Do you have a sexless marriage? Find out what makes women interested in sex again!
I've been a couples therapist for nearly four decades, and when I give advice, I base it on a combination of my years of experience counseling couples, my personal experience with balancing marriage, work, sex and children, combined with a healthy dose of reading the research. If you're a married man who is interested in sex, and you're past the lust stage of your relationship, your number one question is usually why your wife is nowhere as interested in sex as she was when you were courting. And you'd like to know what you can do to pique her interest in sex again and bring the sexy back to your relationship.
This is a question that literally drives men nuts! Aside from that group of sex-loving men who choose to marry women who they already KNOW do not like sex (this is a surprisingly hefty group of men, for which these suggestions probably will not work), lots of married men walk around scratching their heads, three, four, or five years into the marriage, wondering what the heck happened to their wives' sex drive.
Well, these two significant studies may she some light on the issue and might banish your feelings of helplessness. Because three of the keys to having a better sex life are completely do-able.
First, there's one large national study of 2,632 women who volunteered to complete a survey on women's sexuality undertaken in order to understand women’s sexual satisfaction. Four dependent measures of sexual satisfaction were used: satisfaction with intercourse, satisfaction with erotic touch that did not lead to intercourse, sexual satisfaction over the past 3 months, and sexual satisfaction over the lifetime. Results showed that communication and partner initiation most strongly predicted female sexual satisfaction regardless of how it was measured.
OK, so the first two are not that complicated. They just take real effort.
Communication might not be what you think it is.
When women talk about communication, we just mean that you listen to us consistently, on a daily basis. So if I tell you that I feel crummy from menstrual cramps and that I did not sleep well last night, you actually let that information land on you, you process it in your brain, and that you remember it. So you probably should not ask for sex that day, and if you love me and you are communicating, later in the same day, you'll check in and ask how I'm feeling. And you could ask me if I would like a massage in bed that night, no strings attached. That makes me feel cherished and loved.
If I tell you that my friend Betty did something really mean to me when we were together in a school meeting, you won't try to fix the problem, you'll just listen and support me. And then four days later, when I'm not mad at Betty anymore and I tell you a story about what we did when we were hanging out and having fun, you'll comment something about how you're glad things smoothed over between us. So then I know that you care enough about me to have remembered the little details of my day, and that you love me and are glad that I am happy.
The main thing you need to communicate to me is that even when we are not together, you are curious about me, you are concerned about me, you think about me, you wonder about me, and that you keep my feelings and my issues alive inside you, as a part of you. That's how I am with you. That's how I know I matter. That's what makes me feel close to you and willing to be as close as two people can humanly be.
So, that's COMMUNICATION.
2. Partner Initiation
Partner initiation is pretty simple. Just make sure that you compliment me, make sure in a verbal way that you are communicating that you find me desirable. (I am not talking about groping my breasts when I am at the stove with a pan full of hot oil, cooking.) Don't just think I look cute, tell me. And ask nicely for what you want, right then or in a few hours. (And for God's sake, don't pout if I say no.)
3. Spend Time Touching Your Wife, In and Out of the Bedroom
So, IF you are communicating, and I feel like you love me, add in touch.
In a scientific study of 1000 French men and women (not just a study in Esquire or Cosmo), touch was the most important of all the senses for sexual pleasure for both men and women, and foreplay was "important, very important, or essential" for 89.1 % of subjects. In addition, research and clinical literature shows that (at least for women who have not been sexually abused), receiving pleasurable touch that does not lead to intercourse and sufficient pleasurable touch prior to intercourse leads to an ability to enjoy sex.
I stand by this advice. It fits what I know to be true as a couples counselor, as a sex therapist, as a human being, and as someone who reads the research. I submit this as my partial answer to Freud's famous puzzlement about what women actually want.
Be sure to visit my website to read more advice, blogs, and to download a free quiz to see how healthy your relationship is.
copyright Aline Zoldbrod Ph.D. Lexington, Massachusetts 1/27/2015