Expert Advice Q&A: Help! We're Not Sexually Compatible

Dear Steve and Cathy,

I'm 43 years old and have been married for three years to my current husband. We have a 21-year-old daughter, a 17-year-old son and a 19-month-old son together. The problem is that my husband and I don't click sexually. He doesn't like foreplay and spends little time pleasing me. I, on the other hand, enjoy passion, foreplay, and talking. We haven't had sex for months now and I don't want this pattern to continue. He agrees, but neither of us knows how to fix this. What should we do to start a sexual partnership when we don't seem to match sexually? Help! -- C.

Cathy says:
First I want to normalize your experience. Many couples don't match sexually due to male and female differences, stress, children or other circumstances. Don't despair!

Those gender differences can be especially challenging. Men are like automatics; they go from zero to 60 in 10 seconds. We women, on the other hand, are like stick shifts: You have to ease us from first gear to second, through third to get to fourth gear. And many times we start in neutral -- or even reverse!

Women need emotional and physical foreplay to feel close and loved in order to get excited (second gear). Men, my husband included, tend to ignore the importance of eye contact, hugs, arm squeezes, smiles and small gestures of support. It feels as though they're only going for the big bang. We women need to feel wanted for ourselves; why does a kiss always have to lead to sex!

Both of you need to examine your expectations of sex and sexual activity and make sure they are realistic and reasonable. You mentioned that your husband should be the initiator and you want it done your way. Loosen up and give him some room.Also, schedule a quiet time where you can make love if you want to, then ask your husband if he'd be willing to give you a ten minute massage. Offer to massage him as well. Steve says:My wife is absolutely right. (That ought to score me a few points in the bedroom.) Seriously, we men need to work on romance, like we did when we were courting.Also, both genders need to talk about what feels good (put aside the bad for now) and listen! Experiment with giving each other one of the items on your partner's list, and play a little. It takes time to come together after a sexual lull, so be patient.By the way, we're being sex-role stereotypic here about men being animals and women being gatekeepers. If the reverse is true in your relationship, that's not too uncommon. Probably 20 to 25 percent of the couples we see are the exception rather than the rule. But, generally speaking, we men need to ask our wives out on dates (we're not talking motels or bedrooms here, guys). You and your partner need to spend some quality time together doing something you both enjoy.
This is especially true if you have kids. Studies show that marital satisfaction takes a serious hit after kids arrive. Half of all divorces occur within the first seven years of marriage, and researchers believe that kids are partly to blame, that the stress of parenthood is hazardous to marital health.The good news, according to the research, is that couples who had a strong bond or friendship were more resilient and less likely to become dissatisfied with their relationship after they became parents.
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Source: Relationships & Love

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