I love my husband. He is my best friend, a great father and an amazing human being. I wouldn’t trade him for the world. The problem is he is not interested in sex as much as he used to be. I am always the one to initiate any kind of special evening. I know he works hard, he likes his sports but over the years, sex seems to be taking a back seat. Is there anything I can do to bring some romance into our relationship? How do I ask him to make the first move? Any help would be appreciated.
Sexless in Savannah
I’m glad to hear that you and your husband are good friends because you’re going to have to talk about this. No games needed—a forthright conversation about what you feel is missing in your relationship will get you to the heart of the matter. It seems counterintuitive to ask for spontaneity and romance, I realize, but that’s what has to happen as years go by and desire levels change.
First ask yourself how often you would like to have sex. Once a week? Once a month? Every other month? Sit down and talk to your husband. Tell him you’d like to have sex more often and you would like him to initiate every now and again. Be specific about what you mean by initiate. Do you want dinner and dancing beforehand or would you like him to sneak up on you in the laundry room (or a mix of both)? It’s okay to start the conversation with, “This feels strange.” It can be difficult to make your desires known and to ask for your needs to be met.
Bring into the conversation the number you came up with—your ideal rate of lovemaking. Maybe he agrees. Maybe it’s too much. Try to find a frequency you both agree on. Let’s say you agree that two times a month is reasonable*. Suggest that each month you initiate one of those times and that he initiate the other. While it might feel odd to be so specific about how often you hope to make romance happen, if you aren’t specific I fear he’ll plan a great night for you—once. Then he’ll head right back to the routine. Plus one day per month leaves plenty of time for him to surprise you and vice versa.
I hope that you bring this up to him and that he jumps right on board, but it might not be that easy. There are 101 scenarios we’re not anticipating. He could get defensive—men often do when it’s suggested there’s something they’re not doing. Or he might agree to your suggestion verbally but a few months go by with no initiation from him. In any case, you will have started the conversation and the issue can be re-addressed as need be.
If you find that he’s reluctant to participate in your increase-the-intercourse proposal or his reaction catches you off guard (for example, he’s hurtfully dismissive), consider counseling. Find a therapist who works with couples, but see that person by yourself at first. Maybe s/he can help you navigate this terrain without having to bring your husband in. Whether he ends up joining you on the therapist’s couch or not, it sounds as though you have a solid foundation and that he’ll be willing to work with you on this.
*I have no idea how often the two of you make it to the bedroom, so forgive me if I’m over or under your reality.
You can ask Samara and Caroline questions for the Love & Life Advice Column here at firstname.lastname@example.org.
* The ideas and advice presented here are not a substitute for professional advice. Talk to your psychologist, counselor, physician or health care professional for situations that warrant further analysis.