My husband and I have been married for six months. He's 36, I'm 27. He is an absolutely wonderful man, and when we have sex, it's great. The key word is when we have sex. This problem hits another one -- the lack of communication skills that he has always had. Trying to ask a man "Why no sex drive, buddy?" is a very hard thing to do. Any tips on how I can communicate my needs to him without hurting his feelings?
If you want your relationship to feel close and intimate, you have to share your thoughts and concerns. If you want intimacy, you need to create an atmosphere that lends itself to trust and honesty. That means actively participating rather than waiting for something to happen. If you feel safe with each other, it will be much easier for you to discuss something that might hurt your partner’s feelings. If you avoid discussing difficult and potentially hurtful subjects, you drift apart and the emotional bonds between you weaken.
I suggest that you come right out and tell your husband that you’re concerned about the lack of sex. And you’re right -- you shouldn’t overtly ask him why his sex drive isn’t, um, up to par. Instead, ask him how he feels about the frequency of your sex life. You mentioned a lack of communication skills, so expressing himself and coming right to the point is probably hard. Give him some space to think about it and suggest that you talk about this again in a few days. These discussions call for getting rid of distractions, including television and phones. Maintain good eye contact and let your tone of voice reassure him that you are not attacking him in any way. Be ready to listen to what he has to say. (Listening means you are not speaking or reacting!) Your husband may have some feedback for you that you may find uncomfortable and hurtful. If you can accept each other’s feelings without getting defensive or having an argument, you are on your way to real intimacy, when identifying solutions to your problems will flow a lot more easily. The key is to focus on intimacy -- something that goes far beyond what happens in the bedroom.
Nestpert: Dr. Ingrid Schweiger is the author of the upcoming book, PARTNERS FOR A LIFETIME: SEVEN STEPS FOR A SUCCESSFUL MARRIAGE, to be released in January 2009.
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