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Q. We've been married for four years and only make love once every two months. Every night, my husband says he's tired or it's been a rough day -- but I know what kind of day he had because we work together. I know he's interested in other women -- he gets excited when he spots someone appealing on the street. Every night he does a solo with himself when he thinks I'm asleep. But for me, he's always too tired. What can I do to get him interested?
Sallie Foley, MSW, co-author of Sex Matters for Women: A Complete Guide to Taking Care of Your Sexual Self (Guilford Press), answers:
A. Your concern is important. Let's begin with your question, "What can I do to get him interested?" Even though it might seem that your job is to get him to look your way, stop for a moment and take stock of how you are feeling about yourself. When was the last time you pampered yourself, got together with a good friend, or did something that you truly enjoy? Making sure that you aren't putting yourself down is a great place to start.
Being your own best girlfriend includes not taking all the blame on yourself. You know that a good relationship isn't going to be based on just "seeing each other at the business." You want more love in your life together. The next step is to begin talking to each other, working together on your relationship. Couples go through times of ups and downs in sexual passion. When a couple hits a lull, they need to sit down and talk honestly about what they think is missing. Do you need more touching and cuddling? Has sex gotten too routine? Are there problems outside the bedroom that are getting in the way of you being close? This kind of honest communication takes more than one discussion, so be persistent. The only real route to intimacy is through honesty with each other.
Next step? When the two of you identify what isn't working, make a plan and begin, step by step, to tackle the issues. Make sure to be positive with each other -- about a five-to-one ratio of praise to criticism is a good mix. Finally, as sex therapists, we often recommend that people masturbate in order to understand how their bodies work. If he's "going solo" when he thinks you're asleep, be honest and tell him you're not sleeping. Ask him to tell you and show you how he likes to be touched. Let him know you're comfortable with teaching him more about your body too. Since the two of you work together, remember, "all work and no play makes Jack and Jill feel dull."