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Section: sexuality, relationships, marriage

Dear Ann Landers,
Here are my spouse's excuses for avoiding sex: I'm tired. I'm too nervous. It's hot. It's cold. I'm too full. I have a headache. I have a stomachache. The kids might hear. I have to go to work. My mind is on other things. It's too early in the morning. It's too late at night. I'll bet you think this letter is from a husband complaining about his wife. You're wrong. It's from a wife complaining about her husband. He is 50 years old, and I am 40. We are both too young to be giving up sex. If you have any suggestions on how to improve this not-so-hot relationship, I'd like to hear them. - - Failing in Fresno, Calif.

Dear Fresno,
The best way to improve a "not-so-hot" relationship is to heat it up. Be subtle but persistent. It sounds as if your husband is unsure of his ability to perform sexually. He needs reassurance, praise and the knowledge that you really do care about him. Start talking.

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A Note from Margo:
Hi! It's Margo here. I'd love to know what you think of the letters -- and the answers!

Also, any additional thoughts you might have. Thanks!

Reader Comment
If your husband doesn’t want to have sex, he doesn’t have to have sex. He doesn’t owe it to you. Sit down and talk to him if you think there’s something going on, but you absolutely must respect his right to not have sex if he doesn’t want to.

Babs's Comment
Do not be subtle but persistent. Find a new guy who has a similar sex drive as yours.

Deming NM's Comment
Even if he doesn't want to have sex, he should do it anyway. Sex is important and keeps your bond (and your prostate) healthy. As a man, even if work or bills are bugging me, just beginning to make out is enuf to put me in the mood.

Reader Comment
She doesn't consider how lucky she is. So what's the problem. Just too much emphasis on sex these days; it's overrated. If that is the only problem with her husband, be thankful.

Reader Comment
Is he overweight? Are you overweight? Possibly to him it seems like more work than it is worth. Ask him what's up [or rather not up] :o)

Angel's Comment
Communication is key to finding out why he feels this way when you ask or insinuate that you want sex.

Reader Comment
The bible says that a wife should not deny her husband nor a husband his wife. It leads to temptation. The only thing I can do is let him know you crave sex with him but if he's not willing to fulfill his duty then you may be tempted to satisfy your needs with someone else. I don't recommend you do that but speaking from experience it can happen. We are not focused only on sex but a sexless marriage that's not caused by illness is just a marriage of convenience. You lose the desire to even care about your partner because your needs aren't being met. Sex isn't everything BUT it is important.

Joy's Comment
There may be a simple answer as to why not......If he's taking medication (blood Pressure etc) he may not be able to perform which is most embarrassing. It's killing him more than you. Have a serious talk with him and your DR. There maybe other ways for satisfaction and Dr. can help. I'm sure they hear this problem all the time especially with your age difference.

BeenThere's Comment
Fresno: I was married for 21 years. I am 8 years older than my wife, and she played the same tricks - for 10 years - until i got tired of it. she even slept on TOP of the comforter, to make sure that we wouldn't even touch by mistake during the night. saying that touching her during the night will wake her up... and she made sure she went to bed way before me, so she would be 'asleep' by the time i came to bed. As someone else commented here: a sexless marriage, IS a marriage of convenience. I finally realized that; and decided that if i have 20 more years to live, i would rather do it alone, or with someone that TRULY loved me. I finally divorced my wife of 21 years. I wish i had done this 20 years before... It was hard, and i was able to get past it with the help of therapy. You need to decide how the rest of your life if going to play on. you might want to try approaching your husband to see if there is a physical of mental problem, and try to get help. If he is having erectile problems that can be easily fixed these days. Or maybe he is having problems about his own sexuality and preferences (Gay, Bi, etc?) - many people do when they go through middle age. Best of luck.

Reader Comment
I am wondering if he is afraid he can't perform. Maybe a gentle delicate question about having a physical check-up? It is unfair to consistently withhold sex from a spouse unless there is a physical problem. Although we certainly don't have to be constantly available "on demand," continually denying a spouse sex is cruel.
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, whatever they needed I provided. What really hurt my son and I the most was the obituary - we were not mentioned at all. Our friends (mine and hers) were appalled. I was embarrassed and upset for not just me, but for my son-who loved her also. I never been so upset. Her x-husband put his wife and kids and their grandchildren in the obituary, who my girlfriend barely knew. They live an hour away from us. I know its silly to be mad over a little section of the newspaper, but it still hurts. Will time let this devastating loss of her and this article ever go away? I am so angry at this whole situation, its not like we can go and rewrite an obituary notice.

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"Nobody gets to live life backward. Look ahead, that is where your future lies."
-Ann Landers