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Dr. Mark
Dr. Mark, Psychotherapist
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 5030
Experience:  Dr. Mark is a PhD in psychology helping with relationships
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Been married 20 years. My wife says she loves me and still

Resolved Question:

Been married 20 years. My wife says she loves me and still has feelings for me. She doesn't want a divorce, but she will not make love to me. I am still in love with her. What's up?
Submitted: 6 months ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  Dr. Mark replied 6 months ago.

Dr. Mark :

Hi! I'll be glad to help you with this issue.

Dr. Mark :

Is she at the age where perimenopause or menopausal hormonal changes may be occurring?

Customer:

41 years old

Dr. Mark :

Would she consider discussing the lack of sexual desire with her gynecologist?

Customer:

Think she has. Says can't find anything wrong

Dr. Mark :

Let me make sure I understand: the gynecologist ran tests for hormone levels including testosterone (yes, for women) and vitamin/mineral deficiencies and found everything normal?

Customer:

Yes,

Dr. Mark :

Okay, good, I'm glad I understand now. So, the problem is not medical. How does she understand the change in her feelings about sex?

Customer:

Says she doesn't know what's wrong, she is just not in the mood, and can't bring herself to even try.

Dr. Mark :

Is she depressed in other areas of life? What was going on a year ago? Was there a grief experience, for example?

Customer:

Nothing, I would consider out marriage average to above average. Our anniversary is in October and I remember last year was the first time she really refused to have sex with me and it just keeps getting worse.

Dr. Mark :

Would she be willing to go to counseling with you with a sex therapist?

Customer:

No, she says sex is just not something she wants anymore.

Dr. Mark :

So our situation is that she is happy in her life, satisfied and feels good. But that she's cut out sex from her world and is not interested in talking about this or doing anything about it. That's our situation, right?

Customer:

yes

Dr. Mark :

Wow. This is a difficult situation and it must make you feel very lonely and rejected.

Dr. Mark :

I'm wondering why she is not interested in terms of this being important to you: why doesn't she care for your sake even if not for her sake?

Customer:

Ya, If I didn't ask her for sex, we would get along just fine. If I tell her I need this for my sake she would just start crying and say sorry I just can't.

Dr. Mark :

Wow, I wish this wasn't the case, but something else is going on as you suspect. I'm talking about emotionally. That she cries when you bring up your need to have sex is saying that she's not okay with her just being sexless. Your wanting to have sex, which is normal, is making her upset, which is not normal. Does she recognize this?

Customer:

Yes, says she hopes everything will come back.

Dr. Mark :

So she's upset with herself.

Dr. Mark :

If you could make her feel that you love her and are patient and don't want her to feel bad about herself but want to be close and hold her and have her hold you, would that at least be okay with her?

Customer:

We do this sort of thing now. Her favorite thing is when we lay in bed to watch tv and she lays on my chest while and run my hand through her hair.

Dr. Mark :

Good. Ask her if you two can use this as a way to start to include pleasure in your loving program? Let me paste in here what I write to women who are in her situation and see if you can use it. Here it is.

Dr. Mark :

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. II recommend you allowing yourself to feel pleasure. PLEASURE. It doesn't have to be more than that.

Dr. Mark :

What do you think? Could you two slowly introduce this?

Customer:

Try. She will let me do all that. As soon as anything related to sex comes up she will shut down.

Dr. Mark :

You are clearly a very loving and caring man and husband!

Dr. Mark :

You've been extremely patient and tender with her. I'm serious and I'm impressed.

Dr. Mark :

I've worked with people on this issue before and you're one of the kinder men I've seen who've faced this.

Dr. Mark :

The problem is that you're facing a wall and you can't find any door to get through this wall.

Dr. Mark :

There is no "nuclear" weapon that we have in psychology to get a woman to realize that her shame about sex is making her shut out her husband's sexuality as well as her own. This is the key for most women and it seems to be for your wife:

Dr. Mark :

that she feels a lot of internal shame about her sexuality and lack of libido and so rather than focusing on the husband's libido and encouraging his, which would normalize things, she shuts down and wants it all to go away.

Dr. Mark :

Couples counseling is the most effective way we have to break through this cycle of shame and pretending it doesn't exist. I would really like to try to find a way for you to come up with why you want to go to couples counseling and see if she will go along. What do you think?

Customer:

k thanks

Dr. Mark, Psychotherapist
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 5030
Experience: Dr. Mark is a PhD in psychology helping with relationships
Dr. Mark and 2 other Relationship Specialists are ready to help you

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