A Case of Conflicting Libidos

She wants it, he doesn't? Really? Easy-does-it advice for all those sexless marriages out there

Hi Carolyn,

My husband and I have been married about five years. Overall, I'd say we have a happy marriage. We laugh a lot and enjoy being together. Here's the dilemma:  we rarely have sex.  Maybe one to three times a month, tops. If it were up to me, we'd be like rabbits, jumping at every chance! It's probably a very reversed situation (at least based on every other woman I know!) as I'm the one wanting more, and I become very upset because he's never in the mood. I went from accepting it due to "the stress" to then thinking "Oh God, he doesn't find me attractive" to “Oh, no, he’s gay!”  My drive is much larger than his and I can accept that... I have accepted that.  But when three times a month becomes A LOT, I can't help but become sad, mad, and everything in between. You may ask, do we talk/communicate about it?  Yes, and so much so, that my husband has said this causes him to want sex less. It's a big deal to me, 1) because I desire more and 2) because I want children.  My OB/GYN recently pointed out that, "You can't have kids without sex."  Ummm, thanks for the reminder! Because of our financial situation we can't get regular therapy, so I'm hoping you have some good advice! Thank you so much! 



Hi Evelyn,

It sounds like you two have a little approach-avoidant behavior going on. It’s pretty self-explanatory in this case: you’re approaching him for sexy time and he’s dishing out excuses to avoid getting busy. Continuing this behavior will get you nowhere as a couple and will make you personally crazy and super sad. Here’s what I suggest for you: Stop. Do not approach him for sex—at all—for at least a month. If you can hold that tension of the opposites, you could create the space for a new way of coming together to emerge. If he approaches you, fine, go with it, but you’ve got to break this pattern of your vulnerable approach, his painful rebuff, rinse and repeat. 

You sound like a woman with a lot of energy for making things happen (my kind of girl!) and I’m guessing you kick ass in most areas of your life. Sadly, I must tell you that you cannot change him, fix him or otherwise alter his emotional state in any lasting way. He has to do that for himself. Leaving his ass alone might allow him the possibility of finding his misplaced desire and connection with his own sexuality. If he can’t do that, you’ll have to decide whether or not you’re willing to put up with not having your sexual needs met on a regular basis.

One last thing, just for the record: I don’t think it’s you. Don’t go changing—spend some time focusing on yourself, not him—and please, don’t lose your sexy vixen self.