The Sex-Starved Wife Take back what you both had and feed your marriage what it needs. BY MICHELE WEINER DAVIS
“ They all agreed that, while more men than women complain of not having enough sex, the differences between genders arenít as great as weíve been led to believe.”
Some years ago, I noticed that many, many couples in my practice were experiencing major relationship breakdowns because their levels of interest in sex were worlds apart. One spouse was hot while the other was not. Certainly, this sort of disparity happens from time to time even in the best of relationships, but there was nothing temporary about the sexual divide wreaking havoc in these marriages. There were long-standing issues of rejection and misunderstanding that spilled over into every aspect of the couplesí lives together. I called these relationships, sex-starved marriages.
Sex-starved marriages are so prevalent that I decided to write a book on the subject and called it, thatís right, you guessed it, The Sex-Starved Marriage. I wrote about the problems that occur in marriage when one spouse is vastly more interested in sex than the other and more, importantly, what they could do to fix things. The book created quite a stiróI appeared on every talk and news show imaginable, and in nearly every newspaper and magazine. I was on the road so much that my own marriage became sex-starved. Why all this attention? I will tell you why, but before I do, I want you to know what I mean by a sex-starved marriage.
Contrary to what you might think, a sex-starved marriage is not necessarily one that is void of sex (although abstinence can and does occur), it is a marriage where one spouse desperately longs for more touch, physical connection and sex, while the other spouse, for a variety of reasons, just isnít interested. The partner with lower desire canít understand why his or her spouse seems so obsessed with their sexual relationship and thinks, "Whatís the big deal? Itís just sex."
However, to the spouse with a higher sexual driveóin this case you (for the sake of simplicity, letís refer to you as the HDS or higher drive spouse)óitís a huge deal and itís not just about sex. Itís about feeling wanted, loved, appreciated, sexy, and attractive. Itís about feeling close and connected. Sex is truly the tie that binds; it leads to intimacy. And when the spouse with a lower sex drive doesnít get this, it spells trouble for the marriage.
Longing for more physical closeness, the HDS tries to get his or her partneróthe LDS (lower drive spouse)óto understand the importance of having a good sexual relationship. Since s/he doesnít feel the same way, the words fall upon deaf ears, and as a result, nothing changes. So, the HDS tries again to get through to his or her spouse. Now the LDS feels pressured, angry, and resentful. At this point, intimacy on all levels drops out of the marriage. They stop sitting next to each other on the couch. They stop laughing at each otherís jokes. They stop making eye contact. Their talk is perfunctory. They quit being friends. Their marriage is placed at risk of infidelity or divorce.
It was in that book that I also spilled the beans; I confirmed that women donít have a corner on the low desire market. Based on my observations in my clinical practice with couples, I knew that many, many men just werenít in the mood for sex. I felt certain that we, as a society, have perpetuated a myth about the ever-turned on male. During my travels on the seminar circuit, I spoke to countless sex and marital therapists across the countryóthe gatekeepers of marital problemsóand asked them about their observations about LD men. They all agreed that, while more men than women complain of not having enough sex, the differences between genders arenít as great as weíve been led to believe. They reconfirmed my belief that more reliable data is necessary to demonstrate how commonplace low desire in men really is. Only then, will women stop feeling unattractive and come out of hiding to seek the help they need to have richer and more satisfying sexual relationships. Thatís why Iím so passionate about getting the word out that men have headaches too.
"The Sex-Starved Wife: What To Do When He Loses Desire" (Simon & Schuster, Inc. 2007) by Michele Weiner Davis. Bring the spark back into your bedroom and your relationship with gutsy and effective advice from Michele Weiner Davis. Learn life-altering lessons about bridging the desire gap and restoring intimacy and friendship to your marriage. This book is available at www.divorcebusting.com. Copyright Michele Weiner Davis 2007