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AUDIO: Dr. Marty Klein - Married 18 Years And Sex Is Nonexistent: What Should I Do?

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No sex or marriage question is too embarrassing because it’s time to ask EmpowHer’s sexuality expert Dr. Marty Klein anything.

If you have a sex or relationship question that you need answered, just click the “Ask” button here on EmpowHer and we will get you an answer, just like I am going to do for this anonymous person who writes, “Dr. Klein, my partner of 18 years refuses to discuss our sex problems. We have been through counseling twice, but every time we get to why sex is not happening, she changes the subject over and over to avoid why this is not happening. She is not shy. She walks around the house in the nude. She sits down next to me, kisses me while she is naked, but when I try and direct her toward lovemaking, she goes straight to the telephone, or washing dishes, or wants to talk about something happening at work, or says she has to go to sleep. I don’t know how to approach this situation. We both really love each other, and she refuses to do sex counseling. I don’t know how to approach her so that I won’t intimidate her. Please help me.”

Dr. Marty Klein:
Well, there’s a few, a few assumptions in there like, you asked, “I don’t know how to approach her without intimidating her.” You are assuming that you are intimidating her. I am not so sure that you are. I will say this–a lot of people when they sit next to you on the couch or they kiss you or they walk around in the nude, that’s not necessarily an invitation for sex. So, she, it’s not totally unreasonable that she kisses you, and you say, “Great, let’s go to bed,” and she says, “Uh, that’s not what I had in mind.” So let’s not make that mistake.

But you do say something interesting; you say, “We both really love each other, and she refuses to do sex counseling.” You know, people tell me all the time how much they love each other, and after 29 years as a marriage counselor and a sex therapist, I honestly don’t know what that means.

I always figured that when people love each other that means that when somebody says, “Honey, this is really important to me that you pay attention to this. You don’t have to do it my way, but it’s really important that you take my pain seriously,” I would assume that that’s the most important definition of love. But I see so many people that that’s not part of the definition for them, and your example is a good example of that.

So, I don’t know what it means that you love each other. Apparently, it’s not a good enough resource for the two of you to go to counseling, and I don’t know why that is, although obviously you guys feel disappointed that counseling didn’t work the other two times that you tried it.

What I would say to her is, when you are both feeling comfortable and relaxed and close, I would say, “Sweetheart, I love you. I want to spend the rest of my life with you, and as you know, we practically never have sex, and I can’t spend the rest of my life not having sex. I don’t want to have sex with other people. I want to have sex with you. I can’t spend the rest of my life not having sex with you. I don’t know why you don’t want to have sex. I need you to talk to me about this. If you want to do it with a counselor, that’s fine; if you want to do it without a counselor, that’s fine; if you want to do it with somebody else, that’s fine. But we have to have some sort of a conversation, honey, because I want to spend the rest of my life with you, and I can’t go the rest of my life not having sex.”

We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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