Tips for Nourishing a Sex-Starved Marriage

By Michele Weiner-Davis,
author of The Sex-Starved Marriage: A Couple's Guide to Boosting Their Marriage Libido

1] Don't ignore the problem
Too often people just stick their heads in the sand, hoping the problems between them will just disappear. If you do this, the only thing that will disappear is your intimacy and friendship. You need to face the issue and do something about it.

Many people avoid taking action because they're embarrassed about low sexual desire. This is especially true for men. Low sexual desire in men is America's best kept secret. Millions of men, just like millions of women, aren't always in the mood for sex. And it's not always a matter of sexual performance problems. Men avoid sex for many of the same reasons women do. Frequently, relationship issues are major libido busters. But since men aren't talking, they're also not seeking help. There's another problem with the lack of openness about male low desire. Since no one is talking, the women in these marriages wonder, "What's wrong with me,?" "I'm the only woman in the world whose husband isn't chasing her around the living. I must be unattractive or unlovable." Get help

2] Quit playing the Blame Game
You need to stop blaming each other for being different. It's not a matter of who is right and who is wrong. Unlike vitamins, there are no daily minimum requirements to insure a healthy sex life. The only way you can really screw up is to tell your more sexual spouse, "It's your problem, deal with it." A sexual desire gap is a couple's problem and both spouses need to change.

For the more sexual spouse:
a) Tune into your spouse's turn-on's
Too often more sexual spouses do what turns them on, not their spouses. They buy sex toys, sex movies, and lingerie. This frequently backfires because what often turns on the less sexual person are the things that happen outside the bedroom- an offer to get up early with the kids so that the other spouse can sleep in, encouragement to have a guy's weekend away to relieve stress. Do what turns your spouse on, not you.

b) Use the "F-word"
Talk about feelings. Because the more sexual spouse feels angry and resentful, they often don't share their true underlying feelings of hurt, despair and loneliness. But doing so often prompts more compassion and empathy.and sexuality.

For the less sexual spouse
a) Use the "Nike Solution"- Just do it.
If you're not in the mood, do it anyway. Millions of people discover that even if they're not in the mood for sex when they start making love, once they get into it, they really and truly enjoy themselves. New research suggests that for half the population, sexual desire doesn't just happen, you have to make it happen. And being receptive to your spouse's advances is often the best way to jumpstart desire.

b) Take the great American sex challenge.
If you haven't been desiring sex because your spouse is irritable or unkind, it may be because s/he is feeling rejected. Do an experiment. For two weeks, make a commitment to making sex a bigger priority. Initiate sex more often, get out of your sweat suits and into something revealing, leave sexy notes around the house, tell your spouse how great s/he looks...and watch what happens. You can transform a marriage through touch and sensuality. I guarantee you will see remarkable changes in your spouse. Send the results of your "research" to

About the Author
Michele Weiner Davis is the author of The Sex-Starved Marriage: A Couple's Guide to Boosting Their Marriage Libido, The Divorce Remedy, Divorce Busting, A Woman's Guide to Changing Her Man, Change Your Life and Everyone in It, and In Search of Solutions. A regular guest on Oprah, 48 Hours, the Today show, and CBS This Morning, she created Keeping Love Alive, a PBS broadcast seminar. An internationally renowned seminar leader and marriage therapist in private practice, she lives with her family in Illinois.

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The Sex Starved Marriage by Michele Weiner-Davis (Simon & Schuster, 2003. ISBN: 0-7432-2732-8. 209 pages, hardcover, $24.00)

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