Lately any time I bring up the topic of sex or intimacy to my wife it gets shot down on the spot. When I mentioned to her that things have never been like this before, she replied with “I guess I’ve just grown up and we have more important things to worry about than something as frivolous as sex.” You see, in the past we have had an open relationship that has included swinging and polyamory – the latter being more successful for her than it was for me. She found a boyfriend and they even shared a sexy night together while I completely struck out. I know that the person I fell in love with is still in there somewhere — the loving, kind, and sexual person she is, is definitely still there somewhere. How can I help her rediscover that side of her and bring it back out? I’m in my early 30s and she’s in her late 20s. We do have a kid, but a lot of those sexy experiences we had were post baby. She whole-heartedly refuses to listen to podcasts about sex or anything like that. Please help.
That is certainly a challenging situation. I am sorry that you are experiencing this. Sadly, I speak to folks quite often who are in sexless marriages. It breaks my heart if one of the spouses is suffering by not getting their needs met. It can be a sad state of affairs, and it is certainly part of the reason that I am polyamorous – as it can absolutely happen that libidos can be mismatched. Sometimes our sex lives will ebb and flow, and that is just part of life and love. It is more about how to get resourceful and creative about weathering those storms.
The most important thing to recognize here is: You can’t force anyone to change, you can only change yourself. You can encourage her. You can nurture her. You can attempt to positively influence her. But at the end of the day, your wife has to want to re-discover that side of herself and genuinely want to change. Trying to manipulate or control her or force her to do something that she does not want to do is not healthy behavior. I absolutely do empathize with your situation. Please know that. I just want you to be realistic about what you can change, and what you can’t.
Remember the Serenity Prayer:
Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
In terms of what you can control:
You can work on identifying your own needs, your own boundary setting (what is ok and what is not ok), and expressing your desires from a place of sharing your truth. How can you vulnerably share your feelings (without making her wrong), and also discover what her needs are? Get deeply curious about what it is like to BE her. Think of your wife as a magical unicorn who has magical stories to share with you. Does she maybe need relief, such as some time off from taking care of the kids? Is she feeling stressed out and that is sapping her libido? You can treat this as a research project to get to know your wife better. How can you support her? What helps her relax? Many things can sap someone’s libido, such as stress, sadness, grief, or overwhelm. I invite you to re-discover your wife, even making it a fun project.
You mentioned that you were in an open relationship in the past, and you have explored swinging and polyamory. Having a successful open relationship is partly about adopting an abundance mentality versus a scarcity mentality. There is more love, more connection, more ways to meet people, more intimacy that you can invite into your life, as long as you are courageous enough to have the dialogue with your wife and open up that door again! Give yourself permission to dream up how your marriage will work best for you both, meeting both of your needs. That may mean you inviting a lover into your life with your wife’s consent and full knowledge. You decide what works for you in your relationships. Get Clear. Be real with yourself about who you are. Align your thoughts and actions with your core values (or continue to stay stuck). To succeed in open relationships, I invite you to embrace integrity and honesty (or similar) as part of your value system. Commit to taking personal responsibility for your impact on others. That includes being honest with yourself, looking at the “hard” stuff) versus cheating on your spouse. Keep in mind, there is NO escaping cause-and-effect. Let’s face it: Cheating hurts! It hurts other human beings you claim to care about. It has an impact! It hurts them, and you hurt yourself too. Have the tough conversations and create a life and marriage that works for you both, where you get your needs met in an ethical manner.
Lastly, there is absolutely no shame in reaching out to a sex coach, relationship coach or therapist. There are many professionals out there who specialize in helping with low libido, especially after little tikes come on the scene. I invite you to check out my podcast episode #137 with Lacey Broussard. I hear you that your wife is not willing to listen to podcasts. But coming again from self-responsibility, you can do a bit of homework, and then present her with a resource out of love, concern, and working as a team towards your collective happiness. Is your relationship worth that extra effort? I think so…
Lacey Broussard is a certified sex coach, Tantra, and jade egg teacher, Lacey uses deep transformational tools and techniques based in modern coaching modalities, and ancient tantric wisdom and Taoist practices to help women like your wife get her desire back and have the most mind-blowing sex of her… and your life. If lack of confidence, low libido, or guilt and shame around sexuality are the cause of bedroom woes, (the hot, wild sex you never have any more, or the transition into motherhood that sucked your libido dry), you need Lacey!”
You got this! I’m rooting for you! Stay resourceful and get creative. Every day is a new day to re-create your life, and your relationships.
With love and gratitude,
* Question provided through the Shameless Sex Podcast (www.shamelesssex.com).