Dear Sex Counselor,
How can we have more excitement in our marriage? My wife and I are both 44 years old and have been married for 21 years. We make love about two to three times a month, usually on weekends when she is "in the mood". She usually resists my overtures. Our sex is usually hot, but we don't have it often enough for my temperament. She is pretty conservative, but once she gets into it, is enthusiastic. Any advice on how to increase our frequency and add some variations? Thanks!
You and your wife are facing a very common issue among couples who have been married for a while. Since you say that your wife usually resists your overtures, I suspect that there may be another issue in your relationship that is getting in the way of her wanting to be more sexual with you. I want to suggest that you start by talking with her about what might be going on, and what her fears and desires are about sex. The reasons behind such behavior vary tremendously; she may have a hard time allowing herself to become aroused and may see it as somehow wrong on her part to want sex; she may have another issue with you that she is not expressing and which is coming out in your sexual life; or it may be something completely different. If the two of you acknowledge that there is an issue but can't figure out how to address it, you might consider finding a marriage and family therapist to help facilitate some discussion.
There are many ways to bring more spice into a sexual relationship, from books to games to movies. However, it's important to figure out if the difference in desire between the two of you is due to a problem, a difference in interest, or just boredom. If it's boredom, these tools work very well to re-ignite your desires. If it's difference in desire, that's very hard to address, and may require you to handle the differences by you finding a variety of self-pleasuring activities when she is not "in the mood". One thing that may be true is that she may not feel aroused as quickly as you do, and if she knows that you are willing to take care of your own needs when she isn't in the mood to, she may become aroused as you do and be more willing to join you.
Arousal and initiation can be very difficult for some women. Many women have been taught that they should not initiate sex, or that they shouldn't want it very often, or ever. Women who have experienced sexual abuse in their lives often are very uncomfortable about wanting sex, and have difficulty initiating it or even accepting overtures. I want to strongly recommend that you start by talking about this issue and see if you can find out more about what she is thinking. Maybe she's just worn out from all her responsibilities, and you can help her get more rest (which may help her feel more interested in making time for sex) by finding ways to give her more breaks. Or she may be happy with the frequency and wants you to meet your own needs except for those two or three times per month. Or maybe there is something completely different going on with her that she is afraid to tell you.
Communication is definitely the place to start in this instance. Once you learn more, you can write back, or work with a counselor or therapist to try to resolve the issues affecting your differences in sexual desire.
The Sex Counselor