Frustrated by her sex life’s turn to routine, a reader asks ‘Dear Dad’ for advice on how to cook up some ideas to reignite the spark in her relationship.
My husband and I were high school sweethearts and have been together for almost 20 years. We have two children, a teenager and a 14 month old. My husband works very hard for our family and I love him more than anything. I am able to stay at home to take care of our son and our home and I am grateful for all he does for us.
The problem is our sex life has stalled. We are both tired all of the time, and he is on the road most of the week. Our sex life has become the same thing over and over again, basically if we both are in the mood, he crawls on top of me and it is over before it starts.
I don’t want to hurt his feelings, but I miss how things used to be. We had a great sex life and I had reason to brag, not complain. I haven’t had an orgasm since before our son was conceived, never mind born. I could use a man’s input on how to fix this.
‘A Lot Left to be Desired’
My wife and I have been together for the majority of the past 21 years (we broke up for several years after living together for two years). We now have three kids, hectic lives, and find ourselves in our 40’s. I promise you, ‘Desired’, what you are going through is normal.
My wife and I regularly talk about sex. We share with each other our experiences of our changing bodies (and though 40 is not old, changes have occurred), and about what is important to each of us sexually and sensually. We have hit more than one “dry patch,” and have had uneven sex drives since we met at age 19. It was through our continued (and continuing) discussions that we keep things exciting and prioritized in our relationship and in our lives. You have to have a conversation and start a dialogue with your husband going forward to discuss what you have presented to me here.
I do not think, however, that the way to address this situation is to just jump in and discuss this. I know for me, I would want something shown rather than explained to me when dealing with a subject of this nature. I believe if you confront him with this issue directly, he will feel criticized, threatened and possibly even emasculated.
My wife and I love to eat out at restaurants any chance we get. There is a thrill to just know you don’t have to cook at home, and can enjoy each other’s company and really savor a hot meal (which is rare when you are busy and have three kids). When we go out to eat on a whim, we typically order the daily special, eat as quickly as possible and ask for the check. We are both exhausted and busy, and while we enjoy the quick moment, find ourselves ready to go to sleep or to finish up the projects we have left to complete for the day. While we enjoyed the meal, we are left full, yet dissatisfied with such a sense of rush and routine.
My wife and I make sure to dine whenever we possibly can, and even make reservations sometimes to ensure we keep the appointment. Eating out and dining are not the same thing. There is nothing quite like going somewhere with a particular setting – romantic, quiet, special – and having an intimate moment together as a couple. We order drinks and engage in conversation, and then sample at least two different appetizers. We take our time over them as we share, talk, and laugh, and hold hands and savor the little bites we feed each other that will lead up to our meal.
When we properly space it, by the time the entrees arrive, we are so in the habit of sharing and talking about the appetizers, we end up doing the same with the main meal. It becomes something special instead of routine, and typically these meals last a lot longer than our normal dinners. We always end with tira misu and espresso and talk about how perfect the meal was – from the appetizers to the espresso, and leave with more than just a meal having been had, but sharing an experience.
My advice is to take the above metaphor/example and apply it to your sex life. I think you should plan a special evening, when you know neither of you have a lot going on the next day, and set up a romantic dinner. If you can get someone to watch the kids, that would be perfect, but is not necessary. You can plan a late dinner (and order take out so no one has to cook – WITH appetizers, of course), and set up a romantic scene in your bedroom – complete with candlelight, mood music, and dress in a way that is going to make YOU feel sexy and confident (and it will come across to him).
Make the evening (and the meal) about sex, and take things slow. If he tries to jump into the typical routine, take matters into your own hands. Give him a massage and encourage him to give you a massage. Engage in and encourage foreplay in whatever ways you feel comfortable with and desire.
I would suggest talking about how great the specifics were – from the intimacy to the appetizers – and how amazing and hot you thought it made the “main course.” Going forward, you can use this specific example to propel a discussion instead of saying to him: “you are doing it wrong and I need more.”
Hopefully by showing him, he will understand and engage in the dialogue you both clearly need going forward. Good luck to you!
Day-to-day lives can be chaotic and stressful, but a sense of intimacy, partnership, and really good sex can be an amazing relief and indulgence. How do you keep the spark alive in your relationship?
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