Hates His Touch

Q: I've been with my wife since we met when I was 26 and she was 22. I was not a very good husband in the beginning. I hung out with my buddies and left her home. Nineteen years later she met a new female friend, and I became jealous at the thought they were too attached. It turned out that they were just good friends. We separated for six months but got back together. Now she and my brother have become close, which makes me jealous, though there's no reason. She says she is not sexually attracted to me, but says that it doesn't mean she wants to mess around with anyone else. What should I do? I would like to be more intimate, but it's become difficult because she doesn't enjoy sex with me. If she does it, it's just to satisfy my wants. What's going on? She says she wants to try to make the marriage work, but she doesn't like being touched by me. -- Roger, 49

Dr. Susan: Some men wouldn't mind trading places with you to be with a woman who is willing to satisfy their wants. But I understand that you desire more intimacy than just going through the motions. Are all other aspects of your relationship warm, affectionate, and companionable? Could she be harboring resentments towards you that she isn't expressing? When you like someone and aren't annoyed with them, you usually don't find their touch upsetting. Then again, she could be going through menopause and having a variety of effects from that. Have you seriously looked into all the ways you can make intimacy pleasanter for her? There are products, besides prescription drugs and hormones that can make a difference. It sometimes helps to get the deadly seriousness out of your bedroom and try some toys or games or new approaches. As we age, our bodies change, and it's possible you're not hearing some of her hints about what might feel good (or that she's not even brave enough to hint!).

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