By Ruth Westheimer, King Features Syndicate
12:27 PM PST, December 11, 2012
Q: I have been in a sexless marriage for the past seven years, yet it seems that it's been since I got married. My wife had sex with me for the first two years, randomly … really, when I asked for it. She was a virgin, and so was I. I guess I did things wrong, because I really believe she did not like it. She wanted children, so for the first couple of years we had sex. We had two girls, and since then sex has been on an asking-for-it basis, once a month or every other month.
I love my wife and cannot be unfaithful. I'm tired of this. I want my partner. I've learned so much from reading articles on the Internet about the things I should have known, and I believe we can make it work. I just have to be able to arouse her and show her the favorable parts of foreplay and loving sex. Please help this old man.
A: I won't deny that it's hard to turn things around after seven years of a so-so to lousy sex life, but it's not impossible.
The first step is to be as romantic as possible. Don't make this quid pro quo, i.e., I brought you flowers or took you out to dinner, so we must have sex. Instead, take it slow. Make her fall in love with you as much as she once did.
And since she does agree to have sex on occasion, when the next occasion arises, do all you can to pleasure her. Take it very slow. Make it as loving an experience as possible. She might then agree to have sex more often, and slowly you might be able to make her enjoy it to the point of orgasm. (My guess is that she has not been having orgasms when you have sex.)
If you can't do it, then you two need to see a marriage counselor. By going together, you'll be demonstrating that this is a serious problem for you and that she should take it seriously. And the therapist also should help to convey this message.
All this won't be easy, but if you put in the proper effort I think you can be successful.
Q: My husband and I have been together for nine years. We've been faithful to each other. He has never been to a strip show but is curious to do this in Thailand. He's heard about the ping-pong shows (where naked or scantily clad women do novel things with various objects).
We are a mature couple; I am 28, and he is 33. We don't drink or do narcotics. He's never shown interest in strip shows, etc. I trust him not to do so back home here in South Africa. He did mention that he would like to know what it is all about. He wants to go as a couple. I have mixed feelings about it. I'm not sure if I want to go. I would like him to experience it with me, but, then again, I feel like it's disrespectful to me and to women.
A: See, I'm still learning, even at my age, because this type of strip show was one I'd not heard about. I'm guessing that he's brought it up not so much because of what they do but because it's different and weird, so he can couch his request without saying that what he really wants is to see naked women up on stage, no matter what they are doing. I can understand why you're not interested in going, and I don't think you should. But I also think that his request is a request for something different. Perhaps your sex life together is a little too predictable. So my advice is to find ways to spice up your sex life, and if you can do that, I believe he'll forget about this desire to see a pingpong show.
Q: I'm 41 and divorced, with three beautiful daughters. My problem is that I'm not a "minute man," and it takes me a long time to finish. Because of that, my ex thought I wasn't attracted to her anymore and that I must be cheating, and so she started cheating — a lot — which led to our divorce.
I'm in a new relationship, and I love her with every ounce of my soul, and we have a beautiful 2-year-old daughter. But it still takes me a long time — up to an hour — to have an orgasm, and now she's starting to believe the same thing, that I'm cheating, and so she's cheated. I always make sure that she is completely satisfied, and she has even moved up to the next level. Please, what can I do? I don't want to lose her.
A: She needs a quick course in sex education. You're not alone, as many men have difficulties climaxing. It has nothing to do with how attracted they are to their partner, and it certainly is not a sign of cheating. You could show her my answer to let her know that your problem even has a name in the scientific literature — retarded ejaculation — and that you are not to blame for this.
It's possible that with time, and perhaps the help of a sex therapist, you could overcome this, but in the meantime let her know that your problems are not a sign of cheating and that she should stop cheating before she destroys this relationship.
Dr. Ruth Westheimer is the author of "Dr. Ruth's Sex After 50" (Quill Driver Books) and "Sex for Dummies" (IDG Books). Have a question for Dr. Ruth? Write to her at drruth.com.