Hubby Doesn't Want It
Q: I always hear about wives not wanting sex. But what about the husbands? I've been married 17 years and love having sex with my husband. The problem is he does not want it as much as I do. I like it about 3 times a week but lucky if I get it one time a week. I have tried different things to turn him on but when I approach him he will say he is busy, too tired or, mostly, he says we can do it later. But later never comes. I know he is not having an affair, and when we do have sex it's great. I have stayed faithful because we have a son together. Should I leave and find someone who can better meet my needs or just keep waiting? All the time I'm waiting I feel like I'm missing something. -- Carol, 43
Dr. Susan: The libido of both husbands and wives may change over the life span of a relationship. And though you don't hear about it as much, sometimes it's the wife who's hotter to trot at one time or another. Especially as a man hits midlife, a number of issues can interfere with his interest in physical intimacy. He could be having a harder time getting aroused and feel bad about that. He could have gotten habituated to using porn for a quick and easy way to relieve his urges. He could be just a bit bored and genuinely prefer to do other things that are more engaging at the moment, or he really could be tired. Fatigue, of course, can have many causes.
What to do? Don't divorce the man. But also, don't sit around feeling as though you're missing something. Talk to him! Let him know you wonder if he's telling you the whole truth about his lack of interest. Perhaps he feels some performance anxiety when you approach him. Consider changing the way you do things. Go to bed earlier, enjoy some activity or game or just about anything together before bed, so at least there's a chance of emotional connection. If "later" hasn't arrived by bedtime, invite him to join you in pleasuring yourself. If he can lie there like a rock while you do that, he may need a medical check-up. Some couples like the "rule" of doing it whenever she wants, but however he chooses. Add that to the conversation and see what happens.
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Advice for Her
Advice for Him
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.