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November 16, 2018

Love Matters: How do I get him wanting sex again?

Sexless marriage.
Sexless marriage.

Hi, Rowan.

My husband and I had great sex until we had children, but being a hands-on mum and running my business from home meant my focus turned elsewhere. Now I’m 48 and my three kids are at school, my mojo is returning. But my husband says I’ve been lukewarm for so long, he’s had to suppress his libido. What can I do to revive his interest?


Desire is rather like the tango: it takes two people to lift, inspire and sustain it to a dizzying pitch. If one person in the partnership withdraws their vitality, the other will falter. So it’s easy to understand your husband’s place of retreat. There’s nothing like repeated erotic rejection to make a person feel unattractive. And once they feel unattractive, it’s hard to kindle enthusiasm.

You’ve been turning down your husband’s advances for some years, which means he’s retired, hurt, to his emotional trenches — a sort of inner man-cave. You can’t expect him to dismantle all his defences overnight. You need to slowly coax his retreated libido out of him. Without meaning to, you’ve dismantled your husband’s sexual confidence and now you need to lovingly rebuild it.

Find a regular weekly time when you can dispatch them to your friends and relatives and create dating space for the two of you. Work on small moments of erotic intimacy, try to remember all the things you did before the children came along, and reintroduce them to your repertoire.

Make pilgrimages to bars you both liked, play the music you danced to when you met, watch films that take you back to your courtship. And why not try some new moves? Ask yourself if there’s anything you have never done in bed that you would like to try now.

This is all about breaking down barriers, one by one, and recreating the kind of intense focus that was once second nature.

Indeed, the very fact that you’ve had great, uncomplicated sex in the past is what gives me grounds for optimism. Couples who once enjoyed that kind of chemistry tend to keep the seeds of that passion deep within — they just need watering and nurture.

Poll of the day