depression, feeling up tight, fear of pregnancy, stress at work, feeling
unattractive, fear of intimacy, anger towards the partner, a power
struggle with the partner, old beliefs about sex being dirty, traumatic
experiences, guilt about extramarital interests, a fear of not being able
to perform sexually or, most commonly, "feeling tired" (Knox, 1984;
Masters, Johnson & Kolodny, 1985). Several sex therapists have
described ways of solving the problem of low sex drive or "inhibited
sexual desire" (Kaplan, 1995--rather clinical and treatment oriented;
Covington, 1992; Knopf & Seiler, 1991; Williams, 1988). Here is a
summary of the suggestions.
If sex has just become boring, spice it up and make a production
out of it. Once a week go out to dinner, go dancing, go to a comedy
club, with the clearly stated intention of being seductively romantic
and then coming home with plenty of time to make love. At other
times when you are just at home, get showered and dressed in sexy
outfits before going to bed--and spend some time smooching before
intercourse. Try having sex in different places or at different times,
perhaps in the morning or right after exercising. Give each other a
bath and/or full body massages. Read together a book about sexual
techniques, then talk, as needed, about how your sexual enjoyment
can be increased. Look at each other during sex play and tell your
partner how wonderful it feels and looks as you are making love and
climaxing. Talk, talk, talk, until someone says "let's not talk so much"
and kisses you. Learn to enjoy this fantastic "gift" of life.
Obviously, some of the time, a personal-interpersonal problem will
have to be solved before the sexual juices can flow naturally. If there
is friction between two people, usually the sex drive immediately drops
but it will automatically reappear as soon as the conflicts are resolved.
Talk to each other about minor irritations as well as major problems. It
has been shown that relationship therapy can improve a couple's sex
life and sex therapy can improve their relationship. See the discussion
above for improving the marriage.
When a couple are miffed at each other, males and females often
have differing notions about how to get emotionally back together
(Bergner & Bergner, 1990). 35% of males think making love is the
best way to make up (65% of women strongly disagree). This
disagreement reflects, in part, how the sexes view intercourse. Males
see sex as a way to establish a positive love relationship, e.g. early in
a courtship the male will say, "Dont just tell me you love me, show
me by having sex!" Sex proves to him that she likes him. A female
knows sex doesn't prove he loves her, so she wants to be chosen,
valued, wooed, and loved first, usually by talking, touching, and doing
things together, before having sex which to her only confirms an
already established love. Otherwise, she may feel sexually "used"
("he's only interested in sex"). So, after being miffed, the wife may
reject her husband's sexual advances (his way of making up),
resulting in his seeing her as asexual, cold, and sexually manipulative
("you have to be nice to me first"). They are at an impasse unless they
see what is going on and both give in, namely, he should verbally and