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?
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.
A professional journalist, Alisa Bowman is the author of Project: Happily Ever After, a memoir of how she saved her marriage, and coauthor of Pitch Perfect, a must-read if you've ever had a sense of dread tie up your insides before a speech, presentation, or conversation. If you enjoyed this post, you will no doubt love her updates on Facebook and Twitter.