A wife who is ready, willing, and eager to have sex. And's he's just not feeling it.
All this week at Good in Bed, we’re talking about low male desire. And while many guys are genuinely afflicted with low libidos, just as many guys are dealing with an even more troubling problem: They’re liars. It’s not that they have no desire in general, they just have no desire, specifically, for their wives – and they’re too spineless to be honest!
I see it all the time. A couple walks into my office, supposedly trying to uncover the reasons for the husband’s low libido. The wife expresses concern and her mate responds with that age-old cop-out: It’s not you, it’s me. Designed to placate and protect her feelings? Sure. But it’s also pure B.S. In fact, when a man like this no longer craves sex with his wife, it often is her. To paraphrase the recent bestseller, "he’s just not that into" her anymore.
No doubt, those are tough words for anyone to hear. We all know that when a woman asks her guy if something’s wrong, she’s secretly hoping he’ll say “nothing.” But the truth in this case is that something may indeed be very wrong. Maybe he’s bored with his relationship. Or he’s pissed off at her about something. Or she hasn’t lost the baby weight yet and he’s just not attracted to her anymore (nevermind that he’s put on some pounds, too). So, in an attempt to preserve her feelings—and avoid a thorny conversation—he lies. And while some guys may think they’re actually doing a good deed by sparing their wives the pain of hearing the truth, they’re actually just avoiding the tough conversation.
Men like this use low libido as an excuse. But all the while, they’ve actually got TONS of sexual energy—they’re just not channeling it into their relationship. So they claim stress or depression or anxiety (“I’ve got a lot on my mind at work right now”), and then blow off their sexual steam elsewhere: through porn and masturbation, flirting, strip clubs, or even affairs. They may think they’re being kind, but by seeking sex anywhere except with their wives, these men are downright destructive.
So guys: Next time your wife asks you why you’re not up for getting down, tell her the truth. Yeah, it’s probably going to be painful for both you. But the alternative—a relationship built on secrets, lies, and repressed emotions—is a lot worse. So man up and tell her what you’re feeling, no matter how difficult.
Ladies, you’re not off the hook, either. No one wants to hear that their partner has lost interest in them. But do you really want to stay in a little bubble while your husband gets his kicks somewhere else? If he’s claiming low desire, keep an eye out for signs that he’s looking outside your relationship for sex: Does he pay less attention to you but still flirts with other women? Has his work or financial situation actually changed very little? Is he masturbating to porn more than in the past?
If the answer to these questions is “yes,” it’s time to confront him, and possibly consider a visit to a sex or relationships counselor. The work you’ll both have to do will be hard, and the honesty can hurt. But as they say, the truth shall set you free—and it just might save your marriage.
For more advice, please visit me at Good in Bed, where I’ll be answering your questions all week.
Ian Kerner is a sex therapist and New York Times best-selling author of numerous books including "She Comes First" and "Love in the Time of Colic."
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