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A Couple's Guide to Boosting Their Marriage Libido

"...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."
Atlantic Monthly Jan/Feb 2003

Sex experts estimate that one out of every three couples struggles with mismatched sexual desire; one spouse is hot when the other is not. Because of advancements in medical and psychological libido-boosting alternatives available to those whose desire has waned, bridging the desire gap should, in theory, be a simple endeavor. Unfortunately, it's anything but. That's because millions of people with low desire are simply not concerned or troubled about their lack of interest in sex. Nor are they particularly motivated to do much about it. Just ask their spouses! After two decades of specializing in work with near-the-brink couples, relationship expert and author of the bestselling Divorce Busting, Michele Weiner Davis, MSW, knows what really goes on behind closed doors and why being complacent about ho-hum sex is a formula for marital disaster. At a time when low libido is claiming the love lives of millions of couples, Weiner Davis brings this critical issue out of the bedroom and into the headlines with THE SEX-STARVED MARRIAGE: A Couple's Guide to Boosting Their Marriage Libido (Simon & Schuster).

The Sex-Starved Marriage is not just another book offering generic appetite-building advice about hormones, medications, or suggestions about Victoria's Secret lingerie and romantic get-away weekends. It's a no-holds-barred look at what really happens to marriage when one spouse is sexually dissatisfied and the other is oblivious, unconcerned or uncaring. Sex isn't the only casualty; intimacy on very level becomes non-existent. Spouses stop touching affectionately, having meaningful talks, laughing at each other's jokes, or connecting emotionally. Infidelity and divorce become all too real threats.

But instead of diagnosing the person with the lack of sexual interest as the problem, Weiner Davis takes a revolutionary new approach that focuses on the many ways partners can work as a team to turn around the decline in their sex lives. In the process, she exposes America's best-kept secret - it's not just women who aren't "in the mood"; staggering numbers of men have "headaches," too.

A marriage therapist for the past two decades, Weiner Davis has seen first-hand how spouses with mismatched desire find themselves arguing about sex much of the time, each refusing to change unless the other person changes first. THE SEX-STARVED MARRIAGE boldly urges both spouses trapped in the desire gap to get outside themselves, stop blaming each other and start behaving in ways that make true intimacy a real possibility.

In separate sections that clearly elucidate the perspectives of both spouses, Weiner Davis, as their straight-talking coach, offers spouses pragmatic, provocative advice that moves them beyond their sexual stalemate. Low desire individuals will learn:

  • How, truth be told, they control the pace and tempo of their sexual encounters.

  • The unfairness of the tacit agreement with their spouse- "I am not interested in sex but you need to remain monogamous."

  • The dangers of being complacent about their partners' unhappiness.

  • About the importance of becoming proactive and taking personal responsibility for re-igniting their sexual drive, rather than passively waiting for its return.

  • That many experts believe that the real problem lies not in their sexual appetite, but rather, in the out-dated, misguided way sexual desire is defined. Cutting edge research suggests there are millions of people with robust, satisfying sex lives who never, ever experience random, lustful thoughts prior to sex!

  • The many physiological and psychological factors that can contribute to a decline in sex drive.

  • Why their spouses' desire to make love is not about "scratching an itch," it's a way to connect emotionally.

  • That subtle, flickering "sparks" rather than fireworks signal sexual desire.

  • Proven conventional and unconventional passion-restoring techniques that will help them connect with the siren/seducer within and reclaim their sexuality.

For the high desire partner, Weiner Davis gives voice to the rejection, hurt, and loneliness they often feel as the "forgotten" spouse when it comes to sexual incompatibility. She goes on to:

  • Reassure them that their spouses didn't lure them into marriage under false pretenses (i.e., "He/she loved sex when we were dating. What happened?")

  • Provide insight into what is really behind their spouse's drop in desire.

  • Educate them on how to break the cycle of "one partner pursues sex and the other withdraws."

  • Help them identify how their own knee-jerk responses to rejection actually push their partners further away.

  • Outline a variety of methods for motivating, encouraging, and supporting their spouse's efforts for making their sexual relationship a bigger priority.

  • Why commonsense approaches to low sexual desire often don't work.

  • Give them the tools necessary to motivate their less-interested spouse - from spending quality time together, being romantic, and complimenting instead of criticizing, to talking about feelings, creating an atmosphere that helps their spouse relax and enjoy sex, and being creative to avoid sexual boredom.

In the book's final section, Weiner Davis helps couples remove the denial, embarrassment, and shame that surround their differing sexual appetites. She provides specific guidelines for upping their sexual IQ and developing better communication skills when it comes to discussing their sex life and getting it back on track.

And finally, The Sex-Starved Marriage takes the age-old myth- that sex is a barometer for what happens in the rest of the marriage- and turns it on its head; the quality of one's marriage can be viewed as a barometer of what happens behind closed doors. Packed with helpful anecdotes and sound advice, The Sex-Starved Marriage is a long overdue antidote for everyone struggling with low sexual desire and their frustrated spouses. With this inspiring book, Michele Weiner Davis promises to change the intimate lives of American couples forever.

Michele Weiner Davis, MSW, is the author of The Divorce Remedy, Divorce Busting, Getting Through to the Man You Love, Change Your Life and Everyone in It, and co-author of In Search of Solutions.She maintains a private therapy practice in Boulder, Colorado and Woodstock, Illinois, called The Divorce Busting® Center, where she counsels couples and families from all over the world. Her busy website, www.divorcebusting.com attracts thousands of visitors each day.

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