My man is never in the mood! Help!

Q: My husband and I get along fine day to day, but we don’t have sex very often. I am talking once per 3-week period, and there is no lack of trying on my part. It seems he is always excited before I go to work, but when I come home and have been thinking about it all day, he isn’t interested. I just can’t seem to get him in the mood. What is wrong with me?

—Very Frustrated

Dear Very Frustrated,

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with you, although I do understand why you are quick to blame yourself. Whenever our men give us the brush off, most of us women start to think, “What’s wrong? Isn’t he attracted to me anymore? Are my boobs getting too saggy? Is it the cellulite? Do I need to go on a diet? Should I get waxed? Boob implants? What?”

Without talking to your husband, I can’t know for sure what’s wrong, but I suspect it’s one of the following:


He has a low sex drive.
He’s probably always had a low sex drive. You could look like Cheryl Cole. You could install a pole in your bedroom and use it to do a nightly strip tease. You could wear liquid latex. It doesn’t matter. He’ll want to do it roughly once every three weeks.


He has erectile dysfunction.
Most men wake with a boner, which is why your husband is probably a bit frisky in the morning. If something is wrong with his plumbing, the morning might be the only time he doesn’t experience equipment failure.


He’s taking care of business when you are not around.
Maybe he’s addicted to porn and is repeatedly whacking off during the day when you are at work. Or maybe he’s having an affair. Or maybe he’s gay and you are his beard. None of these scenarios are likely, but they are all possible.


He’s going through a depression or a very stressful transition.
This could temporarily affect his sex drive.

There are many other possible explanations, too, from side effects of a medicine he might be taking to the fact that he may really be a sadist and like to get you all horned up just so he can see the look of frustration on your face.

There’s only one way to find out why he keeps brushing you off. Ask him. You’ll have to do this calmly and with a lot of sensitivity. A woman asking a man why he’s never in the mood for sex is like a man asking a woman why her butt is so big.

You may need to have more than one conversation. Just be supportive, saying things like, “I just want to understand,” and “I really want us to have a healthy sex life. Can you help me understand what’s wrong? I love you and I want to be able to connect with you.” You might even ask, “Is it me?” He probably has no idea that your sexual self-esteem is taking a beating. This knowledge could help him to open up.

If you can’t get him to open up at all, you might suggest that the two of you see a sex therapist.

No matter what is wrong, try to stay solution focused. For instance, let’s say he has a low sex drive. Try to find ways to meet in the middle. Perhaps he can pleasure you once a week (manually, orally, with a toy… the options are endless). Once every few weeks you have traditional sex, when he’s up for it. Pun intended.

If he has erectile dysfunction, then he needs to see a urologist. The good news about this? Erectile dysfunction is usually treatable. There’s medication for it. You also might try shifting your routine so you can take part in morning sex, especially if that’s when he’s best able to perform.

I think you get the idea. Define the problem, then make a project out of finding a solution, one that works for both of you.

Do you have advice for Very Frustrated? Leave a comment.

Note to my regular fans: No blog Friday. I’ll be at the American Society for Journalists and Authors annual conference, speaking about social media.  I’ll be back Monday with Part 5 of this Sex Advice Series: how to have orgasms regularly and easily. Read Sex Advice Part 1.

85 comments… add one

  • justagirl March 24, 2013, 9:13 pm

    Hi folks, I am 21, my man is 26 and we have been together 2 years, lived together the whole relationship, we plan to get married in a year from now. Sex started off every 2nd day but has now dwindled to every 2/3 weeks, he refuses to open up about it and obviously gets annoyed when I beg, he says ‘stop asking and maybe it will happen’. Of course I have tried that and it doesn’t work at all. I am starting to consider asking a doctor but I just don’t see him going for that idea. Any suggestions?

    Reply
    • militarywife May 3, 2013, 4:32 am

      I hate ‘stop asking and maybe it will happen’ That was all I ever heard, and so I tried and it Never happened. Literally, almost 2 months.
      I would say talking to a doctor is a good idea, but sometimes it can make it worse. I had anger issues towards my husband for a while and started going to therapy to try and find the reason… (I was blowing up over Everything, even things that weren’t even something to be angry with) and the doctor gave me a ton of advice and my husband didn’t really do any of it, but realizing why I was freaking out made it easier to stop doing it, but now I’m bottling up legitimate frustrations that he won’t try and help things get back to getting fun..
      If you don’t think he will take advice, I would suggest the idea to him before doing it for sure.

      Reply
  • Unhappy June 15, 2013, 7:39 pm

    Ive been withy man for three years and we moved in together just under 4 months ago.
    Our sex life Has never been very good.
    I’m always in the mood while my partner always has some kind of excuse for not wanting to be with me sexually. We’ve had sex twice since moving in together. This is an example of how often we have sex.
    I am 35 and we are talking of having a baby. I’m not sure how that will ever happen if we don’t have sex.
    He says that I need to lose weight to have a baby, which I know is not true, I’m only a size 16 and I’ve been to my GP and they’ve said I’m very healthy.
    I’ve never felt so shit about myself in my life, I’m having problems at work and I’m not talking to my mother. I’m not in a good place right now.
    I’ve tried to talk to my partner about all of this, I sometimes can’t stop crying, it’s embarrassing. My GP says that taking anti depressant tablets when trying to fall pregnant isn’t good. Although I don’t want to take them, it’s not me whose making my life so shit, it’s the people around me.
    I have thought about taking my own life. But I’d miss the people I love. And I’ll never have my baby, if that ever happens. If it doesn’t happen it’s possible I will take my own life.

    Reply
    • bored July 18, 2013, 8:56 am

      Dont ever take your own life! No man is ever worth that!!! I relate to how u feel, but trust me he isnt worth it!! Have you told him how you feel? Why is he wanting to wait a year to get married for? Maybe he is the wrong guy for you. If a man respects and loves you he wont let you feel this way. I would definately wait on having baby if things are the way they are now, having a child with him will make things worse. I wished you and I could talk personally, we have soo much in common and I relate all to well with your situation.

      Reply
    • me October 7, 2013, 2:51 pm

      “you need to loose weight before we can have a baby” sounds a lot like “you need to loose weight so i’ll become more sexually attracted to you.” not trying to be a jerk – i love women of all shapes and sizes, and most definitely when they’re rockin it at size 16 (bet you have a nice butt) – just offering a guy’s perspective. he’s probably a douche anyway, maybe gay.

      Reply
  • Tony Williams July 17, 2013, 10:39 am

    Sometimes I just want my wife to iniate things. Because its more often that I am in the mood and I am the initiator. And she reaches cimax a lot more often than I do. Which may mean something’s wrong with me because I don’t know many other men with this issue. Also I feel like sex is all about my wife . There have been times where during intercourse ill ask for something and either shell say no or she does the position or activity I ask for it doesn’t last long due to her becoming fatigued. I’d really just like some role reversal. Where she just comes home and initiates and shows that she actually wants me physically, but I suppose I should be sharing this with her instead of ranting in the Internet.

    Reply
    • someone who's been there September 8, 2013, 8:07 pm

      Sometimes ranting on the internet can be quite a release! I can understand where you are coming from. With my husband…we never have sex (which is why I found this site) but when we do Actually, I am the one who is initiating it. Always. I think in the couple years we have been married, he has twice. So, I am slowly losing any interest in even having sex anymore. I mean, my appetite is still very healthy, but to get the motivation to put in all the effort to make it happen just isn’t worth it at all anymore. Being told no, to doing Anything for months tears me down too much!

      Reply
    • jake December 17, 2013, 6:26 am

      I get it man! We’re dudes though and that’s not going to help us but I do get it. My wife needs to initiate with more than “laughable” force at times. I HAVE to know she wants it and that can be enough to drive me to home base but. . . .She seems to think when I go to bed out of exhaustion is the only possible time to ask ….. I bet I do look pretty lame at those moments

      Reply
  • jake August 6, 2013, 8:51 am

    I have a beautiful wife and we have a fantastic working relationship (by that I mean we share in the entire workload of keeping our home tip-top and keeping appointments). I do not have a drug problem, I do not masturbate to porn when in the middle of an *issue (to be explained) when all is well I am extremely attracted to my wife; even when things are bad she is “it” in my universe. It has been my experience that I have some strange libido cycle that sometimes confuses and hurts my wife’s feelings. Every couple of weeks I’ll have a week long stretch where I have to have her in the morning, and in the evening of the same day so frequently she has to tell me one day we have to stop so she can heal up for the next romp. She of course loves the closeness, the intercourse, the fulfillment, attention, and everything else that comes with it so at these times she’s glowing. Once this dies down I’ll have this *issue where no matter if she puts porn in front of me, puts on a naughty outfit, tries to give me a blowjob, etc I’m not going to feel even slightly interested in sex and this “mood” can last unexplained in me for a couple of weeks. While it’s occurring there will be several instances of her trying to excite me to get frisky, and I have to turn her down with next to no explanation, or something made up quick; I also often leave the bed to escape the awkward silence afterwards. I wish I knew what to do. I don’t want her to have the fears some of the women here seem to materialize in their minds. I came to this site because I’m searching for answers since last night was one of those nights. I want her to know I want her but my sidekick isn’t in the game and neither is the libido.

    Reply
    • someone who's been there September 8, 2013, 8:10 pm

      I wish there was some way to know if this is what is up with my husband. I know, from the past going through his phone, that he at least used to look at porn all the time. He has always denied it, which is whatever. He “swears he doesn’t look at it anymore” which is ridiculous to me, I mean, to be honest, even I look at porn sometimes… but regardless…There was a 3 week period 2 years ago where my husband and I were going at it, all the time, and it had been dead for a year and a half, but then after that 3 weeks…we are back to once a month at the very MOST. I am even fine just messing around..but oh well..here’s to a very long marriage

      Reply
    • girlwstrongdrive December 13, 2013, 12:18 pm

      I wonder if my guy feels this way. I have a strong sex drive…I love sex with my partner. He is great in bed but I want more. I told him from the get go that sex is very important for me. He has a rule, no sex when his child is with us(he has joint custody and we have her 3-5 days a week) so since im a sex-every-day-girl, I compromise. But, it has gotten to, the days we don’t have her with us, he’s to tired for me. Im ready but he would say he’s too tired and not in the mood…I ask for him to meet my needs in other ways but he says im being selfish and not thinking of him. Help…what do I do?

      Reply
      • jake December 17, 2013, 5:51 am

        Look, I’m getting better these days, what it took for me is freedom and less pressure. I’m sure that’s a difficult environment for a “frisky” wife to create, but I sort of needed time to re-examine what turns ME on. I made it about my wife so long that I wasn’t concerned any longer about where I was mentally and eventually it became a workload of pleasing her. I’m by no means a porn star all of a sudden but maybe if you did what you can to let him be “comfortably turned on” (a different headspace for those who don’t understand) and into his own agenda morning, noon, or night that may help. Be receptive, if your man feels you up at 1pm and that’s not your normal romp time, suggest that you do it now, especially if you feel he’s hard. If you grope your man and he isn’t aroused just wait, maybe he’s having THAT issue. When he is, Carpe Diem! Maybe if YOU took YOUR man at 1:30 in the afternoon in the master bath while he IS hard you’d get a different experience. Ladies, I’m not trying to say you haven’t tried everything. I applaud you for not cheating. There is hope. He needs a fire and it sounds like neither of you are feeling to heated up.

  • Me August 21, 2013, 8:37 am

    I deal with the same thing from my husband. I’m still not completely sure what it is, but I feel I am close to figuring it out. We had a great sex life until I got pregnant. I blamed frequent arguments and lack of attraction with my changing body on the reason. However my baby is over a year old now and our sex life is still blah. But I’ll explain. Long story short, I was planning a wedding with a baby and my fiancé left. The entire time we were split up, he wanted to get in my pants. He didn’t know why he really left besides the fact that he wasn’t happy and couldn’t be the man I needed. So he couldn’t take it anymore and wanted to get back with me. We had sex all of the time and he even planned a surprise wedding behind my back. A month into out marriage and here we are with a declining sex life AGAIN. Then I found out he searched for “why can’t I get an erection for my wife” on his phone and then porn immediately afterwards. It hurt my feelings and I won’t tell him I found it, but I have noticed somewhat of a connection. When I am trying to repair the relationship and keep it intimate and close, he pulls away but when I am distant, he tries to get close with me.

    And I will add that we are in our mid 20s and I am not at all boring in the bedroom. He is. Boring in the bedroom and when we do have sex he says “okay want some? Get on” and if I say “can u not try to put me in the mood or be romantic” he says “look if u want some shut up and get on” it’s painful and pisses me off and then he cums in like 30 seconds and I get nothing out of it.

    Over all conclusion to me thus far is that if your man feels that you NEED him, it’s not attractive. If he feels like you are nagging, it’s not attractive. Of course I feel like he puts me in that position and by me loving him I don’t feel I NEED him but I think it comes off like that. So now I’m battling how to approach this situation but I’ve decided to always be independent this day forward and act in interested. Men like to chase and I obviously haven’t been giving him a chase so ill wear a smile and play hard to get and uninterested and we will see if me splaying his role changes this around

    Guys what’s your opinion? I think men don’t like it easy and if it comes easy, they feel they can do better and men don’t like that feeling for their egos

    Reply
    • jake December 17, 2013, 6:11 am

      Your man sucks. There is better. If all that you say is truthful, so is my response.

      Reply
  • JvS September 5, 2013, 8:57 am

    Hi guys…

    A Heloo all the way from South Africa (Cape Town)…Been reading all your comments and very interesting…I’m 26 years old and very much into sex…If I don’t get it I’m frustrated and moody…but I’m going through some stuff at work and somehow during sex my erection just fade away…and I try to make it up with oral and my girl LOVES it but I’m loosing out in the process and this is frustrating me…

    I don’t want to use anything but I also don’t want to look weak by not getting it up. And I just want to “cum” for a change…I’ve been watching porn and that helps abit but that is like a replacement for the real deal…

    Any advice/Help Please????!

    Reply
    • jake December 17, 2013, 6:15 am

      “make sure” you’re straight. If that works for you, and you’re still into your girlfriend you have to get back into that deprived male state, where the thought, sight, smell, taste, touch, might just set you off into a killer frenzy, and then two deep breaths, go to her, smell her, want her, touch her, show her, taste her, and if she’s willing take her. Remember you are an animal, let your beast lead the way. Other thoughts in your head, bills, business, family, need a different place to be while you please your woman. Try making it more playful and less forced, no demand, just lovers fooling about. You’ll see when you mix the animal. Don’t fret.

      Reply
  • Brandi September 27, 2013, 11:07 pm

    Hi I’m 34 my boyfriend is 39 we been together 3 yrs he always touching me teasing me sometimes he makes me cum but why don’t he want sex ? He say it’s because of low sex drive but if that’s the case why he touching me teasing me I’m about to go nuts I love him but I want sex really bad

    Reply
    • jake December 17, 2013, 6:17 am

      Test him with a BI moment. If he goes for a guy voraciously during a 3some . . . . he just doesn’t know it yet but that’s why.

      Reply
  • girlwstrongdrive December 13, 2013, 12:36 pm

    I have a strong sex drive…I love sex with my partner. He is great in bed but I want more. I told him from the get go that sex is very important for me. He has a rule, no sex when his child is with us(he has joint custody and we have her 3-5 days a week) so since im a sex-every-day-girl, I compromise. But, it has gotten to, the days we don’t have her with us, he’s to tired for me. Im ready but he would say he’s too tired and not in the mood…I ask for him to meet my needs in other ways but he says im being selfish and not thinking of him. Help…what do I do?

    Reply
    • jake December 17, 2013, 5:55 am

      girlwstrongdrive

      It sounds like you know exactly what you want to do. Sex and love are SO different. You know what you’re looking for. He doesn’t. He looks out for the kids and that’s great. Good guy. You want something else.

      Reply
  • jake December 17, 2013, 6:08 am

    Maybe, just maybe he got tired of the “work”.

    I’m not trying to make assumptions about anyone posting here, but if you just lie there during sex (because of fitness, weight, etc) that gets old.

    If you ask your husband for sex after a night of drinking, if I were him I’d say, “and just what part of that were you prepared to take part in?” If your plan is to lie down while the magic happens, that’s at least half your issue. Your lying there gets old after SO MANY YEARS.

    Learn to turn us on. Do something/anything besides just lying there and putting the entire outcome on us. Treat us like something new and naughty you want to impress in bed. Yeah, I’m sure the man can take a lesson from that too. Bonobo chimps are quite human, and quite promiscuous, a genetic trait we all share.

    Reply
  • Confused June 5, 2014, 9:34 am

    I just came upon this page today and maybe I can get some help or advice from other people going through what I’m going through.

    My boyfriend and I used to be long distance. He’s from the states. We used to Skype every day and he would always be rearing to go. Always wanting me to put on little shows to help him cum. But now that he’s here in Canada, he never seems to want it. When we do have it, it’s great but I have to initiate it. Sometimes he helps me get off but I don’t want just masturbation all the time. But again..I have to half beg just for the ‘play time’. He does the whole, “Don’t ask and maybe it’ll happen.” thing that other were mentioning and it drives me crazy because I know that means it wont happen. Just a way to shut me up. I don’t understand the change. I know he has depression but the pills he’s on up his sex drive from what he tells me.

    With the ‘play time’, he feels he has to schedule it in kinda thing..and that gets old. Like it’s a chore. Surprise me with it…tease me up to the point where you’re actually going to give me the ‘play time’. I’m the only one who works right now as we’re waiting on his work visa, so I go to bed before him and he knows I enjoy being woken up to sex or in this case ‘play time.’

    Once a week, we smoke pot with a friend who visits and he enjoys sex then…and if we have a few drinks then he can get in the mood. But knowing he has to have drugs or alcohol in his system hurts. He says the alcohol counteracts whatever goes on in his brain..but I thought that’s what the pills were supposed to do. I don’t doubt his love for me as he paid lawyer fees and left his country to be with me. But the change in sex drive is so confusing when he knows how sexual of a person I am.

    We’ve talked about this before and that’s how we came up with ‘play time’. I was able to make him understand me needs with a smoking reference. I crave sexual release like he craves his cigarettes. And he seems to enjoy getting me off…but I need more. I need penis over fingers or toys. I don’t want to feel like a roommate he occasional sleeps with when the mood finally hits.

    Am I being to picky or needy? Any advice would be great.

    Reply

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