Can Attraction Be Manufactured?

A Reader Participation Post

Q: I struggle with being attracted to my spouse. When we met, it was his kindness, compassion, helpful nature, intelligence, and values that I fell in love with. We also had so much fun together. Even two kids and 10 years later, we generally get along and have a good marriage. I have never thought he was particularly handsome but, in the beginning, that didn’t matter to me. That said, because I’ve never been very attracted to him, sex has been difficult since day one. Sometimes I think he deserves better–to be with someone who desires him sexually. And I often have felt really sad at the prospect that I will never be with someone who I desire in that way. Am I being shallow? How important is attraction? Is it a ‘make it or break it’ part of a marriage?

– I Wish I Needed a Cold Shower

Okay readers, what do you have to say about I Wish’s predicament? Here’s my take. I have a theory (just a completely unproven theory, mind you) that you can’t get everything you desire out of marriage. If the guy knocks your socks off in bed, chances are he’ll make your skin crawl in other ways. A guy who is a great provider and father (and kind and loving and all of those other super positive things) might lack a certain charisma and sensuality in the bedroom.

Again, it’s just a theory. I invite any reader who managed to find the perfect mate – sexy, compassionate, kind, and all of the rest—to prove me wrong. I won’t be offended.

But it’s because of this theory that I sometimes understand why, in Europe, it is somewhat commonplace for married folks to take on a lover. The lover fills the desire for passion. The spouse fills the desire for just about everything else. I’m not saying that this is the way to go or that I don’t believe in monogamy (I do very much). I’m just saying that I understand it.

All of that said, you can definitely take steps to improve your sex life so that it will no longer be difficult. Step 1 would be meeting with a sex therapist and laying it all out on the table. Also, read everything you can about sexual techniques. Some of the art of getting your socks knocked off has everything to do with technique. You can teach each other how to be better lovers. It just takes an open mind and some practice.

I also highly suggest taking yourself out of your sexual comfort zone. A little mystery and adventure would do you well. Case in point: there’s a study out there somewhere that found that women felt more attracted to a man after riding a roller coaster with him than before. I’m not saying that you need to ride a roller coaster every time you want to have sex, but be creative. Maybe you leave the blinds open. Maybe you do it in the laundry room. Maybe you dress up like cat woman. Maybe you handcuff him to the bed. You get the idea.

Finally, I’ve found that the more I’ve been able to share my quirky secret inner self with my husband, the more attracted to him I’ve become. It’s a priceless feeling to know that someone “gets” you, despite everything he knows about you. Because I feel so close to my husband emotionally, I want to make love to him. This wanting isn’t necessarily the same thing as that lusty attraction that young couples feel. It’s different. It’s more of an honoring. It’s my way of saying, “Thank you for being in my life. You so deserve to have your socks knocked off. It’s my pleasure to make you happy.” To create a deeper emotional connection, tell him about those skeletons in your closet. Reveal those deep dark secrets that, until now, you’ve been too ashamed to talk about. You just might find that it generates a sexual spark that leads you both to the bedroom.

Okay readers, that’s how I see the situation. How about you? And, as always, I encourage all viewpoints—no matter how divergent. But I do not encourage nastiness and in-fighting. So be helpful, be you, and be kind.

30 comments… add one

  • Kathleen Quiring February 18, 2010, 11:12 am

    I think this is a fabulous answer, Alisa. I especially agree with your theory that your spouse will never fulfill every desire. No human is capable of that. I really like all your ideas for spicing things up, too. My advice to I Wish would be to hang on for dear life to your current catch (it is NOT EASY to find a man who is compassionate, helpful, intelligent, etc . . . If you do find someone you’re super-attracted to, chances are he will lack in other very important ways) and try to find ways to stimulate attraction and arousal with him.
    .-= Kathleen Quiring´s last blog ..Just for Fun: How to Make Snow Ice Cream =-.

    Reply
  • Cyndi February 18, 2010, 12:25 pm

    I agree with all of your suggestions 100%.

    The best part of your response is: “Finally, I’ve found that the more I’ve been able to share my quirky secret inner self with my husband, the more attracted to him I’ve become.” Intimacy is key to any successful marriage and leads to more attraction. Without it, women especially, will have a difficult time getting in the mood.

    I would not qualify my marriage as perfect by any stretch of the imagination but we have grown much closer and are still very attracted to each other after 12 years of marriage, 2 kids, and….life. You absolutely can have both with the same partner. It does take work. And your suggestion about shaking things up is dead on. We have the best sex when I step out of my comfort zone as I am more naturally reserved than my husband. Naughty = fun = great sex. ;)

    Another thing to consider in this situation is possible issues of her own. Does she feel sexy? Does she have some baggage that needs to be unloaded regarding her sexuality or sex in general? Individual counseling is worth a shot in addition to all of your great suggestions.
    .-= Cyndi´s last blog ..Panic ATTACKS! =-.

    Reply
  • Athol Kay: Married Man Sex Life February 18, 2010, 4:51 pm

    More likely that not the husband is making some sort of attraction building mistake. There’s not much the wife can do directly to fix this as her attraction for him is a response to the stimuli he provides. She needs to communicate to him what turns her on and he needs to provide that.
    .-= Athol Kay: Married Man Sex Life´s last blog ..They Come Runnin’ Just As Fast As They Can =-.

    Reply
  • Alexandra February 18, 2010, 4:55 pm

    I love the honesty of the question and the responses.

    Um, Alisa, I need to correct something though, what you said about it being “somewhat commonplace” to have a mistress in Europe. My French ex-husband tried infidelity and it led to the end of our marriage, ie. back to the importance of honesty, if a relationship is to work. Generally affairs tend to be secret. Not that they don’t exist in France, but those marriages are not the most successful.

    Now I will turn to my second husband, the Swede, for his opinion: “First of all, it is a tradition among the ruling classes to have mistresses, so it’s a part of French tradition. Second, marriage is an economical affair in France. A lot of women stay in unhappy marriages because of the money factor. Third, strangely enough a lot of French men are lousy lovers, partly because of their religious background. Northern Europeans don’t understand this. If a couple, in Sweden, do not function well in bed, it’s reason for divorce.”

    I thought the rest of your advice was great. Kathleen’s pointing out that I Wish should hang onto her husband seems spot on, too. I had an Austrian friend in France who was not attracted to her man in bed. She did some therapy and realized the reason was he did not wash, simple as that. Once she was able to communicate this was an issue for her, he started washing prior to sex and the situation changed. They are still married going on 40 years now.

    Reply
  • Natalie February 18, 2010, 6:22 pm

    This is an interesting post to me. Sexual attraction has caused me some anxiety in the past because, to me, it was a big “should” when you got married. In my unrealistic expectation mind prior to my wedding, a marriage “should” be easy, “should” complete you. Your spouse “should” be your “soul mate” and you “should” want to rip each other’s clothes off ever time you see each other. He “should” take your breath away when he kisses you all the time.

    Fast forward to now… I’ve found that a lot of my attraction to my husband has a lot to do with my attraction to myself. If I’m feeling anxious, he gets on my last nerve and the last thing I want is him touching me. If I’m depressed, I wonder if there’s more out there for me. Another thing that plays a big factor with us is outside influences (work being a big one). The “rut” of daily life… I try to bring up ways to get out of it when I feel like it’s getting to be too much.

    So, for me, my attraction to my husband has quite a bit to do with how I feel in general. If I’m exhausted and crabby, stay away and just leave me alone. If he’s stressed and crabby, the same. But, if we both have some other form of outlet… exercise being one key one… I’ve realized we’re both able to laugh more, we touch more, and things just feel more connected.

    I agree that reading about sexual techniques and things like that can help. For me, personally, it increases my anxiety sometimes because I think, “If we can’t do this right, what’s the point?” Perfectionist much? Yeah, that’d be me. So sometimes I read things, but often, it’s more about adjusting my attitude. Then my husband… and many other things in life… look much more attractive to me.

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  • Alisa February 18, 2010, 6:58 pm

    Alexandra–I guess I should have worded it: “How we Westerners portray European marriages in the movies.” Anyway, good points. And, like I said, I understand the allure, but also see how it can really hurt a marriage more than it helps.

    Reply
  • Rebecca February 18, 2010, 9:33 pm

    My suggestion to I wish is to look at her husband and find an attractive feature about him and let him know. It could be his eyes, his hair, his skin, his legs or even his feet. There’s gotta be something that you can look at and say: hmmm, that’s really good. I personally don’t think you should worry about the looks. Any “attractive person” can grow old to be the most ugliest, wrinklest, weirdest person. And what if they’re in an accident and becomes scarred or handicapped? Would you love them any less?
    I think you should focus on intimacy, sweet words, touching. Yes, touching releases more than good feelings. It brings unimaginable closeness. I also agree with being honest about what you want sexually. Experiment. Be adventurous. Physical attraction is not as important as all you said you receive from this man. To me personally, he sounds very attractive just by hearing your description of him. :)

    Reply
  • Kathy February 18, 2010, 9:56 pm

    My husband is “not what I usually go for”. He’s fair – light hair, blue eyes and very white (or as my daughter calls it – freakishly white). I’d mostly gone for dark hair, dark eyes and more olive complexion. But, similar to I Wish, my husband is a good man and that makes me attracted to him. So, I wouldn’t call my husband a hunk or someone I would have noticed in a crowded room. But, the sex has always been great. And his kindness, attention, being an excellent provider, etc., makes up for what I “would have usually gone for”.

    I’m with Kathleen, hang on to him. You could very easily find a guy that makes you orgasm just by looking at him, but the qualities you have in your husband, in my opinion, are far, far more important.

    Remember, as we age, sex becomes an issue (not so frequent, etc.), and the traits in your husband will last a life time. Sex appeal, in my opinion, has an expiration date.

    Reply
  • Maile February 18, 2010, 9:58 pm

    My thoughts … sex is all brains. Don’t get me wrong, it’s very physical, very visual – but it starts in the head.
    If you feel attractive, you will emulate that, and you will be attractive – that whole pheromone thing comes into play, too. By the same token, if you think someone is attractive, they will be.
    When alone, close your eyes and picture what you feel the sexiest man should look like. Now – Why is that sexy to you ? Is it the hair ? The eyes ? The height ? What is it about that image that “melts your butter” ?
    Now, how can you put your husband into that image ? (Not that I’m saying to make your husband change – you married him for who he is, not who you can turn him into)
    That said – What would it take to “make him ooze sex” for you ? New hair color/style ? Contacts – to change his eye color ? Could he dress better – maybe his style or fit of clothes need a change ? Figure out what changes you would “need” to see your spouse as a sexier person. While for some of it, you could have a discussion with your spouse and see if he’s game to try it … for other parts, you may just have to allow your imagination to take over.

    My husband is not the same (physically speaking) as he was when I fell in love with him – nor am I – but when I see him, I still see the man I fell in love with all those years ago. Why ? Who knows. Could be just because I love him, could be that I think he’s sexy so my brain “makes” him sexy, could be that because I have taken the time to learn just how to pleasure him in bed (all the little details we don’t always remember focus on), he wants to do the same for me – which is amazing, believe me, to have someone go out of their way just to pleasure you.

    Just my opinion – give it a try. If it doesn’t work, look into a marriage counselor/sex therapist as suggested. Best Wishes.

    Reply
  • Natalie February 18, 2010, 9:59 pm

    Rebecca said what I was trying to get to in a very sleepy, round-about way. When I feel emotionally closer to my husband, be it through laughing together, small touches, shared inside jokes, etc., I find it easier to find him physically attractive. To me, the two go hand in hand. Granted, there are times that I focus on the physical connection just as a way to connect if we’ve hit a “dry period.” But for me, personally, physical attraction increases if I focus on the good things in other areas of our relationship (and if there truly are good things going on).

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  • Rebecca B. February 18, 2010, 11:16 pm

    It’s funny…my husband and I were high school sweethearts (sort of:) since 1997. We were married in 2004. I love have never, not for one minute, stopped being attracted to him. BUT, I have changed towards the things that we were once into after we had two kids. There are things that I have always wanted from him – or more from him, I should say. For instance, I wanted flowers just because, more I love you’s, jewelry just because…but then we got into a serious financial bind and I fell in love with him all over again. Because of the father he is; that loves his kids (you can see it in his eyes), when the phone is disconnected for a day or the cable stops working during a snow storm and he doesn’t bat an eye…God I love this man! Life’s ups and downs totally proves my attraction to my husband! I’ll love this man forever!

    Reply
  • Daniel February 19, 2010, 10:22 am

    In reading the first couple of sentences I thought that you we just suffering from the two problems that many (if not all) long term couples face. First, even the hottest spouse becomes bland after 10 years together. Second, your husband has simply let himself.

    But then you said “I have never thought he was particularly handsome . . . “ and “. . . because I’ve never been very attracted to him, sex has been difficult since day one.” I found those two statements to be very odd. Are you saying that you do not find your husband to be especially attractive or are you saying that you actually think he is unattractive. Those aren’t the same thing.

    I find it strange that you ended up with someone who, from day one, you never found attractive. I realize that physical attraction is often not the most important factor, but no matter how kind, compassionate, intelligent, etc. someone is, the only two situations I know of where someone gets into a relationship with another person that they have no physical attraction to at all are (i) when they marry for money, or (ii) when one person has somehow “saved” the other person from a bad situation and there is an unhealthy hero worship factor at play.

    Giving you the benefit of the doubt and assuming that neither of these applies to you, here are my thoughts.

    First, I think that the posts here give great advice, but unfortunately those suggestions (and mine) are probably going to be of limited value to you because it is already embedded in your mind that your husband is not attractive to you. I don’t say that to be mean or nasty. It is a problem we all have. We often get something in our heads and, after awhile, it becomes very difficult to force ourselves to think any other way. For example, no matter how old your kids get, you will always look at them as kids. In this case, if you have spent the last ten years feeling that you are not physically attracted to your husband, it is going to be very hard to convince yourself of anything else, no matter what tricks and techniques you use.

    So my first piece of advice is that you need to somehow hit the reset button on this attractiveness issue and give your husband a clean slate. Unfortunately I don’t know how you should do this, but at the very least you need to stop telling yourself that you are not attracted to him. If you can’t make yourself stop seeing him as unattractive, then one idea may be to try to see the underlying potential he might have. For example, if he is 50 pounds overweight and has a bad comb-over, how would he look if he shaved his head, went to the gym, and got a rock-hard body?

    Which leads to my second thought which is that there are very few people who are so repulsive that there is nothing they can do to become more attractive. Sure, a new haircut is not going to turn your husband into Brad Pitt, but a new haircut, some good clothes, and losing a couple of pounds can easily turn an unattractive person into at least a neutrally attractive person. And let’s face it – a tone, fit body looks great on anyone! If you can somehow (in a caring, loving way) get him to “shape up” you might be surprised at the difference it makes. But that is a two way street – you should lead by example on this!

    My third thought is that all of the prior posts about sexy being a state of mind is right on target. Instead of trying to get all hot and steamy by looking at your husband, try getting yourself all hot and steamy and then looking at your husband. I hate to tell you this, but unless your husband truly is unattractive, it’s not his looks that determine the level of “sexiness” in your lives – it’s your (and his) state of mind. The hottest lovers I have ever had were not the best looking lovers I ever had. The hottest lovers were the ones that were fun and playful and enjoyed doing sexy things.

    To see what kind of influence mind-over-attractiveness plays, try this – think of someone that you find really attractive and think of a really hot, sexy situation with that person. Think about it in detail. Make it sexy but keep it realistic (flying off to Paris doesn’t count). Where are you? What are you wearing? What are you doing with each other?

    Now – go see if your husband will play out that situation with you.

    And if that doesn’t work – there’s always alcohol! :)

    Reply
  • Jake February 19, 2010, 2:00 pm

    I agree with Daniel above and thought “I have never thought he was particularly handsome . . . “ and “. . . because I’ve never been very attracted to him, sex has been difficult since day one.” was odd as well. I feel that attraction in both the physical and non physical sense is extremely important in a relationship.

    I’m not saying it’s all about looks but attraction is necessary – I happen to be so blessed to be with the most beautiful woman in the world(Not only her physical appearance but her soul as well).

    I also think Daniel had some good points above and to add, maybe you can both go to the gym and workout together. If you see him working out and such it might help get you revved up so to speak. Sorry I couldn’t be of more help. Like I said I couldn’t imagine being with someone I wasn’t attracted to(at least at the beginning of the relationship before I got to know her) but if you truly love him it’s worth trying out few of the ideas others have suggested. Good luck.
    .-= Jake´s last blog ..9 Simple Things You Can Do For Your Significant Other =-.

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  • groovygranny February 19, 2010, 2:02 pm

    Read “Hot Monogamy” by Patrica Love (surprised Alisa did not recommend this book, since she did recommend it to me). It is full of exercises that really work, and Dr. Love (great name, I think) describes the differences between desire, passion, and satisfaction very well. After 45 years of marriage, I can say that you can teach old dogs new tricks, but I am not talking about merely technique, but about awakening or rekindling genuine desire to give and receive love. That physical “attractiveness” thing is reserved for teenagers (vastly overated and very time limited). You can get the home fires burning with some committed effort.

    Reply
  • Teresa February 19, 2010, 5:00 pm

    I bet there are woman that find your husband attractive. Maybe you two could go out without your wedding rings on and you could watch some other women flirt with your husband. I know for myself seeing this happen with my husband is a sexual turn-on. That may give you the opportunity to see him through someone else’s eyes.

    Reply
  • Maureen February 19, 2010, 7:36 pm

    My husband is far from ideal but what makes him “perfect” is his willingness to grow, change and explore. He is always telling me that our biggest sexual organ is our brain. He is so right. I’m like you, Alisa. The more I share about my sexual desires and quirkiness the more I am attracted to him because of his willingness to try things I might suggest.
    .-= Maureen´s last blog .. =-.

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  • E February 19, 2010, 7:39 pm

    Attraction CAN be manufactured. My Husband is GORGEOUS! HE is a DOLL. He is so good looking girls fall all over themselves to talk to him and he always gets free stuff, he is that cute. I struggle with sex because I was raped as a girl and I am just not sexual. I like to kiss my husband and I love the fact that he is on my arm, but I just do not want to have sex. He always wants sex, and so I do that to please him, and to be close to him. But I do not desire sex. So I think that if you love your husband, and you get a long well, and you have a good marriage, then YES, you can and should enjoy sex with him. Think about all of the ways he is attractive and all of the ways his is attractive to you personally. It’s just the same as falling in love with yourself. You pick one good trait and start from there. Does your husband have good hygene? Does he smell pleasant because he wears a nice cologne? Does he have a nice hair cut? Does he have facial hair that you like? Pick the traits that you like about him physically and start from there, and in time you will be completely attracted to him physically and you will desire the hell out of him. I promise.

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  • m February 20, 2010, 10:03 am

    My husband and I are going through this right now. We’ve been together for nearly 7 years and although I love him deeply and he is my best friend — and a wonderful, wonderful man — I do not feel any attraction for him.

    When I say this, I mean chemistry. This might sound odd, but I am repelled by his smell. (Not talking hygiene here. I mean the smell of his essence, semen, fluids, breath, etc.) This has never happened with any of my other sexual partners. He is attracted to my smell, but my body simply rejects him. It is not logical, and I have been unable to psyche myself into reacting differently.

    This is agonizing for me. And for us. We are considering separation over it, as he wants and deserves to be looked at and desired in a way that, no matter how I have tried in the past, I have not been able to manufacture.

    What I can manufacture, without much difficulty, is a desire to give pleasure out of love. I am “attracted” to my husband as a friend, as a person, as someone I want to spend a lot of time with. And so I have sex with him because I want to honor and please him, but no amount of technique can get me in the mood with him. I can sometimes climax, but the sex, no matter how creative, simply doesn’t satisfy. His touch simply does not turn me on. In fact, it often has the opposite effect.

    This issue is a source of huge grief and angst. All the books out there I’ve read — and I’ve read most of them — talk about rekindling a sexual chemistry that once existed. We never had that. Or, at least, I didn’t. I became involved with him because I could see we’d be best friends, wonderful daily companions and great parents together.

    If you’re not getting something mentally or emotionally from your marriage, you can turn to friends or other activities. But sexually? In our society? Your spouse is the only option. I am trying to look long-term and realize that in the end, it’s about who’s going to wipe your mouth in the nursing home, but those years are a long way away, and I cannot reconcile the strong sexual desires within me with the deep but platonic friendship that is my marriage.

    Excruciating.

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  • husbandversuswife.com February 20, 2010, 9:17 pm

    Hi there! I really like your blog, it’s very interesting to me! My husband and I have just started a blog of our own at http://www.husbandversuswife.com, it’s about our marriage and our frequent disagreements, we’re posting in the hope that our readers will give us some relationship advice and I’d love you to check it out! Thanks, Annie x

    Reply
  • Sally February 21, 2010, 10:41 pm

    I thought Daniel’s post was very insightful, and his points about “upkeep” make a lot of sense…I had never been too excitied about my husband’s style (didn’t exactly “get me going”), it had been the same since we married (25 years), and I recently asked if I could please do an overhaul, and wow, the difference is amazing, how a pair of cool new jeans that actually fit and aren’t tapered Levi’s from the 90′s and a snug knit shirt…I think the positive reinforcement of me grabbing his bum in public made a bigger statement than anything else could have, and now he dresses that way all the time. I think knowing your spouse finds you attractive and/or appealing (even if he isn’t classicly handsome) is a motivation to want to change things up a bit. Also, I too married someone who I thought from the start wasn’t good-looking in a typical way, but we had great chemistry and were still all googly-eyed in the beginning, so perhaps the issue of never finding the husband attractive is misleading, perhaps she’s forgetting that there was enough chemistry to get them together, but her logical mind is now only remembering his physical appearance. Also, I used to date guys who were really attractive (I know, SO deep…) The thing was, those relationships didn’t ever work out the way I wanted them to, I think perhaps because when we find someone attractive, we gloss over little things that we wouldn’t tolerate if we didn’t think they were really hot. When you end up with someone who you weren’t initially drawn to because of looks, then obviously there’s more to the relationship than superficial things. Of course, if life were a romance novel, all of our husbands would be 6’5″, gorgeous, and have “abs like paint rollers” (gaa, actually read that in a book…), but really, guys like that, or even in that neighbourhood, know they’re hot, and that isn’t always appealing either. And, as others have mentioned, wanting sex is 99% what’s in your brain, and 1% what’s in front of you: If you think you are sexy, and your husband makes an effort to be well-groomed and up-to-date clothing-wise and wants to please you, that’s the biggest part of the battle right there, IMO.

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  • Alisa Bowman February 22, 2010, 6:59 am

    Sally so true that — at least for women — attraction isn’t generally about looks. It’s about something else that most of us can’t put our finger on–personality, the way a guy smells, mannerisms (the way he runs his hand thru his hair when he’s thinking), and even one very small visual trait, like the way his hair curls up in one tiny spot. That’s why someone like David Letterman — who is not classically handsome — has bedded down with so many women. Yes, of course he’s rich and powerful, but I think all those youngins would say that they slept with him for one reason: he’s funny. At least, it’s never been about looks for me.
    .-= Alisa Bowman´s last blog ..Marriage Improvement Monday =-.

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  • Michael Dundas February 22, 2010, 9:54 am

    Interesting post.

    One of the questions I would be asking if I was “I wish” is can/does my husband know I feel this way? Even if you didn’t talk about it, does he sense it? If he doesn’t, then maybe he is not that ‘in tune’ with the sexual part of the relationship. If he does ‘sense’ the problem, then I wonder why he doesn’t attempt to correct it. Even if you don’t know how, your wife thinking that would be enough of a catalyst for most men I know of.

    -mike
    .-= Michael Dundas´s last blog ..Tiger woods, apologies, and private lives =-.

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  • Cameron February 23, 2010, 8:10 pm

    When I met my husband he wasn’t exactly the most attractive man in the universe. But we had great conversation. We could talk for hours about anything and everything. He came out and told me he liked me and enjoyed my company. We’ve been inseparable ever since. What worked for me was to focus on his other qualities such as his lips, his smile, and his laugh. This helped me to find other attractive features about him. My husband wasn’t appealling to me in when we first met but their was something about him that I couldn’t walk away from. It’s been almost 3 years ago and I find new, sexy and exciting things about him daily. It’s all in how you look at it!

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  • Kari February 24, 2010, 12:29 am

    All of the qualities listed that I Wish found attractive in the first place are qualities that make the sexual part of the relationship that much stronger and better. Maybe focusing on those good qualities will attract you to him more. Agree with Alisa that getting to know your spouse emotionally helps bring the sexual relationship to a different level.
    I met my spouse when we were both teenagers. I was attracted to him because he was a little older and exciting. Through dating and getting to know him, I realized how generous, kind, compassionate, etc he was. This is what made me fall in love. I wasn’t attracted to him physically at first, but that quickly came because of all the other good qualities.

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  • OneHotTamale25 March 9, 2010, 12:59 am

    I don’t know about manufactured, but I do think it can be conjured. I think of the terms differently. Manufacturing suggest to me creating something that did not exist. When I read Wish for Cold Shower’s reflections, I didn’t get that. It read to me as though attraction existed, though it did not start out as and (as she suggests) has not evolved to physical. It seems to me she definitely has somewhere to start as far as conjuring up attraction. After all, those 2 kids didn’t come from the stork. While sex was difficult, she still had it. Something about her husband’s attributes made him at least appealing. I think the boundary between appeal and attraction is the brain. Perhaps if Cold Shower keeps the appeal in mind AND follows-it up by trumping up her husbands appearance, eventually she will believe he is actually attractive as well as appealing.

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  • help for marriage June 11, 2010, 4:34 am

    It is difficult to manufacture physical attraction if the spark is just not there, but it is certainly possible to develop attraction for the person in his/her entirety.

    Exceptional skills at love making can often overcome lack of physical attraction.
    .-= help for marriage´s last blog ..Save My Marriage Today =-.

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  • Angel July 30, 2010, 9:45 pm

    So, what if it’s the other way around, and it’s the husband who isn’t attracted to his wife, anymore? My husband & I have always had a very open, amazing sexual relationship (He’s the only man that I’ve ever trusted enough & felt close enough to, to actually experiment & allow myself to actually ENJOY sex!). However, he says that, although he knows that I am a beautiful woman, he is no longer attracted to me; and even though I am incredible in bed (his words) that I just don’t do it for him, anymore. Bored, maybe??? I’ve asked him, but he says that isn’t it. After everything, we’ve done in the past, I can’t really think of much that will spice things up & anything that I do come up with, he isn’t willing to try. He doesn’t want me, sexually, at all anymore. Not only do I miss the sex – since with him is the first time that I’ve ever really enjoyed it; but more than that, I miss the closeness & the intimacy that it brings us. Now, we hardly ever make love, or have sex, or even (excuse my language) F*ck! What can I do, to make him see me the way that he used to? His lack of attraction to me has also caused some problems in our marriage, lately, regarding his behavior with a couple of his female “friends”. And it has put a SERIOUS dent in my self-esteem & self-confidence. How do I make him see me again, in the way that he used to?

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  • Drummer Guy July 31, 2010, 8:55 am

    Angel so sorry to hear of your plight. But what your husband is experiencing is probably a somewhat normal thing that anybody in marriage will go through after time. The problem is many mistake that loss of the initial spark that is present in the early stages of any relationship with lack of attraction. The best you can do is assure him that what he is feeling is a very common thing in the ebb & flow of marriage. Hollywood, romance novels etc have this ideal that just isn’t part of real life & people really get sucked into the thought of well something must be wrong with me, him or her. I am sure you & he remember how intense things were early on. After time it is normal for that to wain & should be repalced by a deeper abiding love that is sustainable long term. The intense lust phase is not.

    Far to often though people mistake that for lack of attraction, some take it as I love hm/her but must not be “in love” with him/her. When what has happened is just normal in any long term relationship. Perhaps he could benefit from some books on the subject. Alisa or others here may know of some. Maybe he can see that if he left or was with somebody else that the exact same thing would happen again. Maybe he can realize “do I really want spend my life repeating the same pattern over & over again”? So many people go through this & end up going from one monogamous relationship to another looking for their next “lust fix” It can be a vicious cylce that wont be broken until they realize that they are mistaking the loss of that early phase for a loss of attraction.

    Although the first thing to address could be a medical issue. Has he ever been checked for low testosterone? Could he be experiencing E D? If so that would explain a lot. Those are the first things any good therapist would look at. If he is experiencing Low T then that could explain a lot. Most men who experience it (and most every man will at some point) go through this but don’t even understand that it is a medical condition that is easily addressed. If he is having problems with E D that can be touchy for many men to address. It is that old philosophy if a man isn’t “taking care of business” then he is not a real man. It is a wrong philosophy but a common one. But if you can talk to him about it in a compassionate, non threatening way that too is easliy addressed with all the current medications out there today.

    Also a good therapist will delve into any problems outside the bedroom. Most problems inside the bedroom begin outside it. Does he feel safe? Does he feel as though he can be vulnerable? Like he can drop his guard & go from being the male worker, father, provider to being your lover & be totally open without fear of being emasculated? I am not saying you do those things at all. But it is a common thing. Most people do it without even knowing. Also so many couples when the kids come along start to focus all their energy into being such good parents that they forget to be friends & lovers.

    Lastly as for what you can do? All you can do is be the best wife & you that you can be. Does he feel that he is the loved, adored “your man”? To feel attraction a person need to feel as though they are. But he will have to addresses his problems. The first step is to admit that there is a problem. In his eye he may not see it as a problem. You can talk to him in a loving, non confrontational, way to let him know that this IS a problem. But all you can do is just be the best you you can. Gain some self confidence. A woman confident in herself is a real rurn on.

    In my first marriage my wife decided after 16 years she just didn’t want to be married anymore. I went through many phases of well if I just did A, B & C she would love me & want me again. I was spinning my wheels in quick sand. But a really good therapist made me see that I can’t do anything to change her. She made a great analogy. If my wife had an infection how does MY taking a pill make it better? All I could do was be the best me & husband I could be. Anything after that was up to her. So please don’t beat yourself up & let this destroy your self confidence. Be the best you & best wife you can be. That is after all, all anybody can do. I wish you both the best. I hope you have many happy years together of intimacy & the great journey marriage can be. :-)
    Ron

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  • #Sameboat June 23, 2012, 6:48 am

    Im kind of in the same situation. I’m engaged to my fiancee and at first I was very physically attracted to her. But it seems lately, im not attracted to her at all. And for her part nothing has changed but we’ve went from sex three times a week to just once…maybe. I do work extremely long hours and she is at home with my three year old daughter. She’s wonderful with her, shes responsible, and caters to me hand and foot honestly, but something is missing and shes beginning to notice, and question it. But I don’t know what to tell her bc I don’t really know why im no longer attracted to her. I know intellectually she isnt my equal and i know that is one of the biggest problems in our relationship

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  • barry mccarthy June 21, 2013, 3:53 pm

    Genesis 3:16 commands you to be desirous towards your spouse? So what comes first? Actions or feelings? If you simply wait for feelings you’re rarely prompted to action, however if you first act, through prayer, fasting, reading, practicing, doing the things that create sexual attraction, then the feelings soon follow. I wish I could get this principle through to my wife who’s solely focused on feelings first. It’s bull****. It doesn’t work that way. If I don’t feel like going to work, I go to work, typically I get over it and the day is fine. But I don’t just not go to work because I don’t feel like it. I don’t brush off sexual relations with my spouse because I’m not in the mood or I don’t feel like it or I’m too tired, or I’m on my period or whatever million and one excuses you can come up with. You have sex because it’s beneficial to your husband, your marriage, your children and God designed it that way on purpose. It allows you to get above yourself and serve another in a way that may not seem pressing to you but is pressing to someone who is 2nd only to God in your life.

    If you don’t have attraction or arousal from a spouse it’s more of an indictment on you than them.

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