The amount of patients I see that are unhappy with their sex lives is beyond what anyone could imagine. Many of these couples have been married for five, ten or twenty years and they report that they are awkward and dissatisfied with the type and frequency of sex they have. Our society leads us to believe that it is women, not men, who are more uncomfortable when talking about sex, but this isn’t true. Men are usually the ones who initiate counseling when they are feeling emotionally distressed about the sex in their relationship. Some of the discomfort comes from a sex life that has never been satisfying, and the person is afraid of hurting their partner by bringing it up. Couple often grow distant physically and became involved with their kids, personal interests, and work, and then stop having sex. Suddenly the kids are gone, their career goals have changed, they have more time, and they may find themselves sitting on the sofa with their spouse watching the news and wondering, “Is this all there is?” They miss the closeness, the excitement, and the pleasure sex brought them.
Books such as “The Sex Starved Marriage” offer advice and validation for the person who misses and wants sex, but has a partner unwilling to participate. However, what do you do when you have been an equal participant in letting your sex life grow stale, and find yourself wondering how to get it back? How do you approach your spouse to talk about this issue without them feeling criticized or overwhelmed when it has been a year or longer since you last had sex? Couples talk about sex frequently when dating and engaged. This conversation usually becomes less frequent the longer couples are married. Other issues such as buying a house, working, having kids, or decorating the house replace sex talk. This is unfortunate because keeping an open dialogue about sex, what you like, and how much your partner pleases you helps build a strong foundation for your marriage. Kids, houses, and work stress couples out and leads to anxiety. Sex decreases anxiety, depression, health issues and reportedly provides a sense of togetherness and well-being. This enhances a marriage and leads to marriage longevity.