Woman tolerates husband’s sexual advances, how to tell him what she wants?

A reader who calls herself “Hot Momma Frigid Lover” posted a comment on another post which contained a point that was so important that I decided to comment on it here. Here are excerpts from her comment:

… I have never had that much pleasure in sex… My husband, on the other hand, has had a very healthy sexual drive and I had a mother who taught me to be sensitive to that drive and take care of his needs. So…well…we have had a good marriage for 32 years.

… I am starting to resent his advances a little more. Not that I don’t want to give him pleasure any more but that he does so little to actually ‘earn’ it. He has always gone for my breasts as an ‘invitation’ to give him some sexual attention. Since I prefer sleep over sex, grabbing at my breasts is a rude awakening and definitely does not awaken any sexual desire.

I think I know what might help him to arouse me in a more romantic way but how can I tell this man (that I love so much) that he just doesn’t turn me on!

Here is what I wish he could learn from someone or somewhere else. If I am asleep (or if he thinks I am …lots of times I am pretending hoping he will arouse me awake)…I would love a good back massage. Some kisses on the back of my neck, some full body hugs (that don’t include his hand on any part of my sexual annatomy)some physical contact that says “I love you” before it says “I need sex”. In fact I wouldn’t mind hearing the words “I love you” that can be very inviting.

How can I help him to ‘learn’ this stuff without me having to teach him. Most of the information I have found is for help with sex itself … I am not interested in sexual pleasure…I just want a little physical love and attention before I give him the “sex” he needs.

I implore you, please talk to your husband about what would turn you on or at least make you feel receptive to sexual intimacy. Surely he would LOVE to know this! Instead of asking how to tell him that he doesn’t turn you on (that would be devastating to hear), why not tell him what you DO want from him?

If that seems really difficult to you, start by requesting the back massage, and let that turn into sexual intimacy if it feels right. Then, when you’re in a neutral situation (walking in the park, or sitting over coffee, not in bed), try saying to him, “It really makes me feel relaxed and loved when you give me a back massage/kiss me/ hug me for no reason. I love it when you do that.”

He needs to hear from you what you like and want from him, because he’s certainly getting the message that you’re not enjoying his sexual advances. Give him the opportunity to please you and show you his love.

I invite other readers to talk about what has worked to open communication in your relationships.


  1. utahmedic on February 20, 2008 at 4:52 am

    I googled a topic about sex and ended up here so may I please add my two cents while I am here. I am thirty five, my wife is close to 32 (April). We have been married for 8 years and have two pirates… I mean boys- one 6 and one 2 years old. My wife was rather adventurous in the bedroom for two years then when our first was born everything ended. It was said that if only the husbands would hold and hug and talk and not expect anything then maybe things would be different. Experience for six years here tells me that if it isn’t direct and to the point that sex won’t ever happen. If wives want to know the secret of how to get husbands to settle down then I suggest starting by warming up. Men push because they love you. They don’t want porn and they don’t want the hottie that works down the hall. They want you! That is why they married you and not some naked porn hussie.

    Women, figure it out! Get interested! Men want to hear you want more! They want you to NEVER give them the chance to start by attacking your breasts first. How do you do that… by reaching down their pants while the two of you are doing the dishes and then teasing and saying “Later”. Do you remember teasing when you were dating? Men do and they drool over anyone who does it still. They wish someone would teach you. I wish one of those women would come to my house and remind my wife that a national study showed that increasing the frequency and quality of sex weekly was equal to the happiness of a $50,000 raise. Sex rocks! That is married sex in my own home with my beautiful wife! …who by the way would rather clean the whole house than have sex with her husband. So to continue… Start the sex and be in charge of the sex and make it interesting and regular, and easy to get, and as sexy as possible and your husband will do anything you want. The experts say never use denying sex as a punishment , but husbands would jump up and down (or paint the house, or help in the garden, or finish the basement, or redo the pantry, and the master bedroom closet, or buy plantation shutters for the wholehouse….) if you would reward him with a night of mind blowing sex that you started so that he doesn’t have to feel so unloved when you get angry about him grabbing your breasts or trying anything possible to get you to have great married sex with him.

    Without sex what is the difference between you and a roommate? Roommates are usually easier to get along with – less emotional attachment so less worry if you blow them off and leave.

    MEN WANT SEX! Deal with it and figure out how to make it happen for both of your peace of mind.

    So here is the story. I am a firefighter/paramedic. I work 48 hour shifts on duty at the station away from my family. Every morning that I leave kills me. They say that we pick the job and that we get used to it. Yes we do- we cope rather well and we get a bit used to death and sorrow for other people. We stay professional and as compassionate as possible but we also stay distant. That is because we don’t want to fall apart every day. With our home lives and the thoughts about our wives we prepare for the day that we may not return home. It is the risk we make because we are people who have to serve others. I do this job because I can’t do something that serves only me. My love for my wife is very similar to when we were first married. Why? Because I need thoughts of her with me to make my days bearable. 8 years later I am still in newly wed mode because I never stop thinking about my wife. I want her every minute that I am home! I want to hold her and touch her and yes, sometimes I just want to hold hands, or rub, or just be close. I do need sex though. It is the only thing that truly differentiates my relationship with my wife from any other relationship that I have ever had. Yes with any other woman too. That bond makes the difference and it kills me that she says that sex means nothing to her.

    Sex is the only real bond between man and wife! Your children will find their own. They aren’t bonding to you forever. That is only the two of you! Noone else! Sex is that bond.

    Tell me I’m wrong and I ask for another explanation.


  2. Joan Price on November 26, 2007 at 6:02 am

    This recent comment makes me so sad. Somehow, “Anonymous,” please try to get your wife to go to a counselor with you. I can’t guess what’s going on for her, but certainly her refusal to talk about the lack of sex is a big problem for you and for her alike. I feel the desperation in your comment. If, indeed, you get along great “other than that,” can you see a counselor to help get the dialogue going?

    If she won’t go, I suggest you go yourself to get some strategies yourself that will help you talk to her about this productively. Please check in again and let us know what happens, okay?

    Thank you for sharing this.

    — Joan

  3. Anonymous on November 26, 2007 at 3:47 am

    My wife has not touched me in three years. We have not had sex in 5 years.
    She won’t talk to me about it. I’ve tried to figure out what she wants. Offered oral without the expectation of reciprocation. Ask her how and where she would like touched. Ask her to share a fantasy with me. Nothing. The real problem is we get along fine other then that. I’m lost. I’d never thought I’d be celibate at 47. I really don’t want all that much sex. Once a week would be great but I’d settle for once a month. Sex with my self is getting old.

  4. Anonymous on September 1, 2007 at 11:59 pm

    I think it would be worthwhile to have a place for reasonable people to vent. IT is very hard to complain about this sort of thing and express your anger, even rage over this huge personal loss. Not exactly face to face stuff… embarrasing and difficult all the way around. If they ever had anything to slip in a man’s drink it would sell like hot cakes… what a switch from youth.

  5. Joan Price on August 30, 2007 at 11:55 pm

    I’m reading your comments and I’m saddened by the notes of dismay and desperation. I think I’ll ask one of my therapist experts how to open up a dialogue about sex with a spouse who doesn’t seem to notice that his/her partner is unhappy, unfulfilled, and even angry. This would be a worthwhile addition to the new book I’m working on, as well as this blog, don’t you think?

  6. Anonymous on August 26, 2007 at 11:49 pm

    I am very frustrated by my husbands sexual remoteness… he used to have an excellent sex drive, but he almost NEVER approaches me anymore, we are in our sixties. His free testosterone count is almost non existant and he refuses to do anything about it medically. I have to practically beg to get laid and do all the work when it happens. I think I finally understand why a person would look for elsewhere, even though they loved the person they were married to… It is NOT funny when you realize that guys can always get satisfaction, they just have to have an erection and a woman who will go along… even if the woman isn’t in the mood herself. BUT having a man with no desire and no erection is a total loss for a woman.

  7. Anonymous on August 25, 2007 at 8:05 pm

    While my husband and I talk about many and varied topics, communicating about sex just doesn’t seem to work for me. I know I’ve said the same things many times and believe me I’ve tried to not be critical, BUT when he touches me with SHARP fingernails, how can I NOT retract and get ‘out of’ any mood but pissed off?!?

    I really think that my husband never learned anything about sex beyond erection, insertion, ejaculation, and maybe he’s embarrassed about that too. But I’m frustrated and while I so want to ‘love his socks off’ like we used to do, I’m getting tired of doing all the ‘work’ with out any ‘fun’ myself. His latest answer is Cialis, but if I feel it will only be a help for HIM and not really much in it for me.

    We have ‘joked’ about my being as hard to start as an old Ford that has been sitting out in the weeds. But again, he lack of sexual knowledge AND any show of desire to increase that or just open his eyes to my needs if getting old faster than we are. Yes its great to let your partner know what you want, but hey, there’s nothing wrong with using one’s imagination, ability to observe and SURPRISE a partner either.

    This one way street is going to wind up a dead end at this rate ūüôĀ

  8. gratitude on August 11, 2007 at 9:45 pm

    I think women have a deep need to be desired for our whole being, not just our sexual anatomy. We want to be courted, enticed, pursued and politely looked at. We want compliments and attention paid to who we are as a person as well as to who we are as a sexual being. We like to be reminded all the time that among all the women out there, we’re special to our guy. That’s what turns me on the most.

    A lot of men seem to be kinda clueless about this. This lady’s husband probably thinks he is courting her by grabbing her breasts. People who’ve been married for a while can easily get into a sexual routine which shortcuts some of these things which women need as well as things which men need. I think gay and lesbian couples also get into similar ruts.

    If you’re always easy and available to your man, he’ll get lazy. Isn’t that just human nature? The women I know who have men after them all the time and who really enjoy their sex lives are not easy or always available, generally speaking.

    I’ve learned the hard way not to start with the criticisms. Say what you do like. Tell the guy what really turns you on. Like, “Oh I love it so much when you rub my back for ten minutes. Boy does that get me in the mood like nothing else.” When he does something that turns you on like that let him know how much you like it and maybe reward him with good sex or at least a great big hug and kiss. Or a compliment about his sexual prowess, which answers a deep need in men.

    I’m pretty sure that most men can indeed tell whether or not women are enjoying sex with them, and needless to say they get more satisfaction if we’re having pleasure too.

    Funny how couples can be married and love each other deeply and have such different sexual appetites sometimes. I have something like this lady’s situation in reverse.

    I think the guy who wrote the first comment could ask his wife to touch him first once in a while. It doesn’t hurt to ask. For all he knows she might be wanting to do that and is just thinking it’s not ladylike or something of the sort. That’s what I was taught back in the 60’s when I was a teenager, always wait for the man to make the first move or someone will think you’re a slut. Which back then was a fate worse than death because it meant nobody good would marry you. But it’s actually kinda fun to be a little bit “slutty” sometimes.

  9. Joan Price on August 8, 2007 at 6:05 pm

    Harry, thanks for your comment and for pointing out the importance of “wooing her all over again” with endearments, hugging, and kissing. It sounds like your marriage is undergoing a renaissance after all these decades!

    You say you “dont really know” whether touching our wife’s breasts arouses her. How about asking a question like, “How would you like to be touched?” You might be surprised at the information you receive once you open up the conversation.

    — Joan

  10. Harry, age 87 on August 8, 2007 at 5:59 pm

    I read the post from Hot Mamma frigid Lover and it is much like my problem. I think her husband is a typical male focusing on the physical side, not the emotional one.

    My wife asked me a little while ago to use endearments when talking to her and to express my love that way. It was a complete change from the years of not getting along well together. We stayed together for the sake of the kids yrs ago and now it is starting to pay off.

    Sex comes in many forms as I am finding out and it is almost a matter of wooing her all over again. It takes hugging and kissing before expecting much more back. My wife has never been one to touch me so I should not expect that to change.

    It sounds as if Hot Mamma will put up with him touching her breasts as long as he works up to it slowly. My wife allows me to do it as long as I dont spend too much time on her nipples since it irritates her. I doubt it arouses her but I dont really know. I do know that kissing and holding her close does arouse her.

    You are providing a wonderful service helping us all to communicate our needs and feelings.

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