel around the new guy, and you want that more than you want your marriage? It's complicated. Be careful.
I would not have an extra-marital experience as that would probably damage your marriage even if both of you seem game before the fact. As for the sexual desire, you are absolutely normal! A recent study shows that many women, even in stable loving marraiges, desire extra-marital sex and are extemely attracted to others around the time they ovulate. As an anthropologist, I can tell you that monogamy is difficult for humans and even though men and women enter parnerships (or marraiges) in many cultures to raise children, men and women BOTH often have sex outside the marriage. The desire is absolutely normal. My advice is to enjoy the sexual energy, have sex with your husband (and yourself) when possible, perhaps visit Good Vibrations on San Pablo in Berkeley and explore getting toys or other things to enhance your pleasure (with and without your husband), but don't have sex with someone else as that might cause problems. Anon
I don't know about what is normal for sex drive at mid 30's. I'm in my late 20's, but I can say that I have been experiencing something very similar in the second two trimesters of my pregnancy. I feel like my sex drive is increasing in proportion to my tummy. I too have surprisingly been noticing an increase in male attention, focused on touching my belly. And I smile back all the time now. Before I rarely noticed the attention and hardly encouraged it. Normally I would never let a stranger touch me, but now it's very exciting. Touching my belly. To watch a man put his hand on my belly and hold it or rub, makes my blood race. Unfortunately my husband is not nearly as open minded as yours seems to be. You're lucky. Do you think in the end though the jealousy will get to him and make his or both of your lives difficult? I can't help but wonder. I say if he lets you then wow, why not give it a try. If it backfires the blame seems to be equally on him. But that's easy advice to give a stranger, and I haven't let anything go further than some tummy rubbing and feeling the baby kicking - but in my mind it goes much further. The question is how would you feel after if it goes beyond flirting or a mental thing. I've been struggling with that myself. Should I take advantage of my raging hormones? This seems like a once or twice in a lifetime opportunity that maybe I shouldn't let slip by. Will I regret it later if I don't act on it? Will I regret it if I do? Given my condition, do I really have the opportunity to act out? Are these men actually interested in more than just touching my tummy? You're probably going through the same mental torture. Good luck.

Steroids for asthma lowering my sex drive?

May 2006

As with many marriages, we are experiencing serious lack of sex as parents. We have a 3 year old and 9 month old. I am still breastfeeding, dealing with postpartum hormones etc, but during another one of my husband and my late night fights after an attempt at anything sexual, my husband said that my lack of sex drive occurred prior to having children and actually at the same time I was prescribed and starting using inhaled steroids to keep my asthma under control. It has been about 7 years since that first prescription and, my husband is right, that's when my sex drive went out the window. But, it's also the time we were married, starting having serious responsibilities (mortgage, car payments)= less fun, more work, less partying, more being married. Is the prescription a coincidence or could it be a real factor in my lost libido? When I've mentioned it to doctors, they just say, ''Well, this is quite common for new parents.'' I don't want to hear that anymore. I want to make an effort to make this marriage work, with sex. And, uh, I have to breathe too.
Inhaled then exhaled my sex drive?

yes - I absolutely think you should NOT ignore the steriods as a possible source of your lost libido - it may not be that they are the ONLY reason, but as someone who has taken various sterios, inhaled and not, over my life for asthma I think this is absolutely true. Sure, your family situation plays a role, but steriods affect your body systemically in so many ways, I think it's worth looking into. I've also found that the anxiety increased asthma causes, and often the (more obvious) side-effects of the steriods - for me acne flare-ups, mood swings, etc... impact my sex drive as well. It seems that the steriods just throw various sytems out of whack, and though it's not extreme enough thatI instantly make the connection, looking back over time I can see that there is a correlation. Over the years I've been able to work in some homeopathic remedies in to my asthma treatment and eventually decreased my reliance on the steriods. Not sure if that would work in your situation but I'd definitily explore your concerns with your doctor and do some research yourself and check out your options. I have to say it's a relief to get your groove back.
good luck on your mojo mission

How common is passion after 10 years of marriage?

Jan 2006

Someone recently wrote in asking about how often couples had sex, and saying that she and her husband, after 10 years, still have satisfying sex 1-2 times a week, and still try new things. My only experience with married sex (from a marriage now over) is that it hardly ever happened and was boring when it did. (What a surprise that we got a divorce.) I have come to realize how important passion and passionate sex are to me, but I feel fairly hopeless that these things stick around after about a year. So I have several questions:

1. To the woman who wrote that posting I referred to: what in the world are you doing that's new after TEN YEARS???

2. How many people out there experience real PASSION with their partners after being with them for many years? (What I mean by ''passion'' is a very intense emotional connection that may or may not involve sex.) If you do, what is it like? Do you think it comes from some deep connection you either have or you don't, or is it something you can drum up by reading a book like ''The Passionate Marriage,'' etc?

3. How many people experience passionate, deeply intimate sex with their partners after being with them many years? And again, do you think this is from an inherent connection, or can you intentionally create it?

If such passion and intimacy are -- after being together for a while -- really rare, I can't see bothering with marriage (or other long-term relationship) again. I'm hoping to hear that lots of folks have these things and that they are reasonable to hope for....

Many thanks for any stories from your own relationship that you might like to share. Anonymous

Yes! Yes! Yes! My husband and I have been married 11 years and together 15. We are very emotionally connected and passionate. Of course it ebbs and flows, and with a young child, we have to be more mindful of nurturing our relationship. There are periods in the last 4 years of ''just dealing with life's business'' and days when we hardly get any time together (just us two), but underneath it all, there is a strong love and respect and friendship.

I think that connecting with a person who is open enough to self reflect and be flexible to communicate about whatever needs to be discussed is key. I really believe that communication is the life blood of a relationship. Not feeling heard or respected is enough for me to make passion die out. I'm pretty amazed that we still feel a hot, physical attraction to one another after all these years!

Replying to your questions, I don't know if it's rare or if books help. For me, definitely working on myself during the relationship has helped, by that I mean trying to be more conscious of my behavior and how it affects my partner, trying to make internal changes that help our relationship while still being true to myself. We did start with a deep, spiritual connection, and now grow and change together. Though, of course, some things do stay the same. I still have some of my annoying personality traits and so does my husband, I guess I've learned more tolerance over the years as well. I hope some of this might be helpful, it sounds like you want to hope and try again. I hope you do and I hope you are pleasantly surprised with a fulfilling relationship! anonymous

What an interesting question! And so much at the center of our lives. I've been having sex with the same man, my husband, for 15 years. It is not the same exitment then it was at the beginning. You're right, novelty wears off. But if I find my spontaneous desire to have diminished considerably, I find the pleasure I get from the act itself deeper (in all the senses of the term). THere is a sentence I read in a book that I always remember and that had had a big impact on me: ''love is a verb'', love just doesn't fall on you, you have to decide to love and to desire for that matter. I notice that when I take the initiative I get way more exitement and now that the kids are older, it can pretty much be any time and anywhere. There are always new things to imagine: suddently sitting on your husband's lap as he scans the news on the computer and start nibbling at his ear, coming out of the bathroom with a new nightgown (or nothing at all), start with a foot massage, entice him in the kitchen while guests are in the living room.... that's what fun about beeing together long: knowing exactly what the partner wants and playing semi-dangerous games. That said, my sex life is not heaven on earth, I've had difficult times (especially around 10 years of relationship), sometimes I'm not in the mood and it feels that his desire is imposing on me, but even in that case, I know that the physical intimacy will improve our relationship. This whole thing is very personal anyway and it takes 2 to tango, it might be a question of age too. There is no harm in experimenting anyway: try the bathtub, the shower, the garden, in the car... for me it's more new situations than new positions. Read books, explore and have fun! happy wife
Well..... is not common, but can be created. You have to have romantic vacations together; and forget about the children, period.You have to keep yourself up and he has to be willing to give you money for that purpose.It maybe be a possibility, that he was never mister right and you just simply grew apart. Marriage is not forever, and does not come with a money-back guarantee.If you go with a forever sign on your forhead into the marraige you are setting yourself up for a bigger fall.Some marriages work for a long time, but it does not necessarily mean they are actually happy and having olympic sex.They simply have common goals and love each other intensely.My advise: Plan financially as you were single, keep your professional options open at all times,have only the children you mentally and physically is realistic for you to handle; you will be happier at the end. Seen this before
Hi - i have to say i was also surprised and pretty saddened by all the responses about how often married couples were having sex. For me i love my husband and i also like him - he's my best friend but to keep the actual connection, the intimate connection i can only get that with having sex. It makes me feel closer to him. We've been together for 12 years and we try to have sex at least every other day - we make this almost a rule. Whether its quick and fast or drawn out the actual act of having sex and the release i think makes you want to have more sex...also for the passion part of your question, as i get older i also find myself exploring new parts of my sexuality i was maybe to shy or embarrassed about thinking/discussing before and that in itself helps keep things interesting. But all in all, i think what keeps it working best is i am attracted to him and i just like him a lot. honey
I met my first husband in college and was married to him for close to 11 years. We had very little passion after about 3 years. We still had sex pretty regularly, but as you said, it was kind of boring, at least for me, and I know my husband sought excitement outside our marriage. I considered it, too. When the marriage was finally over, I dated (translation: slept around) with a vengeance, probably to make up for all those boring years.

That's how I met my current husband. We've been together for 8 years now, with two preschool-aged kids, and there has been no lessening of passion. I don't so much find that we need new ''tricks'' to keep things interesting, but we continue to find one another sexy and as we age together. I think we just get a kick out of learning more about each other. I'd say we go at it 3-4 times a week, and on the days we're not actually having sex, there's certainly caressing, necking and other intimate behaviors.

There are two things of utmost importance: One, it's extremely important to marry someone you're sexually compatible with. This is both in terms of frequency and ''technique.'' Second, and most importantly, you just have to make time for sex. I know everyone says this, but so many people just don't. There are nights where it would be easy to say ''I'm too tired'' or ''I'm still mad at you'' or whatever, but if you make yourself get into it, you won't regret it. How many people look back and say ''I wish I'd had less sex with my husband''?

Our grandmothers were right: sex is the glue that holds a marriage together. happy

Well, my husband and I have been together just about 10 years now, and the passion is still there. Not every minute of the day, by any means, but when we seek it together, it's definitely there.

It sounds like you are equating passion with the chills & thrills of a new relationship, and I doubt that condition ever survives the first year or so (unless you're in a long-distance relationship or one with lots of hair-raising up and downs). So maybe it's a question of expectations? -- Passionate Wife

My partner and I have been together for 9 years (married for 4.5, but our relationship before marriage was a deeply committed relationship), and we still have lots of passion. I think it does come from a deep connection that we have, and a deep respect. He is constantly doing things that remind me of why I love him, and he says the same of me. We're still able to bring that passion into bed too. Part of that, I think, is that we don't really have sex that often (sometimes once every 2 months, sometimes twice a week), so it's not boring and we miss it when we aren't doing it (you know, absense makes the heart, etc...).

I think if you have a good connection with your partner, then you can work on the passion part. There's a good book by Harville Hendrix called ''Getting the Love you Want'' that helped my partner and I through a rough time, and working on the exercises in that book really increased our passion - but as I said, we had a solid foundation to start. Passionate!

''Passion'' is such an abstract term--it means different things to different people. To some, the emotional highs and lows of fighting and making up feel passionate. To others, it's the intensity of being with someone new, or the giddy feeling of uncertainty or risk.

I've had 2 back-to-back long term relationships, one that lasted 9 years, and a current one that has lasted 7 years so far. In the first, I no longer wanted to have sex with my partner after a few years. In the current (we're married with a kid) I continue to dig it and we roll in the hay regularly. Because we have a 2-year-old, our interludes are often quick, fun bangs. When we have more time, we'll have deeply intimate sex that leaves me really physically and emotionally sated. I think it's both inherent in the connection and also cultivated.

Comparing my two LTRs, a few things stand out that I believe strongly correlate with my sustained sexual interest or lack thereof:
1. Resentment makes me lose my libido.
2. Respect. My former mate behaved in his business and personal life in ways that made me lose respect for him.
3. Fitness. My current mate bicycles everywhere and it gives him this vitality that I find super appealing. My former mate didn't take care of himself, and it negatively affected his smell, touch, taste, appearance, clarity, and prowess.
4. Peer relationship. My relationship does not have mother/son or father/daughter undertones. We come together as equals/peers/lovers.
5. Freedom and trust. I thrive on a long leash with absolute, solid, mutual trust.

I firmly believe that sex doesn't exist in a vacuum. All these other seemingly unrelated things have a big impact. These are just the keys to my locks; you may have a different set. amy

I have been with my partner 21 years. We do have sex, but rarely - usually when we go away rather than at home. Sometimes it's perfunctory. Occasionally it's awesome. I don't know why. Our conversation and connection is the same - often dull and patterned but occasionally amazing. I would love to have more passion and the newness of sex with a different partner, but I doubt I'll ever do that.

Why not? Why stay together? Past passions have also either faded or been unhealthy. While I enjoy being alone, and long for more time alone, growing old with someone you love and who loves you is pretty great (esp when you consider the alternatives.)

Ideas for making things more passionate - I do recall hot sex after a particuarly sexy and provactive movie. And talking out fantasies gets things hotter for us too. We used to use sex toys more and still occasionally do.

I'm glad this discussion has been initiated and appreciate past posters honesty. I think many of us believe everyone else has more or different than we do. Perhaps some do, but not most. It's helpful to have a window into this. Anon

As someone who's been married over 10 years, I want to offer you hope that that passion can be maintained in a marriage if you take care of it. My husband and I had a passionate courtship, and continue to have a passionate marriage. I'm not sure if you can create passion where there wasn't any to begin with, but I do know that if you don't take care of it, it can disappear before you realize it's gone. Of course, the passion we share is not like it was in our 20s, but we're not the same people either--we have different demands on us now than we did then, and the passion is now deeper and richer in that it's both sexual and emotional. The things I think have helped us (beyond the usual respect, etc.) are:

-a weekly date-night out away from bills, to dos, and the children -holding hands and being physically affectionate in non-sexual ways when we're together -regular eye contact when speaking with each other (seriously, it's amazing how many conversations you can have while doing something else and not actually look at each other!) -greeting each other at the door when one of us comes home -going to bed at the same time even if it's to curl up and sleep -willingness to try different places, positions, etc. in our sexual interactions -willingness to drop what you're doing when the other person is feeling passionate -scheduling time to be intimate (I used to hate the lack of spontaneity in this, but it's a bit like exercise, if you don't make time for it, there never will be time) -letting go of/not building resentments I'm sure my husband would offer a different list, but these are the ones that help me to feel connected, and that help me to slow down enough from the to-dos to remember how passionately I feel feel. hopeful for you

Passion is definitely possible after a decade together. My husband and I have been together for 10 years and have gratifying sex 2-3 times a week. I think the sex is better now than it was in the beginning. We know how to please each other.We know each other's body as well as we know our own.

We also tell each other ''I love you'' every day. Not as a way to say goodbye before hanging up the phone or leaving for work, but as a way to say ''have I told you today how much I love you?''.

The passion I feel for my husband is a choice. After a decade together, we have seen each other at our best and our worst.

There are things about him that drive me insane and things about him that I adore. I choose to see the things that attracted me to him in the first place (his wit, his drive, his mind, his butt).

I choose not to dwell on the things that I wish I could change (his stubbornness, his distractions, his snoring).

I am by no means a Stepford wife, but I enjoy doing things to please my husband. Do I have sex when I'd rather go to sleep? sometimes. Are there days when I don't get a shower and the house is a wreck? sure. There are even days I could run kicking and screaming from the building - but I'd come back. Of course it's not the same as it was in the first year - But, life happens. We have 2 boys under the age of 4, a mortgage so big it's scary, a house so small we trip all over each other, and much more padding around the middle than we anticipated a decade ago. But, those things fade away when we are together. He can still take my breath away with a kiss and he still makes me blush when he tells me I'm beautiful. These aren't feelings that I could drum up from reading a relationship book. They are feelings I choose to continue having.

I think that we do have a deep emotional connection, but I just think that comes from loving the life and family that we have created together. We cherish our relationship and we put priority on keeping our connection to each other. I don't know if passion and intimacy are rare after a decade together, but I think it would be sad to assume that it would be and therefore give up trying. anonymous

My impression is that passion after 10 years of marriage is not common, but it is my belief that this is the case because of deep cultural wounds that we suffer as a society around sex and intimacy. After reading a wonderful book by an experienced and successful sex and marriage therapist (''Passionate Marriage'' by David Snarch), I truly believe that it is our fear of intimacy (of truly needing another person, and allowing them to know our deepest, innermost selves) that prevents us from sustaining passion in our relationships.

I strongly encourage you to read the book for yourself, and see what YOU think--it has made a huge difference to me and my husband (along with Harville Hendrix's, ''Getting the Love You Want''). Intmacy Challenged

Ahhhh, making love last!!! The great quandry....OK, I'm interested in others. I'm weighing in as someone who has been married(to the same guy) for 27 years. We had a lot of sex for the first 5 or so years. Then, it varied...mostly friendly sex once a month or so for the next 10. Then, we stopped trying not to have a baby, and had a lot of sex for the next 5 years. We had our first child after having been married 20 years. Since #2, we are just good friends. Family bed, tired, fat, overly familial, but, we don't seem to have much of a sex drive...maybe we just aren't very sexy people anymore? But, if someone were nice to him would he go off with them? I don't think so....I used to feel very strongly about monogomy, but, now, if someone wanted to make him happy with sex, well, she could come live with us as long as she didn't want me to leave....I mean, now that I am old and tired....She would probably be nice to have around maybe help clean up and all....actually, I want to believe that I/we will be sexy again!

I remember passion.....

I've been with my husband about 10 years, maybe a little more. We are passionate about each other, and mostly kind without repressing hostility, do you know what I mean? It's a miraculous thing to me because my parents were in the typical critical/withholding male - passive, fakey-happy female, and because every man I've been with before this was like my dad - abusive verbally, and in one case, physically. My only complaint about our life now is that we don't have sex very often, but when we do we really like it, it's passionate, and intimate. But our relationship is I think the kind that you're describing as passionate, whether we have a lot of sex or not. How is that possible? Hmmmm. Especially for a woman who was always attracted to abusive men... About 20 years of therapy, recovery from alcoholism and food disorders on my side, and my husband is in therapy (recoving alcoholic, but we both have over 20 years clean and sober) and really likes therapy - he started it before we became a couple because he himself was in a relationship with an abusive first wife. I firmly believe our coming together was divine intervention. Also, we were friends for a couple years, we were in a band together and became friends and later best friends. He said he fell in love at first sight (sigh) and I didn't fall in love with him until much later. He was quite patient and a very good friend all that time, and still is.

I read a lot of books in the past about all these issues, so those are very helpful. Also a shitload of therapy can help, though my sister has had more than I, and has never had a really good relationship. I would tell you if he had a brother, and he does, but he's married and is a very cold, critical person.

Also, I want to know about that woman who said they have sex a couple times a week and still find new things to try. Like what, after ten years?? jane

hi anon, LOVED your post as i have been wrestling with this topic my entire (adult) life. am 62 with 7 year old daughter (it's true). have had many relationships, tons of affairs, one marriage. common theme has been dichotomy of maintaining a relationship AND sexual interest over protracted time period.

you mention passion and intimacy as though they were inextricably linked. for me they are not. perhaps this is chauvinist of me, bred of male privilege. please feel free to share any and all views of this. i find passion for any new person to be definitely finite, although new people never fail to spark interest. long term intimacy, on the other hand, is for me not at all finite, rather desirable and necessary. so reconciling these two things remains a mystery. your post let me know, emphatically and wonderfully, that i am not totally alone in my confusion.

the marriage was somewhat a poster child for all this. we were together 17 years, married the last 6. when our girl was 2, her mom shocked us both by leaving me for reasons for which we will always disagree. but the passion/intimacy dichotomy was surely no small part, perhaps even more for her than for me. no, there had been no unfaithfulness, at least not on my end. though passion was long gone, intimacy was surely still there. she decided she could do without it, however. she may well have since changed her mind, don't know for sure. when she left 5 years ago, i was so devastated (and surprised) i have been not even close to mustering anything new since. of course there is not much market for 62 year old with half custody of 7 year old; also his own business, hence little free time. also am not much in the corporate, cookie-cutter, conventional wisdom, cell phone, tv watching, drinking, crap eating, relgious mold. but that's a whole other story.

thanks again for a most refreshing, thought-provoking post. good luck and keep on keepin' on. please, never give up looking. without that life would truly be a bore, or so it says here. doug

Not common in my case.

You don't get passion by reading a book.

Personally, a lot of passionate relationships I had withered after 6 months or so. I think it's because after that time the new glow is off the relationship and you start to deal with the realities of being with another flawed person instead of a fantasy. I'm also certain that me not having any idea of how to have a healthy relationship with another human being was also a large factor.

Committed relationships are hard work. Keeping long term passion in a relationship is even harder work. ''Hot'' relationships rarely (if ever) last more than a few months.

Personally, I think the French have it right... Ray

Our sex life has improved over time (15 y). To answer the questions, 1. What are we doing new? Exploring things that we haven't tried before, perfecting our techniques in others. Some stuff might be a little edgy, but nothing really out there. 2. Do we experience a very intense emotional connection? YES. Does it come from inside us, or do we create it? BOTH. We did feel a very quick connection when we first met, and since then have put a lot of work into maintaining our relationship. We have good communication skills and take time to be kind to each other. Being intensely involved also means that when we argue, things can get very angry very quickly. Fortunately it also blows over quickly.

We probably have sex about 3x/week. Usually, 1 of those will be a quickie, and 2 will be medium-level. Once or twice a month we have a sheet-burning extravaganza. I think both of us are satisfied. To be honest, I think we fit the stereotype that he wants it a little more often than I do and maybe initiates it more often too.

My keys:
1. I say yes to sex even if I don't feel completely in the mood. It's worth it because it makes him feel wanted and sometimes I get into it a little more than I thought I would. He really appreciates it, which pays dividends.
2. Use toys. Make up games. Try new outfits. Etc.
3. Neither of us has a perfect body, but we love each other's bodies.
4. Put love first. I am never too busy to give him a hug or a kiss as we pass in the kitchen. We spend a lot of time snuggling and cuddling without having sex. When he walks in the door after work, we are excited and happy to see him. I make a point of letting him know that he is appreciated and cared for. He does the same.

That last one sounds mundane, but I believe it has been the key to the strong passion that we still have when the bedroom door shuts. We do not take vacations or romantic weekends away from the kids. Things dried up a little during the time they were small; I think that time is hard on everyone. But as they got older, it came back. Any effort you put into your sex life is worth it, short term and long term. In Love

Well, I'm not sure it's exactly 'passion' after 24 years, and there have definately been hard times, lean times, I-hate- this/him-and-can't-wait-to-leave times (but-what-about-the- kids?), but what there is now is incredible intimacy, a closeness so deep that it defies description. We continue to learn about ourselves and about each other, as we grow, and the sex altho not as frequent as it was, is pretty great. That has also gone through cycles. It has been work. It challenges us to grow in order to stay interesting to ourselves and each other. I like feeling 'known'. Good luck. Bonnie
Just want to weigh in on the other side, since I'm sure I'm not the only one reading these things and saying, could it really be possible that all these people are having all this great sex 3x per week? We are not having sex so often, much less passion. I'd say more like once a month, and we've gone for longer stretches. (I'd like a little more, of course...) I've been with my husband for almost 10 yrs, and I must say he's always had a lower libido than me. After our child was born, we've had more marital troubles, which have added to the relative lack of sex. That said, I have confidence that eventually we'll work somthing out (I hope) and we'll have more passion and sex. For me, more sex can only come with more intimacy. Though I think we both enjoy it a lot when we do have sex. So don't feel bad if you're among the group looking at these responses and saying, good god, everybody else is having more sex than me! I think those of us on the downswing just aren't talking much.
I had to chime in (despite the numerous other postings) with this article I found at the Reuter's Oddly Enough news site: (it was too funny, and perhaps close to home)
ROME (Reuters) - Thinking of buying a TV for the bedroom? Think again -- it could ruin your sex life.

A study by an Italian sexologist has found that couples who have a TV set in their bedroom have sex half as often as those who don't.

''If there's no television in the bedroom, the frequency (of sexual intercourse) doubles,'' said Serenella Salomoni whose team of psychologists questioned 523 Italian couples to see what effect television had on their sex lives.

On average, Italians who live without TV in the bedroom have sex twice a week, or eight times a month. This drops to an average of four times a month for those with a TV, the study found.

For the over-50s the effect is even more marked, with the average of seven couplings a month falling to just 1.5 times.

The study found certain programs are far more likely to impede passion than others. Violent films will put a stop to sexual relations for half of all couples, while reality shows stem passion for a third of couples.



My husband thinks other people have more sex than we do

Nov 2005

My husband and I have been married for 10 years. We have 2 young children. I am a SAHM and my husband has a very stressful job. In my opinion, my husband and I have a great sex life. We have satisfying sex 1 or 2 times per week on average. We still experiment and try new things. We did not have sex for about a year each time I was pregnant and had a newborn, but between my first and second child, and again now, we are having sex regularly. Unfortunately, my husband feels like we don't have enough sex. I really would like him to count his blessings and feel satisfied with what we have. He thinks that other marrieds have more sex than we do. So, what I want to know is: How often do you and your partner have sex?
- curious about others' sex lives

First, there is no normal amount of sex. Second, you sound like you two have a heatlhy wonderful sex life! I doubt most couples have sex as often as you do, but I'm not an expert on this! I lost all desire for sex a few years ago (i am 38 with a 15 month old son) and my husband lost his desire when mine went. We probably have sex a few times a year (you can count it on one hand). He would like to have sex more often. I would be satisfied never to have it again (except to create a sibling for my son.) What is a normal amount of sex varies by person, culture and historical time. I think people now in the western world feel they need to have sex at least once a week to be ''normal'' but I bet this is a modern western concept and that many people throughout different cultures and times would not agree. Anyway, all you and your husband need to worry about is hwo much you two want and are you happy? Don't even think about or worry about what other people say or do. That shouldn't matter. Good luck! Anon
It seems to me entirely irrelevant what is a ''normal'' amount of sex and how much sex others have. The only issue in play here is how much you want and how much your partner wants and how you work out together any necessary negotiations and compromises if your wants are in conflict. It really is all about you (two) and references to others' sexual practices and preferences are only going to complicate the matter and confuse you (two). dr
I think once or twice a week is plenty. If we have that much, we are doing well. We have 2 kids age 2 and 5 and once every 2 weeks is more the norm. interested in what others say
WOW!!! You're having sex twice a week? And you have kids? A job? a house to take care of? Please tell your husband to count his blessings. I've been married for 16 years, have a pre-teen and a teenager. Our sex life goes up and down. For about 2 years we had sex maybe once every 2-3 months. After being in therapy for many months our relationship has made some wonderful changes. So, now we're having sex about once a week (and for ONCE my husband is initiating....but that's another topic of discussion). In my early 50's and going thru menopause I tend to have ''windows'' of great horniness when I'm during that week or so we may have sex twice a week....rarely, but sometimes more...during the other weeks I have to be cajoled, turned on in some way cause I'm truely not feeling it otherwise. So, I think if you have kids and a busy life like most of us do and you're having satisfying sex twice a week, that is FABULOUS!!! anon
Please tell your husband he is VERY lucky in my opinion! He should be thrilled he gets what he does! Most husbands are lucky if they get sex once a week... anon...
I am also a sahm and my husband has a very stressful job. We have three children -- ages 5, 3 and 1. We have sex probably about 3-4 times a week which I think is a lot. Basically, just to be a nice person, I try to rarely say no to my husband. I'm sure he would like to have even more sex :) anon
I'm interested in the responses to this question. Personally, as a another SAHM 1-2 times a week with two kids sounds like a lot more sex than we're having! Post first baby had sex 3-4 times a month, now 15 months after second baby we're lucky if we have sex once a month. Partner works busy stressful job - I'm exhausted all the time - don't have enough time to get stuff done around without kids - don't have enough time for myself - we always have stuff to talk about in the evenings - nap times (formerly weekend sex times)aren't as long as they used to be and more seems to happen during these times. My desire is nearly non-existent, although I love my partner - sex just isn't high on my list of priorities when we're alone. I'd love to feel differently - but I don't right now and don't quite know what to do to change it. SO. . . given where we are my partner would be thrilled to be having sex 1-2 times a week. . . But, then again, he says his best friend has sex in the middle of the night 3-4 times a week - and they have three kids! But, I haven't talked to his best friend's partner about their sex life - wonder if her story would be different! Anon
My husband is very satisfied with sex just a few times a year. If your husband`s not happy with once or twice a week, perhaps you could send him over to my place? I promise to return him. Kidding! (Well, mostly kidding.....) L.
Oh. My. God. I can't wait to see the other responses to this one. My own response: My husband would be so THRILLED if he and I were regularly having sex MORE THAN ONCE A WEEK! We too have been married nearly a decade and have two small children, and while I work from home, he commutes and routinely gets home after 8:30 at night. If we have sex once a week, we're in good shape--it's just enough for him to feel we haven't fallen out of some essential state of connection; and it's as much as I can muster, to be quite honest. In the last year, however, we've had stretches where we go two weeks before finding a moment that works for me. I love my spouse, but I'm tired, I'm stressed, and the sex connection simply isn't what it was ten years ago. I think your husband has it good! Wistful
I could have written your post word-for-word! I don't know if we are ''typical'' (if there is such a thing), but after 2 kids and 10 years of marriage, my husband and I also have sex about once a week, which is enough for me and not enough for him. I'm interested to hear what others have to say on this subject! anon
By your subject heading, I was all ready to say that it is completely unfair to compare sex lives, and that each couple has to find their OWN rhythm and equilibrium. What is normal for one couple may not fit for another, etc.

I still feel that way, but...

.. your husband gets laid 1-2 times a week after 10 years of marriage and two children? And he COMPLAINS about this? :cue hysterical laughter:

I share your husband's views on frequency of sex: there is never enough! I constantly complain to my wife who thinks once week is enough. I look forward to others replies on this. anon
It sounds like you are trying to get an answer for how many times a week people are having sex. Certainly this poll might give you an answer of a type. However everyone will have various numbers based on what is ''normal'' for a couple with two small children. My concern is who is this information supposed to ''help,'' you or your husband? Do your peers establish what is ''normal'' or do you both establish what is ''normal'' for the both of you? I would suggest the following: 1) A partner is not bound or required to satisfy all of his or her partner's sexual wants or desires. Everyone is different. One partner may have a high sex drive while the other partner may have a low sex drive. 2) If your partner does not want to, is too tired to, does not have the energy to have sex...then try masturbation. 3) Communicate with each other of your feelings concerning sex and touch. 4) Do you set time aside to have time together that includes having sex? Or is your having sex time more spontaneous? 5) If this is a real issue for a couple that is difficult for both of you try some couple's therapy. Talk to some of the people at Good Vibrations. They might have some great advice or books or something that might be useful. Peace, Sensible about sex
I'm sure you will receive quite a few responses here and I myself and curious to see them. My husband and I were just talking about this ourselves last week. As for you, once or twice a week with two small children-that is FANTASTIC! My husband and I both work and have only one small child and we don't even come close to once a week. We are both pretty tired all the time and wind up spending our time together cuddling in front of the TV or sharing a bottle of wine and talking, we just sort of relax together. When it comes time to go to sleep we we usually wind up saying goodnight and going to sleep. So I would say we wind up having sex once every three or four weeks. I don't know if this is normal but I don't really miss having sex too often right now and we don't resent each other. There are times when we have sex twice a week but it is definitely more rare. I'm so curious to see these answers because most of my friends with small children seem to be more in sync with my husband and me, definitely not every week. Anon
I am a 50+ year old woman with 2 teenage kids, together with the same partner for about 25 years. We have great sex 1-2 times a week (once during the afternoon on the weekend and usually one nighttime before sleeping during the week);occasionally there have been periods it's more like 3 times a week, but rarely since we had kids. I know he could have sex more often, and he masturbates regularly. We both consider ourselves very lucky to be having great sex with the same person for so many years, and with no reason to think it will stop. There were some years when the kids were babies or young that sex was less frequent--we were so tired, and I was being *handled* all the time. During those years it was maybe once or twice a month. These days, I have a strong appetite for it, but definitely not every day, and my partner mostly tends to let me initiate it (it's very rare he's not up for it, whereas if he initiates, it's sometimes yes sometimes no).

I know you only asked for people's experience on the list, but I want to say that this is a common situation, to have one partner want sex more than the other. (And I think it's also common to want to call on some idea of what's normal or expected, to get one's needs met, instead of just saying ''I would like to have sex four times a week'', or whatever.)

BTW, according to a fair number of surveys, American couples have sex an average of around twice a week, slightly more often in their twenties and less often in their 40s or older.

I'll be curious what comes up for replies.... sign me: if only everyone was having great sex once or twice a week!

I really do not know if there is any ''average'' amount of sex that a couple should have. It is up to each couple. If your husband feels he should have more, maybe that is true. On the other hands, we are perfectly OK with having sex only every 2 to 3 months or so. We still care and love each other, and feel fulfilled. Busy mom of two boys
I can kind of relate. I was ill for most of pregnancy. I started to feel better around the third trimester but then I had major heartburn, hemmorhoids.... needless to say, I was not feeling sexy, nor did I want anything penetrating that area as I was trying to get things OUT!!!! I did, however, have occassional sex (at least once a month) which I thought was more than fair. Post birth has been situational. Our child is now three and we have more opportunity. My husband would prefer a lot more sex, I am sure. Depending upon circumstances, we have sex at least once a week, sometimes more, sometimes we may miss a week. Me, I'll take sleep over sex, anytime! My husband, he can be sleep deprived, stressed out, sick as a dog but still hornier than ever.... I just don't get it!! I know there are some wives out there who are mortified to think of their husbands masterbating, but quite frankly, I would be thrilled if mine masterbated more and relied on me less! This is not to say that I am not flattered with my husbands attraction to me, especially with my ''pudge,'' I just feel tired all the time and don't want to subscribe to a sex ''schedule'' because things do come up.... kids get sick and you're up with them all night.... I don't think I am any help here to you...... anon
I'm curious to see what everyone has to say. I'm sure my answer will be on the low end - for us, it's about once a month. Anonymous!
As you say, your husband should count his blessings. I would like to have sex more than 1-2 times per week as well, but my wife and I have sex 1-2 per month at best (6 yrs married, 2 kids under 6). Be happy with what 'he gets'. Sex is a woman's perogative. Any argument to the contrary is wishful thinking.
I don't think there is a ''normal'' amount of sex. I had exactly the same problem as you in my first marriage - I didn't want to have sex as much as my partner (same stresses-kids work etc.) and now find myself in a relationship where the tables are turned. I'm the initiator and the one who would have sex more often, which is about the same amount as I would have had before, it is my partner who is fine with not so often. It has been an eye opener for me as all of the arguments I used in the past for not having to have more sex if I didn't want to, I now have to imagine apply to us. I never press for more than he is willing to have, I simply take care of my own needs by myself as this is truly a situation of the shoe being on the other foot, and here I am with not choice but to wear it. So, instead of taking a poll to compare yourselves to others, why don't you treat it as any need either of you has, that needs to be fulfilled and figure out the way that works best for both of you. You should acknowledge that he needs/wants more and vice versa. I truly never knew what is was like to lie there all ''hot and bothered'' unable to sleep while the other person - the one who could give me relief - snored away by my side. Eventually (I read it in some book) I realized it was my issue and figured out how to take care of it, and that it was allright to do so. But boy do I have newfound sympathy for my ex. I believe in chemistry
Count yourself lucky. My guess would be that you are in the above average category. With all the exhaustion of stressful jobs and raising young children, twice a week sounds like a dream. If only my husband and I could muster enough energy up to do it that often. We're probably in the 2-3 times a month category. Not totally satisfied with that, but it is what it is right now. Don't worry. If you're both happy and satisfied, then you're fine. anon
Once or twice a week? My husband would be so psyched! We've been married 3.5 years, both work full time out of the house and have one young child. Sex is about the last thing on my mind and he's lucky if anything happens once or twice a month.
My partner and I have sex a couple times per month. We think that may be a bit less than average for a couple together for 15 years, but we also think that it's the quality and not the quantity that matters, so since we are generally satisfied with the quality, we are happy. We have more sex on special getaways. We think if we had sex more often it might be difficult to keep up the quality. Satisfied
There was a survey in the news a few weeks ago that had it broken down by age. For folks in their 30's and 40's, I think the frequency was in the 60's, so your 1-2/week sounds average to slightly above.

Here's another survey that has the frequency around 100+ times/year. Though given it's source, you might take this with a grain of salt.

I'd say a ''normal amount'' varies wildly. I'd personally *like* once a week, but I think we're closer to once a month and have been for years now. I've nearly given up on trying to ''put the moves'' on my wife and mostly just wait until she's in the mood herself. Curious about others too.
There's a funny sequence in the Woody Allen movie Annie Hall - first his shrink asks him how often he and Annie are having sex, and he says ''Hardly ever, maybe 2 or 3 times a week.'' then there's the same scene of Annie talking to her shrink, who poses the same question, and she says ''Constantly. Maybe 2 or 3 times a week.'' My wife and I have sex almost every night. It's awesome. And if we're home together during the day, and the kids nap at the same time, we have afternoon sex too. - More Sex Good
You have 2 children and are having sex MORE than once a week? And your husband thinks that's still not enough? Consider yourselves incredibly blessed that you can even find the time and energy and sex drive for 1-2 times a week. We have an almost 2 year old and our goal is once a week - usually we're lucky if it's twice a month! Impressed
Having young children is the biggest disturbance to sex life. You have way more sex than us (we had 3 kids in 3 years!) but that is beside the point. The point is that your husband does not feel satisfied and you do. Maybe he is not realistic or maybe he is right. Discuss it together. m
OMG! My husband would be ecstatic (literally!) if we had what you describe. He's lucky if we have it more than a couple times a month. And usually I am so tired and drained that ''the usual'' is all we can manage (no experimenting and trying new things.) Your husband should definitely count his blessings. That said, if it's not enough for him maybe you could ''supplement'' with other activities (I'm not sure what is allowed to write here, but I think you know what I mean when I say activities that are relatively quick and entirely focused on his pleasure.) I'm a little jealous, but hopeful that we'll eventually get back to what you describe. --anonymous, of course!
Once a week sounds like a lot, actually! We sometimes have sex 2-3 times a week, then we'll go a month or more with no sex, and this feels right to both of us. We do have a lot of time just holding each other in bed, so we're intimate all the time.

I think unfortunately you're not going to solve this issue this way, though. My husband and I are lucky that neither of us has a big sex drive, and we really mesh well that way. If your sex drive and his don't match up, giving him statistics about what other married people do isn't going to solve it.

You could have sex more as a compromise, but that's not really fair to you if you're happy with the amount now. You could encourage him to masturbate more (with or without you there) or have more time for snuggling, etc.

Good luck! happy with not much sex

Seems like ever since we got married things have slowed down to 2-3 times a week, and ever since the baby (19 months) two is the average. It is still great and EVERY time we have sex we say ''why don't we do this more often'' :) anon
Don't know how I missed the post about frequency of sex, but had to chime in on this one. Having been serially monogamous most of my adult life (I'm now 55) I have lots of experience on this one. There is no 'normal' amount of sex, and as others have said, it is only important to negotiate for those in a relationship, not to compare to others. That being said, I think people are essentially not very creative about 'negotiating' solutions. Some possible suggestions: When one partner wants to and the other doesn't, how about holding each other while one masturbates? How about scheduling if you don't now, or not scheduling if spontaneity is the issue. How about watching erotic videos? There are many non-vulgar videos on DVD now, try Good Vibrations and rent one. Even has them! Be open to your partners' wants. Sometimes desires don't mesh, but willingness to engage is MORE THE ISSUE. You don't necessarily have to be crazy over each idea or occasion, just willing to try and/or engage with the other person. If you are wildly out of synch with your partner (either frequency or methods) then more communication is key. Closing off this area of a relationship is usually a recipe for later heartache. Try to keep the lines of communication open, even if only with humor. Humor is often sadly lacking in sex, and it can be quite relieving to know that your partner has fears and uncertainties also. You could agree that you're only going to have quickies for a spell if you are exhausted or not in the mood. You could use appliances to help you get there quicker if time is the inhibiting factor. Be open to exploring all options available to you with the focus on keeping your connection and communication alive. Frequency or not, will be less the focus. Connection, whether an agreed upon inactive participation, while the other fulfills themselves, or other types of balancing acts, will help smooth your relationship through times of differing needs. Willingness to discuss is the key, and willingness to give . anon

Husband loses self confidence during sex

June 2005

Once in awhile while we are in foreplay my husband gets ''nervous'' and loses his self-confidence, losing his erection. When we do have sex it is good and have been married over 5 years and have a child. He says sometimes he puts too much pressure on himself and starts worrying about things and then loses what we had. I try to be supportive but then I get frustrated. We want to start trying for a second child soon and I know he will feel pressure and it might affect us. Anyone have suggestions? I love him and want to help him any way I can. Anon

Lots of positive strokes! Both physically AND mentally! Keep up your end in bed to keep him going, but also work on giving major compliments during and afterward! Don't be afraid to tell him with either words or ''oohs and awws'' what he is doing right! Men love compliments- stroke his ego! I called my husband just yesterday morning (after 13 years of being together!) just to say, ''Hey, remember last night? I can't get you out of my mind!'' Best of luck! ego stroker
How 'bout taking a trip over to Good Vibrations on San Pablo and picking up some fun little sex toys? My husband and I have been married for many years and have small children so our sex life was faltering a bit. I put together a surprise basket of toys, erotica, etc and things have been good all over again. And, trying for a baby can take a lot of the fun out of lovemaking, and add a lot of stress. Spicing things up could be just the ticket. I can't wait to see what others write! Anon.

Did your libido wake up when you went off the pill?

June 2005

After years taking the pill, I am considering getting a tubal ligation, as I know I do not want more children. My question to readers who have had this done, is did your libido ''wake up'' at all after going off the pill? I am hoping that stopping synthetic hormones might help. My doctor says it depends on the person. But I'd love to hear any real experiences, especially from women who have taken Yasmin. Btw - I have never found the risk of pregnancy to be a turn on, as it is for some, so please don't factor that into the equation. Thank you! anon

I hope that this advice helps you with your decision. After the birth of my third child, we decided to go through tubal ligation. I am very happy with it! After the birth of my first 2, I had such a low sex drive that it became a problem. I don't know if the tubal ligation changed anything, but my sex drive has returned, even though I am breastfeeding (although I did with the other 2 also). I was on the mini-pill before getting pregnant the 2nd and 3rd time and I did not see a difference in my libido. All I can say is that my libido has increased post-tubal ligation so I say go for it!! Happy after tubal ligation
Many years ago, when the shot first came out (Depo Provera?), I got on it and promptly lost all desire. This was quite extreme since I had always wanted more sex than my partners. When I went off it a few months later, the libido came back. This doesn't specifically answer your question about Yasmin, but BC in general.
P.S. It is safer for the man to get the snip than the woman.
I'm baaack!
Any birth control pill will somewhat suppress your body's natural testosterone, therefore theoretically decreasing libido to some extent. Going off the pill will bring you back to your non-hormonally-suppressed libido, though your life circumstances now as opposed to before kids could affect it as well.
Haven't had tubal but am women's health NP

I want sex much more frequently than he does - is this normal?

Nov 2004

I have been with my partner for about 2 years now. We have never enjoyed a very exciting sex life, but it has gone from bad to worse. At this point, I am wondering about what is normal in a relationship? I feel a bit abnormal in that I am the one that seems to really be suffering over this and I am the female half. I would like to have sex much more frequently - a few times a week at least - than I am (which is currently about once a month or once every couple of months). I do not like to initiate it anymore as when I do, it's ends up being completely focused on him: he is very passive.

While I realize that by societal standards, I am attractive, I losing my self-confidence through this. I am wondering what to do, I am wondering if this is normal and just something I need to get used to, and I am wondering if it's me: it seems that it's always men who want more sex than they are getting, not women. Why is this happening?

Advice would be appreciated, as would any helpful reading material or therapist suggestions. sad and frustrated

People seem to seldom talk about this, but there are men who just have low sex drives. I had a boyfriend who was exactly like that, my best friend went through one like this as well and I know other women that have had similar complains about their mates. Too bad you didn't realize this was an issue until after you married him.

I don't know what to tell you other than it's not your fault. IT doesn't mean you are not attractive or desirable, you probably are and with the right man you might be having sex every day. Hopefully somebody here will be able to give you info as to how to help your husband. anon

You are absolutely NOT abnormal. Everyone assumes it's men who want sex all the time, an unscientific survey of my married women friends, 27-45 suggest it's the other way around. Men lose interest for a variety of reasons, and we're left unfulfilled, feeling unloved.

My advice: find a new partner. Or get a lover, which will probably lead you down the same path. Sex is important. It makes your skin glow. There's a man out there now who will think you're the stuff and be only too delighted to make you feel like a sexy love goddess. Don't waste your time with a tepid, uninterested man. Go get some and don't wait!
Mom who waited too long and now knows better.

Well, no one brought this aspect up, so I thought I'd throw in my 2 cents:

You mentioned that sex had never been all that passionate between you two, even in the beginning. Usually, the beginning of the relationship is when people experience sex as being very ''hot'' and passionate. You want it all the time with your new lover. You feel like you want to be near them at all times. Your new lover is completely facinating and everything about them is adorable. You don't need as much sleep or food. You feel high all the time, especially around them. This is the result of body chemistry - when we meet a new ''mate'' our bodies flood us with euphoria-enducing hormones. This is evolution at work: if we feel very euphoric and ''frisky,'' our body reasons, we'll have lots of sex with this new ''mate'' and be more likely to reproduce.

Unfortunately (or not), this hormone ''high'' will eventually wear off. We feel less and less euphoric around are partner. Our desire for sex will lessen. For many people, this feels like they are falling out of love. Unless there is something deeper there, this is the point in the relationship (usually around 6 months to 2 years) when the couple is likely to ''break up.'' Couples that choose to stay together will face the challenge of seeing their partner as more and more of a flawed, normal human, rather than the amazing, perfect creature they were in the early days. This brings up more conflict and is a huger issue than I can go into here.

However, OTHER issues also come in to play for couples who stay together after the drugs wear off. By far the BIGGEST is the issue of INTIMACY. Now, your partner is getting to know the REAL you. This is scary. The longer we are with some one, the MORE IMPORTANT that person becomes to us, even though we aren't getting that same ''high'' as we did in the beginning, we still ge some of those drugs when we're around our partner. The more important some one becomes, the scarier it is for us (most of whom have been wounded by people who were important to us at some point in our formative years, probably deeply). So, we are feeling unconsciously scared and anxious. Not very conducive to a lot of sex. AND if sex was not very passionate or frequent to begin with (so, one of you has a low sex drive and perhaps the attraction wasn't all THAT strong to begin with) then your sex life has even more strikes against it.

So, yes, this is normal. The question is, what do you want to do about it? Most relationships that don't hold a lot of passion usually end (these days, anyway), so you may find yourself drifting farther and farther apart. That may be the right thing for you. I think people are more willing to work on having a fabulous, loving and mutually satisfying relationship with some one they feel passionate about.

Okay, I guess that was more like 5 dollars worth, but I hope this was helpful.

Best of luck! anon

In my 40's, we're not having sex, and I've never had an orgasm

October 2004

I've read the entries in the archives regarding sexless marriages, but here's my personal situation I would like advice on. I'm a woman in my 40s, married for over a decade, young kids, feel somewhat ''hip'', open-minded, average East Bay type. But my sex life makes me feel like some uneducated throwback to the 50s. I have never had an orgasm, and it's not for lack of trying. (I have been to Good Vibrations, but it's overwhelming and the aura of all the other ''comfortable-with-sex'' staff and customers just depresses me.)

Now in combination with this, I have never been very strongly sexually attracted to my husband (even before we married). I think I married him for all the other reasons - common interests, outlook, background, etc. And here we are, years down the road, and there hasn't been sex for months. I feel nothing, just dead inside, when he even just wants to cuddle.

I don't have any traumatic issues in my past. If anything, I was comfortably naive until the appropriate age. Sex life pre-husband was okay - no ''big O'', but certainly more passion and interest. But also sex was never a comfortable topic for me and my female friends (could never watch Sex in the City without feeling intensely jealous!!). I haven't been able to mention this to my OB/GYN - too embarrassed - but don't have any physcial problems with pain or discomfort. So here I am, asking thousands of anonymous subscribers to give me advice, please!

I'm thinking therapy, but who? Any particular kind? Pay another visit to Good Vibrations? Or just let me know I'm not some pathetic freak... Thank you. Too Frustrated.

Hi! Don't let others frustrate you, what you perceive others to be rarely is. I'm in a similar situation, married only 5 and 1 child, but not terribly attracted to my husband, and not to many others in the past (perhaps only one). I have met someone in the past 2 years for which there is an overwhelming amount of chemistry which I (almost 40) have never experienced before. So that put in perspective that I am not fridgid, not crazy, just hadn't met the right person at the right time. But this issue might be seperate from not being able to have an orgasm - if manual stimulation hasn't worked, nor magazines, videos, etc (really, try them) I think going to a sex therapist is a great idea. I don't have anyone in mind, but they have so much experience with this (see, you're not alone) and have the trained education to give you the best advice. Hope others have specific names for you. Many hugs to you, don't worry, you will find your inner libido! hopeful
maybe don't make it such a big deal. try getting a little drunk together. maybe you can relax, experiment, and just see what happens. try relaxing together frequently, and maybe just try some new stuff. whatever you do, don't stop trying!! good luck
No real advice here. I am looking forward to any responses that you get however. I am in a very similar situation. I'm 35 and have a young son. I *think* I had ''an O'' when I was 19, but i'm so not in the know I'm not sure if I did or not. One possible difference for me is that I can no longer arouse myself. I have little to no clitoral feeling. Vaginal orgasm is a mystery to me. Am I a tired, working mom or out of love with my husband? Or is it sexual disfunction? Situations like our's can make your mind work overtime trying to figure it out. I'm not a prude but I've never been very sexual. Again, no advice here. Just wanted you to know that you're not the only one struggling with these issues. Please, can someone direct us to a health professional who might start us on the road to discovery? absolutely anonymous
I just wanted to let you know that you are not a freak and you are not alone! I feel very much the same as life is pretty darn good...''hip'' mom with two happy kids, I'm just over 40, with a loving husband, but I have never had an orgasm with him or any partner before marriage. You didn't mention if you are able to have an orgasm by yourself, or not. I am able to orgasm, but for some reason, cannot out of shyness or some inhibition, orgasm with a partner. Sex is fun, but I cannot seem to let go enough to reach the big ''O''. Anyways, I started to see a Psychologist to figure out why I am the way I am and it takes time. (We just moved out of state, otherwise, I would recommend my Psychologist). There is a book that perhaps you might read called ''For Women OnlyQ A Revolutionary Guide to Reclaiming Your Sex Life'' by Jennifer and Laura Berman, who are sisters and also doctors. I always feel like everyone out in the world is having great orgasms, except me, but that someday I'll figure it all out! I wish you well in your journey to finding a more satisfying sex life. You are not alone! -anon
You are not a pathetic freak! I am not in your situation, but after having kids, and raising them, a woman can become really drained. That might be some of what you are going through. You might try exploring yourself sexually and start to feel comfortable with your body and how it works by yourself. Get a book that you can read in private if you need more info. We are all different and have different reactions to stimuli. You are unique, as we all are. Sex IS not, and SHOULD not be like paint-by-numbers!! As far as choosing your husband for the ''other'' qualities, that makes for getting along well and functioning as a family which is REALLY important. I don't know what the answer is, but therapy sounds like a good idea. You have to interview several people to determine who you feel comfortable with. I'm not even sure where to get numbers from. You could try looking on the Parents Network website and getting recommendations from friends. Good Luck. anon
This is a tough issue. I use to love sex but every since my daughter was born, I have no desire for sex. I have tried every excuse in the book to get out of it. But I'm going to give you some advice that a girlfriend gave to me. ''Just look at it as 5 minutes out of a whole day of your time.'' With your spouse not having sex for a while, then your encouter will not last very long. Another thing that I have learned since I've given up 5 minutes of my day, is that he is such a better man afterwards. Try it. The next morning after you have sex, he will be willing to do anything you want him to do. Then make a game out of it. I desinate wensdays as our day & we call it hump day. So I know that that 1 day I have to give up 5 minutes of my time so since I know which day he will be waiting for it then I get mentally prepared. Anon
In some ways, I could have written your post, although I enjoy sex with my husband. The difference? A vibrator! I would suggest you take a deep breath and go back to Good Vibrations (or go on-line) and purchase a vibrator. Try it out yourself until you are comfortable (and hopefully enjoying it! ;-) ), and then work on bringing it into your sex life with your husband. If it means you are willing to have a more active sex life, I am sure he would be receptive to the idea! Good luck! Anon.
You are not a freak. Let me tell you, I am 30 years old, have had plenty of orgasms and have pretty much no interest in sex now. I don't know why this happens, but it happens to a lot of women. Most just will not discuss it. I'm going to hit on your need to have an orgasm b/c that's all I can help you with. My advice to you would be to go online and order a $10 vibrator. Do not pay more, the cheapest one will do. This way you don't have to face anyone. They'll send it to you in a plain package; don't worry it won't say ''Perv'' all over the box. The misunderstanding with vibrators is that you have to 'insert' them. You do not, just put it on your labia and wait a few minutes. You don't even have to move. It's quite simple. Be brave and don't be freaked out about it. Go in the bathroom when no one is home and lock the door. You WILL have an orgasm and it WILL be excellent. Maybe this will recharge your appetite for sex with your husband. I wish you success and the best of luck. (I wish I could talk to you afterwards!) anon
No sex?! How did you have kids??? (kidding) Well, it sounds like you need to open up a little., i think you need to open up a lot! Open up to the idea that it's high time you educated yourself about ...yourself! Maybe another trip to Good Vibes isn't a bad idea. My suggestion, call first, ask to speak with an older woman (remember: this is an anonymous call, she has no idea who you are), tell her a little about your dilemma and ask about classes, books, cosultations, videos...anything to get the ball rolling. Also, if you don't own one already, GET A VIBRATOR!! Geez loueez! Self pleasuring is the first step to a healthy sex life! If you know your body and your expectations then the rest is a whole world of new discovery just waiting for your boat to come in! Rememebr: the folks at Good Vibes are comfortable because it's thier job to create a healthy environment, without judgement, fror people to shop and explore. They are all trained professionals and most of them have degrees in fields that concern sex. Make an appointment to meet with someone one-on-one to have them show you around the store and explain what certain the toys do, or what certain books are about. They are very accomodating and would never pass judgement on you or your issue. Everyone opens up at different times. That comfortable atmosphere is based on the fact that it's a people-centric business not and 'adult store'. Don't be emarrassed to talk with your doctor. I mean, c'mon, your OB/GYN has tools and flashlights poking around inside you... if you can handle that then a little conversation about why you're unable to orgasm might be very insightful. And might lead to some advice you could have gotten years ago! I hope this helps! It's time to get under the sheets and explore...because, i'll tell you, you're missing out on a whole world of real excitement! (Seeing as Sex in the City is just a bunch of actors and all....) Good luck!
I'd like to suggest a good, caring, non-judgemental therapist who specializes in sex and relationship matters, Isadora Alman, in San Francisco. She used to have a column in the San Francisco Bay Guardian. Good luck.
I'd like to recommend an excellent therapist for you, who can see you in person or on the phone (which is more comfortable for some people, including me). Marlene Winell is a Ph.D. psychologist in Berkeley who has a general practice with individuals, couples and families. I found her to be amazingly helpful with sexual issues - she's sensitive and supportive and at the same time direct and goal- oriented. I was surprised by two things - my issue wasn't what I thought it was, and I didn't realize things could change so quickly. Marlene will take the time to help you sort out possibilities, including medical, and then probably do what she did with me - go step by step to change things, which includes homework. Her number is 831-247-9650. I really wish you the best because sex is important. It's great that you are making this effort and brave enough to be asking these questions. Oh, and Marlene gives a short complimentary phone session to begin - so there's nothing to lose by calling. Been There

What can I do to stir up my husband's libido?

March 2004

What can I do to stir up my husband's libido? Do parents who work full-time and have small children have sex anymore? Life's tough -- two kids under 4 years old and both husband and I work FT -- but it would nice to have sex every now and then.

Years of depression, and sporadic use of anti-depressants, have eaten away my husband's sex drive. In the mornings he has the interest and ability, but the kids are on us by 6:30/7 a.m., and my husband prefers to sleep than have sex.

In the evenings, we're exhausted from life, and my husband can't keep an erection. Sadly, we've gotten into the habit of just reading in bed before sleep.

I'd be happy to just cuddle in the dark, but he's never been much of a cuddler.

Any dads out there tried Viagra? My husband was offended when I suggested it, but I bet if I persisted or offered others' success stories as evidence... Any suggestions on how to resume our once-good sex life? I really love my husband, and the first few years of our life together (pre-kids), our sex life was great. He initiated it. When he's into it and has an erection, he's a great lover. It's just a lack of desire that's the trouble these days.
Wants To Get Some

I have heard good things about this book, although I haven't read it yet (I'm the one with the low sex drive in my marriage -- I'm female so I can't give you advice on Viagra): ''The Sex- Starved Marriage : Boosting Your Marriage Libido: A Couple's Guide'' by Michele Weiner Davis. You can find it at
I don't have much advice to offer, but maybe some hope. My husband was on antidepressants for a long time (also on and off, with a long history of anxiety and depression) and his sex drive was totally gone for years. We were also parents of two young children, working full time. I thought our sex life was over, but because my sex drive was not too high either and we did cuddle a lot, I did not suffe! r much. However, after being off antidepressants for around one year, his sex drive returned, and now I am the one having problems keeping up with him! Our sex life is very much alive and even better than it was before. My husband has been off antidepressants for 5 years now, doing psychotherapy instead, and he has been mostly fine. He has mild relapses but refuses to take antidepressants, even if he acknowledges that they truly saved him in the past. Maybe your husband should try an alternative treatment to depression? There is hope
There's a great book called Passionate Marriage by David Schnarch. It's transformative and profound; addresses physical, emotional, and spiritual components of sex and intimacy in a direct and meaningful way. Making love with my husband again!
Dear Wants To Get Some -
I understand your problem - my wife and I had this as well, right down to the antidepressants, etc. Viagra is poorly understood and many men seem to prefer to joke about it than really understand it. It has little to do with impotence - it merely helps older men SUSTAIN their erection longer (as we age, we're starting to loose the hormone that would normally do this). I take Viagra currently, and I take only a small piece of one blue pill (maybe 1/6-1/8; which I understand it not all that uncommon) to get the desired effect (I chop up one pill at a time and keep them in the container). This also help it be most cost efficient. I used to worry about my timing before taking this, which really caused a lot of stress and probably led to me avoiding sex. I do have to 'time' the taking of this medication as it lasts only a given time, but it is nothing compared to the other.

Cialis is now out there and I am considering trying it because Viagra causes my face to flush, which can be a little uncomfortable but is really a concern because I have some slight Rosacea. Cliais reportedly acts more specifically than Viagra and binds only to the receptors needed to sustain an erection (rather than also those for facial flushing). Cialis' effect is also supposed to be longer.

The other advice to give to your husband is that no matter whether he is in the mood or not, it is important to keep up this type of intimacy - it will make everything in your lives go a lot smoother, especially with the everyday stresses of family life. Even though my own interest in this has waned from when I was a young man, I know my wife's interest is still peaking. And, when I don't concern myself about my own climax (because I not desperate for it) I find I am discovering all sorts of pleasures and fulfillment that I t! hink are far more interesting . . . A Man Who Has Been There!

Sounds like you and your husband need a regular weekly or biweekly date. I suggest a weekend morning or afternoon so you won't have to deal with end-of-the day exhaustion. If a sitter is too expensive, find another family to swap babysitting with - - you could probably hook up with some right here on the Parents Network. But don't let the situation drag on. With all the stress & pressure coming your way from work and kids, you and your husband really need each other. You both deserve some good loving. Good luck. Been there!

Unhappy with infrequency of sex and she won't talk about it

Feb. 2004

My wife and I have been married for 7 years. She is a wonderful woman---kind and loving and generous in so many ways to me and to our children. However, I feel I have lost a sense of what constitutes a ''normal'' level of sex and intimacy in marriage. I do know that I am unhappy with what we are experiencing now.

We have intercourse a few times a year, almost always on those rare occasions we can go away for a night. Sexual intimacy other than intercourse occurs once every month or two. Special occasions--birthdays, Valentine's, Christmas, New Years--are usually marked with presents and displays of affection, but almost always that's it, even though I have told her how sad it makes me that we don't make love even at these times. I kept imagining it would improve--after the first baby, after nursing, after the 2nd baby, after we moved into our new house, etc., etc. I should note that my wife became pregnant within 3 months of our wedding, and our 2nd child came very soon after our first. I have tried to speak with my wife about this, but she gets very weepy and defensive, making real conversation impossible. Most frustratingly, even after those instances when I do make my unhappiness known to her, she makes no changes in her intimate behavior. Of course, my frustration is contaminating our relationship in other ways.

So, what is ''normal'' for two healthy, busy, stressed professionals with two young children? I know there's a huge range, but I need some affirmation that I am not crazy (or confirmation that I am unrealistic) in expecting a bit more from our marriage. Thanks for your honest answers.

You're not crazy; it's reasonable to expect more physical intimacy than you're getting, which is certainly lower than ''average''. But neither is your wife's low sex drive all that unusual for the mother of young children. Without knowing more details, it's hard to make specific suggestions, but it sounds like you need to find a way to explain your discontent to your wife without making it seem like an accusation that there's something wrong with *her*. It's a problem that the two of you together need to find a way to solve to your mutual satisfaction. That might mean going out more often, it might involve changing birth control methods (hormonal BC, like pregnancy and breastfeeding, can suppress sex drive), it might involve some form of therapy. Or it might just mean you have to initiate things more often or in a different way, with the understanding that she is willing to go along -- I know one woman who described it this way: If sex were food, it would be as if it never occurs to her to be hungry. But when her husband puts a good meal in front of her, she enjoys eating it! Good luck! anon
My husband could've written your post a couple years ago, before our children were even born. We also rarely had sex, and always at his initiation. He was unhappy about it, became discouraged when his advances were almost always rejected, and tried to talk to me about it. I was so confused and wracked with guilt that I, too, reacted defensively. I wanted him to be happy, I wanted us to be close, but somehow I just couldn\\325t do anything about it. It was awful for quite a while. I tried to reassure him that I still loved him, but understandably, he seemed unconvinced. He finally just quit trying, and that made me saddest of all.

I started seeing a therapist because I was depressed, and I\\325m still trying to work out what\\325s going on with my lack of interest in sex. Our communication has improved immensely, though, and I\\325m able to discuss it with him calmly. Our sex life has improved some---maybe once a month---though I doubt we\\325re nearly as active as most people. We\\325re working on it, though, and it does take work.

You didn\\325t mention whether your sex life was ever satisfactory. Since your wife is weepy when you try to discuss it, it sounds like she\\325s unhappy, too. If that\\325s the case, it\\325s about more than just adjusting your expectations; it sounds like there\\325s a problem. I don\\325t know if she\\325s depressed like I was/am, but she might benefit from talking to someone about it. Before I got help, I was literally unable to do anything about our situation even though I desperately wanted to. My husband finally said to me, \\322I won\\325t live like this\\323 (it wasn\\325t just the lack of sex but my general depression). It had never occurred to me that he could leave, and the realization scared me into action. I\\325m not recommending threatening your wife, but she may be as paralyzed as I was. It can get better, but your wife has to be able to talk about it.

Best of luck to you. This is by far the hardest thing we\\325ve ever dealt with in our marriage.

Working through it

Right now, I'm on the other side of your situation. My husband and I, up until our first child was born 7 months ago, had regular and wonderful sex. And we had a lot of it. Now that we have the baby and I'm still full-time breastfeeding/pumping, I'm really, really struggling to want to have sex and to enjoy it when we do.

Sadly, it's not working very well, despite the fact that I think that my husband is extremely attractive and despite really *wanting* to have sex. (I even dream about it more and more often lately.) The reality, though, is that because of the breastfeeding, I'm basically impotent. I think of it as the female version of what happens to men later in life. No matter how much foreplay we engage in, I can't get physically ready to have sex--too dry. Even K-Y doesn't seem to help, nor does the estrogen cream that my doctor prescribed. I think that when women go through this after childbirth, we tend to think it's because we're tired or overworked; we really should give more credit to the hormonal impact--I'm convinced that this is the cause.

Needless to say, this is hard for my husband, and it really breaks my heart too, even though I think it's only temporary, until I finish breastfeeding. The only thing that's keeping him sane is a good, open dialogue about it, which I've worked hard to maintain. I try to bring it up often, saying, ''you know, I'd love to have sex right now, but I have to warn you, I may not be able to.'' Of course, I encourage him to relieve himself and I try to help out now and then.

It was difficult, though, for me to come to terms with the fact that I'm unable to get it up, so to speak, at this point in my life. And I can imagine that if these are your wife's reasons, she may be afraid to express them and probably feels defensive because she knows that it's hurting you but also feels there's not much she can do about it.

My advice? Talk to your wife about whether or not this could be a physical problem. (Is she still breastfeeding? The body is an amzing thing, and women just aren't programmed to want to reproduce when they're caring for another infant.) Perhaps the estrogen cream would work for her. Also, she may feel insecure about how she looks post-baby--I know I am--and there's nothing like insecurity to put a damper on sex. Praise her looks as much as you can, letting her know that you really do think she's beautiful and desirable. She may feel that if she really opens up, you'll notice that she's not as svelte as she used to be. anon

Hello. I am very sorry to hear those numbers... My wife and I are on average 2 to 3 times per week although it is often Quick after the baby and our toddler have fallen asleep (and just before we fall asleep ourselves). Everyone will likely suggest joint counselling. You need to do something to work that out or you will definately be interested in an affair or just occassionally hiring an escort or prostitute. Good luck! anon
Your post about expectations about sex hit home (and made me fear for a moment that you were my husband, all of a sudden a subscriber, and sending me a secret message. Kind of like that bad 70s song 'if you like pina coladas'). I don't have anything wise to say, except we do have sex about once a week or week and a half, but if it were up to me entirely it would probably be more like twice a year, it is just that my husband has convinced me that we need to connect in that way more often for the sake of our marriage, to refresh it. So I kind of gin up the enthusiasm, where I probably wouldn't bother, or even think of doing so, if I were married to someone more like myself. 99 percent of the time once we are in the thick of it, so to speak, I am happy we are. It is almost like there is a high bar of inertia blocking my own inclination to get it all started, which dissipates once we have actually gotten things going. Every year or so my husband expresses disappointment in our sex life, and sex issues are underneath I would say 5/8 of our not-that- frequent arguments.

I think it is a cliche that I have heard that men (I know, not all men) use physical intimacy to find and establish and reaffirm love, while women (I know, not all women) use physical intimacy to express it, once they already feel that way. That definitely applies to my husband and me. Sometimes I don't want to have sex because I don't feel all that close, while my husband wants to for that very reason.

Good luck. I am glad you brought it up. I'm sure we should be in therapy, and that you'll get lots of advice to do just that. Is it scary to hear that I feel about therapy roughly the same way I often feel about sex...(kind of a ''I know I know I should but what a drag'' kind of feeling). anonymous

A woman with two children is spending all of her time giving and sacrificing her own comfort, needs and desires. She does not need yet another person who ''requires'' something of her. Nothing turns me on more than a partner who recognizes this phenomenon and is seen actively trying to help her ''replenish'' herself. A deep feeling of being understood and cared for naturally comes and with it a desire to give back to this ''angel''. depleated
I just wrote an answer and talked about Dr. Berman and Dr. Berman. Browsing their website, I found this link. You may be interested: Anonymous again
As a 50 year old, married mother of 2 boys, I have to say your expectations are NOT unrealistic, but can be hard to make real. I don't think you said how old your and your wife are, but there are many factors for a woman....menopause? that'll sure change a woman's sexual desires, being busy, being tired.... I'm sorry that your wife won't talk about it, because I think open communication is essential....

My husband and I probably have sex once a month....I feel like it should be more often, but truthfully, I'm the one that has to initiate this in our relationship as my husband, as wonderful as he is, is very passive, and I'm busy and tired. We are somewhat affectionate to each other though...that feels easy and natural for both of us, I'd have to say.

I think without her participation there may not be a lot you can might try professional counselling and hope that she may be open to hearing what you've learned in counselling. good luck, anon

Here's some data for you. We have two kids: 4 and 6 months. We've had sex twice since the baby was born. In the year prior to that, it was to get pregnant and then nothing else. In the year prior to that, it was like once every two or three months. Before we were married, there were times when it was on average every day. I'm just operating on the assumption that things will get better in a few years. There's lots of research out there that says that relationships greatly suffer in the first five years of child rearing and improve thereafter. If we had a good sex life once, it's got to be possible again. It must be hard not to be able to discuss this with your wife. My husband and I are pretty open and understanding about it and kind of laugh about how sad it is. Maybe you and your wife should try some counseling so it's more comfortable for your wife to discuss this with you. optimistic wife
You're right, there's a ''vast range of normal.'' What's important is whether you and she want the same thing. Have you asked her if she is satisfied - with the sex? with other aspects of your relationship?

This inquiry could dig up a lot of stuff for both of you. It's rarely just about the sex. Go to a counselor who can mediate the discussion and help the two of you find perspective on whatever comes up. Of course the mere suggestion of counseling could be scary too, with the (incorrect) implication that counseling is a step toward breakup. Realize that not dealing with issues is really the destructive path, while counseling is the path for togetherness.

FWIW: my partner and I went to four different counselors until we found one we could deal with. In the end, we split up last year, but with much better understanding of what had gone wrong. I really felt it could have gone either way. Such valuable lessons in life. anon

I may not be the best person to write as I have not really had much of a sex drive for a few years, but I have done a lot of research on sexual dysfunction in women. I feel really guilty about not having a sex drive and feel like I am ruining my poor husband's life, but he is so kind and sweet and so good to me. I'm working on it.

First off, check out this web site by two women (Dr. Berman M.D., and Dr. Berman Ph.D.) who run a clinic for women in L.A. They also wrote a book (''For Women Only'') on female sexual dysfunction that would be very useful for both you and your wife to read. There are many things that will kill a woman's sex drive: depression, anxiety, exhaustion, hormones (especially when nursing), pain during sex, past surgeries and childbirth, unresolved psychological issues regarding body self-image, past events or the relationship with the partner, etc. Being overweight can effect sex drive also. (Fat cells do something to bind and lock up free testosterone, and testosterone is needed for sex drive.) Is she on the pill? I used to have pain with intercourse until I went off the pill.

Your wife may be too exhausted for sex because you have young children, or may have psychological issues that she is not facing. She also may feel very guilty, like I do, which suppresses sex drive even more. I would suggest that you get that book I suggested, or a similar one. (There are several good books out there. Check If your wife is willing, the book suggests that she get herself checked out physically and the book suggests tests that physicians can do and questions you can ask during the examination. You might also want to try marriage counseling or she might want to try counseling on her own. The solution might be as simple as hiring a maid or a babysitter more often to give your wife a break and to give her more energy. Regular exercise can help too. Anyway, there is a happy medium out there where you can both be content with the amount of sex you have. It may take some work, but you two can find this place.

Don't worry about how much sex other people have. I think our society and media makes us think that we should be sexual animals all the time, which is unrealistic. It sounds like you are very supportive too and this is the most important thing the man can do. Keep telling her that you love her no matter what, and just ask her to read a book or talk with a doctor, etc. There are more and more resources out there to help couples deal with sex issues. I hope this helps and good luck! anonymous

Believe me, more marriages than you think are dealing with this issue. Your wife is TIRED, STRESSED, and very child-centered right now and its VERY HARD for her to get out of this mode and pay attention to adult needs - yours AND hers. She's getting defensive because she knows you're unhappy, doesn't want things this way herself, and despite ''knowing better'' can't find the strength/perspective change to focus on you and HERSELF. DON'T make things worse by finding sex elsewhere. HELP you and your wife to find quality time - intimacy can be curling up on the sofa and watching a movie when the kids are asleep or taking a walk and talking. Don't make every act of intimacy ''have'' to lead to sex, let things flow. More pressure isn't going to work with your wife, its only going to make her more defensive. This is one of those ''for better, for worse'' times'' in marriages that you have to ride out - stick to being loving and understanding (and creating special times) and she WILL respond (maybe some time to pamper herself at a spa or something as well - to feel attractive and SEXY again!!). Many women need to connect emotionally before physically and right now the two of you probably haven't spent alot of time on your emotional bond (this is why sex DOES happen when you get away and are a couple again). If you feel that bond is still there (just buried way deep) it CAN come back. Hang in there. Been there
How much are you helping her with not only the children but the household? I remember being just exhausted washing clothes, cleaning up while my husband just played with the kids. I remember thinking, I just spent the day cleaning YOUR shorts, caring for OUR children and now I must SERVICE you? I'm tired...good night.

She's tired. She knows your unhappy with this aspect of your lives. She can't help it. She feels guilty but she just can't give more and more. This may be why she cries when you bring it up, she doesn't have a solution.

Skip the roses, skip the chocolates, and fold the laundry instead without asking. Help CONSISTENTLY because you want to make her life easier not because you want sex. If she's rested and happy and not angry, she will find that place where she wanted intimacy. It takes a long time though.

You might try a bit of lubricant on your wife - look in the drugstore or someplace more exotic - it has made a world of difference in my enjoyment of sex. I still don't have any sex urge per se, but the results once we do have sex are very satisfactory. I never would have thought I would need this as it was never an issue, but time and hormones... Even during sex, I don't necessarily feel like I NEED it (no pain or obvious dryness), but it really makes a difference. Good luck anon
I just read everyone's advice to your question and am surprised no one brought up what came to my mind the minute i read your post. you mentioned that everytime you bring up the issue, your wife gets weepy. you also mentioned that the last couple of times you had sex, she got pregnant with your children. could it be that she is afraid of getting pregnant again (perhaps too much work with two children right now) ? it sounds so simple, but if she's overworked (as all moms are) and stressed, she may not even realize that this is why she is not interested in sex. also, sex to me is not just intercourse. my husband and i, when we can't have intercourse, do other things - oral sex, mutual masturbation, or even just making out like in high school. you've got to be open to what your definition of sex is. good luck! anon
Your expectations are not uncommon, but the reality of most parents' lives is that they have a lot less sex than they had before they were married, and usually a LOT less than the male half would like to have, given the choice. I think the key is to give your wife a LOT of time and space to sort out her feelings. She may feel inadequate at this time, when she has so many demands placed on her from others (kids, husband), and is adjusting to her new role as a mother. When a woman experiences motherhood, she may experience a feeling of inadequacy as a parent that may then ''leak'' over into other areas of her life, depressing her and draining her of courage and energy. Do your best to try to soothe her--and above all, don't pressure. Be loving, and soothing with her at this time. I know, it sounds patronizing. But I guarantee, it is what she really needs. She, too, is grieving her lost sex drive.

Also, be aware that bearing children puts one's body in touch with the biological forces that drive sex--namely reproduction. It may sound silly, but once one has a child to take care of, nature has a way of trying to protect the lives of mother and baby by preventing a new pregnancy right away (= no sex drive in the mom). It takes time. You will be a better man for sticking it out.

One final word of advice--masturbate. Often. Ask your partner if she is willing to participate with you--either by watching you, by talking to you during, by touching you while you masturbate, or by mastubating simultaneously with you. My partner and I masturbated together when sex was both physically and psychologically uncomfortable for me, and it really re-energized our sex life. It turned out that we both really enjoyed watching each other while being responsible for our own sexual pleasure. (Even now, after my sex drive has returned, he still asks for that sometimes). He looked at (non-offensive/non- violent) magazines, and sometimes we watched movies together for inspiration. Good vibrations is a good resource. Oral sex is a good choice, too. Sometimes, when in the depths of despair about my lost sex drive, my partner would gently ask if he could do this for me, and it was a most generous, loving sexual gesture. Make it clear that you have no expectations that she reciprocate when you offer. Perhaps this will help (even temporarily) put her back in touch with her own sexual feelings. Good luck to you. anon.

OK, I know my husband is unhappy about pretty much the same thing. I've been pregnant and nursing on and off for the last three years. I do know that nursing decreases my libido. And a BIG downer on my libido is babies that wake me up up to eight times a night. I just am too, too tired and wanting my sleep to wake up for anything else. I'd be interested in all other responses you get! anon
Very good article mentioned earlier:

By the way, in some parts of the world, a father is kept away from a new mother for a period after birth (in some areas up to a year) and no sex is allowed. For obvious reasons mothers need to focus onthe child. I think biologically speaking sex (reproduction)is least useful within the years after a child is born so perhaps our system doesn't encourage it. Modern day life with no support systems to raise children in and couples relying on each other for everything including feelign good about themselves, does of course. The article above gives great suggestions. anon

Arousal has just very recently been impossible

April 2004

Help! I'm looking for professional guidance that can help me with sexual dysfunction/low libido issues. Its definitely more than just being a working mother of a nursing, two year old. Yes. I know that energy might be a factor. But sex with my mostly, loving husband (yes, I know that description could also be part of the problem) has increasingly ended in tears on my part (after I give in once a month or so.) I'm not sure if I should see a medical doctor or a therapist , or both. I can not even arouse myself anymore. My husband and I are already in couples therapy (things have gotton much better and we are both committed to making things work). I do have a history of sexual abuse as a child, but at 34 yrs. old I have never felt damaged by those experiences. And please. I know that is a red flag for most, but it has never been an issue for me. (There are many people who have survived abuse and not been seriously hindered as an adult right? I've never been able to connect that experience with the hills and vallies of my adult life and neither have past therapists.) I know all of the above sounds like a lot of baggage. But, although sex has never been a strong point for me, arousal has just very recently been impossible. It does seem to be atleast in part, a physical problem. I have my difficulties like anyone else. But, atleast today (a ''morning after''), this is a problem I have to address once and for all. Any reccomendations for strategies would be a beginning. absolutely anonymous

I would strongly suggest starting with your primary care doctor. He/she should be able to offer you medication (like Viagra--it's for women too!) that can help tremendously. I found that being on the Pill lowered my libido significantly. Go prepared, with a list of questions and thoughts, current meds that you might be on, and an open mind. I bet you're right about the ''working mom of a 2 year old'' issue, also though. I have a 2 and 4 year old and I'm JUST starting to get my libido back. Good luck, and good for you for asking for help. Another low-libido mom
One thing to consider: libido issues can often be linked to physical problems (all kinds of stuff -- diabetes, thyroid problems... the list goes on and on). Do you have any other symptoms -- tiredness/lack of energy, general depression, extreme thirst, weight loss or gain, anything that seems unusual? Anything that showed up or got worse near the time that libido issues got worse (even within a few months)? Talk to your physician if you can think of anything at all that might be related. Karen

My sex drive returned post-baby, but his did not

Nov 2003

I read with interest the recent discussions about gaps in a new parent's sex life. So I wanted to pose a similar question to this board: Is no sex always a marriage killer?

Our sex life died with the birth of our second child. After about six months my sex drive returned, but his did not. He will not consider counseling, much less Viagra. It's now been three years, and I have cornered him twice in desperation to tell him plainly that this is a very big deal to me and we need to do something about it. He mumbles something about being sorry, but he's just not into it anymore. He does spend a lot of time on porn sites. Ordinarily I don't mind this, but it's an insult when he's not giving me any of that interest. The only reason I'm not having an affair is because I haven't met anyone to have one with. I'm a 40-year-old mommy of two, not exactly a stud-magnet.

All this said, every other aspect in the marriage is good to great. He's a wonderful, attentive and playful father to our kids. We get along fine - many common interests, close-knit goals, mutual admiration. He cooks, he cleans, he sometimes brings me coffee in bed on the weekdays! We have a harmonious and happy home life, many friends, good extended family relations, etc. It's like I've had kids with my funny, friendly, cool and platonic roommate.

I don't want to get divorced. But I want to have sex and my anger over this is spilling over onto my overall attitude. I am fully aware of how destructive affairs can be to a relationship. And ideally I'd have an affair with my husband, who I used to have the best sex of my life with back when we met. He is absolute in his desire to not address this issue. Is there any hope for me? For us? Thanks for any advice on how I can proceed. anonymous, please

Counseling counseling counseling. If your partner won't go, you should go alone. This sounds like it IS a big deal to you, and so you should deal with it as best you can, with help. Maybe once you start going, your partner will eventually come along. Even if he doesn't, you have a chance to get the tools you need to decide what to do about your marriage. Donna
Well, I'm in your shoes, too, except that I'm the one who is not interested in sex with my husband. We had our two kids very close together, so for a few years I could attribute my low to no sex drive to hormones and parenting stress. A year or so after our second was born, my sex drive miraculously came back-- but I still was not attracted or wanting to have sex with my husband. During this whole time period, my husband has been very patient, very understanding, and I also have been actively trying to get my desire for him back, which it sounds like your husband is not really willing to work on. From my experience, a number of things could be going on for him, and it sounds like he needs to be honest about what they are before you can make decisions about how to get your sexual needs met. IF he is looking at porn sites, it seems that he is not necessarily without sex drive entirely, unless he is trying to revive it through porn. From your brief description, he doesn't sound depressed. ARe there underlying issues that came out for him when your kids were born? Either in your relationship or his childhood or earlier adult life? Does he have low self- esteem/self-image now that makes him feel unattractive? There are so many questions you could ask (and I'm sure have asked!) But it seems your real question is can you go indefinitely without sex? It sounds like you're already in a place where if you happened to meet someone with whom you could have an affair, you'd be tempted. Would having an open marriage be an option for you? Instead of the deceit of an affair, you could discuss the boundaries that such an arrangement would have. I've been through my options-- no sex, affairs, open marriage--and while none of them are 100% appealing, at times I think an open marriage would work best, be least destructive, allow the marriage to stay intact. But again, before you go there, I think you need to understand what is at the root of your husband's problem. Good luck. anon
I think it is really great that you are reaching out re your sex life and your marriage. I am in a very similar situation with my husband -- we have a wonderful marriage: a very high level of communication, super supportive and fun, intellectually challenging, and he is a fantastic father. That said, our sex life causes us a lot of anxiety and stress (for a variety of personal reasons), and so we both seem to avoid it. I do not have any real answers for you, but I do have a couple thoughts: first, I highly recommend two books, both by David Schnarch, that are very helpful/smart (a) ''The Passionate Marriage'' and (b) ''Resurrecting Sex''. I would read (a) first and then (b). There are many books on sex in marriage, but these are SMART and thoughtful and much deeper than most that are out there. And they recognize that sex is not simply about being ''normal'' or finding what physically works. The desire to have sex, (or put differently, the ability to generate desire for sex), depends on a whole host of emotional and physical things. And the books give good examples of ways couples can change together. Second, you might consider couple's counseling. You could go to a counselor to work on the fact that you and your husband have different priorities in terms of sex (and that is how you could present it to your husband). It doesn't need to be judgemental (sex is good, no sex is bad), but rather, how do we work through this issue when our goals currently seem to be different? Third, it has recently occurred to both my husband and myself that while our marriage is wonderful in so many ways, (and we both are responsible for avoiding sex), that if we continue to avoid it, it will end up eroding all the wonderful things that we DO have. So for us, (and I am sure it is different for everyone), it seems clear that in order to preserve the marriage and family that we love, we need to address these issues together and find a way to enjoy each other sexually. When it is hard to find desire (for example, when anxiety overwhelms desire), it helps to have some other motivators to help you address sex. Our motivator right now is love for each other and the life that we have.

My heart goes out to you -- this stuff can be very hard. But it sounds like you and your husband have a very strong base of love and mutual respect to work from. I wish you the very best. Good luck, from an empathetic wife

If you really want to have sex again and it isn't happening it will deaden your marriage. It is one aspect of the relationship that has to stay alive. Our sex life wasn't very good before we had kids. How about yours? My husband has felt very frustrated and put his energies elsewhere. I was glad you mentioned that your husband spends time on porn sites because that was a clue to me that he is still interested in sex. When I haven't gotten my sexual needs met from my partner I have turned away from him to sexual fantasies and soft porn websites (it seemed easier-the whole kids, job, house thing is alot of work). See what sex play on the porn sites he is atttracted and have a real conversation about what he really wants-the sites will give you clues. I finally told my partner what I wanted to experience (yes, I felt very vulnerable and scared) but it has completely opened up our sexual life and is helping other parts of our marriage. Take a risk. Even if he mumbles and grumbles, insist he talk about what he wants sexually and tell him what you want. Be specific. Find a babysitter or take a whole day off with the kids elsewhere. It really helps. no longer frustrated
I know you will hear a lot of feedback on this topic. I just want to say that is completely unfair of your husband to just ignore you sexually like this. I think he might be struggling with issues of sexual orientation or having an affair. I feel he must be getting something from somewhere. To me, sex has been the only thing (maybe chocolate, too) that has truly relaxed me since I had my two kids. You deserve it--it is a basic need. HL--female
It's so strange to read this message, since I was just preparing to write a very similar one of my own. I'm afraid I don't have good advice for you, but I did want you to know that you're not alone. Our situation is somewhat different as I was the one who lost the interest (in sex with my partner, not sex in general), but it's similar in that ALL the other parts of our relationship are so great that neither of us wants to split because of it. I, too, feel like I'm sharing my life and raising our child with my best friend. For us, we've had an ''open relationship'' for years, so either of us could seek sex elsewhere. Our lives are so busy, however, that we rarely do, which sucks, because we are both mostly living without sex. Could you corner your husband yet again and explain that while you love him, it's not fair that you should have to live without sex? Instead of sneaking off for an affair, could you be open about your intention to seek sex elsewhere? I can't imagine he's happier without sex, either. Maybe you could both agree to seek sex outside your relationship. I hope some of these replies are from people who have figured out creative ways of dealing with their primary relationship when it fails to fulfill every need. It's a hard subject to talk about, and I often feel like it's our dirty little secret. I've always considered myself really lucky that I met someone with whom I get along so well, share so many common interests with, who is a wonderful and adoring father, etc. BUT I wish it didn't come at such a price. Good luck. anon
Firstly, you have my sympathy for what sounds like a very difficult situation!

Secondly, I cannot tell you if your marriage is doomed or not - NO one can, and any one, including an experienced therapist, who tries to tell you that they know, should be ignored. Every situation is unique, because the people involved are unique. I suspect that lack of sex is *usually* a sure sign of a doomed marriage, after all, sex is a very important part of a marriage and is usually one of the main things that distinguishes this type of relationship from a regular ''friendship.''

That said, most people will likely tell you to keep pushing for therapy. I'm going to suggest an alternative, if that doesn't work.

First of all, please please please buy the book ''Passionate Marriage'' by David Snarch. I found this book to be life-transforming. It addresses this very issue eloquently, practically and insightfully, with REAL, practical suggestions about what you can DO to address sexual problems in your marriage, not just explain why they exist. And, frankly, he does a much better, much more intelligent job of explaining where they come from than anyone else *I* have read.

Next, some very unconventional advice: I think if your husband is unwilling to have sex with you and unwilling to work to change that, that he has to allow you to find other ways to get your needs met. It would be highly unreasonable (to put it VERY mildly) to object to you having an affair if he is not willing to make love with you himself. I think that at the very least you should *discuss* this as a possible solution to dealing with this problem - and it IS a problem! It doesn't have to be something sneaky and nefarious, indeed, I am suggesting openness and honesty. You cannot *make* your husband address this issue, and only *you* are truly responsible for seeing that your needs are met. I suggest to put it simply and sweetly (but firmly): I need sex. I would prefer to have it with you. If you are unwilling to even discuss this issue, then I must go elsewhere to have my needs met. I want to do this in a way that is not threatening or harmful to you or our relationship, both of which I value very much. What would work for you?

As for not being a stud-magnet - so what? You don't need a stud, you need a lover. There are lovers for all kinds of women--my friend is a 46 year-old single mom and has a fabulous and very attractive lover - also in his 40's, and they have an abundant sex-life. She is not a super-model, she's just a lovely, generous, thoughtful (and frisky) woman. You too can have an abundant sex life - I am sure there are many men who would be happy to be lovers with you, it's just a matter of seeking them out.

So, my advice may be unconventional, but I say it's better than either putting up with not getting your needs met for the rest of your life (or until your husband decides to address this, whenever that would be), or getting a divorce from the father of your children and the man whom you otherwise find to be wonderful.

If that part of my advice is just too ''out there'' for you, at least buy the book. I promise you won't regret it --heck, I'll send you a copy, if you want - contact the moderator for my email, I have an extra copy that I'll be happy to send your way.

Wishing you the best. annie

I think your post indicates that the status quo is not going to work long term, for you, anyway. So it does seem that you'll have to find some way to address it, and that will have to include him. It seems the first logjam to get through is recognition on his part that you need to see a therapist together or at least do something together to address the fact that he is not meeting your needs. One place to start might be with reading the book ''Passionate Marriage.'' It connects sexual issues with other issues in a marriage in sometimes surprising and enlighteneing ways. It may be that if you can't get at your problem through the issue of sex, since your husband won't discuss it, you might find another way in, that's less threatening to him somehow. Maybe you could read the book (or some other recommended reading) together as a way of trying to investigate how to make your marriage work better for both of you. anon
I was surprised by your post and had to wait to respond. I can't believe that it's been 3 years since you and your husband have been intimate. Different reasons immediately popped into my head and I hope you don't mind if I share them with you. 1) Is it possible that for some reason, he is not attracted to you anymore (significant weight gain, etc)?; 2)could it be that he has a medical problem (depression, erectile dysfunction, etc.)?; or 3) could it be that he is trying to protect you from something - could he have had an affair three years ago and maybe contracted something that he doesn't want to pass on to you? It feels weird spilling these things out but I don't know why else he wouldn't want to be with his own wife. If all these things check out and you initiate sex, what does he do? Back off of you, make you back off of him? What about oral sex? Have you tried that with him? Sorry to be so personal but you brought it up, I assume you want suggestions. Anonymous
If he is spending time alone watching porn (instead of being with you) and your relationship is otherwise good, then there is obviously something that is going on his head. To get him to open up with you will take a great deal of patience and understanding from you. berkeleydad
I know this is late but I thought that someone else might raise it. It sounds like it is a possibility your husband has a sex addiction. You can get information related to your situation as the spouse at and you can get information on sex addiction from a number of websites including This website is set up by some Bay Area psychotherapists who specialize in this area. It might be helpful just to call one of them on the phone, describe your situation and ask their thoughts on how to proceed (if at all). Sexual addiction behavior tends to be escalating. Good luck to you. anon

Sex drive after 40: mine has diminished, his is getting stronger

August 2003

I have been married for 6 years to a wonderful guy, however, our sex life is suffering. His sex drive has remained strong (and seems to be getting stronger), but mine has diminished greatly. Today he mentioned how it used to be 5 times a week (I reminded him it was during our ''newlywed'' phase), then slowed to 2x a week, then 1x, now once every other week on average (although I disagree w/that last number--it is more often weekly than biweekly). I reminded him that we are now parents (of a 16 month old) and that time is much more limited now. I am starting to get resentful when he brings it up and seemingly seems to say that having a child should not impact our sex life at all. It makes me want to be less intimate, not more. Also, he ordered 4 videos that came yesterday--3 on lovemaking/spicing up your sex life, and 1 on massage. I found myself being angry about them--maybe because he didn't talk to me first about it. I'm honestly not sure, since I'm not a prude and own some x- rated videos myself. I guess what I'm hoping is that someone can offer me some guidance in how to get interested again in sex. BTW, I can't blame it on post-partum anything--my child is adopted.

In addition, I have talked to other friends of small children who seemed somewhat surprised that we were having sex as frequently as once a week as they were not. When I mention that to my husband, he just gets mad and accusatory and we end up arguing. Am I/are we the only ones whose sex life has been impacted since becoming parents--I think not. Thanks for any helpful information. not feeling sexy

for having a 16 month old you ARE having a lot of sex! Im so sorry your husband is so resentful sounding. He must not have many man friends who are dads. I would highly recomend couples counseling. I hope he is open to this. However I had a similar situation with my husband. I arranged it with my girlfriend (who has kids and whom my husband respects) to start a conversation with me about how tiring it was to raise small children and how she and her husband hardly had any sex for 2 years. All of this was in front of my husband. another of my friends happend to start a similar conversation a couple of weeks later with out my prompting. My husband overheard and became more understanding, having heard it from these other ladies. About the videos: if you don't want them around he should not have them around. It is a matter of his respect for you
Your child may be adopted, but you are still the mother of a small child, and it's exhausting! Add to that the oh-so-frustrating changes that happen in your 40s. I'm in the same place you are--often just plain not interested in sex. My husband is a pretty good sport about it, and compared to others we still have an active sex life. But there are times when I feel like we are playing out that scene in ''Annie Hall'' to the question ''how often do you have sex,'' he answers, ''hardly ever, maybe 3 times a week;'' she answers, ''constantly, probably three times a week.'' There are two things that have helped us. One is that we have talked with a therapist about it. He understand a little better that not wanting sex is not a rejection of him, and he gives me a little more space. And I try to go for it a little more than I might if left to my own impulses. Usually, I am very glad I did. One more comment, I was discussing this with an older friend who has older kids. She said, ''You do know that this is a problem of having very young kids, don't you? Things will definately get better.'' So I am optimistic. been there
Hi, you'll probably get lots of responses agreeing with you because I know many of my friends feel the way you do. However, I have a different perspective. I think sex (fairly frequent) is a necessary and essential part of a loving relationship and it is very very difficult to maintain one without the other.

In my 30s I lost interest in sex with my husband and it turned out to be symptomatic of a larger problem - I was falling out of love with him.

I am older now, remarried (for 5 years) and have two kids with my new husband. I still feel extremely sexually attracted to him and the only impediment to 5x/week for us is finding the time &/or privacy with two wee ones in the house. There is no lack of desire on either of our parts. I hate to sound like Dear Abby, but I really think this is a make-or-break issue, particularly if your husband is unhappy with your frequency, and you should see a counselor to find ways to reconnect with each other. I doubt it's solely about sex drive - there are probably underlying resentments that keep you from wanting to be intimate with your husband, and you really need to talk about these things or they'll only get worse. (And don't get me started on the 50 - 75% of married men I meet at work who are ''on the make'' because they don't get sex at home.) been there

Please do not argue. People who argue are not sexually attractive. According to you your husband is a wonderful man, and you probably do not want to spoil the relationship. Actually you are lucky - he wants you. You have a young child, and this rather than age probably is the main reason for not wanting sex. I would suggest to try to relax more often, and have a date with your husband at least once a month. Exersize and healthy diet also helps. Another thing I learned: do not discuss such private matters with other women, it can only hurt you. Somehow things are often ''better'' in other families, and comparing usually does not help. have been there

Should I put Viagra in my husband's soup?

I am seeking advice from other couples ( or wives) on the delicate matter of sexual stamina. I am very happily married to a husband I love and respect, and who is a great father to our children. However, ever since the start, I had the impression he did not have the same sexual needs I did. To be more precise, we would have intercourse 2 or 3 times a week, and for a very short time. His erection doesn't actually last very long and I did not tell him but I was often unsatisfied. ( Whereas I had been with previous boyfriends, who apparently found me attractive enough to have intercourse with me for much longer than a few minutes.) As these things usually do, ( and having children didn't make it easier) it hasn't improved, and often a whole week goes by without him needing intercourse. The problem of his short erection period also remains, and the disatisfaction I am feeling worries me for our relationship.

We are not American, so whereas a couple might consider talking about this here, we certainly would not - it would probably cause damage to our relationship. I have heard of Viagra, like everyone else on this planet, as a way to increase his sexual stamina, but of course I could never discuss this with him. This may get a few laughs, but has anyone ever resorted to purchasing Viagra on the Internet and using it in a discreet manner ( in the chicken soup) with their spouse? If you have, or can think of other advice, I would appeciate it!

To the person considering giving Viagra to an un-knowing spouse, please do not try that! Viagra carries serious health risks for some men, and like almost all drugs (especially new ones), should be taken under the supervison of a doctor.

In the mean time, please know that most people can solve this kind of problem by communicating. If you are really unable to speak to your husband about it, you can still work on you own. There is a book by Carole Altman available at Amazon that may help. It is called You Can Be Your Own Sex Therapist : A Systematized Behavioral Approach to Enhancing Your Sensual Pleasures,Improving Your Sexual Enjoyment.~ She also wrote another book which is less of a workbook, more of a voyeristic journey. But this first one, although not particularly well-written, begins with a very helpful exercise which helps you to really consider what it is that your relationship needs. If you just take a leap of faith and try completeing the questionnaire, I guarantee that you will discover something helpful. At the follwing site, you may find other titles that interest you.

Unfortunately, it is considered reprehensible in this country to administer prescription drugs to someone without his/her knowledge (and without a doctor's having examined the person) for the purposes of your own sexual gratification.

That said, you might consider spicing your (his!) foods with: Mexican damiana leaves, saw palmetto berries, kava kava root, Nigella sativa L. (Ranunculaceae) - Roman Coriander? (AKA Black Caraway Seed, its active ingredient is Arginine), ginseng, lanceleaf periwinkle (full of yohimbine) if you can't get actual African yohimbe bark, pignoli nuts, IF they are the seeds of the Italian Stone Pine (Pinus pinea L. (Pinaceae), poppyseed cake or muffins using the seeds of the Great Scarlet Poppy (active ingredient Arginine, bot. name: Papaver bracteatum L. (Papaveraceae)), rocket seed, and/or cumin, and the particular varietal of the Sarsaparilla root called Smilax ornata. I do have a few other recommendations in the herbal area, just write back to the list if you want more info, as I am too shy to give my real name or email address on this topic. All of this is cooking rather than doping, and if you like you can tell your husband it's a special recipe to help you both feel romantic, or whatever, so as to not feel that there's any question of doping left. He might be pleased that you are doing special things to set the mood for your evening. Cannibis also has an aphrodisiac effect on many people, but since it's illegal, I wouldn't recommend that.

Try setting a very romantic mood in other ways prior to actual lovemaking, including smell and texture as well as visual stimuli such as soft lights or candles, possibly very background music, perhaps a shared scented bath, a massage with sweet oil (not a good idea if he will fall asleep instead!), scarves or other items that you both find appealing, varied or interrupted positions (nothing too contrived or uncomfortable, of course), or gentle teasing without actually bringing your husband to climax. Although Altoids are very popular with some couples at the moment, it does not sound like a particularly good approach in this case -- of course, you could just chew one to make your breath minty!

As for scents, in American men at least (this is a weird one), the scent of pumpkin pie was found to be the greatest turn-on sexually out of a large variety of scents which were tried in a university study. The spices include ginger, mace or nutmeg (mace is the rind of the nutmeg), cinnamon, and a few others, or you can buy it premixed from the supermarket... or try a variety of scents out on him, only one or two at a time, and figure out what HE likes best. Try to make the time for your romantic evening distinct from your home duties, and uninterrupted (important), almost an exotic adventure for both of you.

One other thing. Men tend to have better sexual stamina if they are in good shape -- if he has not been exercising at all for some time, not only is it dangerous for his health, but he will feel tired (physically) more easily, and his sexual stamina will definitely suffer. I have seen this in our own lives as well -- when my husband is working out, our sex life is much better. I would day this for myself as well, but unfortunately I have always been ready to go at a moment's notice. Of course I married a guy to whom it's NOT all that important :-) But he is wonderful(!!!), so for me the once in a while nature of our sex life has been worth it. As it was for you, before this guy, most of my relationships were intensely sexual, whatever else was going on. I wish you luck. Before the baby, I had worried that this sex-drive mismatch might eventually break up an otherwise wonderful marriage. Now it seems less crucial :-)

I have to ask about the Altoids... What do you mean they are very popular with some couples...?
The following recipes are from the aphrodisiacs page of and from another such page (ref given below): You can make a romantic herb drink for your husband, as part of increasing the general romance of your lovemaking time. Here are some:

KAVA DRINK: mix together in a blender; one ounce of powdered Kava Kava root, two tablespoons of olive oil, one tablespoon of soya lecithin granules and ten ounces of water. Blend on high for one minute. This amount will suffice for 2-4 people.

Damiana can also be infused as a delightfully strong tasting cordial. To produce this `Damiana liqueur' soak one ounce of Damiana Leaves, two tablespoons of Saw Palmetto berries, two tablespoons of Angelica root and a l/2 tablespoon of vanilla pods in 750 ml. of whisky. After one week, strain the mixture through a coffee filter save the liquid. Re-soak the herbs, etc. in 750 ml. distilled water for another week and then strain this second mixture. Heat the second mix to approximately 80C and dissolve one cup of honey into the hot liquid. After the honey has dissolved, remove from the heat, allow to cool somewhat and then add it to the first (whiskey) mixture.

You must then age the whole thing for at least a month! One ounce of liqueur, taken once a day for a few weeks should produce interesting results. Herbs usually work in a gentle fashion so don't expect instantaneous results. Indeed, because of their different metabolism, some people may not experience any effects whatever, while others may find the results too potent. Use these herbs in a respectful manner and use them in moderation, over-indulgence or extended use may have harmful side-effects.

The following tea is from: Tea: Combine equal parts of Damiana leaves and Saw Palmetto berries. Reduce to a powder using a coffee mill. Use 1 tsp a day taken in water or can be put in capsules.

This is a very vulnerable subject - having your sexual needs met. It might be best to talk about this delicate issue honestly with him. Communication in marriage is so important (in and out of the bedroom). It will be difficult to dance around this issue. And it will be painful in in the long run not to ask for your needs. If you don't ask, how do you expect him to know or to even sense you are not satisfied (unless he is a mind reader or has a crystal ball somewhere). You and your husband can explore other ways to fulfill both your sexual needs (the fun part!). I hope you have the courage to honestly ask for what you want.
If you two haven't been talking about these issues before, it certainly is hard to begin now. One suggestion I could make as a man: you could be active and seduce him for a second intercourse after the first fast one. He will need a few minutes in between, but if you can get his erection up for a second round, it probably will last longer than the first one.
I don't think that drugs or even herbs will get you what you what. Eventually, you'll have to do what is probably the hardest for you -- communicate! Rather than try to fix his problem, which is likely to be viewed as criticism and a blow to his sexual confidence, try coming from a place of love and partnership and the idea of, together, trying to make a good thing even better. If it's hard to get the conversation started, maybe try reading a book (John Grey's Mars and Venus in the Bedroom is light, non-threatening, and treats male and female perspectives evenly - if you start reading it he might get curious, and it's an easy 'browse). Or, maybe try renting a sensual movie (try The Unbearable Lightness of Being). If he likes cooking or eating (easy enough!), I recommend a beautiful book called Intercourses: an Aphrodisiac Cookbook - the pictures and quotes alone might get him thinking in new and different ways. Stay positive - show appreciation and give encouragement when even small steps are taken in a direction that acknowledges your needs. Try expressing (or showing!) your desire for change in a light and playful way - it doesn't have to become a heavy something has to change kind of conversation. You might (hopefully) be surprised at his positive response to your initiative, and if you remember to come from a place of love and appreciation rather than criticism, there's little chance you will do any damage. Good luck!!
I read with interest the responses to the woman whose husband doesn't have the same libedo as she does. I have the opposite problem. I am very happily married to my best friend (we've been together over seven years now) whom I love and find desirable. However, my ability to become aroused has tapered off in the last few years, requiring more and more attention to foreplay and my emotional state (e.g. had quiet time away from the kids, not a stressful day at work, didn't read about the most recent massacre in the newspapers). Now it seems that nothing works, despite my and my husband's best efforts. My husband is very understanding and never pushy with his desires, but I am growing increasingly frustrated and I am afraid I may be psyching myself out. When we set aside time to be together, I get performance anxiety. I don't know whether I should see a gynecologist or a psycologist. Have any mothers out there experienced this and do you have any suggestions? Thanks!