Many happily married wives say they are not in the mood when they start but they enjoy it later

He or she may find that starting the motions of sex even though he or she has no desire for it can spark a flame

  • Boredom: This comes from couples who stick to a fixed routine, with a narrow repertoire of sex and touching, who lack imagination, and are not playful about trying new things to stimulate their partner.

He or she may find that starting the motions of sex even though he or she has no desire for it can spark a flame

  • Pornography: This can cause all sorts of distortions in the viewer’s expectations of his or her partner that can damage their sex life. The viewer of pornography may be eager to try all sorts of kinky practices that his partner may not want. Porn stars are always aroused, leading the viewer to have a self-centered view of sex that does not include the effort required to please his partner-who has her own needs. Masturbating in front of pornography can drain the libido so the viewer is no longer interested in sex with his spouse.

He or she may find that starting the motions of sex even though he or she has no desire for it can spark a flame

  • Fears about performance: Men can be anxious about achieving or maintaining arousal or fear that they may come to climax prematurely. Women may be worried that they are not achieving orgasm. This is exacerbated when there is poor communication between the partners; for instance, when the man thinks he is supposed to know what to do and cannot receive suggestions well because he takes it as a sign of inadequacy. In good sex, both partners are receptive to learning from the other and asking each other’s help.

He or she may find that starting the motions of sex even though he or she has no desire for it can spark a flame

  • Inhibitions: These can include shame about the body or guilt about having pleasure, as when one partner dislikes messiness or thinks that she is not supposed to enjoy sex too much. This can sometimes be caused by deep-seated religious beliefs.

He or she may find that starting the motions of sex even though he or she has no desire for it can spark a flame

  • Setting preconditions for sex: One spouse may set unrealistic demands, using sex as a stick to force changes in the other’s behavior. It would be better for both spouses to be tolerant of each other and willing to have sex even when there are unresolved issues.

He or she may find that starting the motions of sex even though he or she has no desire for it can spark a flame

  • Different levels of desire: It is quite common for the partners to have different natural levels of sex drive, yet it is the number one complaint among couples seeking marital counseling. Desire naturally ebbs and flows, but at different times for the husband and wife. Reduced desire can be caused by the pressures of parenting and job, by bad health and hormonal changes. The positions can switch, as when a senior man loses interest just as his wife, who is over her menopause, read is warming up. Thirty percent of women and 15 percent of men have low libido.

To deal with this problem, the partners need to avoid accusing the other of being a “cold fish” or a “sex maniac,” and instead find ways to empathize with each other and support each other. The spouse with lower desire can make efforts to accommodate the other’s greater level of passion while looking for ways to raise his or her own libido.

The spouse with higher desire should not take his or her spouse’s disinterest personally. He or she can learn to be an expert at stimulating his or her spouse to become aroused, and when that does not work, to redirect his or her sexual energy to non-genital sensual pastimes. He or she should learn to be direct in asking for sex, and at the same time he or she should be able to turn off the pressure if his or her partner refuses.