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Dr. Mark
Dr. Mark, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5110
Experience:  Dr. Mark is a PhD in psychology in private practice
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I am struggling with my desire for more sex in my marriage.

Resolved Question:

I am struggling with my desire for more sex in my marriage. My wife has very little interest. It is very frustrating and causes tension. We have discussed this at length but nothing ever changes. I am considering finding sex outside the marriage. I am very torn about this. I love my wife very much. But, I just don't understand her lack of interest.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. Mark replied 2 years ago.

Hi! I believe I can be of help with this issue.


First, let me say I can imagine how difficult and disheartening this situation must be for you. This problem has clearly been going on for a long while for the frustration level to be this high.

I want you to know that in my experience when the husband is this frustrated, the wife is also frustrated. But she's defensive and so it comes out as though she just doesn't want to help with this problem.

Let's hope that this is not the case. Because both of you are going to need to be on the same page, working together to make the situation better. The very best way to do this is with a certified sex therapist.

You would want to seek an experienced sex therapist. By that I mean a psychologist or psychotherapist who is certified by either the AASECT (http://www.aasect.org/) or the American Board of Sexology (http://www.americanboardofsexology.com/). They each have a listing of their certified therapists. The American Board of Sexology is a bit more prestigious but that's not a big deal here. You want to find someone who seems to you very experienced in female problems. So, interview the therapists before deciding on the one you two will go to therapy with.

Let's take time though to discuss some self help things. Again, we are dealing with her feeling defensive, so that's the first thing you're going to have to work on for any of this. The goal? That you both are pulling in the same direction: toward feeling good about your relationship and each other. Okay?

So let me address this directly to her because she's the one who would implement them. Take my answer, then, and her to Starbucks a few times and the two of you discuss it and begin to not be so adversarial. Okay?

Here goes:

Hi. This is a tough situation. He has a lot of expectations and you are feeling less and less able nor interested in meeting them. The two of you are in opposite corners of the ring. So from the above, I hope you have also gotten the point that you both have to recognize you are two people who need to be pulling in the same direction again.

And if you are not feeling so angry at him and antagonistic, then these suggestions might help. Okay?

The first step toward this is for you to take inventory of what might be blocking you from wanting to enjoy good sex. For example, if your vagina is dry, you need to speak with your gynecologist about either over the counter or prescription creams or other solutions to this problem.

Next: if you're taking any medications, you need to speak with the prescribing doctor about whether the medication lowers sexual desire. Many medications have this as a side effect. If so, you need to talk to the doctor about finding replacement medications that do not have this side effect.

Now for the positive steps to get started training for good sex: you need to understand how sex works. Sex in humans is mostly in the mind. It is based on fantasy. Take away the fantasy and enjoyment of fantasy, and most people stop enjoying sex. Take inventory and see if this is your situation: perhaps you don't fantasize in ways that arouse you. So spend some time consciously trying to have sexual fantasies in your day. Do NOT share these fantasies with anyone, no one. Fantasies are totally private. Both men's and women's. This is a hard and fast rule for both of you, okay?

Because sex is meant to be part of the emotional closeness of a couple. One way to express emotional closeness in a couple is through intimacy of touch and feeling, but this is only one way. Why do I bring all this up?

To take the pressure off of you as we explore the options out there for you. Remember: the more pressure you put on yourself, the less you will have desire. Why is a great big psychological question we don't have room for here. But it is a truth. Relaxing is a big key here.

But first let's discuss some technical matters. Exercise. If you're not getting regular moderate to full exertion exercise, start. An exercise class is a good way to start. Exercise regularly at least 4-5 times a week and become knowledgeable about it. If you prefer videos at home, go to www.collagevideo.com and look at all the videos available. That site lets you preview them and has the leading instructors. Exercise will help you with the emotional closeness work.

Next is Kegel exercises. That's to strengthen your vaginal muscles. That may help with the pain of intercourse (along with the cream discussed or gel above). Here's the Mayo Clinic entry on them:

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/kegel-exercises/WO00119

Testosterone levels are sometimes found to be low and need to be checked in women who have low sexual desire. Yes, women. So discuss this with your doctor. And not buy Viagra even though there's talk on the internet on it. There's absolutely no evidence that it does anything good for women.


Another thing I want you to do is to spend time during intercourse stopping the motion and feeling each other's genitals copulating from within yourselves. This strengthens both your emotional connection (big in the sex center in the brain) and your genital sensitivity to his penis inside of you. If the two of you can, try to have him pulse with his penis without moving his body. You contract your vagina without moving your body. See if each of you can feel the movement.

Now for toys: suction vibrators can help. Any vibrator can also be useful. Have your husband play with it on you as well. Then, the internet is full of toys and supplements and creams. It is a question of money. None of them have ever been shown to do anything consistently effective. To me, they are diversions from reality into pure hope. So it's up to you. Vibrators are the only toy I've seen any evidence for.

Okay. Now let's get to the heart of the matter:

There's the question of pleasure. Giving pleasure to your partner is also a pleasure. If you are emotionally intimate with your partner, discussing what pleasure is and expanding its meaning to include that you want more than just the orgasm but touching and stroking and extended foreplay to get you more involved in the sexuality, even if it means he has already had an orgasm and you don't is fine. Even if it means he touches you at first for a few seconds before you want him to move on to massaging your legs, fine. The idea is to reawaken pleasure, not necessarily reawaken orgasms. So if after a while you enjoy him touching you sexually for a few minutes or using a vibrator with you and you have an orgasm manually from his touching you or other means, that's great. Or no orgasm.

So I want you to reorient your thinking about sex. You have been thinking in this way: no libido, therefore no sex. This is not even true for men, and is certainly not true for women. I recommend you allowing yourself to feel pleasure. PLEASURE. It doesn't have to be more than that.

So, the key: his initiating sex is an act of giving love to you. That has to be your understanding. And if you initiate sex, it has to be for the same reason, the desire to give love and express emotional connection and communication. NOT that you are seeking an orgasm. Both of you need to accept this premise. His purpose in being involved is to show his love, care, and consideration for you along with his natural sexual desire and urge and intensity. And his sexual desire is good and fine and important. For a while for you it may be the secondary part almost always; for him the sexual intensity is primary almost always. This is fine. You both have to agree to treat sex as an act of GIVING, an act of showing love and caring for each other, each according to what gives you pleasure.

You will want to touch him as well for the sake of giving him pleasure even if it is not for the sake of you feeling sexual intensity like it is for him. That will enhance your pleasure. And when it stops being pleasurable, when he's tired of it, that's when he's had enough. End of story until he feels like having pleasure again. If that means he changes focus to your pleasure, fine. If that means the two of you watch a movie and then go to sleep or have some more pleasure, fine. If it means just him coming during intercourse or a different way and you can relax while he strokes your back, fine. Do you both see the picture? Do not get too focused on this stereotype of our culture of the mutual orgasm. You need to get out of that box right now because you're not there. But HE has to begin to think of being a GIVER, of giving to you in other ways than just orgasms alone. He has pleasure and enjoyment his way and you your way. You can give him enjoyment his way. And he will be giving you pleasure as well. It's the mutual giving that counts in the self help technique.

So, these are the options I can help you with. I wish you both the very best!

Please remember to click the green accept button because: even though you have made a deposit, I do not get paid for my time unless you press ACCEPT. You are not charged anything more than the deposit you already made by pressing ACCEPT. Feel free to continue the discussion even after pressing ACCEPT as my goal is to get you the best answer possible. Bonuses are always appreciated! If I can be of further help with any issue now or in the future, just put "for Dr. Mark" in the front of your new question, and I'll be the one to answer it. All the best, XXXXX XXXXX

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Dr. Mark

My wife says she feels harassed when I want to be intimate with her. This ismamfact shenhasnshared with me the sat 23 years. I do not understand this feeling of harrassment. It seemsmsomharsh.
Expert:  Dr. Mark replied 2 years ago.
I am so sorry this is happening. I understood that something like this must be going on for you to be as frustrated as you indicated. I didn't realize HOW long it's been.

This makes my point even more pressing: as long as she's defensive, she's going to feel pressured and harassed. But it's been going on so long, the two of you definitely need professional intervention.

Please make that the focus of your efforts. To get her to agree to the two of you getting help. It's really the only way. Maybe my answer will help her be less defensive. Maybe.

I wish you both the very best!


Please remember to click the green accept button because: even though you have made a deposit, I do not get paid for my time unless you press ACCEPT. You are not charged anything more than the deposit you already made by pressing ACCEPT. Feel free to continue the discussion even after pressing ACCEPT as my goal is to get you the best answer possible. Bonuses are always appreciated! If I can be of further help with any issue now or in the future, just put "for Dr. Mark" in the front of your new question, and I'll be the one to answer it. All the best, XXXXX XXXXX

Dr. Mark, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5110
Experience: Dr. Mark is a PhD in psychology in private practice
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