She Craves More Loving
Q: My husband and I love each other very much and still desire each other physically. The problem is that after almost six years we seem to have plateaued at different levels of desire. I am much happier getting at least twice the amount of sex that we generally have, and that feels like a lot to him. It places a strain on our marriage because we both end up feeling guilty, I end up feeling unattractive, and he ends up feeling inadequate.
When we were dating we agreed that we thought polyamory could work for us but we were so busy with each other for the first couple of years that there simply wasn't time for additional partners. Now, with this friction, we are revisiting the old idea. But I am wondering if we are being too hasty? What could we do to try to bring our appetites closer together? -- Amanda, 46
Dr. Susan: Your question, though common, is a complex one. I asked Laurie J. Watson, LMFT, LPC, a certified sex therapist and licensed couple's therapist, for some insight. Here's what she had to say: "First, I would recommend having your husband's testosterone level checked. Next, I might ask him if he is masturbating regularly and if he might consider tapering this to provide more sexual input into the marriage."
Watson, author of the just-published book Wanting Sex Again: How to Rediscover Your Desire and Heal a Sexless Marriage, adds that the polyamory option might damage your primary commitment. "The problem with sex outside of marriage," she notes, "is that often our hearts and emotions get involved with the other person."
Sometimes, Watson points out, the discrepancy between desire levels is really rooted in a power struggle. "Bringing in third parties will then make it worse rather than better between you." Have you tried sex therapy or marital therapy? Check into Watson's Married and Still Doing It blog for further ideas.
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Advice for Her
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Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.