by Neil Rosenthal
Dear Neil: I am living with a younger man who is drop dead gorgeous. He takes care of himself, has a beautiful body and looks like he stepped out of GQ. He is 5’ 7” and 29 years old. He brings me flowers and cards for no reason, and he is very affectionate: he cuddles, kisses and touches me often. He also tells me several times a day that he loves me, he helps with cleaning and we cook together. He frequently makes me laugh, and we have lots of fun together, and he says he is happy with me.
I, on the other hand, am average looking on a good day, although I have been told that I look pretty damn good for my age. I’m 43 and 6’ 1”. The problem is he has a very low sex drive, and I am in my sexual prime. I enjoy sex now more than I ever have in my past. I’ve talked to him several times about how I want to make love more often, but he makes no extra effort.
I can’t help but think that if he were with someone younger- firmer – prettier that he would be friskier. He just doesn’t have much interest, and I can’t help but take it personally. The past six months since our relationship has begun have been the best of my life, but I’m at my wits end at the lack of feeling sexually desired. Can you help me?
- Feeling Unfulfilled in Oregon
Dear Oregon: There is no correct number of times a couple in love is supposed to make love. Different people have different appetites – and sometimes libidos can differ wildly between partners. Even in the same individual, sexual appetite can vary dramatically depending on season, level of fatigue, how emotional you feel, how work is going – and on an endless variety of other factors. All that being said, here are some things you might try.
First, ask for his help. Is there anything that would help him be amorous more frequently? If you guys were going to create the perfect setting for love-making, what would he include? What time of day does he most prefer? What conditions or circumstances are most conducive for him?
Second, get assertive and ask him to take care of you, even if he himself isn’t in the mood. If he’s willing to do that when you ask, it just may arouse him as well. But whether it does or doesn’t, presumably you’ll feel happier and less rejected.
Third, you might try reaching over to him early in the morning. That’s when many men easily can feel their wild oats. If you find him receptive, you could always take the lead.
Fourth, trying going away for a weekend together. Sometimes a different location, setting or set of activities helps us to feel more connected and relational. You might also try renting an X-rated movie or buying a new hot lingerie number.
Finally, understand that his libido and your self-esteem are not the same. He is not rejecting you, although it might feel like it. He is presumably being himself-and that means that he has a different appetite than you do. If you let this undercut your self-esteem, you are compounding the problem that very likely isn’t about you at all.
Neil Rosenthal is a licensed marriage and family therapist in Denver and Boulder, Colorado, specializing in how people strengthen their intimate relationships. He can be reached at 303.758.8777, or e-mail him from his website, www.heartrelationships.com