What happened to the sexual revolution, anyway? I know a lot of my male clients feel like the sexual temperature at home feels a lot more like the 50’s than the 70’s.

As a marriage counselor, I have bird’s eye view of this phenomenon, so I thought I’d offer up my observations. After all, both men and women tell me their sexual problems all day long. (O.K., they do talk about other things, too!) A lot of people, and that includes therapists, make the mistake of thinking that all you need for good sex is love.

They tend to expect that when they do the emotional repair, desire will come back. Emotional closeness is fundamental. But desire operates by its own natural laws. If you don’t obey them, the chemistry fizzles. What I see time after time, is that married people forget that the path to sex is…seduction.

Seduction Tips for Men

Flirt a Little
What do women find seductive? First, for women, seduction starts in the mind, not the body. You wife needs to feel cherished and special. And they need some pampering and playfulness, a zone of relaxation. Flirting, in other words. It’s hard for her to switch from being a responsible adult, taking care of the chores and kids, to making love, unless she first switches her mindset.

Remember how you went about it in the early days of your relationship? I doubt very much that just reached over and grabbed your girlfriend when she was trying to fall asleep after a hard day. But a lot of you seem to be using this approach now. (So I’ve heard.)

Seduce Through Housework

Housework is directly linked to sex in the mind of a woman, and not in a good way. You probably know that your wife has some resentment over you not helping enough with the housework. Instead of getting into interminable discussions about what’s “fair,” look at it this way: A woman who feels like the maid does not feel like a sex kitten. What you prefer is up to you.

Also, a messy house is an anti-aphrodisiac for a woman. That’s why she loves to go away for romantic weekends. Relaxing in a beautiful room she didn’t (and won’t!) have to clean — now that’s seductive!

Warning to men: a man’s response to this information is often to do one task and expect instant gratification. If your wife has years of resentment over housework, do not clean the kitchen once, get rejected and say: “It doesn’t work!”

Take Love Lessons

Once you are in bed, do you know what to do? I’m not trying to be harsh, but I’m sorry, the plain truth is that a lot of you don’t. This is not completely your fault.

A lot of times in the early stages of a relationship, women care more about romance than sex, and are less demanding. So you don’t need to be as skilled. And newness itself makes sex fun and exciting.

But sex with you is not new anymore. Your wife has a mortgage and kids, and maybe more concerns about her health and body image. You have a lot more competition for her attention. You’ve got to really know what pleases her to keep her interested.

Or, maybe she never really spoke up about what she wanted. Maybe you never got into the habit of talking to each other about what you like. This is why a lot of couples are out of sync in bed. And it can be hard to start that conversation if it’s been off the table for years.

You don’t have to make a big deal out of it. In fact, it’s probably better not to. That can create pressure. Just a gentle question here or there, and you can get to know each other all over again.

The next time you wish for more spice in your bedroom, don’t think: “What’s wrong with her?” Instead think: “Am I being seductive?” That’s when things will start to change.

By Claire Hatch