60 of 66 people found the following review helpful
Wonderful book, but not a magic potion,
This review is from: The Sex-Starved Marriage: Boosting Your Marriage Libido: A Couple's Guide (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. I believe she is correct on that.
"The Sex Starved Marriage" is a quick read. (Odds are if you are reading this review, you understand how all consuming the loneliness becomes!) If it's constantly on your mind, and you are desperate for relief, you probably could get through the book in one or two sittings. I found the book to be charming, even funny in places, but most of all it made me feel understood. Dr. Weiner Davis understands the pain you are feeling. Most importantly, she offers plenty of real world practical advice, for both the HL and LL spouses.
I was so excited to read such lucid and fair analysis, I bought a copy of the book for my wife and begged her to read it too. (She did, somewhat begrudgingly.) We talked about it, and after finishing it, my wife seemed to finally "get it." Sadly, the impression it made on her wasn't lasting, and as soon as she had come around to it, the understanding evaporated and her old attitudes and behaviors returned.
A couple more years has passed, and the problem remains. Now if I refer back to the book, my wife retorts that she can "find stuff on the internet that agrees with her too." I don't blame the author or the book, of course. The book made a wonderful case for how important *and* urgent it is for couples to work together to find some compromise for their mismatched libidos. But ultimately, the person holding the power (usually the LL partner) needs to have the motivation - and LOVE for his/her spouse - to fix the problem. My wife doesn't feel the urgency, and as long as I'm not complaining, she doesn't even feel like there is a problem. When someone writes a book that can fix that, I'll buy two copies. ;-)
For those of you who know what this feels like, I hope your significant other values you enough to face this issue and fix it. Good luck. This book might help, but it can't perform miracles.
PS: If anyone reading this knows of another book worth trying, or just some advice, please share it.
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Showing 1-10 of 25 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Sep 16, 2010 6:53:05 PM PDT
my husband and i watched "Sacred Lovemaking".A DVD about sexuality and the sacredness it holds ,a different view about sex all in all.
A different approach, which is teaching both partners ,to communicate verbally and sexually,to know that sex is not just" getting off".
Sexuality between both partners and the vulnerability and depth between body and spirit.
I suggest you watching it and see for yourself. You can get it through Netflix and if it feels right buy the DVD.
The reason why i'm writing, is to bring in a new facet to sexuality,this can be what your wife is missing.
In reply to an earlier post on Sep 20, 2010 7:43:34 AM PDT
Hi Anna -
Thanks so much for the thoughtful response and recommendation. I will check out that DVD!
Posted on Nov 24, 2010 1:10:23 AM PST
Reader Brown says:
Sounds like a very painful situation! I think that Gregory Popcak, MSW, a wise & insightful therapist/author, would say that there may be a problem in the relationship with selfishness and emotional connection, not just sex. And that there are several steps you could try on your end which may very well work...then your next step would be to apply relationship pressures to create enough discomfort in the "comfortable" spouse to prompt a real, lasting change. As extremely disheartening and lonely as this problem is, please don't give up on your marriage! Greg & Lisa Popcak's website is www.exceptionalmarriages.com, and they do telephone counseling all around the country for a very reasonable fee (in my opinion). They also have a terrific radio show (Heart, Mind & Strength, also podcasted from their website). One of their best books is The Exceptional Seven Percent: The Nine Secrets of the Worlds Happiest Couples. I wish I could reach out and GIVE you the hope & faith I feel when I read your post (a man who wants to improve his marriage! and is willing to read a book about it!! the possibilities are endless)....please keep trying. God bless you and your wife, and very best wishes - Julie
In reply to an earlier post on Dec 31, 2010 9:18:16 AM PST
T. ross says:
I can tell you from experience that pressure has no place in the bedroom.
Not all low libido partners are selfish there are many other factors that contribute
to a sexually dysfunctional relationship and pressure. wow talk about making it 10 times worse.
In reply to an earlier post on Jan 15, 2011 8:59:16 PM PST
Hope Searches says:
So the High Desire (HD) spouse really has no options. This is what my experience has taught me. You simply can't get another person to feel something they do not feel. Period. Talking about it just adds guilt to the LD spouse and they withdraw more. I'm 14 years into this and feel like my hole is just getting deeper and deeper. I agree that pressure only makes it worse. But, as a woman, I am SICK TO DEATH of providing all the sexual energy in the relationship. I am sick of chasing him and flirting with him and nurturing him and courting him and providing foreplay for him. It just makes me feel nauseous and I can't do it any more. I have not desire to do it any more. I still feel sexual, just not for him. Guess I'll go ahead and buy this book. Can't hurt, right?
In reply to an earlier post on Apr 8, 2011 4:13:37 PM PDT
I think that if the Low desire spouse refuses to change, the marriage will end in divorce. The low desire spouse could have a medical reason, or anger (often, anger) or control issues. But if the person refuses to work on compromise, the marriage is effectively dead. A person who loves you will not do that. This book is good if BOTH spouses see a problem. Often the low desire spouse will not act until the high desire spouse has begun to have contempt and distance. By then, it's too late.
People need this book and Gottman's Seven Principles of Marriage. If the low desire spouse refuses counseling, it's time to leave. Go before the hatred hits. it's better for both people and the kids.
Give them one last chance with an ultimatum, but be ready to walk.
In reply to an earlier post on Apr 9, 2011 6:32:12 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 9, 2011 6:34:38 PM PDT
T. ross says:
In reply to an earlier post on Apr 27, 2011 7:39:59 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 27, 2011 7:45:58 PM PDT
Well written thoughts Domini! and so true in MHO! I want to get this book for friend whose husband has no sexual desire and does not want to do a thing about either..so sad for her. I know she will go someday if he keeps refusing to be intimate with her.
In reply to an earlier post on Apr 27, 2011 7:48:35 PM PDT
yes, T.ross also excellent an point, but only if the both agree to be asexual. I have also known a couple who does not have sexual intercourse, but lots of hugs and other intimacies and both seem truly happy:-)
In reply to an earlier post on Jun 22, 2011 8:09:47 PM PDT
Francis J. Bruening says:
T.ross - I feel for your father. It's wonderful your father is faithful, but don't you see how unfair his wife (not sure if this is your mother or not) is being to him?
Why should he lead such a diminished life? A healthy and vibrant sex life is a treasure, and being able to endure a physically barren relationship isn't a sign of true love, but is simply deprivation of a natural part of what makes a person whole.
The fact his wife feels no compunction to work on this issue speaks volumes as to the "truly love each other" she has and how that really works. Love flows both ways, not one way.