This podcast comes from sexual health expert Debby Herbenick, PhD, MPH. Dr. Herbenick is a research scientist, co-Director of The Center for Sexual Health Promotion at Indiana University, and a sexual health educator at the Kinsey Institute. She also serves on ASHA’s Board of Directors. This podcast originally appeared on the Kinsey Confidential website. You can also follow her on mysexprofessor.com and Twitter.
Simply click on the play button below to listen to the podcast. You can also read the full transcript below.
QUESTION: My wife discovered toys about 30 years ago, and our love life died. She says that I can't satisfy like her toys do. After she is done she just goes to sleep. She says she loves me and does not want to lose me. Sometimes I just feel like a paycheck. I try and just hold her at night but she says I am too hot and to go away. Every time I hear the buzz I just go sit in the living room and turn on the TV. I feel it is time for me to leave. I know people think that men do not need to be held but we do. Just to lay in bed and talk. Tell me about her day. Should I walk away?
ANSWER: It’s sounds like you’re feeling sad, frustrated, and hurt in your marriage right now.
And while I cannot tell you whether you should stay in your marriage or leave your marriage, it certainly sounds like you’re ready to make some changes.
One possibility is to consider couples therapy.
You might consider approaching your wife, some time when you’re both relaxed, in good enough moods, and unlikely to be interrupted by family, friends, or a favorite television program.
Try letting her know how you feel, in a way that doesn’t put the blame on her. Using your own words, you might say something along the times of how important she and your marriage are to you, but that you feel disconnected and you’d like to meet with a counselor together so that you and she can learn better ways to communicate, to connect, to get along, or to help each other be happier in your marriage.
If you want to talk about the sexual aspect of your life together, you might say that you’d like to improve your sexual connection but that you don’t know how and could use some support from a trained counselor or therapist.
You can find a couples therapist in your areas through the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy.
Or you might want to meet with a sex therapist—to find one in your area, check out the website of the Society for Sex Therapy and Research. You might also find it helpful to read the book Passionate Marriage by Dr. David Schnarch.
It profiles a number of couples who have had serious difficulties in their marriages for many years in some cases but who come to find ways to connect and to improve their relationships and sex lives through therapy, dedication, and a great deal of effort together.
Even if your wife chooses not to go to therapy with you, know that you can still choose to go alone and that you might find it helpful to have the support and guidance of a professional counselor and therapist as you work through these difficult issues.
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