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February 19, 2018 - Welcome Guest!

Advice » Sexpertise

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I can't satisfy his appetite

Question:

I have been with Bill for 9 years now! We have gone through intense problems, but managed to salvage our relationship. We have kids together, and for the most part, our relationship is improving. Our biggest problem, however, is our sexual relationship! Bill has a strong sexual appetite! He is constantly asking me to have sex with him.

I find myself getting angry and resentful every time he approaches me (which is becoming increasingly less frequent). I feel bad that my sex drive is extremely low. I even feel uncomfortable wearing lingerie. I don't ever really feel like pleasing him. I usually just have sex with him to shut him up for a while. I feel bad that I feel this way, because I really love Bill. I want to share a healthy sex life with him, but the truth is, I don't know how too.

What can I do to stimulate my sexuality? And how should I approach this subject with Bill? He thinks the problem is him, when in fact, the problem is me. The majority of the problems in our relationship revolve around this issue.

Answer:

One of the biggest problems in long-term relationships is problem of getting out of synch sexually. This discrepancy in level of sexual desire can be devastating to a relationship, as in your case where you talk, on one hand, of loving your husband, but on the other of feeling angry and resentful toward him. Obviously it is not helping when you engage in sex simply to shut him up, for you do not enjoy it, and neither does he. From your perspective, your sexual shut down can become circular. When you do not feel sexual and are pressured, you feel angry, and when you feel angry, your primary motivation is to avoid the encounter.

It may be that the more you avoid, the more your husband pushes! In my counseling office a woman stated that her husband could have sex every night of the week, despite the fact that he was in his 50s. I asked the man if this was true, and he answered that it had been many years since he would have able to even come near that frequency. I then asked the wife why she thought her husband has such an impressive capacity, and she responded, "Because he asks for it every night!" Her husband quickly responded to her claim, stating, "I have to ask for it every night in order to get it one a week!"

One of the first things you must do is to enlist your husband's help with this. For starters, agree to one night a week on which you will make your best effort. In between he should not bug you about sex, but he must also promise that on those nights, he will start early, move slowly, touch you gently and stop if you feel stuck or begin having negative feelings. A sexual encounter should always be positive, even if it is not completed! I realize that your husband might resent having to wait and then having to stop, but what the two of you have been doing is not working! You need to gain some sense of control over your body.

Try to spend time remembering good sexual experiences. Work at finding some fantasy that titillates you. Experiment with lotions and sexual lubricants and, if willing, learn about the use of a vibrator. If your husband has not been stimulating you orally, ask him to do so (if agreeable to you). It may be that you will not feel overwhelmed with desire as your encounter begins, but if you are relaxed, feeling good about your husband, sensing that you do not have to fake anything, and have discovered some neat aids to your arousal, you can begin to have sexual experiences that are enjoyable.

Sexual desire is like hunger. Some people are ravenous, others anorexic. Your level of desire is to a large degree independent of your nonsexual feelings for your husband. Even if he realizes this, he might resent your lack of sexual interest. Remind him that he would not expect you to eat a three-course meal if you are not hungry. However, you might be willing to snack and, in the process, discover that it is possible to whet your appetite. He will not understand, however, that even if you have good experiences when you start from scratch, your basic level of desire will not change. However, your attitudes will!

The next time you see your gynecologist for your yearly exam, tell him or her about your loss of sexual desire. Ask that physician to measure your testosterone level, as male and female sexual appetite is related to this hormone which is mistakenly though to be present only in men. Also, if you and your husband are unable to work out a strategy in which you can relax and allow your body to slowly become aroused, ask your physician for a referral to a qualified sex therapist.

Good luck with this concern.

Robert W. Birch, Ph.D., is a retired sex therapist, now identifying himself as a sexologist and adult sexuality educator. He now devotes his time to writing educational and self-help books for adults.

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