We only have sex two or three times a year

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My wife and I have been married for 10 years and together for 20. I'm early 60s and she's late 40s and we have a great marriage and enjoy each other's company. Our one big problems (or should I say my big problem) is that she no longer has any interest in sex. The first few years of our relationship, we couldn't keep our hands off each other. That naturally declined over time to something like two to four times a month, but over the last couple of years, it's down to two to four times a year.

We've talked about it a lot and she swears it's not me, but that doesn't change the outcome. There are no medical problems we are aware of and no real stressors in our life. When I press the issue she will sometimes relent, but it makes me feel like I am asking her to do a household chore. Looking for advice as I'd really prefer to not step outside the marriage, but I'm not ready to be celibate the rest of my days.

– Sexually Frustrated


You say there's no stress, but the expectation might be enough to make the whole thing more fraught than it should be. Sometimes, when one person wants sex and the other doesn't have the same drive, that second person starts to get anxious out about disappointing their partner. The potential for any sort of mood is ruined.

My advice is to A) be patient. Please don't start threatening to have affairs. This is a moment in your marriage, not your entire future. B) Consider that there could be external issues affecting her brain and body. It's been a really complicated few years for just about everyone. Maybe the two of you don't have financial problems or kids running around, but the state of the world absolutely creeps into people's psyches, affecting everything. C) Consider therapy to process where you are. There are counselors who focus specifically on sex. There are also books about this. Find out if your wife is open to figuring out why this activity that does ebb and flow dipped to twice a year.

So many letter writers tell me they're not having enough sex. They forget to tell me whether they're kissing, cuddling, having long talks, going out for one stress-free evening, giggling on the couch – basically, pursuing all of the other intimacies that sometimes lead to sex. Maybe start there. No expectations. Order the best takeout and play a board game. Listen. Talk about a nice memory. Have a very good kiss good night. No pressure for more, and maybe that would help get you both there.

– Meredith

Readers? Advice for a waning sex life?