I want more sex in my marriage

Enjoy the Monday holiday. We'll reunite on Tuesday.

Hi Meredith,

My wife and I are both in our early 40s and have been together for almost 15 years. We have wonderful kids, a nice home, and a good life in general. I have a great job that keeps me very busy and I love it. She is busy taking care of the home and the kids (she quit her job after we had kids). The only issue I am struggling with is ... sex – or the lack of it. Things were great before we had kids. She was fun, playful, and would initiate intimacy from time to time. Then, after many years together, we had kids. They are wonderful. But things changed a lot.

For the first few years, the kids needed lots of attention, breast feeding, etc., and I understood and accepted that we wouldn't have as much energy for each other. But now our youngest kids are toddlers. We have sex maybe two times a month, and she never initiates anything. When we do have sex, she shows very little reaction. Sometimes she winds up sleeping in a different bedroom.

I know life is busier now. Dealing with kids can be exhausting. She is a good mom and I am a good dad. Everything is good except for the bedroom. I don't think she has something else going on. I don't either. I don't want to get into any extramarital affairs, but the level of frustration and sense of loneliness are growing inside of me. How has this worked for married couples after 10 or 20 years? Is this the way it will be for us in the many years to come?

— Marriage is great except for ...


You write about how much you like your life – your job, home, kids, etc. But ... how does your wife feel about her day-to-day experience?

That question isn't meant to imply that she doesn't like being home. All it means is that it's nice to be asked how you're doing. I'm sure you both talk about your days, but make sure you're asking about her specific experiences and happiness. Really listen. The more you ask, the more you'll understand where she's coming from and why she might seem less interested in sex.

Also remember that toddlers are ... toddlers. I took my friend's kids (including one toddler) to a museum a few years ago – I was with another adult, so the ratio was 2:2 – and when I got home I was a different kind of tired. I'd had a great time, but I felt the exhaustion in my bones. This phase of parenting might seem easier, but it's a different kind of intense. Maybe it's worth having a conversation about what needs to be done – what extra help your wife might need – so you have more time with each other.

Know that many couples have long stretches where sex isn't a priority – until it is again. This moment is not forever.

– Meredith

Readers who are coupled with kids: Can you share your expertise and experiences?