I love my husband, but I'm not interested in sex with him. How can I end our 3-year dry spell?

Crystal Cox/Insider; Samantha Lee/Insider
  • You need to have a hard and honest talk with your husband about what’s been going on for the past few years. But before that, you need to reflect on why you’re so disinterested in sex with him.
  • A disinterest in sex can stem from anxiety, a lack of foreplay, certain medications that mess with libido, and body image issues.
  • Once you can pinpoint why you’re not interested in sex, have a non-judgmental conversation about how you’ve both been feeling. You should offer solutions for how to move forward, and ask your husband for his suggestions too.
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My husband and I remarried each other 11 years ago. We have 40-year history together.

He treats me very well and I love him, but I really don’t want to have sex with him. I think it might be three years since we last had sex.

My husband never makes the first move, but he’ll hint to me that he wants sex.

How do I handle it? He deserves to have affection and sex.

– California

Dear California,

It’s clear that you care about your husband and want to make your relationship the best it can be.

But in order to do that, you have to stop skirting around the issue at hand and get to the heart of the matter: Why you’re disinterested in sex with your partner.

There are a bevvy of reasons someone might not crave sex, like a lack of foreplay, anxiety, trauma, medical conditions, or your sexual orientation.

The key here is figuring what your reasons are, and reflecting on them, New York City-based sex therapist Rachel Wright told me.

“The answer to that first question will help give input into how to handle it, because without knowing the ‘why,’ it’s impossible to take action,” she said.

Think about what’s changed for during the period you started to have sex less frequently, and then not at all. Did you start a new medication? Did your husband stop going down on you? Did your body image change?

No matter the reason, it’s important to remember it’s not a reflection of who you are as a person or a partner, and that there are ways to troubleshoot.

Read more:
I have the best orgasms with my vibrator, but I’m afraid I’ll become addicted. Should I be concerned?

Next, it’s time to sit down and have a conversation with your husband. It can be scary to bring up an issue you’ve swept under the rug for so long, but it’s the only way you can truly know what your husband thinks and move forward.

Acknowledge, explain, offer

Wright suggested using her AEO — acknowledge, explain, offer — framework, which can make the conversation feel less judgmental and more like a team effort.

First, acknowledge to your husband that your sex life has been non-existent for a while, saying something like, “I’ve noticed that we haven’t been sexually intimate in a very long time.”

Then, you can explain how that lack of intimacy has made you feel. This is where your self-reflection about why you’ve been disinterested comes into play.

For example, if you haven’t wanted sex because it hasn’t been pleasurable for you in a long time, you could say, “The lack of sex makes me feel frustrated because I want to give you the love and affection you deserve. At the same time, I can’t get in the mood because I have trouble experiencing pleasure when we have sex together.”

Last, offer a potential solution to the problem, and ask your husband to explain his experience and suggest solutions. If a lack of pleasure is your gripe, you could suggest using a vibrator when you have sex together, or tell your husband you need more clitoral stimulation in the form of oral sex.

Remember there’s no right answer here, just a fix that works for both of you. Keep leading with love, as you have, and I know you’ll get there.

As Insider’s resident sex and relationships reporter,

Julia Naftulin

is here to answer all of your questions about dating, love, and doing it — no question is too weird or taboo. Julia regularly consults a panel of health experts including relationship therapists, gynecologists, and urologists to get science-backed answers to your burning questions, with a personal twist.

Have a question?

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. All questions will be published anonymously.

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