The Sex Starved Marriage
A Couple’s Guide to Boosting Their Marriage Libido
SOFT COVER EDITION
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Bring the spark back into your bedroom and your relationship with gutsy and effective advice from bestselling author Michele Weiner Davis.
It is estimated that one of every three married couples struggles with problems associated with mismatched sexual desire. Do you? If you want to stop fighting about sex and revitalize your intimate connection with your spouse, then you need this book. In The Sex-Starved Marriage, bestselling author Michele Weiner Davis will help you understand why being complacent or bitter about ho-hum sex might cost you your relationship.
Full of moving firsthand accounts from couples who have struggled with the erosion of sexual desire and rebuilt their passionate connection, The sex-Starved Marriage addresses every aspect of the sexual libido problem:
If you’re the more highly sexed partner, you’ll breathe a sigh of relief. At last someone understands your feelings about the void in your marriage. Discover why your pleas for touch have fallen upon deaf ears and why your approach to the lull in your sexual relationship could be a sexual turnoff. Most important, learn new ways to motivate your spouse to take your needs for more physical closeness to heart.
If you’re the spouse with a lagging libido, you’re far from alone. You’ll learn about the physiological and psychological factors, including unresolved relationship issues that may contribute to the chill in your bedroom and what you can do to melt the ice. And if you’re a man, you’ll be surprised to learn that staggering numbers of men, even men whose sexual machinery works just fine, “get headaches” too!
The Sex-Starved Marriage will give you and your spouse the inspiration, encouragement, and answers you need.
Part I ~ THE SEX-STARVED MARRIAGE
1. The Sex-Starved Marriage
Part II ~ THE LOW-DESIRE SPOUSE’S GUIDE FOR BOOSTING THE MARRIAGE LIBIDO
2. The Lowdown on Low Desire
3. What’s Causing My Desire Doldrums?
4. Sexy Solutions
Part III ~ THE HIGH DESIRE SPOUSES GUIDE FOR BOOSTING THE MARRIAGE LIBIDO
5. What About Me?
6. The Harder I try, the Worse Things Get
7. Melting the Ice
Part IV ~ DOING IT TOGETHER
8. Can We Talk?
9. Sex Talk
Comments and reviews:
“Only someone with Michele Weiner Davis’s expertise could write about the sexual drama that goes on behind the bedroom door with this much power. She’s got the facts straight about what it takes to breathe life back into a relationship…her strength and inspiration come through loud and clear on the pages.” --Pat Love, from the Forward
“Michele Weiner Davis does a fantastic job of empathizing with and enlightening both partners in the sex-starved marriage. She highlights key issues and offers great tips for moving beyond the tragic stalemate in which so many partners find themselves.” --Dr. Laura Berman, co-author of For Women Only: A Revolutionary Guide to Overcoming Sexual Dysfunction and Reclaiming Your Sex Life
“I love this book. It is the antidote to the distance spouses feel when differences in sexual desire wreak havoc in their marriages. Discover the road back to true intimacy and connection.” --Dr. Gary Smalley, author, Love Is a Decision
“I am tremendously impressed with Weiner Davis’s profound understanding of the sexual and relational quagmires so many couples fall into with their misconceptions. This book will definitely help readers to understand their own feelings, needs, and responses. But even more importantly, it will help them understand the role of sexual intimacy in keeping marriages strong.” --Dr. Laura Schlessinger, author of Ten Stupid Things Couples Do to Mess Up their Relationships
“Michele has done it again! For couples struggling with sexual problems, most do so from time to time; this is the first book I will recommend!” --Howard J. Markman, Ph.D., co-author, Fighting for Your Marriage
"Leave it to the Divorce Buster - the woman who has rescued so many from seemingly hopeless marriages - to crack the code on the most vexing and paradoxical problem facing couples. There is nothing more frustrating than to live in a sex-starved marriage - to sit down to a banquet every night only to realize you have no appetite - that you don't even feel like picking up your fork. The first step to regaining your appetite is to buy this book. The second is to read it. The third, well.....you'll see. Bon appetit!" --Diane Sollee, www.smartmarriages.com
From Publishers Weekly Author (The Divorce Remedy), therapist and Oprah regular Davis offers a frank and reassuring guide for couples struggling with the "desire doldrums." It's been estimated that one-third of couples face issues of low desire, the impact of which is felt beyond the bedroom: "Unsatisfying sexual relationships,"Davis writes, "are the all-too-frequent causes of alienation, infidelity and divorce." Unfortunately, libidos are rarely equal; most marriages have a low-desire spouse and a high-desire spouse. Davis offers advice for both, bolstered by numerous examples of how that advice has worked for couples she's encountered during her two decades as a marriage counselor. Court your partner the way he or she wants to be courted, Davis tells high-desire spouses; for low-desire spouses, sometimes the best idea is (to borrow a line from Nike) to "just do it." Her "field-tested" tips are sensible rather than earth-shattering-talk openly, be kind, commit to making a change for the better and set concrete, attainable goals-but in the hard-to-talk-about realm of sex, very welcome indeed.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Atlantic Monthly
During two strange days in New York last winter, three married people-one after another-confessed to me either that they had stopped having sex or that they knew a married person who had stopped having sex. Like a sensible person, I booked an early flight home and chalked the whole thing up to the magic and mystery that is New York. But no sooner had I put my coat on the peg than it started up again. A number of the mothers in my set began making sardonic comments along similar lines. The daytime talk shows to which I am mildly and happily addicted worried the subject to death, revived it, and worried it some more. Dr. Phil- who, like his mentor Oprah Winfrey, has an uncannily precise sense of what American women in the aggregate are thinking about- noted on his Web site that “sexless marriages are an undeniable epidemic.” Mass-circulation magazines aimed at married women rarely go to press these days without an earnest review of some new sexual technique or gadget, the information always presented in the context of how to relight a long-doused fire. (And I must say that an article in Redbook that warns desperate couples away from a product called Good Head Oral Delight Gel- “the consistency is like congealed turkey fat”- deserves some kind of award of service journalism.) Patricia Heaton, a star of Everybody Loves Raymond, has published a memoir called Motherhood and Hollywood, in which she observes, “Sex? Forget about it. I mean that literally.” Books with titles such as, Okay, So I don’t Have a Headache and I’m Not in the Mood have become immediate hits, and another popular book, For Women Only, lists various techniques that married women use to avoid sex, from the age-old strategy of feigning sleep to the quite modern practice of taking on household night-owl projects. And Allison Pearson’s much loved novel about a busy working mother, I Don’t Know How She Does It (which opens with the main character engaged in just such a late-night project), features a woman so tired that she’s frantic to escape sex with her husband, prompting Margaret Carlson of Time magazine, to observe, “Sleep is the new sex.” It has become impossible not to suspect that a large number of relatively young and otherwise healthy married people are forgoing sex for long periods of time and many have given it up altogether.
And so we turn our curious attention to the marital therapist Michele Weiner Davis, whose new book, The Sex-Starved Marriage, is so well timed and so aptly titled that it is primed to become a cultural sensation. Davis is not particularly interested in the cause of this strange turn of events, though she tosses around the expected observations about the exhaustion that dogs contemporary working parents and the reduction in lust that has always gone along with marriage. Hers is not a deep-thinking, reflective kind of book but, rather a get-cracking-and-solve-the-problem kind of book. Solutions? She’s armed to the teeth with them. She has created a “passion-building toolkit” filled with “field-tested” techniques- none of them bad. Although I found Part IV (“Doing It Together”) far more appealing than a scary mini-chapter called “The Do-It-Yourself Solution,” her notions about how to jump-start the old hanky-panky seem eminently reasonable. Make “romantic overtures,” she counsels. A wife might buy some new lingerie, a husband might wear flattering clothes. Most important, though, is a recommendation based on exciting new “research” revealing that for many people, waiting for the urge to strike is pointless: better to bash ahead and hope for the best. Davis asks, “Have you ever noticed that although you might not have been thinking sexual thoughts or feeling particularly sexy, if you push yourself to “get started” when your spouse approaches you, it feels good, and you find yourself getting into it? Many of her clients have received this counsel with enthusiasm. “I really wasn’t in the mood for sex at all,” reports one of her advisees after such a night, “but once we got started, it was fun. I really enjoyed it.” …as Davis and her “new” findings suggest, once you get the canoe out in the water, everybody starts happily paddling.
…Although I have an amused tolerance for books like The Total Woman, I am not entirely incapable of good, old-fashioned feminist rage. The notion that even educated middle-class America women had to put out in order to get a damn refrigerator- even that they might “yearn” for one- just steams me. However, I would not advise against using sex fore more subtle marital adjustments, of a type described in The Sex-Starved Marriage. Davis reminds women that one of the more effective ways to get a husband to be more considerate and helpful is to seduce him. She counsels a group of female clients who complain of angry, critical husbands to “pay more attention to their physical relationship with their husbands,” to “be sexier, more affectionate, attentive, responsive, and passionate.” Darned if the old bag of tricks doesn’t work like a charm- the ladies arrive at the next therapy session giggling and thrilled with the new powers. To many contemporary women, however, the notion that sex might have any function other than personal fulfillment (and the occasional bit of carefully scheduled baby making) is a violation of the very tenets of the sexual revolution that so deeply shaped their attitudes on such matters. Under these conditions, pity the poor married man hoping to get a bit of comfort from the wife at the day’s end. He must somehow seduce a woman who is economically independent of him, bone tired, philosophically disinclined to have sex unless she is jolly well in the mood, numbingly familiar with his every sexual maneuver, and still doing a slow burn over his failure to wipe down the countertops and fold the dish towel after cooking the kid’s dinner. He can barely be blamed for opting instead to check his e-mail, catch a few minutes of SportsCenter, and call it a night.
Copyright The Atlantic Monthly 2003 All rights reserved
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