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I remember when I was young and single, and I listened to older people at work talk about their weekends. It was all about chores! I felt badly for them. I thought they were B-O-R-I-N-G. I was too naïve to realize they were just in a different life stage—a life stage that lay in store for me, too. And that has rewards that are invisible to younger eyes.

I certainly had no idea what effect that life stage has on sex and romance. But now I know! Feeling sexy takes a light heart and a playful attitude.

The more time you spend in responsibility-land, the less time you spend in romance-land. This is normal.

But from what I hear from a lot of my women clients, romance just doesn’t just slide—it falls off a cliff! They often tell me their husbands are not romantic anymore AT ALL. Guys, if you’re wondering and worrying about why your wife isn’t very interested in sex anymore, this could be it. Is lack of romance always the problem? Of course not. But I hear about it a lot, so it’s at least something to consider.

Lynn tells me her husband will literally ignore her all day, barely talk in the evening, but then reach for her under the covers (when she’s almost asleep) and expect her to be ready to go. It dumbfounds her.

“How am I supposed to feel sexy when we’ve had zero connection all day? I know guys are different, but I just don’t work that way.”

“I know he wants me around,” she says. “But I’m really not sure why. It makes me feel invisible, unwanted, and sometimes worried about where our relationship is going. But definitely not sexy.”

The big point I want to make here is that some of the things your wife wants from you are little things.

Not big-R romance, like a special gift or a surprise weekend at a resort. But small-r romance. Women tell me they want attention. Conversation. Thank you’s. Warm hellos and goodbyes. Things that might not even really qualify as romance. More just consideration and good manners.

“I just don’t feel like he treats me like his lover,” said Kelly. “So I don’t feel like his lover. If someone put a camera in our house, they wouldn’t even know we’re married. We probably look more like household staff working together!”

Then there’s the question of grooming. I know, I’m getting kind of personal. But we are talking about sex, after all.

My client Ali told me, “My husband thinks I don’t want sex. What he doesn’t get is that I WANT to want sex. I could be a lot more attracted to him if he’d just throw me a bone now and then. Like put on a clean shirt.”

Now and then over the years a man will tell me about a puzzling phenomenon. He and his wife are having a dry spell. Then one morning when he’s heading out to work, his wife starts acting amorous in a way she doesn’t at any other time.

It used to puzzle me, too. But now I think I understand it. The man who is headed out the door looks and smells like the man she used to date. The man she’s married to walks around the house in stained sweats and doesn’t bother to shave or brush his teeth.

Seeing him all put together gives her a new jolt of interest.

So what to do? I’m not suggesting anything weird like wearing office clothes all weekend. Sweats are fine but make sure they’re clean, not old and stretched out. Shave. And maybe most important of all, smell just as good as you do when you leave the house. That’s probably the most important part of all. (From what I’ve heard.)

Now, I know your reaction might be, I’m mad because she doesn’t want sex, so I don’t feel like making that kind of effort. And it’s not all my fault, anyway.

Totally understandable. And you might have very good reasons for being mad.

But what if your wife is like my client Ali? What if she WANTS to want more sex? And just needs a little more small-r romance? Wouldn’t make sense to just help her out a little bit?