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Advice from Dr. Stanwix – Loveless Sunday

Advice from Dr. Stanwix – Loveless Sunday
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Dear Dr. Stanwix,

I am not sure if my wife is turned off by sex or simply turned off by sex with me. However, we are going through a serious dry spell, which is causing me to have some doubts. We both have demanding jobs and the children take up a great deal of our time. Both of these, take away time from our opportunities for intimacy.

Until recently, though, we have kept an almost sacred ritual of lounging in bed a little longer on Sunday mornings and building up to a satisfying sexual experience, for me at least. However, lately, my wife seems to do anything she can to escape this routine. She springs out of bed before I am even conscious and is usually downstairs having breakfast with the kids by the time I come down. I am curious why she is suddenly turned off by this, but have not had the courage or the opportunity to discuss things with her.

This has created so many nagging doubts that I’m beginning to feel really depressed. I fear that she might not want to have sex with me any longer or that she no longer wants me as her husband. I want to talk to her about it, but she seems to try to avoid any alone time so that I can’t broach the subject.

We are in our mid-fifties and will be empty nesters and retired in the next five years. I fear that if we don’t maintain some degree of communication and intimacy, it may be difficult to rekindle it in the future.

Please tell me how I should handle this situation.


Loveless Sunday

Dear Loveless Sunday,

Intimacy is indeed important for our relationships and overall health. Even while our lives are demanding, we should always make time for intimacy. However, sometimes physical changes or other circumstances can suspend intimacy in a relationship, and not all of them are anyone’s fault. 

The important thing to remember in long-term relationships is that while physical intimacy diminishes, emotional intimacy plays an ever-increasing role in maintaining our relationships. While you may not be having weekly sex, you should consider whether you are intimate in other ways. If the answer is “no” then you do have some cause for concern. However, fearing the worst is not going to help matters.

While you may think this lull in your love-making is permanent or has more profound implications, it may be just a simple change in your wife. Women in middle age experience a veritable rollercoaster ride of emotional and physical conditions. Your wife may simply be going through the ill effects of menopause and is not feeling very sexual now.

The important thing is to find out what exactly has caused her to suspend your Sunday ritual. Even after years of marriage, sometimes our spouses are not always straightforward with their feelings. If your wife is not forthcoming with her reasons, you should ask her directly if there is anything that you did or said that turned her off. Sometimes we don’t realize how a seemingly innocent comment or action can be misconstrued.

You should also ask your wife is there anything you are doing or not doing that is putting her off. If she tries to change the subject or seems uncomfortable with the topic, it’s important that you firmly yet considerately press the issue.

As with everything else in a relationship, communication is the key. While your wife may not feel like talking about things or can’t quite express her feelings, she does owe you an explanation.

Be sure to listen with an open mind and not get defensive. Nothing closes down the lines of communication faster than this type of reaction. Refrain from judgments of defensiveness until you fully understand her explanation. Once the problem is out in the open you can both work together on how to fix it, and that is what a relationship is all about.

Best of luck,

Dr. Michael Stanwix



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