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I Want More Sex Than My Husband Does 

Dear Athena,

My husband and I have been married for almost three years, and we have a very solid relationship. However, even though we hold hands, cuddle, kiss and say "I love you," we've had issues with intimacy and sex. I want more from him. I know I have a higher sex drive in this relationship. I always want him, and although I try not to push it, he realizes it, and it makes him feel pressured. He says he always feels like he's disappointing me. So, as a result, he does not initiate or show any sign that he desires me.

We finally had a huge conversation about it, and I agreed to be "less available" and let him take charge. But first I told him what my ideal situation would be: sex at least three times a week — but, more importantly, any sign that he's making an effort. He said he needs space to desire me, which was like taking a bullet for some reason. I've tried to give him space, but it's been 20 days since we talked and nothing has changed. I feel I have no other option but to bring it up again. The painful part is, I'm head over heels in love with him, and I know he loves me. I know he wouldn't do anything to hurt me on purpose. What do I do?

Signed,

Too Much Space

Dear Too Much,

I'll tell you why it felt like taking a bullet: Because you believe the only way you two can be more intimate is to be closer physically and emotionally. He apparently wants the opposite of that. I imagine it feels a lot like rejection.

The problem here is that you agreed to something you don't feel good about. What does "space" mean, exactly? I find the rule about not talking about it or asking for it strange and unsettling. What else aren't you "allowed" to do? You want to have more sex, more intimacy, so you agreed to pretend you don't want those things? Girl. That is not going to get you what you want.

There is no magic number of times a week or month a couple should have sex. Some couples do it every other day; others are content with far less. And even couples who have sex a lot can have their troubles. What matters is balance: of fun, intimacy, sex, communication and honoring your personal interests separate from those of your partner.

Maybe the issue here is low sex drive, or maybe it's something deeper. Maybe he's experiencing some stress that he hasn't revealed. Has he always been disinterested in sex, or is this a new thing? Did you get married thinking your sex life would improve somehow? Because marriage isn't a fix for anything — it's a contract.

It is time to talk again. I suggest a visit with a couples counselor to look more deeply into what will satisfy you both and to bridge your communication gap. All of us make sacrifices and compromises in relationships. But your sexual relationship with your husband is important. Seek some professional help and try to uncover what's really going on. I hope you get to the bottom of this and achieve your happily ever after.

Yours,

Athena

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