By Dawn Papandrea
Has your husband been saying "not tonight, dear" a little too often? It's hard not to feel rejected, but it doesn't necessarily mean he's lost that lovin' feelin' for you. Learn about the most common reasons he may not be in the mood and what you can do about it.
Photo by Getty Images.
1. He wants to relax after a long day.
If he's retreating to his man cave each night, that could create a pattern of disconnection, says Debra Castaldo, PhD, a relationship expert and director of the Center for Couples and Family Solutions in Midland Park, NJ. He may not realize you're missing him, though, so tell him. Try: "It seems like we're spending most of our evening time apart. I know you want to chill out, but I miss being with you. Maybe we can do something relaxing together," suggests Dr. Castaldo. Find something soothing you both enjoy, whether it's drinking wine, reading side by side in bed or finding a new favorite TV show. Once there's togetherness, there's an opportunity for intimacy, says Dr. Castaldo.
Related: 8 Surprising Health Benefits of Sex.
2. He's reminded of the kids.
Plenty of parents have scintillating sex lives, but some husbands have trouble seeing their wives as sexual beings once they become moms, says Laurie J. Watson, sex therapist and author of Wanting Sex Again: How to Rediscover Your Desire and Heal a Sexless Marriage. Another libido killer: putting children-and not your spouse-in the center of the family unit, says Charles J. Orlando, relationship expert and author of the series The Problem With Women… is Men. Clear out kiddie cues in your bedroom: toys, photos, even their laundry, suggests Watson. And if your children are hanging in your room when you want time alone with your hubby, tell them, "This is Mommy and Daddy time," advises Orlando.
3. He wants to play video games or watch sports.
"Talking face-to-face, as women want, isn't husbands' natural mode," explains Watson. So they get hooked on World of Warcraft or watching the Yankees with the guys because there's no emotional investment. To peel him away from the screen, strike a deal about which nights you'll tune into each other, says Dr. Castaldo. "It's not the weekends away and date nights that make a marriage. It's the agreements you have about what's acceptable in your relationship's everyday life."
Related:9 Fights You Should Have With Your Husband.
4. It's that time of the month.
Some men have an ick factor about periods, says Orlando; others assume you won't engage in potentially messy sex. But if rising hormones during menstruation send your sex drive soaring, let him know. "It can end up being a great experience," says Watson (even if you have to sacrifice a towel or two!). If he's still leery, suggest using a condom or sticking with non-intercourse activities.
5. He wishes sex were more spontaneous.
Remember when you'd have sex in the kitchen just because? While it's hard to sustain that impulsiveness as more responsibilities arise, avoid turning sex into a to-do list item. Instead, "schedule sex in your mind," recommends Watson. "Looking forward to it adds to the whole experience for women." But don't let him in on your seduction plan. "When he gets home from work, be dressed like when you were dating, and watch how fast that spontaneity returns," says Orlando. Other things to try: Send the kids to grandma's for the night, or swap dinner-and-a-movie night for some hotel sex.
6. He has performance anxiety.
Having sex relies on his ability to rise to the occasion. That's a lot of pressure! Plus, previous less-than-stellar sexual encounters can add to the unease and make him turn off, says Watson. If you think that's the case, ask him to do something pleasurable just for you, like oral sex or manual stimulation. "Odds are if she asks and gets excited, her arousal will arouse him," says Watson.
Related:12 Biggest Lies Men Tell Before Sex
7. He's having 'Magic Mike' envy.
Newsflash: Women aren't the only ones worried about waning attractiveness. "There's enormous pressure from our culture to have flat bellies," says Watson. And men feel that. So let him know that he still sets your heart racing. "Also, structure your lifestyle so you're active together," she adds. A bit of exercise-like walking together-can help you both regain confidence and energy. If all else fails, do something that shifts the spotlight off him, like asking for a massage. "You being face down and naked means he's not being watched or judged, and natural lust takes its course," says Watson.
8. He's watching too much porn.
Spending lots of time online doesn't mean he's less attracted to you, says Watson. But the sheer volume and variety of images "can lower male desire and cause erectile dysfunction," she says. If his appetite for X-rated material is growing while your sexual activity declines, have an honest, straightforward discussion and ask if there's an underlying issue, says Orlando. "The symptom is using porn; the issue is something larger between the couple." The smartest course of action might be seeking the advice of a therapist.
9. He's worried about work.
It's a good idea to agree on a time to turn off the phone and stop checking work emails so you can focus on each other. Still, be flexible when duty actually calls and he has to answer. "Being indispensable gives him a sense of value," says Watson. And feeling valued can boost his self-esteem-in all areas. He also has a natural instinct to protect and provide, says Orlando. That's why being his sounding board and his biggest cheerleader when work worries arise can help him feel confident enough to clock out to enjoy some couple time.
10. He'd rather sleep.
"When given the choice between changing gears/creating a romantic environment and sleeping, he might decide he's too tired," says Orlando. If one or both of you are exhausted at the end of the day, aim for morning sex. Or just let your hubby know when you're OK with a quickie. If he understands you're not anticipating a marathon lovemaking session, he may be more apt to delay bedtime a bit.
You Might Also Like:
Yoga Poses That Improve Your Sex Life
10 Things Men Wish Women Knew About Sex
8 Secrets of Sexually Satisfied Couples
10 Shocking Things That Turn Guys On
By Dawn Papandrea