What to do when the woman wants s*x more than the man

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What happens when a woman wants more sex than her husband? Or the other way round! Three brave couples reveal the impact of mismatched libidos on their marriages

  • Stacey’s appetite for sex differs to his wife Vanessa’s
  • He wants to do it more often but she has other priorities
  • Rebecca has the higher sex drive in her marriage 
  • Her husband Paul rejects her sexual advances several times a week
  • Expectations of how much sex is enough in marriage can be a problem
  • Survey found many couples often too tired to make love
  • Only 23 per cent said they have sex as frequently as once a week
  • Other 77 per cent make love even less often, or not at all .

Settling down on the sofa in front of the TV after tucking their daughters up in bed, Vanessa Powell’s body tensed as her husband reached towards her and started to stroke her thigh.

‘Not tonight darling,’ she told Stacey, her husband of 12 years. ‘It’s only been a few days since the last time.’

By Stacey’s reckoning, it was actually more like a fortnight since he’d made love to his wife and he joked, not for the first time, that he would have to start marking their intimate encounters on a calendar. Then Vanessa would see just how infrequently they occurred.

Mismatched libidos: Vanessa does not want to have sex with husband Stacey Powell (pictured together today)  as often as he would like and says she can go months without making love and not miss it

Out of sync: Vanessa says sex has fallen down her list of priorities after she and Stacey (pictured on their wedding day) married and had children

But keeping a tally is unlikely to resolve the fundamental difference between Stacey, 39, an architect, and Vanessa, 45, a receptionist, from Surrey, because when it comes to their appetite for sex, they are poles apart. ‘I make advances most nights and, if I’m lucky, Vanessa responds two or three times a month,’ says Stacey.

‘From telling her how beautiful she looks to pouring her a drink or offering her a massage, I will try anything to get her between the sheets. I try different approaches because I don’t want to sound like a stuck record.’

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The sexual tension in the Powells’ marriage — one that arises from mismatched libidos rather than lack of affection — is shared by many thousands of couples in the UK.

Relate, the relationship counselling service, says that different expectations of how much sex is enough in a marriage is one of the top topics when husbands and wives seek its help. That’s hardly surprising when one in five of those who responded this summer to a Relate survey, entitled The Way We Are Now, admitted they are always too tired to make love. Meanwhile, only 23 per cent said they have sex as frequently as once a week, with the other 77 per cent making love even less often, or not at all.He’ll tell me: ‘Stop looking at me like I’m a piece of meat’

Stacey was frank with Vanessa about his high libido early on in their 13-year relationship. When she told him her desire for sex was, by contrast, very low, he promised to ‘love her whatever’.

Although Vanessa admits to never having been very interested in sex, she says that juggling children, work and home has killed off what vestiges of passion she once felt. But Stacey would ideally like to have sex every single day.

‘Sex has fallen way down my list of priorities because, unlike the other things I have to do, it’s not essential,’ Vanessa says in an admission that will resonate with many working mothers.

‘I can go for months without sex and not miss it. When our daughters were babies we didn’t have sex for months and I didn’t miss it at all.

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