Dear Dr. Romance:

I wanted to get someone else's take on what is going on in my marriage right now. My problem is that right now my wife and I do not have sex all that often, we average about once every month and half to two months. I have tried talking to my wife about this subject before and she said she would try and do better but there has been no change. When I have tried talking about this to her in the past I usualy get either "I'm tired" or "I am embarrassed" and she doesn't want to talk about it. Frankly my wife has never been comfortable talking about sex. But I just want to make sure I am not crazy to be so frustrated about this. Then second is what can I do to try and turn this around. I love my wife, but I want my wife to be my lover and the fact that she is not is just killing me right now. I am just so incredibly angry and frustrated right now. Any direction and advice would be a help

Dear Reader:

You and you wife are locked in a power struggle over sex, and probably other things beneath that. The angrier and more insistent you get, the more shut down she'll be. From what you wrote, I'd guess your wife has given up on communicating. Perhaps she did this long before you got together, or it could be a result of the dynamics your marriage. She might feel that she'll never satisfy you, so she gave up trying. To wake your Sleeping Beauty, you'll need to be a real prince. I don't know if this is true of you, but often a man's idea of talking about something sounds like "why don't you do it my way" to the woman -- in other words, I'm right and you're wrong. That will get you nowhere. Instead of talking at her, try listening to her. Women need to feel safe in their marriage, emotionally and physically, to want to have sex.  How to Be Happy Partners: Working it out Together has very specific steps you can do to open up the conversation.

If your wife has never been able to talk about it, there may be something traumatic in her background that is making her uncomfortable. Read my article "Guidelines for Finding and Using Therapy Wisely" and get some couples counseling. You may find the answer is pretty simple, and can be solved quickly. If your wife needs individual therapy, the counselor can recommend that.

Happy Partners

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Author's Bio: 

Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D. is a licensed psychotherapist in S. California since 1978 with over 30 years experience in counseling individuals and couples and author of 13 books in 17 languages, including It Ends With You: Grow Up and Out of Dysfunction; The Unofficial Guide to Dating Again; Money, Sex and Kids: Stop Fighting About the Three Things That Can Ruin Your Marriage, The Commuter Marriage, and her newest, Love Styles: How to Celebrate Your Differences. She writes the “Dr. Romance” blog, and the “Happiness Tips from Tina” email newsletter.