Monday, January 27, 2014

What to do when your wife isn't interested in physical intimacy...

One of the most challenging aspects of any marriage is differences in desire.  It is particularly difficult when the discrepancy is vast.  Not only do you want it a lot, but your wife seems to hardly ever want it.  Even when she does, she doesn't seem to enjoy herself very much.  Here are some ways to help the situation:

1) Ask yourself—what are you doing outside the bedroom?  Sex is not an isolated incident.  For women, sex is part of a greater experience of intimacy.  Physical intimacy should begin far before you enter the bedroom—and by that we mean that loving acts, kind words, help with housework, and some flirtation are good ways to begin the process.  While you may not need time to awaken interest, your wife likely will.
2) Work on your emotional relationship.  How is your relationship in general?  Do you seem to argue a lot?  Are you on the same page with parenting?  Working on your emotional intimacy and closeness may help her feel that she wants to be closer to you physically. If you are feeling disconnected from each other, it's no wonder why your wife may not be interested in intimacy. We have found that working on your marriage often is the key to creating more intimacy in your marriage as the absence of sex is often symptomatic of greater relationship issues.
3)   Are you going too fast?  Are you even trying to please her?  Try to have a long span of foreplay (30-45 minutes) so that she can become sufficiently interested. Ask her what makes her feel good and focus on giving to her. By becoming other focused, you will have both feel more connected.
4)    Ask her if you are hurting her—physically-speaking.  If she is experiencing any genital pain, that is a very good reason why she does not have interest in intimacy Talk to her directly about this and ask for her openness and honesty.  If she is experiencing vaginal pain, she should speak to her gynecologist right away as a first step to solving the pain.  If that does not help, consider seeing a sex therapist.
5) Talk to her about how you feel about your intimate life.  Tell her how much you love her and wish you could connect more on this level. 

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Q&A: I am 35 years old, married, and have 4 wonderful children.  I love my husband very much and we have a very beautiful relationship.  I love my life and work outside the home.  The problem is that by the end of the day, I'm completely exhausted from work, kids, cleaning, cooking, making lunches, and all the rest of it that I don't have any desire to have sex with my husband.  I'm just too tired.  Once we are intimate, I enjoy myself.  I'm happy and I have a great relationship with my husband, so why the problem with the desire?  What should I do?

Response: Thanks so much for this question.  Wow you have a lot on your plate!  And you, indeed must be very busy with several children to take care of.  There is no doubt that you rightfully should feel tired by the day's end.  As for being a working mother with children and feeling too tired to have desire, I hear this A LOT!  

I believe that everything in life is about choices and priorities.  It might be that you're prioritizing other things over making time for your marriage.  You could think about cutting back some housework, perhaps getting some cleaning help if you can afford, and possibly cutting volunteer and community activities.  After all, your marriage should come above all else.  A strong family is only as strong as the marriage.  

Once you prioritize your husband and your marriage, you should be able to set aside one or two nights per week to head to bed a little earlier than usual and spend time with him.  (If you're too tired at night, why not set the alarm for before the kids wake up?).  

I am a strong believer in setting aside certain nights to spend together.  Just because you are not already in the mood does not mean that you can not get in the mood once you are together with your husband.  

Ultimately, don't wait for desire to strike you-- just head to bed a little earlier than usual, start with intimacy, and see where that takes you.  Remember: Desire does not always come before intimacy.  Intimacy can generate desire.  

Q&A: 26, Married, and no orgasm

Question from reader: I am 26 years old, married, and love my husband very much.  However, despite many attempts, I cannot reach orgasm either with him or on my own.  It is very upsetting and I am starting to feel helpless and hopeless.  Sex is pointless when I know it doesn't reach anywhere.  What should I do to get us out of this rut?

Response: Thank you so much for writing.  I'm so sorry to hear about your difficulties.  When you say that you are feeling helpless and hopeless, it makes me think that you could be feeling somewhat depressed.  This certainly can be contributing to your sexual difficulties.  Perhaps addressing these feelings are an important first step. 

Additionally, would it be possible to shift your attention from orgasm to giving and experiencing pleasure and connection with your husband.  Would it be possible to say "I don't care if we reach orgasm, let's just enjoy each other and being together."  Discover what feels good without the pressure of an end-goal.  And give yourself some time at this.  This type of attitude significantly increases your chances of ultimately reaching orgasm.  

There are many possible reasons why you may not be reaching orgasm that can be worked on with a clinician.  With becoming more educated about your body, improving your relationship, learning relaxation techniques, and increasing positive thoughts,  you may be on your way to an orgasm in no time.  

How can I feel less stress and more in control this holiday season?

How can I feel less stressed and more in control this holiday season?

November is a time when people start to either get excited about the holidays or start to feel stressed/anxious about the upcoming holidays.  Someone told me recently that they would be expected to spend the holidays at their in-laws again, even though they have a tiny house, they would have to sleep in the basement without proper insulation/heat, and they have a newborn.  She did not know what to say or how to deal with this situation.  Here are some tips to get you through the holidays if spending time with your family or your extended family is overwhelming and stressing you out.  Take a deep breath.  

1) Know yourself and how much you can handle.  If staying in your in-laws' basement without proper insulation/heat with a newborn is just too much for you, then speak up and talk to your spouse about this situation.  You know your limits, so speak to your spouse about how stressed out this makes you.  Get on the same page with your spouse so that you can handle your in-laws with a united front.  Be sure to stress to your spouse that it's not that you don't want to see them.  Feelings can easily be hurt with family.

2) Try to find another solution.  If the thought of going to your in-laws again is unbearable, then maybe suggest to host this year.  Or perhaps you can stay in a hotel or at a neighbor's home.  That way, you are not saying "I don't want to see you all."  You are trying to find a solution where you will feel better about your surroundings.  

3) Take some time to plan.  Sit down with your spouse and make a plan for driving (allowing time for Thanksgiving traffic) and preparing menus in advance so that you aren't doing everything last minute.

4) Take some time for yourself.  The beginning of the holiday season is an easy time to feel overwhelmed.  Women, especially, often get carried away with lots of "to do's" (like buying gifts, etc).  Take some time to focus on yourself.  This might include getting your nails done, catching a really good Black Friday sale, or reading a book.

10 tips for staying happy when the weather is cold outside

10 tips for staying happy when the weather gets cold and the days get shorter:

1) Do some physical activity.  It helps with releasing important chemicals to stay happy and to support immune health.
2) Sleep during the night rather than during the daytime.  You need to get as much sunlight as possible, so make sure to be awake for precious winter sunlight hours.
3) Do activities that release oxytocin(happy and bonding hormone) such as hugging, cuddling, exercising, breast-feeding, laughing and being intimate.
4) Laugh.  Watch a comedy such as a TV show, movie, or comedy show.  
5) Get lots of sunlight.  Buy a sun lamp if you are particularly susceptible to seasonal depression.  
6) Pursue the hobbies that you enjoy.  Attend your pilates class or your book club.
7) Avoid watching long periods of TVsince it makes your body lethargic.
8) Eat lots of fruits and vegetables.  Avoid lots of carbs such as pasta and bread.  A recent study said that people who eat a lot of pasta were more depressed.
9) Volunteer in your community.  Doing things to help others makes you think less about your own problems.
10) Consider going to a therapist or a psychiatrist for some help if you need.