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The Sex-Starved Marriage: Boosting Your Marriage Libido: A Couple's Guide Paperback – January 8, 2004

154 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews Review

In contrast to its tabloid title, The Sex-Starved Marriage offers candid and sensible counsel for couples with mismatched libidos. Seasoned sex therapist Michele Weiner-Davis skewers two stereotypes about sex in marriage. First, she jettisons the idea that husbands are hot and wives are not, giving examples of "low-desire" men in her practice. Next, she upends the longstanding model of sexual response and advises readers: "Just do it. Desire is a decision. Once the low-interest partner allows him/herself to be touched and aroused, this will trigger a strong desire to continue being sexual." The strength of her approach to the causes of sexual stalemate lies in her insights about the struggles of both partners. Her suggestions (how to break the ice, how to court your partner, nag busting, and the Hallmark solution) are not gimmicky and are presented as techniques for couples, not individuals. Weakened only by a final chapter--one that discloses too many details about the author’s marriage--this perceptive book will inspire couples to add heat and light to their marriage. --Barbara Mackoff --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Author (The Divorce Remedy), therapist and Oprah regular Davis offers a frank and reassuring guide for couples struggling with the "desire doldrums." It's been estimated that one-third of couples face issues of low desire, the impact of which is felt beyond the bedroom: "Unsatisfying sexual relationships," Davis writes, "are the all-too-frequent causes of alienation, infidelity and divorce." Unfortunately, libidos are rarely equal; most marriages have a low-desire spouse and a high-desire spouse. Davis offers advice for both, bolstered by numerous examples of how that advice has worked for couples she's encountered during her two decades as a marriage counselor. Court your partner the way he or she wants to be courted, Davis tells high-desire spouses; for low-desire spouses, sometimes the best idea is (to borrow a line from Nike) to "just do it." Her "field-tested" tips are sensible rather than earth-shattering-talk openly, be kind, commit to making a change for the better and set concrete, attainable goals-but in the hard-to-talk-about realm of sex, very welcome indeed.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; Reprint edition (January 8, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743227336
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743227339
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (154 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #16,568 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Michele Weiner Davis, MSW, is an internationally renowned relationship expert, highly acclaimed speaker and author of several books including the best-selling The Sex-Starved Marriage, and the best-selling Divorce Busting, The Divorce Remedy, Getting Through to the Man You Love, Change Your Life and Everyone in It, and In Search of Solutions. She has appeared as a regular guest on Oprah, 48 Hours, the Today show, CBS This Morning, and 20/20. Michele is the Founder and Director of The Divorce Busting Center with offices in Colorado and Illinois. Her popular websites, and offer visitors practical information for making their marriages more loving and lusty. She lives in Colorado with her husband. Watch her TEDx Talk on The Sex-Starved Marriage at

On a personal note, there was a specific reason Michele developed a passion for helping couples fall in love again and keep their marriages and families together. She grew up in an East Coast version of the Walton family. Michele had two parents who loved her and her two brothers. Her parents never fought. Michele had lots of friends and was a good student, so life for her as a child was wonderful. There was a big extended family, so holidays were warm and memorable.

All this came to a screeching halt when she turned 16 and was a senior in highschool. Her mother sat the whole family down and told them that she had been unhappy for 23 years of marriage. Needless to say, this was a shocking revelation because Michele's parents never fought. Then her mother announced, "There comes a time in everyone's life when you have to throw in the towel." Those words changed Michele's life forever. Not only did her parents marriage dissolve, her warm, nurturing family disbanded completely. Her mother had been the hub of the wheel in the family and when she divorce, she resigned from the position. Michele left for college shortly after this announcement and as she did, her home, her family fell apart.

As a result, Michele has been determined to make her own marriage work and to learn everything she could about what it takes to have a healthy and loving relationship so that she could teach it to everyone who crossed her path. This fire within her led her to specializing in work with couples and writing the best-selling book, Divorce Busting. She feels blessed that she has helped hundreds of thousands of couples to renew their love and decide to make their marriages work. She's convinced that people don't just fall out of love, they simply don't have the skills they need to make love last. And these skills, she believes, can definitely be acquired. Visitors to her web site find resources to resolve conflict and reconnect. This is her mission in life- to help people restore their love.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

274 of 288 people found the following review helpful By Thad I on January 23, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Where was this book ten years ago? My wife and I have been fighting about sex for over ten years. When we first got married, sex was great with each passing year, she wanted less and less. Our fights have gotten uglier because I've been so frustrated. I've suggested that she go to her doctor but her only response is that "its my problem." That's how our fights always end.
When I saw this book- great title, by the way- I bought it and read it in two days. The author describes what I've been feeling to a tee. I couldn't believe it. I asked my wife if she would read it too and she shocked me and said yes. I'm not sure what happened to her, but I can tell by her actions that the book is making an impression. She's been more affectionate and she even agreed to talk to a counselor. We're not out of the woods yet, but for the first time in a very, very long time, I have hope that things can get better and that I don't have to spend the rest of my life celibate.
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423 of 453 people found the following review helpful By Julie Carlson on June 5, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I am a 38 year-old, attractive woman whose husband could care less about touching, caressing or making love to me. Until I read this book, I thought I had the only marriage in America that was a pretty much platonic. It's not that we have no sex, it's just that it is so infrequent (and always me that has to initiate) - that this makes me feel less than womanly. I don't want to spend the rest of my life in this kind of a marriage.
Now, after reading this book, I've learned that I am not alone and I am forever grateful for that. Even though other men still seem to be attracted to me, I had convinced myself that there must be something wrong with me. Now I don't think so anymore. I also learned that I've probably been doing all the wrong things to change the situation. I plan on changing my approach immediately. I get very angry and critical and I can now see how that turns my husband away. I feel much better already knowing that I have a plan. I highly recommend that anyone dealing with this issue in their marriage read this book. It's well-written and it will make you feel that the author has been hanging around your bedroom. For me, this book is a Godsend.
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181 of 197 people found the following review helpful By Dr. on February 8, 2004
Format: Paperback
"Show me a couple who has a mutually satisfying sexual relationship and I'll show you a couple I can pick out of a crowd. There's an almost visible bond between them-the gentle touches, knowing glances, laughter and warmth when their eyes meet. You can feel the connection between them." (Davis, p. 32)
How many couples miss this with their partner? Sex becomes a chronic source of tension in too many relationships. One partner has a high drive; the other one has a "leave me alone" attitude. Michele Davis offers excellent advice for those wanting to rekindle their sexual relationship and strengthen their marriage. She makes astute observations, such as noting the assumption many woman have that their husbands want sex because "having sex is like scratching an itch; it's a purely physical need." She continues,"I am convinced that one of the grossest misunderstandings about sex is the belief many women have that men desire sex because they just want, or better yet, need a physical release. It's true that men (and some women) love an occasional quickie without much emotional hoopla. However I've been privileged to hear men describe the way they really feel when their wives aren't' interested. And if you've assumed that your husband wants sex just to "get off," what I've heard will undoubtedly surprise you." (David, p. 56-7)
This book is an easy read, with plenty of relatable examples and excellent tips, i.e., sexy solutions. Davis has an excellent understanding of both partner's dilemmas and she bridges the understanding and communication gap that so often leads couples to divorce or to suffer unhappy marriages. She helps you recapture that mutually satisfying sexual relationship, and more broadly, that soulmate relationship, you may have lost with your partner.
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89 of 96 people found the following review helpful By BorisTheBlade on August 26, 2010
Format: Paperback
I have struggled for an embarrassingly long time in a sex-starved marriage, so when I saw this book, I felt like my prayers had been answered.

For background: I'm the high libido (HL) spouse and my wife has the low libido (LL). My wife tells me I am still tall, dark and handsome, and I know I am in good shape... but after years of isolation, lack of affection and general neglect, you can't help but question it. I'm still in my 30's and I frequently get appreciative looks from women that walk by, but... it still eats away at my self confidence. It's hard to put it out of my mind, like a dark cloud that follows me. From the book, I understand it is just as heartbreaking for women who are married to LL men. If it helps anyone else feeling this way, you are not alone.

Anyway, as hurt, demoralized and upset as I feel from the constant rejection, I realize this is a problem for couples - not just the one who is feeling unloved. I make no claims of objectivity. This kind of rejection is as personal as it gets. Even so, I was glad to see Dr. Weiner Davis treated both the HL and the LL partners fairly. After trying for years to get through to my wife, I didn't relish reading about what I might be doing to contribute to the problem, but I could see she was trying to walk a difficult line and balance the different points of view.

On the other hand, the author made many sharp observations that LL partners ought to consider. My favorite was when she pointed out the unfairness of a husband or wife knowing and acknowledging their spouse was dying for affection, still choosing *not* to fix what is missing, and still expecting the lonely one to remain faithful. Weiner Davis said that kind of attitude would only lead to infidelity, divorce or both.
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