Relationships

Who Initiates Sex in Your Relationship?

Who Initiates Sex in Your Relationship?

On this cloudy Thursday, let’s have some girl talk…

Alex and I have been married for almost seven years (our anniversary is next week). Like most couples in long-term relationships, there have been times when we’ve had frequent sex, and times when it has been more about newborns and 30 Rock reruns.

The other day, I was talking to a friend who was going through a dry spell with her husband and wanted to make a move. “We’ve fallen out of the ritual,” she told me. “Should I buy some lingerie? I feel like an awkward teenager.”

It made me think about my own marriage. Alex usually initiates. Even when we’re in more of a drought, he always somehow manages to leave the door open. He’ll flirt in a chill way. In a long-term relationship, I guess it’s more of a numbers game? You’ll make hundreds of moves, and sometimes your partner will take you up on it, sometimes not, and that’s all good. (And vice versa.) When you look at it that way, it doesn’t feel like a big deal if one of you isn’t in the mood.

At home that night, I told Alex I was impressed by his doggedness when it came to making out. “It’s like checking pay phones for change,” he said. “Eventually you’re going to find a quarter.”

What about you? Who initiates sex in your relationship? I’m curious to hear…

P.S. Scheduling sex, and did you have sex on your wedding night?

(Photo of Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin.)

  1. Sammy says...

    We have been married 19 years, together 24, we have an 8 year old. We have sex every couple of weeks. Throughout our marriage we’ve had dry spells through work, new born, tiredness, depression, but have worked through them.
    We plan nights away from home a few times a year, and when we can, nights in when our son is away having a sleepover. These are sex marathons! We try something different, buy a new toy, try out a new lube.
    Recently I’ve started a tumblr account and enjoy posting and finding pictures or gifs of things I’d like to try, I send him an email with a link… We sext too! This is an awesome way to communicate my needs.
    I do wonder if my sex drive is higher, so we are about to start an “experiment” based on the 40 beads concept I read about, I’m going to give him some beads, and every time he wants sex, he leaves a bead in a pot for me to find. We’re hoping the anticipation and certainty mixes things up a bit! Then, after his beads run out, or the agreed time limit expires, we swap & I get control!

  2. Sandra says...

    Wow, I haven’t even made it through all of the comments but this post is so interesting. We’re in our 40s and married almost 10 years (together almost 13). Even though DH pursued me and was aggressive (in a good way) early in our dating life, he was never a huge initiator sexually. At first being the aggressor was a new role for me and felt fun (he never says no, and he is enthusiastic once I initiate and things are still good all these years later when it does happen), but I miss the feeling of being desired/pursued by someone first. For those who mentioned infertility/miscarriage, that really did affect my feeling about sex. My DS was my 7th pregnancy (all of the others were miscarriages and 1 ectopic), and when so much of your sex life becomes about sadness/planning/stress it really is hard to recover. And now that we have our wonderful son, at the end of the day I just can’t deal with anyone else wanting something from me. I think we are also stuck in the whole intimacy requires closeness and passion requires distance thing–DH works from home and I stay at home with DS and pick up occasional freelance gigs. So it is a lot of togetherness. We joked that we’d have all of these hot nooners once DS was in pre-K, but not so much. I recently got “Mating in Captivity,” but haven’t started really reading it yet. It is supposed to help with passion in long-term relationships, from what I’ve heard.

  3. Vivian says...

    Have you heard about Amazon’s new pilot, I Love Dick? It’s directed by the director of Transparent and is an adaptation of the book by the same name and follows a married couple’s transition from NYC to Marfa, TX. As it is only a pilot, I can’t vouch for where the show will go were it to get picked up, but as I watched the premier episode I couldn’t help but think back to this post and the comments. There’s a frustration between the couple and one scene in particular where they confront their dry spell awareness that felt so real and much like this post! I’m known to spoil shows/episodes for people so I’ll leave it there, and just say that it’s worth watching.

    That aside, the show itself is beautiful. I spent a few days in Marfa a few years back while roadtripping through Texas and feel that they capture it’s beauty so well!

  4. My husband is beyond respectful when it comes to sex. I am usually the one who initiates it. I suffer from a vaginal disorder that makes sex extremely painful (I know! It’s the worst! I’ve even had surgery!) so I 99% of the time I initiate it because he hates hurting me. He knows having sex will hurt me and will only do it if I outright tell him I want to and that I don’t care that it hurts, what I want most is to be intimate with him. Before my vaginal disorder presented itself id say we equally initiated it.

  5. Sam says...

    My husband and I have a pretty great sex life (which I’ve come to appreciate much more after speaking with many girlfriends). We have sex anout 3 times a week if you count the number of times as “sex that leads to orgasm”- but we also are super playful and touch each other in a sexual way multiple times a day. Sometimes it’s a kiss, sometimes it’s a grab of the butt, and other times it’s us naked in the bathroom getting ready for work in the morning, starting to fool around (like the beginnings of oral sex) – but just a minute or two. Then we’ll stop and joke about “finishing later that night” once our son (who is 1) is in bed. Many times we do, but sometimes we don’t. In talking with friends it seems that so many people don’t have physical intimacy more often because they view sex as a big ordeal- I think our playful approach to it keeps things light. I also think this can help “schedule” sex for later in the day- those early morning bathroom encounters get us primed and thinking about sex throughout the day. Then we are more likely to send each other sweet messages, or a sexy pic, etc throughout the day! We say ” can’t wait for our date night later!” – and if we’ve had a bad day, we leave it at the door and wait to talk about it till after sex! It’s also amazing how much sweeter you are to each other when your primed for sex all day- you pour each other a glass of wine, offer to help clean up, take the baby etc because you want to keep each other in the mood!

    • Charlotte says...

      This really reminds me of what Dan Savage said in the Longest Shortest Time podcast (which I found as a recommendation on cup of Jo!). Basically he asserted that male gay couples use a wider menu of “sex” because penetrative sex is kind of a bigger deal so it’s common to opt for something else and that is also defined as sex. I found this a really helpful thought in trying to reinvigorate my sexual side post kids.

    • Sam says...

      Charlotte- I heard that too! So true, and a great way to frame thoughts about what constitutes sex

  6. Chris says...

    We both initiate. Difference is…I rarely say no when he initiates, but often times he’s “not in the mood” when I do.

    Been married over 10 years. We’re both in our 30’s. No kids (by choice).

    Dry spells have been increasing slowly and steadily over the years. Sex happens 1-2 times a month now. Because we’re both still in love and attracted to each other, I chalk this up to 2 things (aside from being tired):
    #1. Seeing and being around each other so much for so long. We’ve spent 4 maybe 5? (non-consecutive) nights apart in a decade of marriage. One of us needs to go some place for awhile!
    #2. Us not having kids. He’s mentioned to me that – whilst having sex – the thought of “getting me pregnant” turns him on even more. That thought does the complete opposite for me.

  7. Becky says...

    I don’t understand the comments about people having a dry spell who are still having sex 1-2 times per week. Sex has always been an issue for us. I didn’t date before I found my husband and I was always way more physical than he was. We went to counseling before marriage on the issue and chalked it up to communication differences and things got better for awhile. Now the tides have turned after 5 years of marriage. I’m breastfeeding our 12 month old and have no libido whatsoever. My husband is incredibly patient and willing to initiate periodically, but I’m beginning to feel like I’ve said no to the invite one too many times. Not sure how much longer the invites will come. I want to try harder during our son’s naps or after he’s gone to bed, but those few hours are the only time I get for myself anymore. I’m really struggling to find a balance for myself as a wife and mother.

    • Becky says...

      I just mean that 1-2 times per week has been us during our “hot and heavy” times. To each her own, as my grandmother would say. :)

    • Jill says...

      I totally feel you with the breastfeeding/no libido thing. I had two close together and have basically had no libido for 3-4 yrs! Needless to say, my husband is a very patient man :)
      I also understand feeling torn between wife and mother roles. My daughter is still nursing at 16 months and, though she and I could go longer, I think the happiness of my WHOLE family would improve after weaning ;)
      Some ideas you may or may not find helpful: romance novels! You’ll have to filter out the trashy ones, but it’s absolutely kick-started my sex-drive. It seems a little strange, but my husband approves of the effect :)
      Also, don’t start until after weaning, but my naturopath has recommended maca as a supplement to increase libido. Your hormones will naturally change at that time too, so I’m sure it will improve anyway.

    • tiff says...

      It’s difficult, eh? I feel like a rockstar mom, but a barely-there wife. We try to have date nights, but wind up cancelling because we are just too tired. Breastfeeding was a libido destroyer for me as well. I thought it would pick up again after stopping 8 months ago, but it has not changed much. We have talked about this candidly and we’ve discovered that i feel a bit traumatized by pregnancy and childbirth and that might have something to do with it. In the meantime, something that has worked for us is just lying in bed naked with some books and mags, no phones allowed, and just reading and talking for a few hours. The main point: no pressure. Sometimes things turn to more than just reading, but more often we just have great conversations, which makes us both feel more connected. I’m hoping that this will lead to greater ease with being intimate again.
      At the same time, i do think moms need time to themselves. Balance seems to be the everlasting struggle, but you’re definitely not alone in your struggles and concerns. I’m in that boat as well.

  8. Samantha says...

    Great comments! My husband and I have been married for 7 years, together for 13. We have an almost 3 year old and an 8 month old. My husband is very sexual and a bit kinkier than I am. He would easily have sex daily, but seems okay with our normal 2ish times a week. My libido completely tanked with my pregnancies but is better afte the babies were born. I am still nursing my second and it just takes time for me to get into it. At this point in our lives we have set aside Sunday evenings for fun sex.My husband started this little tradition 2 months ago by running me a bath and pouring me some wine while I put the kids to bed, sometimes he even lays out lingerie for me to wear, puts on sexy music….It totally gets me in the mood because I can relax and unwind for a while and then when Im ready we get busy. These nights have been so wonderful because really take the time to have fun and be adventurous! We don’t watch TV those nights and we end up chatting in bed for hours. This has led to more spontaneous sex as well other days, but those usually are quicker encounters, but still fun. I know some people don’t like the idea of planning sex, but with 2 little kids, a dog, a house, our jobs, family….it just wasnt happening enough for us. My husband really needs sex on a regular basis to feel connected, and I also really love the intimacy it provides. Hopefully as the kids get older we can be a bit more spontaneous again and it won’t take me so long to get realy into it, but for now this has really helped. This along with regular date nights! We are lucky to live near lots of family that watch the kids for us frequently. We have always been great at other little intimate features (cuddling, kissing, hand holding…Etc.)
    Another thing…as a mom of young kids it is easy to forget yourself, and when I take time to take care of myself I am way more into sex. Easier said than done I know!

  9. Giulia says...

    Joanna, and everybody else, what a fantastic, loving, caring and non-judgemental community we have here. Thank you, it is possibly one of the few actually warm fuzzy feelings the web can ever give!

    From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

    • Gloria says...

      Exactly!

  10. Nik says...

    Great post! We’ve been together for 11 years, married for 3, and both in our early 30s. We’ve gone through quite a few dryspells in the past 2 years (2-3 months). No babies, but my husband is a freelancer and has had a difficult time finding consistent work. And he gets very depressed when he hasn’t worked in a while (high anxiety kicks in and self worth depletes). I want to give him his space and be supportive as possible without overdoing it. I think he is an incredible person, and I wish he would see that in himself. But sometimes the sadness/ anxiety will rub off on me too as much as I resist it. When I notice this happen I try to pull myself out of it and stay up beat. if I see a glimmer of hope when he’s got some confidence back, I’ll take advantage and initiate. I think he appreciates being desired. Relationships can be tricky and messy sometimes- but you gotta stick with it and work it out.

    • Rebecca says...

      My boyfriend is very similar to your husband. Also creative and he’s been job hunting for almost a year now and has odd gigs here and there. When he’s at his low, it can get frustrating and strains our relationship. Recently I did some thinking and come to separate my boyfriend’s career and who he is as a person. I am in love with who he is as a human – kind, loving, honoring and patient. This is the core and why I love him. His job/career is secondary. That has really helped us especially in how I can support him now, whether in words of encouragement, listening ear etc.

      I’m going off topic – but just want to say yes, I totally agree – stick with it and trust in your own judgement that you picked a wonderful man!

  11. Pati says...

    I have been married for 11 y together for 21;) after facing secondary infertility with 4yrsof treatment (no 2nd child, two loses) I have confused relationship with sex;) Sometimes I feel it is A Meeting, A Gift of two people for each other, moment of connecting with whole world -then I feel the energy we create. But sometimes I feel it is lacking of sense – when you know you are not able to take this spark and create life -it is more like exercising. So after this struggle I am sensitive in this area. I am trying to see and value the creative part of my life but it has left a scar in me. Maybe after menopauzę sex will be just sex:)))

  12. Dawn says...

    I love all of these comments. It’s so refreshing to talk openly about sex with other women. My husband and I are 26 and have been together for 8 years. We’ve always had a great sex life until the past 2 years or so. He recently told me that he isn’t attracted to me anymore because I’ve gained some weight. This completely crushed me because he’s also gained weight and it doesn’t stop me from wanting to have sex with him. I’m actively trying to get back in shape but walking around everyday knowing that my partner isn’t attracted to me is devastating for my confidence. Now when he really needs sex and initiates, I’m not a good partner because I have his voice in my head saying that I’m undesirable. All I’m thinking about is how he must be comparing my body to a porn star’s. Sigh. It’s a vicious cycle because when I do feel desired by him I am confident as hell and am motivated to hit the gym and to doll up for him. I appreciate his honesty about why our sex life was in a rut but it’s devastating nonetheless. Has anyone else been through this?

    • Emma says...

      I’m sorry you’re going through this. That sounds really rough.

    • Kate says...

      You poor thing! If my math is right, you and your husband met when you were 16 – I don’t know anyone who can compete with their 16-year-old bodies!

      While my husband has never openly mentioned that an extra few pounds bothers him (good thing, because I’m currently 8 months pregnant and the size of a bus), I have two brothers and they have both made comments to me whenever their girlfriends put on weight. Their girlfriends are both stunning, very slim women even with a few extra pounds, so I’ve always chastised my brothers for being ridiculous when they mention it. My conclusion is that even the kindest of men can be ruthless and unrealistic when it comes to women’s bodies.

      It sounds like you are doing the right thing – taking care of yourself physically and trying to stay positive emotionally. Although it’s hard, try to maintain confidence! Beyond that, just try to keep in mind that ultimately it’s your husband’s mentality that needs an adjustment, not your body.

    • Sarah says...

      I had to reply to this despite generally being a comment lurker. I have been in this exact situation and know how devastating it can be. I also know that sometimes what we say to a partner is actually what we are thinking about ourself. Perhaps your partner is feeling self conscious about his own weight gain and that is impacting more on him than he would like to admit. Clearly this could have been handled better by your partner but I think you really need to tell him how it’s made you feel. And please – exercise because it makes YOU feel good not because you want to be sexually attractive. You can’t control how someone else sees you, but you can change how you’re feeling and hopefully that confidence will shine through and impact positively on your relationship.

    • Kate says...

      I haven’t been through this but reading your post, I felt compelled to comment and say – it doesn’t matter what he thinks so much, as long as you feel attractive in yourself! Sending a hug x

    • allison says...

      Hi Dawn- I’ve been in this exactly situation too and know how hard it is. It was heartbreaking to hear my husband say this to me, mostly because I had been self conscious about my extra pounds but hadn’t spoke up about it. Once he brought it up (and I cried), it made it better in a way- I felt more comfortable talking about my struggle and frustrations with my weight and was able to admit that I too had noticed it on myself. Once I was able to admit that and was spurred back into being more aware of my diet and exercise, it resolved some of the resentment that he was feeling towards me. He thought I was totally unaware of my weight gain, and just “letting myself go,” which was far from the truth; I just hadn’t talked about it. Since then, I haven’t lost much weight but I’m working hard it at, and somehow now that my husband sees me being more aware and taking steps to become healthier, that has satisfied him and he’s back to his old self. It’s almost more that he needs me to make an effort and subconsciously reassure him that I haven’t given up on myself rather than actually be thinner than I am now. Working out and eating healthy makes ME feel better too, which then leads to more confidence in and out of the bedroom. Anyway… so keep working at it, making changes that feel good for YOU above all. xoox

    • Dawn says...

      Crying due to these kind responses. Hugs x1000000.

  13. Judy says...

    Joanna:

    This post is such a gift to so many women! Thank you for your transparency! Maybe put some of the most common thoughts into a Q and A with a specialist? THANK YOU!

    • Joanna says...

      I thought the same thing. This lady: http://www.drcelesteholbrook.com/

      She would be amazing. I am loving this conversation so much. Absolutely a breath of fresh air in an area that lacks light and air so often. Thank you, Jo!

  14. Amy says...

    Omg, I’ve been traveling this week and haven’t been able to check out the blog. Now I’m catching up and look what I’ve missed! I am in a relationship for five years (no kids) and sex has always been a problem for me. I want it waaaaaay more than him. It really bothers me and we talk about it sometimes. I honestly just think he’s wired differently then me in this area. To him, intimacy is watching movies together late at night with the lights off. For me, it’s trying new things in bed, exploring each other’s bodies and, well, having sex!

    • WOW first comment I read and what a relief another couple is like us! I know there must be…but I don’t have a lot of girlfriends and the ones I have don’t really talk about this stuff AND the one who DOES…she and her husband do it like rabbits so I feel even worse!!! Anyway all that said, I’m so glad you commented and that I saw in writing, someone else with my same problem/issue/situation/thing.

    • Samantha says...

      I also feel the same way you do! I have always initiated and want it way more than he does and this has led to a lot of heart to heart conversations about our sexual desires and needs. My partner simply prefers watching movies or sharing ideas over the course of a day over sex and sometimes it drives me crazy because I feel I need to be sexually connected to my partner. It does make me seem like the crazy one in the relationship!

    • Jess says...

      I smiled when I read your post because I absolutely feel you on this. I’ve been with my boyfriend, now fiance, for almost 4 years and I definitely wish we could have more sex. Every time we do it, we say “this has to happen more often” but it ends up happening 1-2 a month. Sometimes it feels like it only happens because we have to or else it will be a bigger issue.
      I do find that when we have a romantic evening, like cooking together, taking a bath together, or just lie in bed together WITHOUT turning on the TV, it happens more often.
      Then again, I would rather have a partner that initiates the same amount as me rather than someone who wants to do it all day everyday. That would seem like alot of pressure.

    • Claudia says...

      It’s so curious to read about this, because unfortunately my similar story didn’t end well. 3 years ago I ended a relationship that lasted almost 5 years, living together for 4,5y and because I stopped loving/desiring him… and much was due to the lack of a satisfying sexual life. I really need that connection and I spoke with him about it and he did nothing to change, always justifying that he had serious issues with sleeping well through the night and he would rather go to sleep and try to have a decent night of sleep, than having sex with me. In the end I would just work late in the evening, going to bed at 3 or 4am and he would go to bed much much sooner. Eventually the connection got lost, because we were not intimate in any way. I started to feel so anxious and with a weight on my chest. As soon as I told him that we needed to do something about our relationship, because if we didn’t we would end up like friends living together, I knew it was actually already over for me.

  15. Rebecca says...

    I have just read a fantastic book on sex / psychology called “Come as your are”. It talked a lot about how we are all different and everyone (men & women) have different triggers and reactions to sex (what turns you on & off -a fascinating subject she calls brakes vs accelorators). It was a great read after 10 years of marriage where I can see & understand better our sex relationship.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      that sounds great, rebecca. going to check it out!

    • Michelle says...

      I read that, too! It was so fascinating.

  16. Emily says...

    Married for 4 years, Currently still breastfeeding our 11 mo daughter and have an almost 3 year old. We are house sitting for two weeks and have been on a definite dry spell usually only doing it 1x/week but I decided we should just have sex every day for the two weeks. It has been really amazing! It also coincided with me not watching or reading any media for a week, so evenings after the kids went to bed, we were playing board games, or just chatting with a glass of wine, and there was plenty of time for sex since we weren’t watching an automatic episode of something. I haven’t always been in the mood, but luckily my husband doesn’t mind pushing through that barrier ;) He couldn’t believe his ears when I suggested it, I think he wanted it in writing! I can see the benefit it has had for us after just two weeks, so I would totally recommend it!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      that’s awesome!!

  17. Bella says...

    So many great comments! I read almost all and related to many. I’m in my late 30’s (wow, that’s depressing) and have been married for 11 years, together for 13. We have 2 children (6 and 2). We have been having a very long dry spell of just under 2 YEARS. It’s a HUGE issue in our relationship. Part of me thinks it could be because I’ve been breastfeeding for a solid SIX years (!!!) and a generally exhausted SAHM, but another part of me knows it is because of a lot of other reasons as well. Our marriage had its fair share of trouble even before any dry spell. My husband gained a ton of weight and because of that AND because of because of a lot of day-to-day disagreements and bickering, I am no longer attracted to him. I don’t even like him a lot of the time. He blames all of the strain in our relationship completely on sex. I say that I can’t even think of sex when I’m pissed at him for what he has (or has not) done during the day. Things are also hard because my husband works 12-hour night shifts a week and I do about 95% of the parenting, including dealing with children who almost always wake up a few times every night ?…It has been a lot worse between us since I got pregnant with our 2nd and didn’t ever initiate sex and turned him down a few times…because I had bad morning sickness for about 5 months. He took it personally (he’s a SUPER sensitive Pisces who has always been obsessed with sex, never satisfied even when we would have sex multiple times a day, several times a week when we were first together! Even when I had recurrent, chronic UTI’s for FIVE years! How’s that for selfishness for you, eh??) and was positive we only had sex more before that so I could get pregnant and then once I got pregnant, I didn’t want/need him anymore. I tried telling him it was because I felt awful, but he didn’t care. Our relationship worsened as the pregnancy progressed. The birth was traumatic and my body has never felt the same since-it’s been totally different than with our first child. We had sex a few months after our 2nd was born and it was too painful for us to keep going. After that it was about a year. We had sex for the 2nd time post-baby a couple of months ago and it was still very painful…and I hated it the entire time. AND I got my first UTI in years right after. And then my husband pouted after hearing that. Ugh. I KNOW our relationship would improve if we had more sex-or wait, I should say that I know my husband’s moods and general attitudes would improve if we had more/regular sex, but honestly, I have no interest. I could chalk it up to breastfeeding hormones, but there was a period when our firstborn was younger (and I was nursing about as much as I am now) that I had a much higher libido. So…i don’t think it’s that. We’ve seen a therapist on and off for the last 7 years or so, and we didn’t bring it up for a very long time…and once we did, the therapist responded like the therapist in another reader’s comment, by saying “maybe sex just isn’t going to happen at this phase in your marriage…and that is ok,” and after that session, my husband decided he didn’t want to go to counseling anymore…or at least didn’t want to go to THAT counselor anymore. ?? I think because of this issue…and because the therapist seemed to “side” with me most of the time. It’s very frustrating. The whole situation is very frustrating. Neither one of us wants to get divorced, but mostly because of the kids. It makes me sad. I have kept myself looking physically good-pretty much the same as I did pre-children-and feel like I’m the same personality as I was when we first got together…while i feel my husband has changed dramatically. Sorry to go on and on…I guess my issue is more than just a sexual one. Ahhh, life.

    • Judy says...

      Hang in there, Bella! You’re not alone. Counseling is always a good investment, IMHO. There’s hope! Couples make it through the tough times everyday, and can come out stronger on the other side. I’m praying for you right now (while I sit in Starbucks!).

    • Catherine says...

      Oh man, I’m so sorry you and your husband are going through this. Counseling is super helpful if you find the right therapist. Maybe search for someone in your area who is trained in Gottman therapy. And even better is if they also list EFT (emotion-focused therapy) as a type of therapy they practice. Combined, these therapies can do wonders in terms of bringing partners together who are feeling really distant and hurt. Best of luck to you!!

    • Jane says...

      Bella, this is such an intimate issue and difficult to comment on, but from my own experience with painful intercourse, I really recommend that you see a physical therapist who specializes in pelvic pain. It has done wonders for me postpartum – and for our sex life. I wish you and your husband the best of luck. These years are TOUGH.

  18. KylieO says...

    My husband and I have been married for almost 10 years, together for 13, and have three kids. For most of our relationship, my libido has been higher than his (he tends to let stress take over, and has a stressful job!). I used to spend so much time worrying we weren’t doing it enough (it can vary from twice a week, to twice a month!) until I realised that every time we did do it, it was really, really great. So what I’ve come to accept is that for us, it’s quality over quantity, and I’m ok with that. Although I wouldn’t mind if he initiated it more often ?

    • Sara says...

      I have also come around to the “quality not quantity” realization/acceptance! Our frequency is so so varied, and we’ve gone through some dry spells that have lasted a few months at a time due to assorted health issues for both of us. Finally realizing that when we do have sex it is usually really wonderful has helped take away some of the anxiety and stress of “are we doing it enough?” Nice to hear someone else have the same issues/thoughts! I also wish my husband initiated more frequently but I think he got scared off after I had to turn him down a few times when I was going through a period of chronic yeast infections (ugh!!!). He almost entirely stopped initiating for about a year after that but he’s recently started taking the initiative again more frequently and I make sure to let him know how hot I think it is when he makes the first move!

  19. Amy says...

    This is funny timing. My husband and I are in pretty good shape in this department, but he would like to have sex slightly more often than me, and would love it if I initiated more frequently. Our kids are just old enough to want me around, but not to be WITH me all the time, and I was just thinking that I needed a hobby, something I could do around the house, like quilting or gardening. Last night I thought: hey! maybe my hobby could be thinking about and planning for awesome sex. The thought made me laugh, and then it made me nervous — and now I want to see if I can deliver the goods.

    • Emma says...

      I love this!

    • Elizabeth N. says...

      I’ve been thinking I need to find a hobby but didn’t know where to start…you may have just presented me with a solution.

  20. Anne says...

    I love this topic because it’s been something I have struggled with in my marriage. My husband and I have been together ten year, married for 8. We have a 4 year old daughter and a 2 year old son. I’m a surgical nurse and he is an engineer. We work long hours and have no family nearby. It’s all us to make things work for the kids. When we met, we lived in California and everything was red wine, weed, and relaxing. Now we live in Texas-it’s hot as hell and we have so many responsibilities. I love him. He’s a good husband and a great dad. He’s very handsome and funny and smart. He initiates sex 100% of the time. He doesn’t understand the concept of foreplay and I’ve actually bought books about cunnilingus for him to read. I really resent him for constantly barraging me about sex, likening it to me being his little goat that he harrases. Now when he wants sex, he sends me a goat emoji. Our average is 2-3 times per week and we have only had dry spells when I’ve been recovering from my c-sections. I feel like he puts no real effort into it. It’s just somethings that he expects and I often feel like he is just taking from me as the kids do. After reading some of the comments, I feel like I should be happy he wants me so much. He is really obsessed with me and I guess I would rather have it that way than the other. But honestly, most of the times I wish he would just watch a movie with me and chill. I dated an older man for three years before I met with my husband. He really did everything for me sexually. It’s hard not to compare especially when my husband seems so selfish sexually. I think my libido has really depleted over the years. My college friend was so surprised by this-I use to love having sex but now it’s another chore for me. Another person dipping into my energy bank. I’m thankful to hear it isn’t just me ?

    • Faye says...

      I can relate to this on all levels. Wow. Sending a hug and that I get it!

    • Layne says...

      I relate as well! It’s so hard when you’re depleted of energy and all you want is to crawl into bed peacefully.

  21. Eleanor says...

    Married 9 years, together 15, we’re both 32/33. We have a 3 year old and are battling secondary infertility, trying well over a year, so it’s a strange drought. We do it often during the “window”- but not too often (nothing like analyzing the window and sex when you’re on fertility meds), so “off window” times are few and far between. Kind of shitty. When we weren’t in this rut, 1x a week was normal, usually my husband initiated but if he cleans or takes the daughter so I can get “me” time (work at home mom) I’m all over him later :)

    • Eleanor says...

      And before trying for baby 2, we were so exhausted from kid 1. Before kids? I can’t remember, ha! 2x a week-??

  22. Luz says...

    It helps me when my husband or I initiate in advance. One of us might say, “What are you doing later tonight? ?” That gives me time to warm up to the idea. If I feel like I am on the spot when I am already exhausted, my instinct is to reject him, which I don’t want to do to him. But if I can plan a few minutes or few hours in advance, it feels more romantic, like we are genuinely desiring each other. My husband ideally would have sex twice per week, I would guess, where I would once every two weeks. So instead we meet in the middle and generally have sex once per week, usually on Saturday, since we aren’t so exhausted after work. Also – and I feel weird about this, and I don’t know if I have ever told him this – I use a vibrator probably once per week when he is not around; he know I have the vibrator, but I don’t know if he thinks I use it… I don’t feel like I have to tell him, though. The vibrator has such a different feeling than sex with him that I don’t think they feel comparable.
    I think that our relationship as a whole is better when we have sex more often – twice per week, which is his preference. I sometimes make an effort for that and then lapse.
    Bizarrely, the time that I was the most sexual – initiating with him every single night – was when I binge-watched Downton Abbey! I never watch TV, so maybe other shows would do this, too, for others? I think that the drama and the heightened emotions really revved up my hormones. Maybe why people watch porn together? Anyway, at least I know that, if I ever need to feel sexy again, Downton Abbey!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      i felt the same way when i watched grey’s anatomy in my twenties. i was so revved up!

  23. allison says...

    Wow, great comments on here! Chiming in from a 32 year old, married for 3 years (together 10), no kids, one puppy. We usually have sex 2-3 times a week. The topic of “wanting to have more sex” comes up a few time a year for us, and both of us agree that we “want to have more” but then we spend a few weeks/months being better about both initiating, and then it fizzles off again, only to have the topic surface again. How to break that rhythm? I don’t know. We’ve talked about sex counseling but haven’t taken that step yet. I’m bad at talking about what I want with my partner and have a hard time imagining talking to a stranger about it! And in a way it feels like our problem isn’t “bad enough” to seek counseling. But I do recognize something has to change if we want to continue to be fulfilled in our relationship. In the meantime, I try to stay fit both physically and emotionally, keep the house clean, engage with friends and continue to offer a great version of myself to my partner.

    The one other tip I have is smoking weed. It’s legal where I live, and I find it always helps me relax and put me in the mood! :)

    • You could try reading books about sex and relationships if you don’t want to go to counseling, like a more mellow/privet version of counseling? :)

  24. i always love these comments!

  25. I left my marriage of ten years (in our mid-40’s) because my husband NEVER wanted sex. After a TWO YEAR dry spell and with me telling him a lack of any intimacy (emotional as well) was a deal breaker, along with a year of counseling, I told him I was done. It’s such an important part of any marriage/relationship. I felt rejected and devalued. I hadn’t gained weight or any of the other reason men list as turn offs. We had adopted a child, and frankly, while he is a good Dad, he can also be selfish.
    I’m not dating anyone now, but I’m really looking forward to having an intimate relationship again. I just wish I would have listened to my intuition when we were dating early on and he didn’t want sex as much as most new relationships have, and resented my asking for it. If you aren’t compatible it can make for one partner always feeling rejected.

    • Alexandra says...

      Yes to all of this. Same situation and after 7 years I just couldn’t do it anymore. I tried everything to get him interested–lost weight, got fit, went blonde, suggested an open marriage (which in honesty, I didn’t want at all). After so much rejection, my self esteem was shot. I left to save myself. I shocked everyone when I did because from the outside we had the “perfect” marriage. Two years later and I’m with a man who makes the sweetest “mmm” noises when I pull him closer at night. Never looked back since.

    • Suzieq says...

      I was in a similar situation with my ex husband. An insightful therapist suggested he probably had high-functioning autism, which I never suspected, but explained he lack of physical and emotional intimacy. It was incredibly eye-opening to learn how these relationships play out sexually, and helped me feel far less personally rejected. Perhaps research and see if it might shed light on your situation – I had no idea of the source of rejection for nine painful years!

    • Penelope says...

      First, thank you for opening this topic and for everyone being open and kind. This has been an ongoing issue for me as well, and it’s comforting to read I’m not the only one. I’ve always been more interested in sex than he is. I’m amazed at the people who say a dry spell is a couple of times a week. I would be thrilled with that. But we can go weeks and months. We’ve talked about it to exhaustion, and that only seems to create pressure on him and make it worse. So, I’m trying to just not worry about it so much. That has resulted in even longer dry spells. At first it was really hard on my self esteem and I used to spend a lot of energy trying to improve the situation, but nothing I do makes much difference. He says he’s just not interested in sex very often. He travels for work, so he’s gone a lot. When he’s home, he’s tired or would rather watch TV. He is a great partner otherwise, so I’ve just basically resigned myself to having sex with my vibrator when he is out of town. I’m old enough and was single for long enough to know the good guys are hard to find, and you can’t be compatible in every way. I do wonder sometimes though, if it’s worth it.

  26. Petunia says...

    My husband and I have been together for 10 years now. We have an amazing relationship, make each other laugh, are great friends, really “get” each other. He is SO sweet, sensitive and makes me feel very loved. Since the beginning, we have sex once a month. He seems to want it only slightly more than I do, and when I do say yes it’s usually because I feel like I “should.” Longer than a month, and our relationship starts to feel a bit off. It has always been a source of stress for me because I feel like we should be having sex more, wonder why we don’t have sex as much as other people, etc.

  27. txilibrin says...

    I love all the comments. Lately, I initiate sex. And I love that we kind of switch roles. So for two weeks it might be him, and for another two it might be me. Not planned at all but awesome all the same.
    I’m a real sexual person, and whenever I start a relationship I am all about sex, so much funnnnnnnnnnnnn, every person is different, so it is like starting again from scratch. But what worries me sometimes is that after being a while in a relationship I’m not that into sex. People say it is normal, that it shouldn’t be a problem, but I want to still practice moooooooooore sex!!! Any clues??? :)

  28. Charlotte says...

    What an awesome thread! Very topical for me as I am (I guess) typical of the readership: married for 7 years but together for 15, 2 small kids, two jobs etc etc. We have had epic dry spells especially after no2 when I had a birth injury that healed poorly and in the end had to be corrected (plus a course of physiotherapy to help address pelvic tension issues arising from sex always hurting). My husband nearly always initiates because, like the comment below, the last thing I need when I finally get to bed is someone else making demands of me and my personal space. I really enjoyed the sex series on the podcast The Longest Shortest Time giving me ideas about how to address the dry spells. I recently decided to choose a night once a week where I gee myself up a little reading some Anaïs Nin and remembering how awesome it is my husband still desires me ans how desirable I am, and I initiate. I like that it takes away the feeling of obligation because I decide tonight’s the night, and I think he has been pleasantly surprised. After all, he must also think to himself how awesome that I am still into him.

  29. Sonja says...

    I. Love. This. Blog. I’ve never been much for community via social media; it always felt very forced and awkward for me. I feel totally differently about this space. I had a great dinner with a girlfriend the other night and these posts and comments make me feel the same glowy support that sparkling rose paired with honest conversation with fellow new mom buddy did. Cheers to you all!

    • KATHLEEN says...

      you hit the nail on the head!! yesssss!

  30. Lucy says...

    Love this discussion! My husband and I started fertility treatments for our second baby last summer. All the hormones, plus the schedule of the inseminations, made me not excited about having sex. Then, I did get pregnant (yay!), but had terrible morning sickness for the first 3 to 4 months. We were both really looking forward to that period in the second trimester when you want to have sex ALL THE TIME. But, I was put on pelvic rest at 20 weeks for the remainder of my pregnancy (almost 5 months people!), so even though I wanted to, no sex. I am now a few weeks postpartum, and we have just a few weeks to go until we get the all clear. My poor husband. It has been a pretty dry year for him. He is always so sweet though. Sometimes he would just say, “I’m really looking forward to buttering your muffins sometime in the future.” That means a lot when you are 9 months pregnant and gigantic.

    • E says...

      Um, I’m in second trimester and have not hit that mark – please explain!!! I’m 16 weeks.

    • Lynn says...

      Buttering your muffins! Ha! That just made me laugh so hard!

    • Jennifer says...

      E, generally the second trimester is when You start to feel better (if you’ve had morning sickness, etc.) and, more importantly – and I distinctly temember my OB telling me this and being amazed – your body has literally *double* the amount of blood flow…everywhere…if you know what I mean! So that can enhance the general feeling and action happening down there. Just keep that in mind! ??

  31. Taylor says...

    This is such a great topic. Love reading all the similarities and differences in other’s sex lives, it’s such a taboo to talk about sometimes so this is so freeing.

    My husband and I have been married for 6 years and sex has always been an issue. I was in a relationship before I was married and it was all about sex as leverage for emotional intimacy (on his part) so when I ended up marrying a great man I didn’t want it to be all about sex. I got into a mindset of not letting our intimacy focus around sex but that has caused me to keep him at arms length. He always initiates and it kills me a little. I want to be open and get into and make him feel loved but for some reason I always hold back. Sometimes I worry that if I let go during sex he will expect that every time or hold that over me as “remember that one time you did this, why can’t you do that again?”
    But I’m probably just a basket case and worrying for nothing.

    • Molly Sarah says...

      Not that you are asking so feel free to completely ignore this, but if you trust your husband’s intentions towards you emotionally I would highly recommend letting go, being vulnerable, and opening yourself up to the sexual experience with him. Getting our feelings hurt or feeling rejected or being scared is a natural part of life. No matter how wonderful our partners are these things still happen. I think that the best thing we can do is open ourselves up to getting the most pleasure and joy from each experience we have, even knowing that this may mean that we get hurt from time to time. In my experience the joy I get from the pleasure far outweighs the pain I receive from the hurt. It seems like you are being reflective and self-aware by even recognizing these issues and that is a wonderful step in the right direction. Good luck finding the right balance for yourself and your husband.

  32. Court says...

    Adding this in case folks are still reading/responding. Husband always initiates. We have a 7 mos old and I am beyond drained to initiate anything. ALSO, I am still in the phase of it hurting. I had a C-section, so its not that, but apparently the menopausal dryness (HELLO SEXY TIMES). Anyway, does this get better? Practice make perfect? I could get past the tired thing, but doing and having it uncomfortable is just not fun.

    • Angie says...

      I just went through the same. I found breast feeding really kept my body from ever being ready for sex. As my youngest has been eating more and taking less from me it’s getting better. Plus when is there time to get warmed up! Don’t worry. It will come back. Until then get yourself some good quality lube.
      Also I bought my fella the fleshlight for us both to play with while I had little to no interest. It took a lot of pressure off me and allowed him
      To let off steam. Worth every penny.

    • LEM says...

      Yep. It’s super fun on the relationship when you have no desire. After our first son, due to third-degree tearing during birth and bad healing, sex was painful for me for more than a year. Doctors couldn’t really help. It got better over time, but after more than 12 months of painful sex, even with a very understanding and patient partner, it is not something you EVER want to initiate, as you’re scared about how it will feel. I had to do a lot of personal, mental foreplay, to remember how much I liked it before. I finally got over it, got pregnant with our second, and this time around it was better (much better birth experience). But, I still have no drive, nine months post-partum. Having two littles under three kills energy, and capacity. I just want sometime for me, without feeling like I’m giving constantly. And while sex should be like that, my hormones are still out of whack due to breastfeeding. Instead of sex, all I really want is a massage. But I also recognize that my relationship is better having that intimacy – I feel more connected to my hubby. And his understanding and patience is running thin after three years of mediocre and infrequent sex.

    • Margaret says...

      Re hurting and dryness after having a baby – it got WAY better after we weaned aroung 11 months. Night and day!

    • Jess says...

      I can’t really comment on the post-pardem part but I will say that I tend to have dryness and I use coconut oil as a lube. It is natural, so there’s no limit to how much you should use or any irritation (I have a bad reaction to most store-bought lubes). Not to mention, it smells and tastes GREAT, you’ll want to put it all over. When my fiance and I use it we feel we are having sex on the beach!

  33. Britt says...

    Woaw, this comment section is basically ‘proof’ for the fact that men are NOT always the initiators, as I always assumed (thanks, society) and also experienced. These comments just show that it’s clearly a 50/50 kind of thing.
    I always “knew” this, but reading through the personal stories of all of this women just makes it all the more real and comforting. Big up for A Cup Of Jo for having the most interesting comment section on the whole wide interwebz.

    • heather says...

      Agreed! I don’t talk much to my friends about what’s going on in my married sex life because I wouldn’t want my husband telling his friends about what I do in bed. It’s a respect thing. But I have been devouring these comments. I apparently was in dire need of a reality check.

    • Natalie says...

      Yes, amen to this! Growing up, I had always assumed (because it’s what society drills into us) that men are always the initiators, always have the bigger appetite for sex. I’ve found that not to be the case in my marriage of 4 years, and it’s so refreshing to hear that I’m not alone.

      Thanks so much for writing this, Joanna!

  34. Abesha1 says...

    I’m sad to hear so much blame placed on breastfeeding. A lower libido after birth and while nursing is generally considered to be a natural protective measure for your own health, to help prevent a new pregnancy before your body is healed and replenished. Consider that the World Health Organization recommends a two year gap between pregnancies (based on scientific research and anthropological norms), and assume that there is no access to contraception (globally or historically, however you choose to see it) , and how else do you think that gap is achieved?
    In addition, the vast majority of people around the world share beds and sleeping space with their families, and there’s certainly no global shortage of new babies, so it’s kind of obvious that there are ways around that. There are plenty of cultures, however, which believe sex during pregnancy and/or breastfeeding are taboo, so obviously a “dry spell” in those cultures could easily be years at a time. Kind of takes the pressure off, in my point of view.

    Sex can be great, and many people consider it essential to a healthy, loving relationship….. but many others do not.

    • Let’s just remember too though that in many cultures it’s considered the norm for men to vist sex workers during the imposed “dry spells” you mention (and at other times too)–so the results of those customs are a mixed bag, especially for a woman who is hoping for monogamy from her partner.

  35. Nancy says...

    So I have to say, something that helps significantly with increasing sex drive is resistance training and lifting heavy weights, something that I feel a lot of women are still hesitant to do because heaven forbid, we get “bulky”.

    Testosterone is an important part of sex drive, and weight lifting, more so than cardio, increases your testosterone level. On top of that, weight lifting doesn’t require as much time as long form cardio does. And its near impossible to get “bulky” unless you’re working out multiple hours a day and eating a large amount of protein (much more than you think it is).

    I personally never initiated sex, but after a couple years of crossfit, I am always initiate sex and having a sex drive feels amazing.

    • txilibrin says...

      I have to say that the last two months, due to a gym competition, I went a lottt to the gym. And for me, it worked the other way. No way I wanted to have sex after an exhausting day at the gym… I think my BF hates the gym just because we don’t have that much sex.

    • Stephanie says...

      Unless… You damage your pelvic floor from weight lifting/too much high impact exercise

    • I gotta chime in here too and totally agree! I am also a CrossFitter and the testosterone is totally a thing as is, *cough being surrounded by a bunch of sweaty, jacked dudes who always take their shirts off. HAHA

  36. Amy says...

    Love this topic! I’m used to be the one to initiate sex as my husband wasn’t as keen on initating it. It turns me on when he initiates so now we switch off who initiates and it’s worked really well for both of us. There’s also less pressure, we don’t wonder who will initiate next.

    • Alexandra says...

      Like “tag, you’re it”? Fun!

  37. Laura says...

    I am loving this topic! The comments are super awesome for me, too. I’ve been with my husband for 12 year, two bigger kids (10 & 5), and we’re pretty even on the intimacy, which has felt lucky for me – we’re very very different in other ways. One surprising thing for me was how much easier it was to be sexy/physically intimate after we got married – it felt like I was in a no judgment zone, that he’d go through whatever weird fantasy I was having (and vice versa) without anyone saying “that’s it I don’t love you anymore.” Like there’s some safety in that commitment somehow?

    When we’re in a dry spell, I find it very helpful to play games. Strip poker, especially, which is weird given that I’ve never played it in any context except alone with my husband. But something about it not overtly being about sex, but how it ends up kind of sexy… it eases us in. Or putting in place some Rules (artificial things like you can’t touch your partner for a day in any way, which makes the awareness about touch so strong, which feels great when that day is over).

    Lastly, I haven’t read anyone talking about faking orgasms in the comments. I used to do this ALL THE TIME with previous lovers (it felt somehow like I didn’t even know what I wanted and they weren’t all that interested in trying it out), and I just… didn’t … fake anything with my husband when we got together. If I don’t know what I want, I can say that. Makes it clearer when I do, you know? Funny how being my honest self led to a more honest/intimate relationship. Obvious, and yet it took me many years.

  38. Sara says...

    At 9+ mos pregnant, I’ve had ZERO desire for sex the past few weeks. I feel badly for my fiance, but not that badly since I’m so damn uncomfortable!!! Definitely the longest dry spell in our relationship- but with good reason!

  39. Ally says...

    My husband and I have been married for a very healthy 9 years and we went from sex every day to at least once a week, mostly twice. Quite typical. He initiates pretty much every single time, but sometimes I initiate just so it’s not at 11 PM when I’m desperately trying to go to sleep.

    Honestly, I get irritated when he tries to slyly flirt and make out because it feels so manipulative. Like when you’ve been married long enough, it’s always assumed it will lead to sex because, well, why wouldn’t it? Now he just literally asks me point blank and I usually say yes.

    • Oh my gosh, Im the opposite! So funny.
      Asking point blank feels SO unromantic, and I’d rather at least pretend a little bit that we don’t know how it’s gonna end, haha.

  40. Renee says...

    First off – great post, even better comments! My husband and I are both 36, we’ve been together for 16 years, married for 10, and have two sons ages 8 and 5. My husband has been the one to initiate 95% of the time…awful, I know. Even after all this time, I still feel awkward to start things off. We have been through a few droughts, a few of which have lasted a couple of months. In recent years it’s been a combination of things – between hormonal contraception and antidepressants, I have next to no sex drive. And when I do feel in the mood, it’s not a good time…the kids are around, he’s tired, we have somewhere to be, etc. I go to bed early and he stays up late. And a lot of times I’m just too damn tired and I’d rather just sleep. Sounds like excuses, I know.
    Something I struggle with is the lack of intimacy in between sexual encounters…we never hold hands anymore, rarely hug and kiss, sit on opposite ends of the couch. I’m the type of woman who needs affection that’s more than just a role in the hay!
    Thank you ladies for the honesty…it’s nice to know that others are in the same boat!

    • Julia says...

      If you want to stay married, don’t let this get worse. Take initiative! Sit next to him on the couch, hug him in public, and talk to him! Plan a date night. Wear lingerie for him. Watch a sexy movie together. Doing nothing will not magically fix things, it only leads to further erosion.

    • Molly S says...

      Your comment resonated with me. I’m 31 and have been married for 12 years and we have 2 kids. He initiates sex most of the time. I usually enjoy it when we go for it, but it has lost so much of the romance. It’s rare that we really make out, we never hold hands, we seems to be needing more and more space from each other. It feels like every time there is any sort of intimacy it leads to sex. Sometimes I just want to sit close or hug or kiss without it leading to sex, but that never seems to happen any more. It’s sort of sex or nothing.

  41. Wendy says...

    Usually my husband initiate (90/10), I’m 40, full time worker, and 2 toddlers (5 and 2). so when I go to bed, is really because I want sleep!, some times I reject my husband because I’m really tired, some times he get frustrated, and I felt bad, after 8 years of married and 2 kids, he wants sex with me (and me too) ;-)
    So in the beginning of this year, I told him: ” when you want to have sex with me, tell me early, during the afternoon,”, so we tried to put kids on bed early, and I skip watching TV or house work, so I have energy to have sex… I really enjoy the sex with my husband, I just need keep energy to have it.
    Another times even feel tired, I access to sex, and I really get turn on, so usually we have sex 2-3 times per week

  42. Mallory says...

    What timing! Our second daughter is 7 weeks old. We have a sitter coming over tonight so we can go on a proper date and if all goes to plan, have sex for the first time since the birth. A bit nerve wracking, but we plan to follow my Midwife’s genius sex tips to get us in the mood:

    1. Communication
    2. Lubrication
    3. Inebriation ;)

    As for initiation, I’d say 60/40 it’s me. I find doing the Naked Man play from How I Met Your Mother is my easiest move!

    And yes yes yes to scheduled sex (and couples therapy!).

    • Ha! this is great! Humor is key to get me going for sex…joking around and maybe a little wrestling turns me on way more than making out at this point (and we have an 8 week old, that first time back in the sack was a bit tough but we’re keeping at it)

    • Emily says...

      LOVE the Naked Man play. That’s awesome!

  43. Rachel says...

    My husband and I have been married for one year, together for six, and I initiate sex 100% of the time. This set-up works perfectly for us for two reasons:
    1. I’m a massive control freak and enjoy planning sex. When I’m in bed with my moisturizer on and my kindle fully-charged, the last thing I want to do is have sex. (I know, this is terrible.) BUT, I’ve found that I enjoy having sex in the afternoons and early evenings, before I’ve showered, gone through my nightly routine, and lathered on all the serums, haha.

    The other reason this method words is because:
    2. My husband always says yes. Always.

    So, I get to decide when I want to have sex and I don’t have to worry about him turning me down.

    While this may seem incredibly regimented, the beauty of planned sex means that we are often more spontaneous about the act itself: maybe we move into the living room or we incorporate a vibrator. (<- I swear this forever changed our marriage and it was actually his idea.)

    I love the anticipation of dropping a subtle bomb in the morning:
    "We should have sex this afternoon," I'll say while we're getting ready to leave the house. His eyes always light up and I know it will be a good day for both of us. :)

    • BSM says...

      Vibrator! Yes!!!

    • Charlie says...

      I loved this tbh!!! Maybe I should try this when I get Married

  44. Katy says...

    First, I’m so grateful to all of you open, honest, supportive women.
    My husband almost always initiates, and I sometimes rally and often just can’t make it happen. Two young kids, exhausted, touched out, not feeling sexy, plus anxiety treated with meds which probably kill the drive. But when it does happen, I always wonder why we don’t do it more, why I don’t initiate ever – which I think is a combo of the vulnerability of being sexually assertive, and not being sure if I REALLY want to go there tonight or would rather just get some more dang sleep. Like you Joanna, after the second baby we probably went a year. But an average dry spell is a month, maybe.

    • Mallory says...

      A big YES to the touched out thing. And after a full day of feeling like you’re giving everything to the kids, the last thing I want at night is someone needing something else from me when it’s finally a chance for some me time. What helps me overcome this the most is having my husband do something for me first, whether it’s a foot massage or putting the kids down while I take a bubble bath. If I feel like he’s taking care of me too, then I can get into it and I don’t feel like sex is just another requirement I have to do to keep someone in my family happy. It feels more mutual, like we are taking care of each other.

    • Mallory, that is a GREAT way to phrase it. You said what I couldn’t put into words!

    • Eliz says...

      When you have little kids, and both of you are working full-time, sometimes the best turn-ons are pretty weird (and dorky). We have a 2 yr old, have been married for 4 yrs and together for 10, and I think I am much more likely to initiate (or be receptive) to sex after a day when my husband was the primary parent/toddler entertainer and I had the luxury of simply getting a ton of stuff done (errands, groceries, cooking for the week, dealing with the mountain of laundry engulfing the couch, etc — all the stuff both of you have to do to keep the family running). OK, I admitted it: crossing items off my to-do list turns me on! Ha. (Is that sad?) I think it’s more that I’m going up to bed with a less restless brain, no pesky tasks still nagging at me, and a sense of accomplishment or exhilaration from getting sh*t done, which gives me confidence in the bedroom. Then sex feels like the reward after a busy day, and it lets me focus purely on us and having fun. Anyone else?

    • Alexandra says...

      Elizabeth, you are NOT alone in terms of feeling more open to having sex when you get more help around the house. I remember reading about this study that found that couples who split up the household chores more equitably have more sex & report having a happier sex life. http://www.chicagotribune.com/lifestyles/stevens/ct-equal-housework-means-more-sex-balancing-0621-20160621-column.html It’s something I think a lot about in my own relationship. And I’m trying to get better about asking for more help from my boyfriend when I need it, especially if he is putting the moves on me but I’m feeling like “I need to get the dishes done, then do the laundry, then clean up the kitchen so it’s not a freaking disaster zone”. Now, I’ve been trying to ask: “can you handle the dishes while I tackle laundry? Then maybe we can fool around after.”

  45. My husband and I have been married 6 years and I think it evens out. There ate times when he seems to be the one who initiates and then times when I seem to be the more insatiable one. It seems fairly balanced overall.

  46. Nina says...

    What a lovely topic! And so interesting to read through the comments! My husband is 15 years older than me and I’m 38. He has a strong sex drive and loves making love in the morning. I prefer it in the morning also, because in the evening I’m tired and fall asleep in a second, and he hates it ha ha :) He is usually the one to initiate it, and if we haven’t done it for a couple of mornings, he starts hinting throughout the day with messages or phone calls. He gets annoyed if I don’t initiate it, but i always say I don’t have the time to do it, as he always beats me to it ha ha :)

  47. Rebecca says...

    You know, when I first started dating my husband I came out of a bad relationship and I never wanted sex with that person. I turned him down 99.99% of the time. When I was with my now husband, I realized how wonderful and special he was and I thought I’d just experiment with never turning him down unless I genuinely wasn’t feeling well. The hardest part is getting going but it always ends well when you have a loving partner who cares about your pleasure and I always feel better afterward. It helps that he doesn’t ask for it daily. But so far we have both just adopted the you-want-it-you-got-it method and it keeps up happy and feeling wanted and prioritized.

  48. vianne says...

    Hi Joanna, I’m a long time reader of you blog. I always love the thoughtful post. But lately I notice that something changing. I find myself checking out all the great comments more and more. I just want to compliment you on the great group of women you have gathered around you! It’s really enriching.

    On topic. My boyfriend and I are now about 5 years together (no kids, mid-twenties) and I still find it difficult to initiate. It’s not that I’m shy or don’t feel totally at ease with him, its more that I really love to feel desired and of course the (not rational) fear of rejection is a small part of it as well. But working on it!

  49. Rebs says...

    mid-30’s, married 11 years, no kids (by choice).
    Sometimes, I feel that I initiate all the time and get rejected; but then the logical side of the brain tells me that I’m overreacting/exaggerating and even if I do get ‘rejected’ once in awhile, he has a right to decline. Although, when he initiates, I almost NEVER say no.
    But I guess it’s possible that I’m just more sexual than him, and I am still being satisfied (never have I looked or fantasized elsewhere).

    As some others said, I feel like I always thought that men wanted it ‘all the time’. But with experience, it becomes obvious that it’s not the case – they can be tired, grumpy, stressed too.

    Re: dry spells, I noticed something kinda funny recently. We’re not usually apart, and when he went on a 4-day fishing trip recently – our sex when he got back was explosive. But it wasn’t just because we didn’t have sex for 4 days (because we’ve gone 2 weeks without before), but because we COULDN’T have sex (or even have cell service for those 4 days). I wonder if that has something to do with it – when it’s ALWAYS available, it maybe loses some value??

    • Chris says...

      Wow, exact same here!

      Middle 30’s, married 11 yrs. (this year), no kids by choice. He usually initiates, and I rarely refuse. I initiate, and more times than not, I’m rejected.

      Only difference…I’m not being satisfied. We’ve had several talks about this over the years. It usually get’s better for awhile after we talk, then tapers off.

      I too have wondered about time & distance. We’ve only spent a handful – if that – nights apart in 10 years.

    • Teresa says...

      Rebs, your comment really struck a cord with me. We’re late 30s, no kids, only married a year. Like you, I thought men wanted it all the time too (shouldn’t’ve read as many issues of Cosmo in my twenties–filled my brain with the false expectations! doh!), but I think I am way more sexual. I would initiate every day if I thought he would respond positively. But, he is always so tired and 9 out or 10 times I initiate, he says “no”. I’ve been turned down enough now that I’ve just stopped trying. So, we really only have sex when he makes the move. I thought, as newlyweds, we’d be more like rabbits-ha. Maybe once a week, or every other week if I’m “lucky”, but more typically its once a month. And the infrequency makes it harder and more uncomfortable for me when we do have sex. Its as if my body has dried up from the lack of activity. I actually saw my doctor about it and she recommended having more sex. Ha. (sigh) That’s going to be a hard thing to achieve if my partner doesn’t want me.

      We’re in the early stages of starting a business–maybe not the best thing to do at the same time as getting married?–and its really physical; lots of construction and hard labor to get it going. And since I have the desk-job that pays the bills, most of that hard work falls to him. So I understand that he’s physically drained. I keep hoping our sex drives will sync up a little better once we move on to the next stage of the biz, but I dont want to sacrifice our intimacy in the meantime either. And also, I wonder if the excuse of the business is simply his cover for lack of desire or lack of interest in me. Its really hard not to feel an emotional blow when repeatedly turned down. Just not sure the best plan of action to make it better–initiate more, despite being turned down often? Just let him be unless he wants it? Try talking about it again? Do it all? Do nothing?

      THANK YOU Joanna for starting the conversation and for all the great comments. So many different types of situations–its refreshing to know there isn’t “one right way”.

  50. Awads says...

    what is this payphone alex speaks of?? :-)

    I am the initiator most of the time, though not always. I like being the decider! my husband and i have been married 15 years (together 17) and have one child. Our busy lives require that i wake up super early to get in a run (4:30), and now we have a puppy….so i’m tired and half asleep before he’s even thought of going to bed. We still manage at least once a week. If two weeks go by, I will jump his bones. He hasn’t complained. should i be checking his cellphone? ;-o

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      hahaha i know, we were laughing at the office about how it definitely shows that his age! :)

  51. Meg says...

    This is a little surreal for me that this was posted on the day I had a (very uncharacteristic) breakdown about lack of sex in my marriage.

    We’ve been together for six years, married for three, and don’t plan on adding kids for a couple more years. I think it’s expected that you don’t sustain the amount of sex you have when you’re first together. We went from multiple times a day to a more sustainable couple of times per week. Then my husband was hit with a huge crash of depression that he’s working through with counseling and medication for the past year and a half. Somewhere in there sex became infrequent. Occasionally he’ll reach for me in the middle of the night, and I take him up for it even if it isn’t great timing for me just because I didn’t know the next time there would be an opportunity. I’ve tried initiating, but he never bites.

    Last night we both got home early, I showered since I had just come from the gym, and then walked around our apartment hoping that the visual would entice him into a romantic mood. Instead he got into bed with me and brushed the offer aside, letting me know that he was having a sad day. We cuddled for an hour and then got up to make dinner etc. It was the straw that broke the camel’s back for me, I just felt so shunned and neglected. Then as we were eating dinner he asked me what was wrong and it just spilled out and I started sobbing and sobbing.

    I feel so selfish because I know without a doubt that he loves me, cares about me, and can’t control his depression. I’ve been so hesitant to share my feelings with him because I worry about it being a bigger burden on his sadness. The most important thing for me is that he comes home every day and is safe and healthy. But I do feel like he doesn’t see me as an attractive or desirable women anymore. I don’t know who to confide in about this at all– I have very few friends who are the same stage of life as I am and the last person in the world I want to talk to about it is my mom.

    • Wendy says...

      I’ve had that same meltdown. My husband is also fighting depression and it often leaves me feeling shut out. The cuddling/back rubs help, but I’ve been surprised by the effect his lack of desire has on my self image. I would definitely recommend counseling or even a group session on dealing with depression. Hang in there!

    • Rafaella says...

      I have been through the same situation over the past four years with my partner and so I really understand what you are going through. My boyfriend suffers from depression as well and it affects his sex drive. I was always the one who initiated and the constant rejection was crushing. It affected my self-esteem as a woman, the way I viewed my body, etc. Eventually, he went to get help from a psychologist and we also went to see a sex therapist together which really helped me. I was able to not take his rejection personnally although it was very difficult as first. A couple of years later, things are MUCH better. He is able to initiate again although not often (a few times of month!), but this is a big step for us. Therapy really helped him understand the reasons why he couldn’t initiate (shame, past childhood experiences, depression, etc.) and so I feel that although the process is slow, the progress we have made is huge. If I have any advice to give you, it would be not to take his rejection personnally, to look after yourself well during thus difficult times, to communciate with him and get help. If it can’t be from friends, then perhaps consider a therapist. Take care!

    • El says...

      Thank you so much for sharing! I laughed and cried reading this. It feels good to know I am not the only one who has tried to walk around after a shower for visual enticement to no avail. Those conflicting feelings of wanting to share but not wanting to add burden to a depressed partner have been difficult to maneuver. I had a similar spilling out with tears involved (more than once). Ultimately, I think it made us both feel a little better. We try and talk more openly about our expectations ( e.g., “I would love to have sex with you today at some point”. Big smile. ) and where we are at (I am feeling stressed and overwhelmed at work but let’s do something fun after work and see how things go from there). Sometimes it happens that evening, sometimes the next morning. Even after 5 years of marriage, it is hard for me to give up my love/expectation for spontaneous intimacy and just flat out state what I want. But I think we are both bending a little(sometimes feels like a lot) for the same goal and it really is still fabulous sex in the end.

    • Alyssa says...

      Oh man, I had to reply to this because I’ve been on the other side – being the partner who is depressed and doesn’t want sex. It’s been a problem in every one of my long-term relationships, and it’s something I still struggle with (reading these comments is giving me lots of ideas!).
      Just wanted to say: You don’t need to feel selfish or ashamed for your feelings. Yeah, depression is super hard, but being the partner of someone who is depressed and supporting them is also a huge challenge, and the feeling of distance and lack of intimacy that can come with a partner who is wrapped up in trying to cope with their mental health can be such a huge struggle. I am dating the most beautiful man in the world (at least I think so) and I still often don’t feel like having sex – it has nothing to do with him and everything to do with me, and I’m sure that’s what is going on with your husband, too.
      Hopefully telling him how you felt will help open up the lines of communication and let you guys find ways to cope with it. Wishing you all the best luck!

    • LK says...

      OMG the worst! I always feel so sexy after I get home from the gym – and I’m particularly crushed when I’m rebuffed.

      But seriously, I’ve been there too. My husband’s depression was brutal, and the anti-depressants did not help on the sex front, either. It sucked all the fun out of everything, and I felt like I couldn’t ask for or prioritize any of my needs from our relationship – that I just had to be there for him, to be patient, to nurse him – and not sexy nursing, either. I also felt like I couldn’t tell my friends about it, that sharing it was a betrayal to him and to our relationship. I did a lot of late night Google searches, like: “Are we doomed?” that unfortunately brought me to a lot of sites with posts like: “stand by your man, be more generous and giving”. I felt alone, rejected, undesired, frustrated. We were also pretty new to our relationship – I worried that it was always going to be like that, that there was no light at the end of the tunnel, that this would be my lot in life. I panicked.

      What Rafaella says is right: take care of yourself. I saw a therapist, I kept a journal. We saw a couples’ counselor and read books (sometimes the books or articles about the Gottmans made me panic more – “oh no, we really are doomed!”). I went to yoga.

      And, I stopped being quite as patient and nice to my husband. This is not to say that I wasn’t patient and kind to him, but I realized I’d put a lot of the energy I would have put into taking care of myself into taking care of him. I stopped worrying about being a burden to him. For so long, I’d bite my tongue when he was irate or sad, because I was trying to be another kind of woman. I started just saying: “You know, when you act like that, it makes me feel unloved. I know you’re in pain, and I’m trying to be patient, but I was really looking forward to going to the market together today, and I’m really upset that I have to go alone.” If I wanted to cry, I cried. If I wanted to yell, I yelled. If I really felt like eating pasta for dinner, I ate pasta for dinner, and I didn’t always ask him what he wanted. It was a long – (it felt so long, OMG!) – dark period, but we got through it.

      And, also – since then, I’ve had my own (relatively mild) bouts of depression. We had some trouble when we were trying to have a baby, and the infertility made me feel gross about my own body. I gained some weight too, and I didn’t want to have sex at all. Suddenly, I was the one rejecting him. I was the one curled in bed, just wanting to shut the world out.

      During the worst of it (which wasn’t near as bad as his, but still…), no part of me wanted him to take care of me – I really wanted good things for him, and I was still attracted to him. It was just like I couldn’t bring myself to feel aroused – like something was blocking the actual ability for me to get aroused. After, I felt like I could understand where he was coming from back then a little better: like, it really wasn’t about me at all. He was attracted to me, I was desirable, he loved me the whole time, even if I couldn’t feel it.

      Your husband is lucky to be with someone who loves him so much! I’m sure he sees you as attractive and desirable. Depression is an awful beast, and takes a long time to get a handle on. Hang in there – if he’s doing everything he can to get through it, with counselling and medication and all – it will get better, slowly first, and then quickly. One day, he’s going to initiate with you, and you won’t be in the mood, and after you turn him down, you may be hit with the realization that, really and truly, you are out of the sexless woods. Good luck!

    • Erin G. says...

      Not really much advice to offer per se – but I have been there. Hang in – stay loving and look forward to brighter days ahead. Tough spot to be in and I remember the darkness of those days for me as a partner too.

    • Hillary says...

      I have been on the other side of this too. I think I had a normal sex drive in my early 20’s and then I took antidepressants for a year and they totally affected my sex drive, I believe, permanently. I don’t think I ever went back to normal in terms of desire when I did get out of the depression. I really believe they do something to the wiring of your brain. I am happy to have sex but I just don’t have much drive. I would encourage you to keep trying and know that it has to do with body chemistry and nothing with how your partner feels about you.

    • El says...

      Thank you everyone for sharing. It helps a lot :)

    • Rachel says...

      I can identify with this very strongly. My husband has been hospitalized for depression in the past, and still struggles with very significant bouts of depression. Sex has never been the problem for us, but that feeling of feeling emotionally neglected, and knowing that depression is an illness but feeling hurt anyway, and not wanting to burden him with my needs…boy does that hit home. My husband has carried me through hard times in the past, and now I’m carrying him, and it’ll switch again eventually…so I feel like I have to push down what I need to focus on keeping him safe and secure.

      I needed someone to talk to so badly that I met with my pastor, for an understanding and nonjudgmental ear. And he helped me see that the marriage needs to be healthy for both of us, even during hard times. I can do a lot of the carrying, but I still have a right to ask for what I need (like emotional availability, honesty and not being lied to, follow-through on important financial stuff). The marriage has to take care of me too.

      I wish I had another woman to talk to about this, but my husband is such a private person, and his depression, hospitalization, and suicide attempt are not my secrets to share.

    • Meg says...

      Want to thank everyone who responded to my comment. Can’t tell you all how much I appreciate the personal stories, advice, and support in general.

  52. E says...

    I also totally stole these from the blog “Today’s Letters,” but we try to ask each other these questions weekly. I love that sex is so clearly integrated in, and it forces you to set expectations and be honest. Prayer question is obviously optional if you’re not into that :)

    1. How did you feel loved this past week?
    2. What does your upcoming week look like?
    3. How would you feel most loved & encouraged in the days ahead?
    4. How would you best feel pursued in sex / intimacy this week?
    5. How can I pray for you this week?

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      i love those, especially number 3. it’s so loving.

  53. My husband usually initiates. I have a philosophy about it. I really love chicken pot pie, but if I eat it everyday I will probably get tired of it. So, I like to space things out – for me, once or twice a week works well (usually weekends because I’m less stressed on weekends). That gives me time to crave it and usually makes it better when it happens because of that. Just like chicken pot pie tastes especially good when I haven’t had it for a while. My husband doesn’t necessarily have the same theory but he respects my theory and recognizes that it does have some merit.

    -Denise
    http://www.realtyhousewife.com/

    • I forgot to mention my husband’s philosophy – his is “strike while the iron is hot!”. :-p And we do a combination of the two. I never want him to not be satisfied so we usually work something out.

  54. Jas says...

    I am on a maternity leave with my second baby (in my country, we have one year fully paid maternity leave) and so my husband is the only one who goes to work currently and has to deal with work related stress. Therefore, he tends to often be moody and cranky when he gets back and I hate it, because we then fight over the stupidest things. However, it does not affect his sex drive and after he unwinds, he is very ready to go for it and I am again the love of his life and his queen. Well, hold on mister! :-) My sex drive goes down when we fight and I am not one of those persons that have the best sex after the fight. So, I recently told him that the foreplay starts the moment he steps through the door, meaning – if he is nearvous, there will be no sex afterwards and everything he does or say when he gets back will be a deciding factor for me later whether I will have sex or not. That’s right! So now he has to be really gentle and soft spoken once he gets through the door :-)

    • Allegra says...

      I get your point, but I would also be worried that my husband wouldn’t then have any place to unwind and let out his negative feelings :/ Being able to be open and share both good and bad is the basis of a relationship, no? I’ve seen that situations like this have led to the spouses to seek comfort and understanding elsewhere, which has not been good for the marriage.

  55. Hi! My husband will usually initiate in bed by asking me if “I wanna do it” in his low/trying to be sexy voice. Of late it has not been doing it for me. Ha, ha. I felt bad because I am of course happy to have a husband who after 9 years still wants to do it with me. so now after the kids have gone to bed and he goes to wash up I wait for him naked on the sofa.

    xoxo,
    making it work

    • Anastasia Williams says...

      My husband uses the exact same phrase, while wiggling his eyebrows up and down. I’ve asked him politely to maybe try a different method of getting things going, haha!

    • Polly says...

      Oh my, these made me chuckle. My husband can turn practically anything into a dirty innuendo when he wants to have sex. Somehow it always makes me laugh, even if I’m super tired. The weightlifting eyebrows, yeah, wouldn’t do it for me either!

    • Lindsey says...

      My husband saying “wanna bang?” LOL – it’s so absurd it makes me laugh every time.

  56. Cait says...

    I’ve loved reading story and all of the comments, and feel reassured in my own relationship after reading them. My boyfriend and I have been together for 7 years, and our in our late 20s. The sex has been pretty infrequent over the last 6 months, and I think it has a lot to do with his confidence. We’ve started talking a lot about marriage, and our sex life was always something that nagged at me. Knowing that we are not alone, and that this is a normal part of any relationship, makes it so much easier to see how much I love him and what great partners we are.

    Thank you for all the wisdom & advice to talk about it. I feel much more at ease going into a conversation about it knowing this is a well-traveled path.

    xx. cait

  57. Eva says...

    I am so astonished and grateful how open everyone is being in this thread. Love is a beautiful struggle, and it’s so heartening to see the many ways it manifests—there is no normal! (That said, my contribution: dry spell for me and my dude is about 2 weeks, though we’re childless still so it’s rare. Still it sometimes takes me conscious effort to initiate, but I’m always happy when I do.)

    Reading all your comments helps me see what I have to be thankful and happy for—and ways I can get better with intimacy in my relationship. Thank you all for being so honest and supportive of one another! <3

    Joanna, make this a regular series! :)

  58. Iris says...

    I couldn’t initiate sex when I was in my final trimester because I felt really tired, unattractive and also had this feeling of being unwanted. He was really distracted during that 3 months and I eventually found out why through his text messages. He was having an emotional affair with another woman who was his colleague. I had never checked his messages with other women colleagues but her name was constantly on top of the list that I just checked it. Anyway, we are still married. That was my worst dry spell. We got over the emotional betrayal but it makes me more paranoid now if he doesn’t initiate. It makes me wonder if men tend to cheat when their wives are pregnant.

  59. Jessica says...

    I initiate most of the time. My husband is shy about initiating in a cute way. Like he’ll get into bed but won’t really do / say anything. He’ll just sort of wait for me to realize he’s just chilling there, waiting for me to make a move.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      that is so cute!

  60. Amanda says...

    My husband and I have been together for 10 years and I feel really lucky to say that we have a very intimate relationship! If it were up to him we would have sex every day, but 3-4 times a week is our average right now. He initiates 80% of the time. Of course we have gone through dry spells, like after our children were born and I was tired and breastfeeding non stop. But since weaning my 15 month old my sex drive is back in full force. I have to say we get along better when we are having regular sex :)

  61. I think initiation between my husband and I is about 50/50.

    For a long time, though, I thought I was the one to initiate FAR more often only to be rejected. I learned in a brutally honest conversation with him that he had often never “received” my invitation. He had no idea there was even a party that he was rejecting! :) I’d have to chalk that up to my being a little too shy to make obvious advances and he thought I was just being sweet and loving – not necessarily asking for intimacy. I’ve been trying to be more forthright in my initiation and it has largely cleared up my feelings of rejection.

    The communication clarity has even helped me to express some bolder thoughts such as “I may be reading into this way more than I should, but I’m starting to take our lack of sex to mean that you haven’t found me attractive recently.” He usually makes sure to obliterate those thoughts in short order. :)

  62. S says...

    I recently found out I am pregnant (yay!) but I am SO tired all the time. Because of my constant exhaustion, there has definitely been a noticeable drop-off. Tell me, will I get a surge of energy and sexy boost in the second trimester? Hoping so!

    • Sarah says...

      Yes, you will!

    • Carly says...

      I’m almost 15 weeks pregnant now and I’ll just say the last few weeks have been much more satisfying than the whole first trimester combined! ;) Second trimester rocks!

    • Lauren says...

      I am just ending the first trimester and I think we’ve had sex once in the last two months or so. I just feel so awful always, and I also flinch if he gets anywhere near my super tender nipples. So yeah, not a lot of sex at all. I reassure both of us that I will feel better soon, and hopefully we can take advantage before the third trimester when you seem a bit too big for much of anything!

  63. Libbynan says...

    Your Alex may be the smartest man on the planet. My ex only wanted to make out when he was going to get some. If I just never got all that turned on there was pouting and hurt feelings and, occasionally, fighting. If he had taken Alex’s approach ( maybe I’ll get lucky, maybe I won’t) we would probably still be married. Women do need affection and petting even when sex isn’t in the equation. Men do too even though they will seldom admit it.

  64. KC says...

    Ahh these comments are so wonderful and nearly have me in tears. I have been married for 1.5 year, together for 5 and we are trying to have a baby. We were 1x a weekers forever. Now we are every other day in the pursuit of baby and its should be fun but just feels stressful as we have been trying for about a year (we are in our early 30’s). The other issue is that prior to this one I was in a relationship where we were EXTREMELY sexually compatible and did it a lot and my drive was always up. With my husband it has never been the same, I adore him, love him, he is my best friend but the sex has never been as good as it was with guy #1. I feel like my drive is much lower with him. Ugh I don’t know.

    • Jess says...

      Holy moly. 6 months ago I feel like I could have written this comment. All of it. Exactly the same. The only difference now is that my drive has been even lower the past few months because we finally did conceive. The first trimester was challenging, and I haven’t noticed a significant change in my drive now that i’m in the second trimester. I’ve started to relax a little about it. Or at least I’ve tried to relax! Normal is so relative. Our normal is about once a week and we do okay with that. I would prefer more (not currently, but in general), but it’s not having a negative effect on our relationship at all. I remember how stressful it felt during the trying to conceive phase because we weren’t having fun, and the pressure of it all felt immense. It felt like we were trying to be a couple that we just weren’t.

    • Lauren says...

      Would you consider using ovulation predictor sticks? I used Clear Blue and that took a huge amount of stress off, because we only had to worry about having sex right around that window when I knew I was ovulating, rather than every other day. They can be a little expensive (like $30) but I think its quite worth it. Especially if you’re both needing a break.

    • Dani says...

      I second ovulation sticks – I tried for six months for my first and the first month we tracked ovulation I got pregnant. With my second it happened in one cycle since I knew what I was doing :) you can actually order really cheap ones on Amazon. I got a pack of like 80 plus 15 pregnancy tests for 10-12 bucks. Much cheaper than what you can get at the drug store. Good luck!

  65. Lauren E. says...

    I wish all the commenters/readers here could get together for coffee! What a great conversation.

    My fiance and I have been together for about 6 years, lived together for 5, about to get married in the fall. We’re not really spontaneous about it anymore and often joke that sometimes being best friends gets in the way of sex. We’re so goofy with each other and we have so much fun doing little things like watching TV and talking that it’s almost difficult to switch the vibe over to a romantic setting. But sometimes if we’re in a real drought (I’d say the longest we’ve ever gone is maybe 3 or 4 weeks) we say, “Okay, we’re having sex tonight.” And we put it on the calendar and we do it and then we inevitably both say, “Why don’t we do that every day?!” It’s just easy to get into mundane habits and forget that we’re still really attracted to each other.

    • I love this! This is exactly how my boyfriend and I are too, and we have been worrying whether our constant goofing around and joking is keeping us from being more romantic. Thank you for sharing!

    • E says...

      Haha I so relate to this. Happy to have a best friend, but also need to up the sex game. Scheduling always weirded me out, but I think I need to give in!

    • Another great comment! I call it the ‘roommate syndrome’.

  66. Fay says...

    My husband and I have been married 21 years. I usually jump my husband. ;) However, we have gone through dry spells, no sex for months, usually after kids were born, heart attack, surgery things like that. But we were intimate through out. Let me see if I can explain. I work nights and my husband works days so for 4 nights a week we do not sleep together. So we have come up with this kind of rule for us….we need to touch each other as much as we can when we are together. No not sexual part areas but hold hands while walking the dog, brush my hand across his back as I walk by, he kisses my head while I work on school work, and hug as much as possible. This causal touching reminds us that we are together, that we enjoy each others company. And it seems to keep the spark alive after so many years. So while we don’t have lots of sex, we are intimate and know each other cares.

    • Michelle says...

      That is so loving and sweet. I’ve only been married for two years but I totally relate to the importance of intimacy and connectedness through touching that isn’t necessarily sexual. It feels kind of weird to be intentional about it – my husband and I certainly haven’t had that conversation – but I love the idea of making it a rule or a goal.

    • Polly says...

      Good advice. Thanks.

    • A. says...

      This is beautiful. I have really struggled because my husband and I have very different careers (myself 9-5ish and him evenings/late night). I always feel tired when he is up for it. This is wonderful advice since we often feel like we are ships passing in the night.
      ALL of these comments have been so encouraging and such a relief to hear. I’ve never seen the topic covered so honestly and for so long I felt that I was in the minority without much of a sex drive. Now 5 months postpartum I am coming to terms with my new body which adds another layer of complication to my sex drive or lack thereof. I feel touched out like so many others have expressed but am hopeful that someday I will find more energy.
      THANK YOU, Joanna and to everyone for your thoughtful, open responses.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      this is really loving advice, fay. thank you.

  67. Katie_B says...

    SCHEDULED SEX. It has been the best thing for our relationship, 15 years and 2 small kids in. Now that the baby is 18 months we are getting the spontaneity back, but being able to count on that once-a-week connection, not worrying about “am I in the mood?” but just starting to make out and then getting in the mood has been a life-saver.

    Also, talking about sex! I can’t imagine getting shot down/shooting my partner’s requests down on a regular basis, although I do recognize not everyone attaches a bunch of emotional baggage to this;) This is something we have talked about, and it meant that post-babies, I did most of the initiating, since I had the lower sex drive/post-birth stuff going on (that’s why scheduling was important!). Recently we’ve talked about it again and he’s doing more initiating, because I’m up for it and it is nice to feel “pursued,” as others have mentioned. However, talking about these things means we are very rarely in the position of rejecting one another.

  68. Lydie says...

    My husband and I, have been through lots of dry spells, since 28 years and three children (one boy and twins)…but we have always been so in love, that we have managed it (it was not so easy, but…) Now, our children are grown up and left home…so do we !!!
    We have decided to change our life, but still together. We are feeling so free that our sex Life has never been so intense and funny !! No matter how many time per week or month. Just be yourself and feel free To say yes or no, to say now or later…
    Ps: sorry for my poor english…Just a french woman living in the middle east !

  69. Rachel says...

    We went through a dry spell / cycle where he would initiate, always at the worst times (hadn’t showered in days, juuust about to turn my light off to sleep, long day with the toddler), and I would feel terrible declining, but also a little pissed off like, “how dare you put me in this position, you should know it’s not a good time!” So we came up with an unsexy but surprisingly sexy solution: scheduled sex! I feel like I read about it here on your blog a while back, Joanna?? Once a week is enough for both of us, so we made a promise that we’d have sex at least once every fri, sat, or sun nights. One of us will bring it up earlier in the day, and it gives us both enough notice to unwind that evening, and for me personally to take the time to shower, maybe use a nice body oil, and help myself get in the mood. Planning ahead also means we can still get a full night’s sleep afterwards. It’s been wonderful for our relationship and sex life!

  70. Jane says...

    I’m definitely the initiator most of the time in our marriage. And it drives me nuts! We’re both only 25 and since we both waited for marriage, we’ve both only had sex with each other. I guess I just always assumed that my husband, as a man, would be wanting it all the time, and he doesn’t! I see some other comments of people in similar boats, and I’m wondering, how do you not let it go to your head and affect your confidence? I’m constantly feeling insecure about my body because I can’t help but feel if I were sexier/skinnier/funnier/prettier/etc. he’d have a magically higher sex drive.

    • Lisa says...

      YES YES all of this.

    • E says...

      150% agree, we are in counseling about this now. It makes me SO pissed at media and culture that we are so wired to assume men are more sexual, and there is something wrong if that isn’t the case. Our pre-marital counselor told us that in her 20 years of practice, she’s found it to be 50/50 male/female on who has the higher sex drive, and that helped me. Also, I’m reading “Come As You Are” by Emily Nagoski, and it’s changing EVERYTHING I thought I knew about sex, she’s a researcher and pulls apart so many myths about sex, including the male as initiator/sex driver. Highly, highly recommend!

    • B says...

      My husband and I were also each other’s first and he’s never really had much of a drive. Mainly, he attributes it to insecurity or shyness. Today we have been together 11 years, married almost 9 and it’s still a struggle at times. Him trying to push himself out of a comfort zone and gain confidence and me trying to understand it’s not me. I initiate most times which helps him feel more confident because he knows he’s wanted! Men have insecurities just as we do. Just have some real honest conversations with your husband, and see what you can do for each other!

    • MMA says...

      My husband almost never initiated, for years. I even went to counselling over it. Then I discovered his porn addiction. We’re divorced now and I’ve never been happier.

    • Jane says...

      Thank you for you responses and insight! I can’t tell you how much it helps just knowing I’m not the only one who has felt this way. And I’m ordering that book today!

  71. My sex drive has suffered badly from years on the combined pill, coupled with a lot of stress and feeling as attractive as a walrus. So it’s almost always him. Hard to initiate anything when you really have no sex drive and feel gross.
    I recently ditched the pill in favour of non-hormonal birth control for a while, and finally I’m starting to feel like myself again. But yeah, the feeling like an awkward teenager is back, and I’m still fighting to lose weight and fit back into my pretty undies!

    • Carrie says...

      That’s right where I am right now :(

  72. Debbie says...

    My husband tends to initiate more than me. But my definition of ‘initiate’ is rather different than most. If he’s in the mood, he’ll lie naked on the bed once i’ve put our toddler to bed. Or do something hilarious, naked, sending me a not so subtle message. I think the hilariousness of it generally makes it hard to say no which I guess is his game plan? Dry spells normally last 3 weeks or so with the typical longer period after our son was born. I am now pregnant with a girl and find my sex drive is far higher than normal – anyone else experience this?

    • JCP says...

      Same here! Low drive when pregnant with my son and now I’m up for it any time, 22 weeks along with our girl:) I actually feel like we were just starting to get back into a groove after baby #1. I breastfed until 18 months which killed my sex drive. Then as soon as I stopped, I was back and we quickly got pregnant again :) For now, I’m enjoying the increased drive and hoping my post-baby self won’t be as turned off as with my son.

  73. Clara says...

    I’m in a same sex relationship and I find that we often go for quite a while without having sex, this partly because for 2 weeks out of the month one of us is on our period! Not that we can’t have sex on our periods, but it makes it less likely.
    Also my partner works late nights or early mornings and is often tired.
    If I’m honest it makes me insecure when we haven’t had sex for a few weeks and I do worry about it. When we do it it’s great but sometimes I lack the confidence to initiate it.

  74. Trish says...

    What a relief to come across all these comments today to discover that I am not the only one experiencing a ‘drought’. My fiance and I are in our mid 30’s and have been together for almost 3 years. We’re getting married in 4 weeks and are meant to be trying for a baby but if I fell pregnant right now it would be a miracle! Our wedding planning has been a stressful process and has put our relationship under strain at times, add to which we have been told that falling pregnant could be tricky so I don’t think either of us has really been up for gettin’ it on.

    I think I’m more of a sexual person than my partner and it would be me who initiates sex 90% of the time, but the last few months I have just refused to initiate it as it would be lovely to be the one who was pursued for a change. I never used to mind initiating sex, but honestly I’ve started to resent it as it just feels like another thing in our lives that is up to me to do. This makes it feel like a chore, rather than an enjoyable expression of your feelings.

    • In my experience, getting married after a long-term relationship (7 years together before we married) sparked things back up for us. You start to feel more like roommates than lovers after years of living together (and who wants to sleep with their messy roommate who never rinses their dishes or cleans the toilet?? :P) But then it was so exciting to finally become husband and wife! Living together felt different, and better, after we were married.

      The same re-sparking happened when we decided to start trying to get pregnant. The thing about getting pregnant is that you HAVE to have sex–usually a lot of it and for a while–so it snaps you out of your dry spell by necessity. It took months for us, and we were just fine with that. ;) For the first time in our relationship, sex became a priority that the rest of life revolved around (“OMG I’m ovulating RIGHT NOW, let’s go!! And we should probably do it again later just for good measure.”), rather than something we half-heartedly squeezed in at the end of a long day out of a feeling of marital duty. It was more meaningful sex, too, since we were aware that we might be creating life in the process.

      Now, after having a baby six months ago, we are in a bit of a sexual dry spell, mostly due to being so tired (it’s true what they say, babies are hard work!) BUT I feel more in-love than ever with my husband because watching him become a father is the most amazing thing. We are supporting each other and teaming up together to do the hardest and most incredible thing either of us have ever done–keeping a tiny baby alive and thriving! It’s exhausting but amazing.

      After the pregnancy and birth experience, my husband has more respect and reverence for me than ever before, which feels so good. He has seen and knows my deepest, most animal self and my incredible strength. To me, that is more intimate than what sex offers. Intimacy isn’t always about sex.

  75. catalina says...

    Don’t feel like sharing about my (lack of) sex life at this point in my life (I think I ‘m much older than most women who commented before me, so I’m okay with that:) but what a great pic of Jane and Serge.
    Isn’t Jane Birkin incredibly beautiful?

  76. Alice says...

    While we’re on the topic: have any of you ladies had the impression your libido/drive is a lot less when on hormonal contraception? My friends who went off them said their sex drive got a lot better. My drive isn’t on a “have to have it every day” level and I wonder if that has to do with having been on varying hormonal contraceptives since I was 18 (initially to regulate menstruation, then for contraception). I’d love any thoughts.

    • Lucie says...

      Yes! After 10 years on the pill, I switched to a non hormonal IUD and it helped a ton. It also made my period much worse so I’m going back to a hormonal IUD but those hormones should have a much lower effect than the pill because they’re not in your whole body.

      I am loving all these real life comments and would love if there was a thumbs-up button to be able to tell all these ladies they’re not alone!

    • Kari says...

      Totally!!! I’m certain that being on a low dose birth control pill combined with breastfeeding has drastically reduced my sex drive. Reading all the comments is making me consider going back to doing Fertility Awareness Method again. My husband initiates I’d say 90% of the time and I’m often not as into it as I should be :/ Would love to get back to having a more robust sex drive lol!

    • Fiona says...

      I got off hormonal BC for that same reason (plus crippling anxiety – which then made sex nerve-wracking). While things are a lot better, they are certainly not back to normal (we used to be all over each other, and initiate close to even, maybe 60-40). It is a major hiccup in our relationship, but we read recently about a couple who had sex every day for a year and it revitalized their relationship. We’re talking about starting off at every day for a week (sort of an extreme scheduling), really making the time and making it a priority, and maybe extending it for a month if it still feels like a good fit for us. We’ve decided we got out of the habit and need to get back into it – a “use it or lose it” mentality and considering this a reset. Now we just need a whole week with both of us home to get it going though- hopefully soon!!

    • Leanne says...

      I found the opposite when I was on hormonal contraception, but it wasn’t necessarily better. I had a higher sex drive but I wanted sex because I wanted to feel pretty, not because I was going to enjoy it for its own sake. I remember feeling more panicked, like: “If we don’t have sex this many times, that means our relationship is doomed.” Switching methods made me a lot less anxious.

    • Sarah says...

      Yes! I have never had more libido. I’m 33 with a demanding job and a toddler. I went off hormonal BC about a year ago, after being on it for about 15 years.

    • Michelle says...

      100%. I was on the pill for 10 years and finally went off after we got married. We have been relying on the fertility awareness method/pulling out/occasional condoms for the last 10 months with success! My libido took a major boost right after I went off the pill and has remained higher than before. My husband and I both feel like sex is just… better. It’s hard to explain but even he says it feels more intense. Like he craves me in a different way now. Maybe TMI but would love to know if anyone else has experienced this too!

    • Erin says...

      Michelle — same here! I’ve been off the pill for a little over three years now, using condoms and FAM with great success. My libido (low) and emotions (dulled and yet simultaneously crazy) were the main reasons why I stopped taking hormonal birth control, and now I feel so much more like myself and in tune with my body. To your comment about your husband’s “craving” — I think my husband has said something along the same lines. I kind of think it has to do with him being more in tune with my natural ovulation cycle; i.e., now he can sense when I’m ovulating and feels this primal attraction to me during that time (and other times too!).

      Gotta love evolutionary biology :)

    • Michelle says...

      Erin – that is so interesting to hear!

  77. Beatrix says...

    I’m glad this topic was brought up. I’ve been in a relationship for 5 years (both in our early 30s), but our sex life has always been somewhat of an issue. For him, it’s sex or nothing. We never just “play around” with each other, foreplay happens rarely. Yes, we’ve talked about it a ton but both can’t point our finger to what is wrong. I’m starting to think we’re maybe not compatible in the bedroom…which is sad because we are awesome as a couple in every other way. Sometimes I suspect that part of the issue is that my boyfriend “grew up on porn” and does things that way. He really doesn’t seem to enjoy foreplay for its own sake, but treats is as something to get through to get to the good stuff. It makes me sad that things are this way between us and I’ve kept hoping that it would get better over time. I’m trying to decide how much of a deal breaker this is if I were to marry him.

    • Amanda says...

      Beatrix, I can totally relate. My husband and I are in our early 30s and have been together for 6 years. He is never into just making out, mutual masturbation, our fooling around that doesn’t include “the real deal.” For this reason I don’t feel bad about turning him down sometimes, because really, who wants to be penetrated every time their partner feels intimate? We talk about it and are affectionate in little ways daily. I don’t think it has to be sad. If you can both get to a place where you feel okay about the amount of sex you have, even if its not frequent, than there is a lot less stress about it. I think there is an assumption that couples are having SEX ALL THE TIME and when that doesn’t happen if a relationship people start to feel insecure. Also, if you don’t all ready listen to the Savage Lovecast. Dan has great commentary on “expanding your definition of sex.”

    • Leanne says...

      Ha! I didn’t grow up on porn, but on European art films. There’s no romance in porn, you know?

      Sometimes, I don’t want to have sex – I want to make out in an alley after flirting with my husband over wine at a cute cafe. Sometimes, I want to do things that remind me of when we first started dating, and were just figuring each other out – long walks, long talks, tentative kisses on the couch, etc. Even when we’re at home – sometimes I don’t want to bother taking my pants off, but I still want to kiss and maybe feel each other up.

      Usually, if/when we do things like that, we end up having sex, but it feels like there’s variety – and he’s not some one-trick pony. It feels romantic!

    • Amanda, thank you so much for this! I did feel bad about our sex life because with my previous boyfriend, there was so much intimacy and eroticism in our sex life that this sometimes just feels, well, bland. But he is my best friend and it’s just stunning to me how that area of our relationship just doesn’t seem to click. I will definitely check out that podcast! Thank you!

    • Beatrix, I can totally relate, as well as your description of it as “bland.” In my case it just feels like sensuality is lacking and it just becomes this “jackhammer until it’s over” thing every time. I think it is because my husband started having sex too young (14) and never really had experienced partners who asked or expected more of him? I’m not totally sure, but it makes me feel sad, and often unloved while we’re doing it. My past relationships have been so damaged in other ways but more sexually enlightened and satisfying it seems.

    • Yes to all your comments! Thank you for sharing ladies! I’m from Europe and my boyfriend is American, and I do think the cultural thing plays into our issues. And Mariel, everything you described is pretty much how it goes down with us. I’m sometimes relieved it’s over, but I also know *that’s* how he likes to make love, so I find it hard to criticize him for it. If I would, he would feel ashamed and self-conscious.

  78. Robin says...

    We’ve been married 10 years, 3 kids, and throughout all of it, except maybe as newlyweds, normal for us is about once every couple of weeks (on average, so we might have sex a few nights one week and not at all the rest of the month). He mostly initiates but it’s always great, and I feel that we’re both happy with the amount of sex. Through babies and breastfeeding there were longer stretches without sex, but I would always find my libido again once I stopped nursing the babies or got my period back. BUT I’m nearing forty, we’re done having kids, and suddenly sex is better than ever! For the last four or five months, I initiate as much as he does, and we’re having sex multiple times a week consistently every week! Love it!

    • TARA HART says...

      GO ROBIN!!!!!!!

  79. Teri says...

    I’ve been married 20 years and this has been an ongoing source of shame and heartbreak. When you are the only partner who initiates, and are turned down 99.9% of the time, when months stretch between any romantic contact beyond a peck, when your partner would rather watch porn than have a sexual relationship with you…it doesn’t matter if everything else is wonderful. You feel unloved, unwanted, unappreciated…and you consider adultery and divorce. Why should one partners lack of need mean that the other partner must starve? My husband’s sex drive is like the wind; it comes and goes without ever needing to be noticed. Mine is like a hunger that must be assuaged. Why must I be miserable to be moral?

    • Laura says...

      I’m so sorry about this heartbreaking situation. Constant rejection is almost unendurable. Could you try sex counseling? I know that after 20 years there is tons of baggage to sort through but if your husband is willing it could introduce some hope into your life. Even if you went alone you might be able to gain some perspective/coping techniques? Sincerely wishing you good luck. <3

    • MMA says...

      I was in the exact same situation for almost a decade. I finally chose divorce, and I’m so happy I don’t know why I waited and toughed it out so long.

      I really feel for what you’re going through.

  80. SunnyY says...

    I currently stay at home with my 2 kids (5.5 and 3) and the topic of sex is a touchy one ’round here! For a long time I felt pressured by my husband to have sex at least once a week (which he felt was too little). He even pressured me when I was sick with a cold (I gave in to shut him up). Sex became another chore for me, one that I felt I had make sure to check off or else deal with a cranky husband. He “checked for quarters” ALL the time and it put me on edge (felt guilty for rejecting). Quickies aren’t good enough for him but I’m too exhausted to offer anything more. I recently put my foot down and told him once a month is all I can handle in this current phase in our lives. We’ll see how our marriage pans out. I don’t enjoy sex any more with this pushy/needy husband at all ;(

  81. C says...

    This is a pretty touchy subject in our house, and we’ve been in counseling for it since our daughter was born. My husband’s sex drive is much higher than mine and up until recently he’s had to do 100% of the initiating; being rejected so much caused him to get pretty depressed and to stop initiating, which led to a lengthy dry spell and a lot of fighting. Our therapist recommended that I read Mating in Captivity by Esther Perel and it really opened my eyes. Perel talks about how new mothers change from getting their need for touch and sensuality satisfied by their husband, to their babies–this might sound a little strange, but it really clicked for me! I cuddled and snuggled my daughter all the time…instead of my husband. That need was totally satisfied during the day, and at night I had nothing left for my guy. To be honest, it still feels like this! But…I’m trying other ways to enhance my erotic life; I’ve always been a bit shy, even a little repressed, so it’s been sort of fun and interesting to explore this side of my life (but also…incredibly hard.) Anyway, I know that a lot of times we talk about this topic in a light-hearted way…but it can also be devastating to a lot of couples. I love my husband–so much!–but our erotic personalities have always been a struggle to match up. We avoided it for too long before we finally sought help. It’s helping! …but still a struggle at times. Thanks for bringing this up, Joanna. I’ve really loved reading these comments. Thanks, everyone, for sharing!

    • MK says...

      I can’t tell you how helpful/eye-opening this comment was for me! We’ve been married 15 years and I do get a lot of my touch needs met by cuddling/hugging my kiddos, so much so that when they’re in bed I don’t want anyone to touch me! My poor husband.

    • Melanie says...

      This is interesting to think about. I’m actually the initiator in my marriage not necessarily because my sex drive is higher but i’m just a much more physical/affectionate person and get SO much satisfaction and validation from affection/touch and yes, sex. My husband was raised in an opposite kind of environment so over the years his initiation of touch/advances has waned and it’s been admittedly disappointing. I’m now 34 weeks pregnant and there is a huge part of me that can’t wait to have another little one around to satisfy some of that physical/cuddle cravings.

  82. Natalie says...

    I am always the one to initiate sex. My husband may do something flirty, or something sexy like change the oil, then I am the one to initiate. I know he still finds me attractive after 7 years and a baby so I am confident to be the one to initiate sex. I think I enjoy it more this way bc I never feel pressured.

  83. Natalie says...

    Both in our 30’s, married for 10 years, 2 kids. We really make sex a priority. We both waited until marriage to have sex–including everything. Never saw each other naked until the big day ? We definitely have off times but we both make it a priority to be together at least twice a week and never regret it. Having our kids sleep well at night was super important for us so we knew we’d get adult and alone time consistently, whether it was for watching a movie or getting down. ? We talk about everything. Everything. So we know what’s going on, what we like, how to get in the mood. So, so important.

  84. Heather says...

    Jo, has Alex always had a beard since you two started dating? No offense, but I can’t stand kissing a man with a beard, let alone have sex with him. In fact, I’ve never ever been attracted to men with beards. (Sorry Alex!) Ever since my husband grew a beard about a year ago (and we’ve been married for 7 years), I find him so unattractive which explains why we’ve had a dry spell ever since. That’s right, a year. (Yes, we have two small children, but for me, the beard is the main reason for our dry spell. I always refuse, telling him that we can have sex once he shaves the beard.) He’s very proud of his beard and doesn’t want to shave it. I can’t be the only one who thinks kissing a man with a beard is so gross??? And not to mention so itchy and scratchy? How do you tolerate it, Jo??

    • Hi Heather,
      My husband has a full beard that is longer than I prefer. I would love for him to trim it up or shave it off completely, but like your husband, he finds pride in his beard. I try to think of how I would feel if he preferred my hair long and wouldn’t be intimate with me unless I grew my hair out. How hurt I would feel if he found me unattractive based on my own preferences of my appearance. My husband definitely is one who does not respond well to trying to be controlled or ultimatums, so he knows that I would like him to have a shorter beard, but I do my best to focus on the parts of him I adore (there are many!). I guess just trying to put yourself in his shoes might help some….I know it is super hard sometimes. I wish you the best of luck!

    • Jessica says...

      My boyfriend has had a short beard since the beginning of our relationship and I’ve asked him not to shave it because I love it so much. He doesn’t care either way. Beards are great (in my opinion), but I really can’t get down with a mustache… an ex of mine actually grew a mustache out of spite once because I cut my bangs. Clearly, that was a not a great relationship.

  85. Love this post and had so much fun reading the comments too. My hubs and I have been together almost 11 years, married for 5 next week (!!) – we were 21 when we got together (now I’m dating myself). We have a 2 year old daughter and I’m hoping we’ll be blessed with another little nugget in the next year or so. Enough background. I think that avoiding / overcoming a dry spell has a lot to do with being open to the possibility of sex, even on a normal unsexy night. Like, there’s a lot of gear switching after you have babies. One minute you could be putting the baby to bed, then washing dishes, then …. ?. You have to allow yourself the space to still be a sexual being while being everything else. Easier said than done! In our marriage I think that I’m the one that leaves the door open (I’m a flirt by nature, I can’t really help it) but the hubs is usually the one to officially get things going. And, let’s face it – somethings you might not feel like it initially, but after a minute ?! Just being open can go a long way.

  86. Jessica says...

    It’s interesting how all over the board couples are with sex. I have a close friend that talks about her and her husband going months without having sex. Besides when I first gave birth to each of our children, we have never even gone a week. Sure, with small babies it falls to 1-2 times a week. But when they are older, it happens at least every other day. We have an unspoken rule that if all the kids are asleep at one time, that means it’s go time! As for initiating it, I would say both of us do it just as much. And neither one of us really ever shuts the other down.

  87. Anne E says...

    I’m curious as to how people are defining what counts as sex. My fiance occasionally talks about not having as much sex as other people, but he’s referring to 1-2x week we have intercourse (hello, awkward health class terminology!) whereas I consider the multiple oral encounters weekly as part of our “total”!

    • Jessica says...

      Oral totally counts!

  88. Savannah says...

    This is a loaded topic for me.
    We have 2 kids, ages 6 and 3 and go through loooong dry spells (other than when trying to conceive). There are a couple of issues at play.
    1. I struggle to find my husband attractive, and it’s made even more complicated by constantly seeing him in the role of “daddy”, and the general drudgery of every day life. I just find it so hard to switch modes from mother/organiser to sexy partner. Proper kissing has been off the table for so long I can’t even remember.
    2. He never initiates either. What is that? Then we never talk about it so it’s become this big elephant in the room kind of deal. I actually have no idea how he feels about and and am too scared to bring it up (the question of why he never initiates) because if I do then I need to deal with the response.

    Generally in day to day life we get on fine, but this is something hanging over both of our heads.

    • Gogogramma says...

      Please don’t hesitate to talk to him. I am undoubtedly older than most respondees here (63). We did not have sex due to a knee surgery he had that went bad and sex was put on the back burner. Still is and its been 8 years…. YEARS. We did not talk about it, time went by, still no discussion. Now, we are divorcing after 40 years of marriage because we were afraid to bring it up.
      If you love him, talk to him. You will eventual get old and wish you had a partner you can share with. I do

    • I am totally in that same situation & it’s gone on so long & become so awkward that we’ve just morphed into roommates, wtf? I don’t know what to do, but the thought of initiating something after this dry spell freaks me right out! :/

    • Alexa says...

      You should talk about this with your husband, you sound really unhappy

    • Kate says...

      Shame Savannah you sound like you guys are going through a hard time. Something I find works is watching my hubby be Daddy and channeling all that love for him and our babies into something more sexy. If that makes sense! I let that love at him being a good Daddy spill over into loving him as a man. And please, please bring it up! Sex is crucial to a happy marriage and I’m sure he will be so relieved you addressed the elephant in the room. Most often they are just trying to be supportive of the dry spell, knowing we are exhausted mothers.

    • Beatrix says...

      I am so grateful for the raw honesty of your post. I am in a similar situation and don’t what exactly is happening.

    • K says...

      Believe me, you’re far from alone. This has been my past few years and we don’t even have children.

    • Pat says...

      I’m in almost exactly the same situation as you are, Savannah, though my kids are 7 and 5, married 11 years. The difference between your situation and mine is that my husband and I have talked extensively about it. Unfortunately, after all the talking I still don’t find him attractive, and he still doesn’t initiate, but it was his desire for me that fueled our sex life early on in our relationship. He very timid and doesn’t want to ever seem pushy, yet when we became parents it always seems to him I’m tired or stressed and he doesn’t want to impose. As I have no desire of my own to initiate, it just doesn’t happen. As parents and life partners we’re a great team, but yes, this has been and remains a huge problem for us.

    • Mandy says...

      Oh my god- I can’t thank you enough for this. Thank you for speaking so openly. You are not alone and just hearing others stories makes me a teeny bit braver to face this situation head on.

    • Pat, things are nearly identical in my relationship (except no kids). We talk about our lack of sex a lot, but never come to a conclusion. Our relationship essentially began because he was in love with me, and I wasn’t with him, but hoped I would because he is an otherwise great guy. 6 years later, we barely have sex (once every 2-3 months), and he doesn’t initiate because he feels he’s “forcing” me when I’m not clearly in the mood. When he initiates, I force myself to try to go along with it, because sometimes it has gotten me in the mood, but I also feel guilty for not providing him with more, so yes, occasionally it does feel forced, and he feels terrible, etc. It’s just a huge mess and the hours we’ve spent talking about it have changed nothing.

    • karen says...

      Thank you so much for your honesty, Savannah! My husband & I are in our mid 40’s with a 4 year old. I’ve had some health stuff, etc. etc. Needless to say we’re in a dry spell. Oh, and we’ve been together 16 years. So, this is the elephant in the room for us too. I’ve talked to my therapist about it and she said the simplest and best thing, ” Maybe it’s okay that sex isn’t happening right now”.

    • M. says...

      You are not alone. We are in a very similar situation made worse by sexual performance issues on my husband’s side. I wouldn’t dream of touching him because I cannot handle the rejection, he won’t touch me because he’s scared of letting me down once again. It’s very hard to be sexually attracted to him any more. But I love the guy. He’s a good dad and a good friend. Nothing is so bad that I’d uproot the kids life by leaving him. But I’m almost 40 and feel like I’m facing a life of no sex. I hate this.

    • Rachel says...

      This is deeply resonant with me too. We’ve been married for 11 years (together 15) and sex is fraught with emotional baggage. For years, I felt like I was undesirable, but, in time, I stopped desiring my husband too. It’s such a tangled mess because I *want* to be passionately in love with my husband, who is such a great man. He’s funny and kind and a wonderful partner in other ways. But intimacy? I don’t know how to get there. This post and these comments are so brave and true, and I’m so thankful.

    • M says...

      PLEASE, PLEASE do find the courage to communicate your struggles with your husband. I thought my marriage of 24 years was safe until I discovered my husband was having an affair. All this could have been avoided if we had communicated with each other about that “big elephant in the room”. A marriage without sex is not a healthy marriage! Now, I’m devastated. Please talk to your husband.

  89. Noni says...

    Thanks for opening up this topic – it’s so interesting to hear everyone’s different situations.
    When our baby was 6 months old, I took him for his check-up with the state health nurse. Amongst all the usual questions, she asked me if my husband and I were back to having a sex-life again, and when I said No, her reply was: “But you must! Otherwise you’re just like a sister and a brother living together!”
    I thought her comment was rude, blunt and patently untrue … But anyway it kind of shocked me into action. My husband had been waiting patiently for me to “be ready”, but even though I wasn’t feeling sexy, I said we should go for it. It turned out to be a very counter-intuitive thing, where I only started feeling sexy again AFTER we did it.
    All part of getting used to life with a baby, I suppose ?

  90. Cle says...

    Currently pregnant (with twins!) and have a wild three year old as well, so we are experiencing an extreme drought in these parts! It sounds bad, but I think both of us are okay with this – he has never had a very strong drive and while I used to feel we were unbalanced (I wanted it more), I’ve also noticed a decline in my libido (especially now that I’m wiped out from pregnancy hormones/physical demands). Trying for baby #2 was tough! Anyway, this dry spell may go for more than a year but I’m fine with that. It took us a while to get back into things after our first kid as well. Our relationship is about a lot more than sex these days and I like that!

  91. KC says...

    My boyfriend and I are both single parents but have similar schedules with our kids. A friend told me she read somewhere that single parents have the steamiest sex lives – ha! I find it true. We have sex whenever we are together. Given our schedules, we can’t always “wait until tomorrow” so we always make an effort on our nights together. The dry spell is dictated by the schedule but never more than a week. Works great for us!

  92. Alli says...

    My husband has had difficulty, um, sustaining throughout sex due to anxiety. It (sex) lasts about 5 minutes. He’s embarrassed and I’m frustrated, but I don’t want to say anything else (the MD told him to not stress about it) in case it ratchets up his anxiety. It’s been over a month.

    • Ile says...

      Hi Ally! I have been married for almost 7 months now. Together with my now husband for 7 years prior to marriage. When we got married, we each got sick (really bad colds!) one after the other, and due to the medication he was given, he lost his erection once. This made him very self conscious and we went about a month where he did not want to initiate and would not respond when I tried. I looked for a lot of information on this subject and found that even one time when this happens can make him very anxious and afraid that it might happen again. This is a self-fulfilling prophecy, since he’s so anxious he might lose it that it is all he can think about when he is with you. It’s very important that you are 100% clear that it is not your fault.

      After looking for information, I found that it helps to keep the pressure of actual intercourse and penetration off of him. The way we were able to work on this is first to go slowly, only kissing and touching with our clothes on, then off. Then build it up slowly to hand play, then oral play. Little by little every day, he felt more and more confident and is now able to maintain his erection for a longer period of time. It’s important to them not to feel pressured to perform. It also helps to watch some erotic videos together while you play.

      I hope this helps!

    • Leanne says...

      My husband was on a medication that had that side effect – for years! Even when we first started dating, he experienced that side effect. It was really hard for me – sometimes, I openly cried when it happened. (There were some REALLY low points.) I remember being so frustrated. On some level, at the time, I felt like he wasn’t truly attracted to me, or like I was ugly – which is a horrible feeling to have early on in a relationship.

      Eventually, he changed medications, and the problem went away (He was shocked). Now it feels like a distant memory, and I wonder why I was ever so upset, I’m so certain of his attraction to me. We also now laugh about the really low point times.

      I know it sounds nuts, but now I’m happy we went through it. We had so many awkward, uncomfortable conversations – but I’m so glad we did. I was really open with him about how it made me feel – like how frustrated I was, and how I felt like a failure, and that he wasn’t attracted to me. He was so sweet, and assured me that wasn’t the case. He was open with me too, about how frustrated he was, and how it made him feel like a failure, and I could assure him that I didn’t think that. I think us talking about it is what spurred him to try changing his medication.

      Also – this may not be your style – but I found buying a vibrator really helped. Sometimes, if something wasn’t working out, we’d just switch it up and play around, so sex became a more playful time. At first, he was a little hesitant, but he quickly changed his mind.

    • Alli says...

      Thank you both so much! It definitely makes me feel better to have your perspectives.

  93. ha! I like Alex’s style. I feel like it goes through phases on who initiates – right now I am almost 6 months pregnant and not feeling sexy, so my hubby has had to be the ones to put on the moves…. but if you were to rewind a few month I was basically dragging him in our bedroom every chance I could get… and then there are the times that we are both stressed, tired, and more in the mood for a movie – and honestly that is just as rewarding sometimes. I don’t think it really matters who makes the move, as long as you are on the same page!

  94. Sarah says...

    My husband and I are in our early 30s. We’ve been together for 10 years and I would say he initiates 75% of the time which I am really happy about it makes me feel desired and connected but if we go a couple days without sex then I will initiate. I feel like if too much time goes by it creates an uneasy energy between us. A couple of friends have been complaining to me lately about dry spells, I can’t stop thinking about that and I can’t relate. We have sex on average around 5 days a week, this is after 10 years and 4 kids. So I’ve been thinking that maybe it has to do with our religious upbringing. My husband and I were brought up really religious and masterbating was a big no no. So I’m figuring that couples who aren’t having sex are going solo? I feel like it’s ok to be tired or not in the mood every once in a while but happy bedroom = happy home for everyone. Also I’ve found that I don’t always have to be “in the mood” if he initiates and I go with it I will get in the mood.

    • E says...

      Dang Sarah, I’m impressed!

  95. A says...

    This is such an interesting topic and one I’ve been thinking a lot about lately. We’re both 32 years old and we’ve been together for about 1,5 year and living together for about 5 months so I feel like we should still be in the early “I want you all the time” kind of phase. We usually have sex 2-3 times a week but considering I initiate maybe 10-12 times a week it feels like getting shot down a lot! The worst is when I get hurt and sad and angry with him for being too tired, too stressed out or too practical (“after I’ve finished this or that” he says and gives me a quick kiss). It gets worse when I accuse him of not wanting me or thinking I’m too fat and ugly (hello insecurities!) because honestly, who gets turned on by a whiny insecure person anyway!? When we talk about it he actually feels likes we initiate 50-50 but it definitely doesn’t feel like that for me. It’s SO great to read all the comments and get a more balanced view of the situation. We’ve never really had dry spells – I think the 10 days I spent in Tanzania for work are the longest we’ve gone without having sex, so considering “normal” couples might have 2-3 weeks dry spells without that meaning that the relationship is crap makes me feel A LOT better, and maybe like I should stop initiating (trying) so much because honestly sometimes I actually do just want to sleep but feel like I should try to get something going because “I have a night shift tomorrow and then he’ll be out of town for two nights and so we have to do it tonight otherwise we might go 4 or 5 nights without having sex!” – and after writing that it sounds so crazy I’m definitely going to stop doing it!! ? Anyways, thanks for the post and the great comments, they just might have saved my relationship ?

    • SW says...

      I love that someone else is as crazy as me! It’s so hard to get out of your own head though when you feel like you’re always initiating and being rejected- I always end up getting upset worrying that he doesn’t fancy me anymore, and then feel worse because I didn’t want to come across as whiny and insecure. It’s a vicious circle- I wish I could just be like him and go with the flow without worrying that a week without sex means there is something deeper wrong with our relationship! This article makes me feel a bit better too, especially your comment, and makes me see that it’s probably my own confidence/insecurities I need to work on more than anything else.

  96. Mel says...

    My husband and I have been trying to conceive for a few
    months and that has completely changed sex for us. We are much more open about it, but it is really hard to get into when you’re having it everyday or every other day for 2 weeks. I also intitiate it every time which I wouldn’t normally do! The rest of the month I can’t even bear to think about having sex again, ha!

  97. Edwina says...

    Love this post!

    My best mate and I were talking about sex in long term relationships the other day, and she made the most awesome comparison between sex… and breakfast.

    One doesn’t always feel like breakfast, but it’s good for you (both) if you make the effort to have it. Some days it will be an unexciting piece of toast, but other days you’ll get pancakes.

    Maybe part of the pressure on sex in relationships is the expectation that it always has to be amazing.

    • KATHLEEN says...

      oh my gosh I love this analogy, thanks for sharing (and now I want pancakes :)

  98. Sarah Jane says...

    Ha! Alex and I have similar philosophies, though I have a different saying. “If you stick your finger in enough pies, one’s bound to come up blueberry.” (Oddly, I think that expression came from the Anne of Green Gables series, but was definitely not about sex when LMM said it.)
    I’d say we have sex 2 or 3 times a week, unless we have a weekend when we have more free time, in which case that count goes way up. We’ve had a few 1-2 week dry spells, usually a result of long work hours.
    For reference: Early 30’s, engaged to a woman, together 2.5 years, no kids yet.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Hahaha I love that!

  99. Sigrid says...

    Hmmmm….no comments from tired from work 45 year olds who have been married since 24, and together since 19, with two large dogs who sleep in between you and get upset when you touch each other…? Dry spells take on a whole new meaning (it ends on vacations). Maybe a different post for you.?????

    • Keeley says...

      Uuuhh, maybe get the dogs out of the bed then? I have dogs and love them too, but they shouldn’t be in charge. You should! It would probably help to get the pups their own beds or a crate, we bribe ours with treats so they have no problems sleeping in a crate at night :)

  100. This is such a wonderful conversation! We are about to celebrate 23 years together and I have to say that my drive has generally been the stronger one…though there are many times it varies (pregnancy, breastfeeding, depression, etc). Generally in my friend group I am the only one that initiates…though I am happiest when he does, or when we are more equal in it! I love feeling desired, and that we are both on the same level of emotion. It’s been a journey that is always changing, that’s for sure!

  101. I’m 22 and my boyfriend and I have been together 4 years. From skimming through the comments, I think I’m maybe the youngster in this crowd, but in our case, it’s pretty much him initiating 75% of the time. I used to feel hurt when I would initiate and he wouldn’t be in the mood but we both realized pretty soon that not being in the mood is not something ‘personal.’ We’re just pretty tired. We haven’t had sex in two months because I’ve been visiting my parents before law school (which I hope doesn’t extend the dry spell) but I like that when one of us is away, it reignites the spark. The biggest issue we’ve had in terms of our sex lives is trying to keep the spark alive. Sounds weird but being young and being ‘coupled off’ for so long sometimes makes me feel kind of guilty that I’m not out there ‘enjoying my 20s.’ Whenever we’ve felt like that, we realize that we both know each other so well at this point that we don’t waste time over the insecurities and instead we have so much time to explore and switch it up.

  102. Haley says...

    Never really thought about this. We’re pretty 50/50 on this and generally if it’s initiated its almost never turned down. We’ve definitely had dry spells (ugh for after baby, breastfeeding, and pregnancy hormones), but it still seems like we’re always on the same page.

  103. Alex says...

    For me it totally depends on whether I’m on birth control and/or nursing. When I had an IUD and was nursing I had ZERO interest in getting to it. As soon as I stopped nursing and had the IUD removed I was ready to go, like all the time.

  104. sarah says...

    We’ve been married almost 9 years. The first year was a consistent 2x a week. But I’m a teacher and at the end of the day, I’m beat. So we go through seasons: during the summer, I have lots of energy so we make up for the fact that during the school year, it’s 1x every week or every other week. Needless to say, my husband loves June, July, and August.

  105. Audrey says...

    This post had me laughing! My husband and I have been together since college, about 14 years now, and in the beginning I definitely did a lot of the initiating. Fast forward to getting married, having 2 kids, working full time etc… and my husband is typically the one asking for it. He has a similar approach to Alex in that he will ask every single night, even if he knows the answer is no, in hopes that he might get lucky. It actually drives me crazy because I feel like a jerk rejecting him multiple times a week!!

    On a side note, you made a post a while back about making time to have sex, and one of the suggestions was having a quickie while the kids watched tv. At the time I thought there was no way I would enjoy it, but it turns out it is literally the best time to have sex!! I still have energy at that point in the evening, so it’s more enjoyable for everyone. Thankfully the interruptions of “can I have an apple cutted up??” being yelled from the living room don’t seem to kill the mood ;)

    • Cait says...

      I feel the same way! Like a terrible wife when I say no (or hint really hard at it), even though he understands. I like Alex’s perspective, it makes me feel less guilty! I don’t know if I have ever initiated. It’s out of my comfort zone for sure, but I know my husband would be thrilled, especially in this after-third-baby, nursing for four years stage where I’m feeling ‘touched out’ all the time (having never experienced it with the first two). This is a good encouragement…

  106. J says...

    Thank you for this post! I feel like I’m going to end up sounding like I’m venting. My husband and I are in our early (me) to mid-30’s (him). We’ve been together for 7 years. Usually he initiates but it’s on the weekends. He’s too tired after work to feel frisky. I’ve lately been trying to initiate more to try to break the “schedule” but it’s really frustrating bec I get shot down more often than not due to his weekday fatigue. It makes me feel self conscious to be the one with the more voracious appetite. =/

  107. Mandy says...

    This is so interesting to me. In all my previous relationships, I never initiated. But with my current boyfriend, I feel like I do it 8/10. I just feel so good with him, and so attracted, that I can’t help myself! He is normally pretty happy too :) A few times he hasn’t been in the mood, and it was a bit weird for me to deal with at first. We have been told that men always ‘want it’ but he is a human who has bad days, feels gross, gets tummy aches, headaches, or is just plain exhausted. And that is fine. That is what weekends are for :) I find we have sex 1-3 times a week (we have been together for 2 years).

    This is also a bit weird, but I keep track of sex in my period app. It helps me keep a pulse on our relationship, and it has encouraged me to talk about sex more, both to myself and to him, which is a huge step for me.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      That’s a great idea!

      Also I agree that men shouldn’t be expected to be in the mood all the time. Imagine if we were talking about massages instead of sex. You wouldn’t be offended if you partner said “thanks but I’m happy reading my book and don’t want a massage right now.” But somehow sex is this thing we feel has societal expectations and bigger meanings etc. it makes it feel more dramatic when really it’s simple if you’re both in the mood that day or not!

      Great points, Mandy!

  108. Ana says...

    At about the 6-year point in my relationship, both of our sex drives took a major crash. We used to be multiple-times-per-week people and now it’s probably 3-4 times per month. (I’ve been struggling with vulvodynia which doesn’t help at all). He usually initiates. I miss the high-drive days and the “have to have you” feeling but I’m mostly just glad that our sex drives are lower together! It would be much harder if only one of us was wanting it all the time.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Totally! Always a bonus to have your sex drives aligned. Also this might be TMI but have you guys ever tried role play? Or even just pretending you’re on your first date? It can bring up some of those initial butterflies if you get into it!

    • Ashley says...

      I had extreme vulvodynia for the first 5! Years of our sexual relationship. At first my birth control caused it and my body then learned to tense with penetration. It was a long road to having “normal” pain free sex. I hope you find an answer because I know that it affects everything about your sex life. Good luck!

    • Heather says...

      Ana, I literally feel your pain! I was diagnosed with vulvodynia about 6 months ago and it has definitely been difficult, emotionally as much as physically.

      Actually I think it would be an interesting blog topic. It’s a chronic pain diagnosis that some healthcare providers aren’t great at identifying, but millions of women will experience it in their lifetime.

      It kills me how little attention major media still pays to health issues that only impact women. This blog has been a long-time favorite of mine for its thoughtful coverage of women’s experiences and interests (both the serious and the light).

      Alright, that’s my pitch!

      Ana, wishing you all the good feels!

    • Jen says...

      I struggled with vulvodynia for the first 7 years of our marriage. It is probably why, after almost 14 years of marriage, I am the only one who initiates sex. I think he gave up after a while. We have had to make a schedule and stick to it otherwise we can go for super long periods of time without anything happening! It is only once a week right now, but it is consistent, which is good.

    • Erin says...

      Omgosh. i think you ladies just gave me an answer as to what is wrong with me! like 6 or 7 years ago i got an IUD, and after that my sex drive crashed, and I also found sex PAINFUL. so i had the IUD removed and went on the pill. but ever since I still find sex painful which i’ve talked to my gynecologist about. I’ve even had my blood levels tested and it’s shown that my hormone levels are INSANELY low, so no sex drive and pain = sex drought. It’s frustrating for my husband because he feels i should be in the peak of my sex drive. gonna look into vulvodynia more!

    • Emma says...

      Ana, Ashley, Heather, Jen – my eyes are welling up with tears to see that there are other women out there (not to mention CoJ readers!) who also struggle with vulvodynia. I’ve been with my boyfriend for 4 years and have suffered from vulvodynia since soon after we started dating (at least I got to enjoy those first few months of blissful, honeymoon-phase sex).

      Last year I finally found a doctor who recognized what it is (so thankful, I had some VERY unsuccessful, somewhat traumatic experiences with other OBGYNs) and is very empathetic and helpful. It’s definitely a bit better but not even close to what I used to be like. She’s suggested I start PT but I can’t find a single person who will take my insurance and as a student, simply can’t afford to pay out of pocket for expensive ($250 a session!!) treatments. It’s been a struggle, to say the least. I’m only 26 and I fear my whole life will be a battle with painful sex. :(

      Thankfully my partner is extremely supportive, patient, and kind, but I know it impacts our sex life (and of course, our relationship) in an unfortunate way. Every once in a while we have successful, pain-free sex (thanks to lidocaine + my other treatments), and I honestly fist pump the air after it’s so exciting.

      Like Heather, I would LOVE to see this as a blog topic. So many women suffer in silence from painful sex – more awareness is definitely needed!!

    • lexi says...

      New Yorkers with vulvodynia — run, don’t walk, to RENEW PT.

      I saw these ladies for different postpartum issues, and they are serious and have innovative treatments that work. Your doctor probably won’t know how to help you, but these gals DO.

      http://renewpt.com/

    • Jen says...

      Emma, I completely understand not being able to afford PT. I never did any for the same reason. My OB prescribed a cream that would numb the area where I was having the most pain, and it did help some. But it was such a mood killer to be like, “Oh, wait just a minute while I numb myself.” After having three babies, my pelvic floor is very different and pain is no longer an issue for me. But my husband and I still struggle with the aftermath of years of painful intercourse. The aftermath being that we have infrequent sex.
      Vulvodynia is one of those things that no one talks about. There is not much awareness, even among OBGYN’s.

    • Ana says...

      Wow, such awesome responses to my comment, it’s really wonderful to hear the solidarity! Just for anyone else who is reading this and also has vulvodynia, I urge you not to “just deal with it” but continue to try to get medical help! I’ve seen a variety of doctors and OBGYNs and while it’s not all the way gone it’s a lot better (the numbing cream and physical therapy have been the most helpful for me). Good luck everyone, it’s not easy!

    • Heather says...

      I’m late coming back to the comments party, but I just want to say that your comments give me chills, it’s just great to feel the solidarity. If any of you ladies are interested in a google group or something along those lines to further connect, I’d be down!

  109. teegan says...

    We’re seven years into our relationship, six years into our marriage, with two littles (16 mo and just about 4). Aside from occasional weekend nap time quickies, the good night kiss is the barometer. If one of us lingers longer than a peck, it’s an invitation, and it also is nice because you can sort of propose intimacy without getting “shot down” or feeling pushy; just kiss fast before the other person has time to try.
    Aside from postpartum (which was ~7 weeks each time), our dry spells these days are about two weeks before we both get a little crazy. I know women who have no interest (they call themselves “sexual camels” or even “sexual cicadas” since having their kids, though.

    • We are also fans of the lingering kiss barometer! ;)

  110. Joanna says...

    As a newly wed of two months, I’m still trying to figure out what’s ‘normal sex for newlyweds’ and not obsess over ‘haven’t had sex in four days should we be having more’. I’m 40, first marriage and wonder what a ‘dry spell’ is for a newly married? :) 2-3 weeks might feel like eternity to my husband, especially since we waited until we were married to have sex :)

    • C says...

      We waited too, which I’m sure makes a difference! But I still don’t think there’s a number or comparison. Open communication and meeting each other’s needs is the goal, not some expectation!

    • Jill says...

      High 5 for waiting till after marriage! I agree with C about not focusing on the number. Just talk about it so you stay on the same page, but what feels right to one couple may be too much or too little for another couple. Even as early 20s newlyweds, my guy and I rarely had sex more than once per week and have gone through WAY dryer times with babies and breastfeeding. I’ve heard of couples who were of a less-physical nature and were content to have sex once per year! Just to throw out a few examples on the flip side of the 4-5/week(!).

      Btw, I almost always initiate, which doesn’t bother either of us :)

  111. MW says...

    I would define “normal” dry spell as 2-3 weeks too. When I was postpartum with our first kid, we had a big ol’ dry spell that I think was fueled by this negative feedback cycle of breastfeeding, hormones, vaginal dryness, and exhaustion. Months into it, I talked to my midwife about it and she laid out the options but really recommended that we get back on the horse and just try to have some sex. She prescribed a visit to the local adult boutique for some good lube to help with dryness. I went home and told my husband and he said “I love that midwife”. Then he promptly drove me to the store where I quietly told them my midwife sent me and they were super helpful and supportive. I think dry spells are not always a bad thing, but i always think of her advice to keep your expectations low and just get back at it. It’s never good the first time after a dry spell, but the second or third time…

  112. Sara says...

    Sex after ? is like the last thing on my mind — these boobs are definitely ?closed for business at the moment…buttttt I know my patient husband has some other thoughts. Been working on it and all these comments are so helpful! FYI, I’ve also been liking this new app, Spright, that has free conversations with experts…and they have a therapist/PT talking all things sex after baby tomorrow. You can use my code to get in: moms3

    https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/spright/id1051146814?mt=8

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Thank you!! Ps love the emojis :)

  113. Quincy M says...

    Love this topic! We just celebrated our first anniversary and we do go through small dry spells. But for the most part we do it more days than not. When we first got married I thought he would always want it so when he didn’t, I went to bed feeling shot down or embarrassed. When I realized it is okay if he doesn’t want to/or if I don’t want to things got much easier. It is a lot of fun being intimate when you are comfortable and honest with each other. I am so enjoying this time before children as I know it will not always be like this.

  114. Lauren says...

    It’s hard to figure out isn’t it? I find that many times the thing I want most during a ‘dry spell’ is more connectedness with my spouse, but for whatever reason, when you get out of the sex zone of wanting each other like crazy several times a week (in normal non-pregnant, non-postpartum land), it can be so hard to find your way back and get in a good groove.

    I’m pregnant with our second, and because of some issues in the first trimester, I’ve been on ‘pelvic rest’ for almost 2 months. We seem to be out of the woods now, but with all the hormone upheaval of early pregnancy, sex is literally the last thing on my mind.

    Seasons come and go, and thankfully I feel better about sex in this pregnancy than in my first, because I know things will reach that good equilibrium again, and I’m not stuck in this sexless existence forever, which I totally feared in my daughter’s pregnancy.

    Thanks for chatting about this, such an interesting topic.

  115. yael steren says...

    Well i’m not married, but when I’m dating a guy I have no trouble initiating! Also lol on Alex’s quote! xx yael

    http://www.yaelsteren.com/blog/

  116. Frances says...

    Oh man, love this post. Thanks, Joanna. — For us, a dry spell is like 2-3 weeks? It never used to be that long (is that even long??) but I had two miscarriages back-to-back two years ago and it STILL feels like we haven’t gotten back to where we were.

  117. Lindsay says...

    I hate initiating bc I feel like he will if he is interested. He says he’s always interested. Anyway, this past pregnancy I had a unique side effect, i seriously felt like a teenage boy! Unfortunately. My husband gets turned off once the belly gets big, which it did pretty early, with it being my third baby. He went from initiating several times a week, he knew it was better than ever for me, to not initiating ever after my belly got bigger. It made me very sad and angry at him. Who knows if it will ever be that great for me ever again? : (

  118. Gigi says...

    Just wanted to add my own voice to the mix as a non-married 28-year-old woman in a committed relationship. Dry spells aren’t just for marriages–we have them too! And we aren’t even married yet! Life in your mid-late 20s can be as hectic and emotionally volatile as any other age, if not more so because you are still getting comfortable in your own skin. Sometimes I feel too insecure. Sometimes he’s too tired. But we work hard to carve out space for our physical relationship and nurture it.

  119. Anonymous says...

    We had our sixth baby four months ago. Our older kids are 12, 10, 7,5, and 2 (they were all planned, by the way :). Our sex life is awesome. I don’t always get a lot of sleep, I’m often exhausted, but we still manage 2-3 times a week. My husband probably initiates about 75% of the time, mostly because I like it when he does. It makes me feel desired and attractive at a time when I don’t always feel that way. I think the longest dry spell was when we did it once in a four week period (he was a surgery intern and working 90+ hours a week). We often still act like newlyweds–constantly touching, hugging, kissing (nothing gross, I assure you) in front of our kids. We genuinely adore each other. A few weeks ago we were kissing in the hall outside the bathroom where our 5-year-old was taking a bath. She said, “Ugh. We get it! You’re married! Get over it!”. Lucky for her, I don’t think we ever will :)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Hahahahaha love that!!!

  120. m. says...

    Ugh this is a source of stress! My boyfriend and I have been together less than a year but I feel like he doesn’t initiate as much as one might expect, in such a new relationship. And as someone else said, it’s important for me to feel desired — so I’ll initiate sometimes but it makes me feel kind of resentful even if he says yes! I would say it actually might be closer to 50/50 in terms of initiating than I realize, maybe sometimes 40 him/60 me — I guess I just expected him to constantly be chasing me around the bed for a while. I expected it to be 100 him/0 me because I didn’t think I’d have to ever initiate in the first year of a relationship!

    • Beatrix says...

      You know what? This is a huge source of (probably unjustified) resentment in my relationship too. We’ve been together for 5 years but my boyfriend rarely initiated from the start, and it makes me feel undesired and unattractive sometimes. He says he also likes to feel desired and sometimes won’t initiate just for that reason. We’ve gone for weeks without sex because he’s pouty about not being chased, and I’m amazed that he’ll actively refuse sex because he would have to initiate!

  121. Sarah D. says...

    Love this topic. We’ve been together for 16 years and have 3 kids – 5 years and younger…it’s a crazy, loud, exhausting and funny time in our relationship. We must have had a good dry spell at some point for my husband to declare, “yoga, sex, meditation…pick one”. This is now something we do everyday and end up having more sex as a result of just feeling more grounded. I keep a jar or coconut oil in my nightstand and this helps me get in the mood even when I’d rather just sleep. I hope everyone out there finds a way back to each other…it can be soooo difficult while raiding little ones.

    • I love this! “Yoga, sex, meditation…pick one”. Brilliant! I also keep a jar of Coconut Oil close by!

  122. Great post! Married 4 years, together 13. Dry spells for us are about 2-3 weeks. I think the longest we have gone without is 6 weeks. We are trying to conceive our first so I definitely initiate more when I think I am close to ovulating. He initiates quite a bit outside of my fertile window, and I try to be up for it whenever he does because I think, “what if?” 14 months in, I think baby-making sex is more fun for him than it is for me. I don’t always feel like it, but I know we’re not going to get pregnant without doing it!

    • I forgot about the 7 months we spent apart while I was studying in England! Talk about a dry spell!

  123. I don’t think I could ever get to the point where I initiate more than my husband. It’s practically constant, haha. He is always checking for quarters, lol! I have to remind him every now and then to tone it down a notch so that I have a chance to make a move every once in awhile. :)

  124. Grace says...

    WOW this makes me feel so much better and couldn’t have been posted at a better time! I struggle with depression and body image issues so I am literally NEVER in the mood, whereas my husband is down 100% of the time. He used to initiate it every other night or so, but after quite a few rejections he gave up, which made me feel terrible for multiple reasons (“will he look elsewhere?” “why doesn’t he just try harder?” – unfair I know.)

    I’d say our longest dry spell was about a month, and it’s so nice to hear other people have this same timeline! I thought I was being a bad wife and felt very much alone in this, especially after hearing SO many people talk about relationships being at their most optimal and healthy with sex 3x/week MINIMUM. Thank you so much for posting this!

  125. Katie K. says...

    Right now we’re having amazing sex several times a week. Not sure why exactly (NOTHING to do with me watching Outlander, I promise,?) and I’d say the initiation is about 50/50, but it’s probably the first time in our marriage that it hasn’t been more like 80/20. (With him being the primary initiator.)
    However, I’m two months away from giving birth, and when our first baby was born, it took us so long to get back to any sort of normal sex life. For starters, I had to wait 10 whole weeks before my OB gave me the go-ahead, thanks to 46 stitches ::down there:: and then our baby was such a terrible terrible sleeper that we ended up co-sleeping for about 6 months.
    Knowing this time could be different is helping some, but I get so depressed and anxious every time I think about the inevitable drought coming up. I feel like we are so much more in sync when we’re able to have sex and fall asleep in a tangle of naked arms and legs rather than falling asleep with a baby between us.
    Do I sound selfish? Probably, but I don’t mean to! I’m so thankful to be a mama. Those first six months are just ROUGH, am I right??

    • lisa says...

      We got married young (22 and 21 respectively) and we’ve now been married 15 years with two little kids (5 and 2) who routinely wake up in the middle of the night. I feel like my husband is the primary initiator because, as he says, he’s always in the mood. I’m totally done at the end of the day – tapped out from work and parenting – but I try and make sure that I figure a way out to either initiate or concede (that sounds terrible!). I’m always happy I did and we are so much more connected and thoughtful of each other when are sex life is regular.

    • Lexi says...

      I think Outlander is having a very positive influence on the world… I love that show!

    • Molly Sarah says...

      I hear you. I have a 1 year old and a 6 year old. We co-slept at first then moved each of the kids into their room. I love snuggling my kids, but I also love having my bed as space just for my husband and I. This has helped us to continue having a decent sex life even with two little kids. Selfish? Yes, but some times we need to be selfish to maintain familial harmony and balance.

    • Lindsay says...

      I love that Jamie Frazier!

    • Allie says...

      I hear you, Katie! I’m still in post-birth recovery mode and hanging in there. This life phase definitely brings up the “who initiates?” question and mixes it with “how do I show interest without needing to get TOO intimate?”. I tuned into a discussion on Intimacy After Baby with an MFT, and that really helped. It was on an app called Spright. Hope this helps you too!

    • Gaby says...

      Hey Katie,

      Just wanted to chime in with some solidarity. I also had extensive tearing and stitching (and a subsequent reaction to the stitches) with my first birth, which meant that we couldn’t even try for penetrative sex for four months, and it was still painful at a year postpartum. For me, I found that it’s not just the physical pain, but also the emotional trauma of having the most private part of you be ripped to shreds. My husband was super understanding and great, but I don’t think he really got it until I was like, “Imagine if your penis had been torn in half and then sewn back together…” I think that conveyed my psychological stress to him.

      I’m a month out from having our second and my number one goal is not to tear (this was also my goal with my first, but my birth got crazy at the end and that went out the window). My biggest fear is having to repeat the recovery process of last time…

    • Sakina says...

      Hi Ladies – I never comment on here but I wanted to give you some reassurance.
      I tore a LOT with my first son – almost 6 months of being unable to squat, sit on the floor, etc. Sex was also painful for a lot of the time – and still can be.
      But I had my second son three years later and my saviour was perinneal (sp?) massage. Both pre and during active labour. It helped that I had an incredible nurse – but really working and massaging the skin was the key to only getting 10 stitches the second time around… and a much faster recovery. Hang in there Katie!

  126. Oh man, love this. Thinking about it a lot these days because I’m nursing a 7-month-old, so sex is pretty much the LAST thing on my mind…not so with my husband though! It’s actually been really tough because I’m wearing the Mom hat 99% of the day. How do I take it off for a quickie?! I love Alex’s analogy and chill attitude about it, though. That makes me feel a little less guilt and a little more like it’s a fun surprise for my guy when I say yes! Haha.

  127. Grace says...

    I’m curious, as a relatively inexperienced married person (just shy of 2 years!), what a “dry spell” typically looks like for other couples.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      that’s a great question! i’d be very curious to hear people’s answers, too. for us, our longest dry spell was when i was pregnant with anton — we didn’t have sex after my belly got pretty big (i know lots of people who do have sex all the way through pregnancy, but we both were kind of happy to wait:) and then after anton was born, i went through a really bad postpartum depression. so i’d say, honestly, it might have been almost a year! for a “regular” dry spell, i’d say 2-3 weeks?

    • great question! i, too, am curious about how other couples define “dry spell.”

    • Michelle says...

      It’s so refreshing to have an honest dialogue about this topic! :) I too have been married about two years and for us a dry spell is probably two weeks. Really curious to hear what others say!

    • lisa says...

      I’d say a dry spell for us is probably 2-3 weeks (for context, we’ve been married 15 years, but together for 20, under age 40 with two little kids).

    • Alice Quin says...

      I have been married for 8 years, and if we haven’t had sex within the last month, i will make it happen! Ha! So I guess that Is our version of a dry spell. Usually we have sex once a week but if we are busy or traveling separately it can end up being a dry spell. I think it’s normal and don’t stress about it too much!

    • Lindsey says...

      Our baby will be 12 weeks on Tuesday and we have not had sex yet (we had sex the week before I had the baby, trying to get things moving.) My husband is being very sweet and patient…he has been ready for two months. I am breastfeeding and just want some space (maybe some cuddles and conversation) after the baby goes to bed, plus I had a third-degree tear that is just starting to feel completely healed. But I figure that in the grand scheme of a hopefully long-lasting marriage, what’s a few months? We’ll work it out when it feels right (or so I hope. I have a bottle of wine to help for when the day comes.)

    • Isabella says...

      Our current “dry spell” is also baby related. We stopped having sex somewhere in the middle of my pregnancy because it was just too uncomfortable (not that I was too big; sex just didn’t feel good anymore for some reason). Our son is one year old and — er — we *still* haven’t had sex. First there was my post-partum depression, and now it’s a combination of our babe is a poor night sleeper and us being too zombie-fied to get it on, and what I assume are breastfeeding-induced hormonal shifts that have sunk my sex drive to absolute zero. I worry at times that something’s amiss with my feelings for my husband, but it’s much broader than that — I’m simply not interested at all in the subject. I’m hoping this changes, and soon, because it’s a weird and wonky place to be in!

    • Molly Sarah says...

      Dry spell for us is usually about 2-3 weeks. When not in a dry spell we have sex about 3 times a week. I am also curious to hear people’s response to this question.

    • Jen says...

      Interesting question! I’d say when it’s a “dry spell” it’s 2 weeks for me and my husband (married 8 years, together for 18 ?). Some close friends of mine say a month to two months is their regular spell. Our longest was 2-3 months I think after each baby.

    • Christie says...

      After my second was born, we went a year. I also had ppd. Now we are like twice a month. So sad, but I’m not into it anymore.

    • J says...

      A dry spell for us is typically allot 2 weeks. And for the purposes of this unofficial survey, been together 7 years with no kids. ;)

    • Aya says...

      Joanna–Thank you! Your answer makes me feel so much better! Like I’m a normal person/wife/partner! The other day I realized that I couldn’t remember the last time and was flooded with a wave of guilt. I then estimated how many times in this postpartum year and it was dismally low. On two hands? Poor husband. Poor us! I worry that I won’t come back–I used to love sex. I’m really hoping that person isn’t gone.

    • EMILY says...

      Our longest was a year, too. Very extreme anxiety and ppd. We’re coming up on 14 years of marriage and we’re lucky if we manage 2-3x a month. I’m so shocked to read how often some of you are doing it! It is such a huge, weighted, giant issue for me. Therapy is helping a lot- but it is not an effortless topic by any means.

    • Yep, I’d say about 2 weeks for us, too! Then I make it a priority. :) Longest without was 7 weeks, after I had my baby. Still can’t believe we didn’t wait longer, but I felt ready-ish, and maybe cause I had a c-section it was a little different? Baby + breastfeeding changes *everything*. But there are lots of other reasons besides babies; illness, depression, travel…

    • BeeBee says...

      Good question! My husband and I have been married a year, together for 7. We usually have sex about once a week. I’d consider a dry spell about 3 weeks, or a trend of having it more like every 2-3 weeks over a couple months.

    • heather says...

      Married 7 years, together for 14, three kids (oldest 3 yo)… Longest dry spell probably 6 months, and always with new babies or pregnancies or BFing we’d go for months and I doubt either of us cared because we were just so tired.

      I feel like, based on these comments, other people’s dry spells are our normal. Other than the first year we were together (sex all the time), it’s been normal for us to go 2 weeks without sex, and it’s been the more unusual circumstance where we’ll have it 2/3 times a week.

      I always assumed men wanted sex all the time – and certainly that had been the case with prior boyfriends – so I’ve had all sorts of theories about what’s “wrong” with him/us. Depression? Intimidated by my success? Not attracted to me? Is there any way he might secretly be gay? Untreated sleep apnea? Periodically I’ll get anxious about whether we’re not having sex enough, but as my therapist pointed out, if I’m happy with how much we’re having sex (I am), he’s not complaining, and the sex is good when it happens (it is), then maybe that’s just our normal and we’re well suited to each other.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      i agree with your therapist — if you are both happy, then once every couple weeks is GREAT! there’s no number you’re “supposed” to hit. i think it’s different for everyone. you guys sound like a great couple!

  128. Katie K says...

    I just wanted to thank you for this blog, Joanna. I’m reading “Bringing up Bebe” by Pameal Druckerman which you had featured and I recall in it she describes how French women don’t “tend” to compartmentalize themselves as much as our culture does with “tonight I’m sexy, tomorrow I’m sloppy housewife, etc.” And your blog helps me in my new endeavor to not compartmentalize myself but to be myself and to keep finding ways to bring out myself and your blog really helps with this. I guess this comment does relate to this post hah.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      what a lovely comment, katie. thank you so much. and that’s a great point — you can be all of those things at once.

    • Katie that makes me want to read that book again! I’ve been a mother for 7 months now and it is so hard for me to incorporate all of my identities instead of just being a mom. That definitely negatively affects my sex drive (as does breastfeeding!!). Thanks for reminding me of yet another reason I need to re-read “Bebe”!

  129. Natalie Brennan says...

    Ha! Love this post! Now *this* should be a series…

  130. Hmm, I;ve been thinking about this a lot lately. At the beginning the sex was often and initiated by both, but after the birth of our 1st daughter the tide changed and it was definitely my husband who expressed more interested. My second pregnancy I was uninterested completely and felt awful for never initiating anything. The first month of two after her birth we were really feeling the effects of having 2 under 2 and we both felt ok with the bit of drought going on! Once everything slowed down, I got used to the craziness of 2, and we both started to sleep more, I felt like a new woman! It’s amazing to me how sexual empowered I feel as the t mother of two little babies! My body isn’t perfect, but its perfect for my husband, and now I find myself initiating more often than he does. Our daughters are now 2 and 7 months and I feel sexier than I ever have in my life. Power to all the mama’s out there – embracing my postpartum body was the greatest thing I have done for my marriage and sex life!

    xoxo http://www.touchofcurl.com

  131. OMG what Alex said totally cracked me up. Dying laughing here in Palm Springs! Love these ‘girl talk’ posts — keep ’em up!

  132. Christy says...

    I love girl talk. At the beginning of our relationship, my husband initiated sex way more often than I did. I guess I wasn’t confident enough to consistently go for it. I’ve gotten a little older (and wiser), and now I feel much more confident about asking for (and flirting for) what I want. I look back on our relationship before, and I’m like “what was I thinking?! It’s sex; just go for it!”

  133. Amy says...

    Hahaha I laughed at Alex’s payphone-sex comparison! My husband used to check under vending machines as a kid…now he checks if sex is an option with a bum grab.

    • Vanessa Rae says...

      I identify with the bum grab!

  134. lynn says...

    Hmmm It’s interesting because historically I’ve always initiated sex with my partners and I would get frustrated when they would say no, I need a break (voracious appetite of mine and all).

    However with my current partner he’s always initiating. The other partners never worked out from an intellectual and emotional connection but this one checks those boxes, however the sex is…well a little less great, which is why I’m not checking for change as often. I feel bad that I’m not and its largely because I’m anxious and preempting the chance that it might not be good.

    But without practice it can’t get better! gah caught in a cycle.

  135. Purnima says...

    We were just talking about podcasts so I wanted to share one that’s super relevant to this post: the episode from Death, Sex and Money called “Why You’re Not Having Sex”.

    I do feel like I initiate more but after listening to this podcast I asked my husband and he said he feels like he initiates more. So if I’m feeling frustrated or shy about initiating (or initiating too much/all the time), I remind myself we are in this together and think of it more as showing affection rather than initiating. (It works most of of the time.)

    • A M says...

      I was just about to share this DS&M episode! It was a real eye-opener for me too.

      Someone once told me “just get the boat in the water and you’ll both start rowing.” Barring any major hormonal crisis (breastfeeding, you suck) I usually try to go with the flow when my husband initiates. 98% of the time I’m glad I did. I’m not always in the mood to initiate but enthusiastically reciprocating doesn’t take much and helps us stay connected.

      And finally, after baby #1, we flat out schedule it. Sunday, Wednesday, Friday like clockwork. There are times we cancel but usually never two in a row unless one of us is ill. Some people think a schedule sounds miserable and unsexy but it keeps us connected. 3x a week feels right for us right now but that could always change.

      For the survey purposes, late 20s, married 5 years, together 11 (sheesh).

  136. Generally me, especially when work is stressful for my husband (so… generally), but I’m a million weeks pregnant right now, so I’m doing less of that. I did tell him a couple months back that it helps me feel more connected and secure when he initiates and he’s been great about stepping up. I was worried I’d sound needy in all the ways and very in my head about it, but once I got the words out, he took it like a champ! ?

  137. I feel like the initiation is about equal, although I admit that his response rate to my suggestion is 99%, while mine probably hovers around 75%, depending on how late it is and how tired I feel.

  138. I cracked up when I read Alex’s quote and had to share with my husband. He promptly replied, “Sometimes you could leave a few quarters in there for me.”

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      hahahaha

  139. Amanda says...

    It really depends. He usually initiates, but when he is really stressed at work, I initiate. I’ve been initiating a lot this year :) For me, I need to feel desired and I know my husband is happier and less stressed when we have frequent sex. Plus, it is fun. After doing it together for 15 years, we can knock it out in no time and we are both better off!

    • Mimi says...

      Thank you, Amanda! So true! I don’t initiate as much when my husband is stressed/depressed. This is a good reminder of how much better off we both are when we have sex, no matter how tired/stressed we are. Every time ends with,”That was amazing, we need to do this more! Why don’t we?!?” (Oh yeah…we have a two-year old that always seems to wake whenever it’s about to happen :/)

  140. Claire Johnson says...

    Couldn’t help but chuckle at the “checking pay phones” bit! It is common for either my husband or I to initiate sex. We TRY to keep each other’s needs a top priority. I have noticed that when we do, we are in overall better dispositions! Though with three little ones, we have been having longer periods of no sex- and requires more effort to make each other feel valued and loved.

  141. BeeBee says...

    Always, always, always me. We’ve been in a dry spell lately and I think it is completely because I have stopped initiating and he just doesn’t. I just get really tired of always having the be the one.

    • Natalie says...

      I’m in the same boat. One thing my husband told me gave me a little insight on this. When I want sex, I usually initiate, but he gets shot down a lot more often because, if I haven’t initiated, I’m usually not feeling it. I think it’s left his radar a little off, and since he’s got less drive than I do, it makes him feel insecure about initiating. I try to be cognizant of that, and it helps me get less frustrated by feeling like I’m always the one making the move. Well, at least some of the time ;)

    • Rae says...

      Just posting to say, “I hear you!”

    • Meg says...

      I’m in the same boat!

    • BeeBee says...

      Thanks for the responses ladies, I always assume I’m in the minority with this problem because generally you think about the guys being the ones initiating. It’s good to hear I’m not alone, though I’m sorry you’re dealing with this as well. And thanks for the insight, Natalie. That actually makes me feel a little better! And it reminds me that, like everything else, this is a problem that could probably be solved by talking about it!

  142. Katharine says...

    Ha that totally made me laugh out loud! I feel like I initiate more but it also is dependent on the week vs. the weekend. My husband is more into sex in the morning or evening so initiates more during the week and I am all about mid afternoon (aka the kids nap time ;) so I’m hitting on him hard on the weekend!

  143. FullHeart says...

    Loved this! Interesting perspective for someone in their mid-twenties – even a couple of years into a relationship, it’s awkward to transition from the “have sex all the time!” to “don’t feel like having sex, but not sure how to tell you that” phase.

  144. Elisabeth says...

    We’re also in the midst of a dry spell, broken up by a few “loose quarters.” It’s so hard to figure out a good balance when you both work full time and have a baby/toddler who still wakes up at night. By the time I get home I want to put on sweatpants and watch 30 Rock reruns. It’s definitely going to take us longer to have a second baby… Less opportunity!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      hahaha, love your first line. and i agree, it can be tough with little ones. sometimes you’re exhausted and “touched out”!

    • rach says...

      Ohmygosh. I’m in the SAME boat as you.
      Good to know someone else is in the mix with me.

  145. Alice Quin says...

    Laughing out loud at Alex’s quote!

    • Steph says...

      Same. So perfect.

  146. Not sure how I feel about the pay phone comparison! We are in a massive dry spell. Thanks, breastfeeding!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      i hear you! we had the biggest drought during those new baby days :)

    • Word.

    • Lisa says...

      As someone who is currently breastfeeding our 20 month old to sleep….yeah…

      Sometimes I feel badly for the hubs, and most of the time I just have no damn desire. Poor guy.

      It’ll get better.

    • Aya says...

      These comments are encouraging. I feel so relieved that I’m not alone. Thank you everyone. I’m feeling hopeful.

  147. Side note: reading Serge Gainsbourg’s biography by Sylvie Simmons right now. It’s a wonderful insight into his life.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      ooh would love to read it! such a fan of his music.