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July 23, 2009

The Sex Starved Wife

The Sex Starved Wife

So I'm walking through a bookstore the other day when a book catches my eye. I stop and look at the title. I don't recall exactly what it was, but it had something to do with self-help for women whose husbands are no longer providing them with sex. I thought to myself, "The reason for that is obvious." I quickly turned to the index to look to see what page the obvious answer could be found on - and it wasn't there at all. "What on Earth?" I wondered.

So I looked at the other books on the same shelf. To my surprise, there were several books on the same topic. Apparently, this problem is quite an epidemic. (Actually, that fact should be expected, given the obvious reason for its existence in the first place.) I picked up another book and browsed its index. The answer wasn't there either. "This is ridiculous," I thought. Here were these books, roughly 300 pages long, and all they really need is one or two pages to outline the problem - they wouldn't even need the other 298 pages! One right answer, the rest of the book a complete waste - and these books didn't even have the right answer!

One more book, this one called, The Sex Starved Wife, and this time my search through the index was met with success. Page 160, it said. I turned to page 160 and there it was. I'll quote below the relevant portions of the text. And if your wife is sex starved, or if you're just plain not interested in having sex with your wife, I suggest purchasing this book and giving it to her with the relevant portion highlighted.

The Attraction Factor

Meet Lynn and Seth, a couple whose sex life had become practically non-existent. Lynn was terribly upset about it and had no clue as to why Seth had been so distant. Finally Seth told Lynn that he felt turned off by the fact that she had gained thirty pounds after the birth of their second child. Lynn was a short woman, and thirty pounds must have made a tremendous difference in her appearance. What happened next turned things from bad to worse.

Lynn became defensive about her weight. She explained all the reasons she gained weight, including feeling down in the dumps due to his lack of help around the house and with the kids, having no free time to herself, his insensitivity about many issues in their relationship, and on and on. Then she began to confront him about his superficiality; she was upset about his not loving her for who she was inside. She reprimanded him for looking at just her shape, and not her spirit or her heart.

Although Lynn's reaction was completely understandable and even valid, her defensiveness shut down all communication between her and her husband. She invalidated his feelings. He vowed to share no more. This led to further hurt and distance in their marriage.

I have worked with many couples where one spouse has lost interest in sex because he or she no longer feels attracted to his or her mate. It may be due to a weight gain, sloppy appearance, poor hygiene, unhealthy habits such as smoking or drinking, or an unwillingness to care for oneself physically. Frequently when the spouse who is no longer attracted finally gets up the nerve to talk about it, he or she is met with defensiveness and anger:

I would like to address the epidemic of low sex drive in married men. In my case, it has to do with the fact that my wife now weighs 50 pounds more than she did when she married me. She'll do many things to rekindle, i.e., candlelit dinners, bath sessions, Victoria's Secret, books on love tricks, etc. - all that effort and money on something that doesn't matter. Then she can say, "I've tried everything. He's simply lost interest in me. Boo-hoo." Well, why not LOSE SOME WEIGHT?! Can you imagine the turn-off when someone fifty or more pounds overweight dons a teddy and/or thong? But I don't dare breathe a word of that or even imply by actions that she weighs one ounce more than she did when I married her. Even if she asks, "Do you think I'm fat?" I don't fall for an honest answer. I just swallow and say what she wants to hear - the only answer she will accept. So when the subject of "rekindle the romance" comes up, how about a little directness?

If your husband has told you that he's not attracted to you or that he's unhappy about the fact that you're unfit, out of shape, or uncaring about your appearance in any way, whether you think it's enlightened, fair, right, or not, it just is. As I said earlier in this book, physical attraction is a very important part of desire. If you think that your husband should love the person within, I agree, he should, but he's having sex with the outside person as well. I know it may sound harsh for me to tell you these things and I know it may not be politically correct, but I'm in the business of helping people feel more love and connection; I'm not running for office. I want you to be really honest with yourself about your looks and the energy you put into being physically healthy and fit. and if your husband's feelings reflect even a morsel of truth, I know you can't be too happy with yourself either. That's what I discovered when I continued working with Lynn.

Lynn admitted that Seth wasn't the only one who was unhappy about the changes in her body; so was she. Lynn also admitted that it was one thing for her to feel that way about herself but completely another that Seth felt that way about her. I helped her get over the hurt, and once she did, Lynn agreed that it was time for her to get serious about getting her body back into shape. She decided to join a healthy club and start taking aerobic classes three times a week. Seth agreed to help more with the kids so that she could have the time she needed to devote to herself. Additionally, Lynn started a new, more healthful eating plan.

Although Lynn didn't become trimmer instantly (no one does), she immediately started to feel better about herself, and her improved self-esteem had a positive impact on their marriage as well. Seth appreciated the fact that Lynn had gotten serious about her fitness. He felt that for the first time, Lynn really cared about his feelings, and this made him feel closer to her. although he didn't jump into bed with her instantly, they were making love again three weeks later, after a long sexual drought. And things went uphill after that.

The best advice, of course, is to not get married in the first place. The issues above are precisely what are being referred to in the phrase, "...for better or for worse...." Have you ever noticed how much women will work on themselves, their appearance, their health, their fitness, their beauty, in order to attract a guy? They will (literally!) work their butts off. Then, for an unfortunately large percentage of the female population, that ends the moment she feels comfortable and secure in a relationship. The man, once someone to attract and to keep attracting, becomes taken for granted. He's committed. Once she feels like she no longer needs to try, and no longer needs to make an effort, the efforts stop. Have you ever asked yourself just why it is that women are so interested in marriage? Well, there it is. And they come right out and say it, often, and it is practically a cliche. You see it on television, in the movies, you read it in novels, and you experience it in real life: a single woman, describing her ideal man, says (almost first thing), "I want a man who will love me unconditionally." Well, just what are "conditions", anyway? They're called standards. Chances are, when you were still dating, you had them, and she knew that you had them, and she met them, and she felt very good about herself for meeting them. But once you got married, or the cement of your relationship otherwise seemed to harden, she began to expect you to drop those standards right away. Chances are very good that the woman who needs a book like this one is a woman who would not have come close to meeting your standards when you were on the dating scene. (And chances are very good that she looks nothing like the woman on the book's cover.)

Posted by Jeff at 03:39 PM | Comments (6)

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