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Note: This week's column includes content that is intended for a mature audience.
We are having marriage problems, and part of the problem is my lack of interest in sex and my husband’s frustration with my lack of interest in sex. I think there may be something wrong with me because I was into it when we first got married but now I’m more interested in sleep. If this doesn’t change I don’t see our marriage making it. Any advice?
You are not alone on this one. According to a CNN Health article, 40 million Americans are in a sexless marriage, meaning they have sex less than 10 times a year.
This is a problem because a healthy sex life is a critical part of a good marriage. For the man, sex creates feelings of security, love and validation around who he is. For the woman, sex creates a feeling of connection, fulfillment and security.
If you are committed to making this marriage work, you must identify what the problems are and commit to solving them. Here are some common issues:
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- Low self esteem and issues around body image can create feelings of embarrassment or insecurity.
- Sex can end up low on the list of priorities after children, work, a house that needs cleaning and chores that need to be done.
- The lust that fueled sex when you first got married has waned. You may not know how to create a sexual relationship based on love instead of lust.
- You may be holding resentment toward your spouse, which gets in the way of feeling attracted.
- You may not be in touch with your sexuality. You may not see yourself as a sexy person.
- Some people have been raised to think of sex as dirty or naughty. This can create a conflict of emotions around sex.
- Some people have an unrealistic idea about what it takes to get in the mood. If you learned about sex watching movies or reading romance novels, these can skew your expectations.
- Hormone imbalances can cause problems.
- Sexual addiction or pornography can cause serious dysfunction.
Now, you have a choice. Instead of having mediocre sex once in a while that leaves you feeling empty and disconnected, you can choose to do some research, get some help and build a healthy sexual bond with your husband.
Here are some things you can do to improve your relationship:
- Work on your self esteem. It is not your spouse’s job to make you feel good about yourself. You are the one responsible for your self-esteem. You may need to get some professional help on this. You must learn to value who you are. Then, focus on giving love to your spouse instead of feeling insecure about yourself. When a man feels wanted, he doesn’t care if your body isn’t perfect.
- Make sex a priority. Sex is healing and therapeutic. Sex can create an environment of love, laughter, acceptance, trust and honesty. It unites two people and creates a solid foundation in the home. You must make the time for it, and it is something that should be studied and worked on together. Get brave and visit a local lingerie and accessories shop together and find ways to make sex more enjoyable.
- Get realistic about your expectations — the love scenes in movies aren’t real. Make sex about giving validation and love to your partner instead of trying to re-create a love scene from a romance novel. Choose to be attracted to your spouse’s character, generosity or confidence instead of just his looks. Create a different mindset around what real love looks like.
- Change your mindset about sex. Sex is not dirty or naughty. Sex is a beautiful, loving and uniting thing. Sex is an act of acceptance, vulnerability, service, playfulness, togetherness and passion that only a loving couple can truly share and apprecite to the fullest. Work on a fresh perspective about it.
- Practice forgiveness. Love is an unconditional commitment to an imperfect person. You must give your spouse permission to be a less-than-perfect, fallible, struggling human being who still deserves your love. You must learn how to forgive past offenses and love each other anyway. Forgiveness is one of the most important lessons you are here to learn, and your spouse will give you amazing opportunities to practice.
- Contact a doctor or sex therapist to help you. If you have chemical issues, hormonal problems, or a history of abuse or addiction, you must get help from a licensed professional or doctor. Also, avoid pornography and romance novels, as they will create more dissatisfaction in your marriage.
You can do this.
Kimberly Giles is a sought after life coach and president of www.claritypointcoaching.com - Cameo Haag, co- writer, is the founder of www.sexlessmarriagenomore.com and author of the e-book "5 Beliefs That May Not be Serving You in the Bedroom."