One major key to understanding why your wife won't sleep with you is this: When women are stressed out, they can't relax enough to have sex. For women, relaxation is necessary (but not sufficient) to feeling sexual. Men think of sex differently, as a way to release stress. (Don't believe me, husbands? Read Wanting Sex Again: How to Rediscover Your Desire and Heal a Sexless Marriage.) But this doesn't work in reverse. Men, with higher testosterone levels and higher sex drives, can't imagine sex being stressful. To them, it is like chocolate, back rubs, or reading this blog: always pleasurable, anytime. However, women, particularly in monogamous relationships, often have a low sex drive to start out with. When they are stressed, particularly if the stress is constant, their sex drive evaporates.
Housework and child care are prime sources of a constant level of stress. As a mom, you're on call, emotionally and/or physically, 24 hours a day. Also, you have a constant stream of housework to do, because in society, your house can't look like garbage, which I discuss here, in "7 Reasons Your Wife is So Stressed All The Time." So, women have a constant nagging feeling of needing to get stuff done, just to get up to a baseline level of normal, such that your kids are fed and clean, the house is clean, and you yourself have a couple of minutes to exercise (so your husband doesn't write in to me like this guy did) or sleep. (Men often don't share this urgency, which leads to conflict.) Furthermore, unlike paid work, which many of these same women also do during the day, there are no impressive victories or positive feedback from engaging in a steady stream of of laundry, cooking, and cleaning.
Some guys retort, "Well, that doesn't apply here, because, I help with housework! I even do more of it than my wife." (Usually they don't say that last part, but some do.) Look, there can be other emotional, physical, hormonal, and biological reasons that your wife doesn't want sex, but I urge you to examine this one clearly first. Even if you help with housework, do you fully take it over? Is there any day that you are 100% in charge of when, where, and how all members of your family get fed, clothed, and cleaned? Is there a day that you do everything your wife usually does, including the organization component, which is more of a life-sucking burden than a mere "component"?
If you would like to have more sex with your stressed out wife, try this plan. (Disclaimer: first DISCUSS IT WITH HER, by sharing this article or summarizing it. Do not just try the plan covertly or she'll know something is up and hate you for being sneaky. And if your marriage is in dire straits, don't try this plan, because it will only work when two people together are trying to tackle the problem of one person's lower sex drive due to stress.)
1. Let her initiate sex for the next month. If you stop pressuring her for sex, you're removing one source of constant stress.
2. If that doesn't work for you or her, then at least schedule sex. As I discuss in that link, this doesn't mean "Monday at 8:45," or at least it doesn't have to. It can also mean "tonight" or "this weekend." This allows your wife to mentally prepare for sex and get her housework and childcare-related ducks in a row before sex, which means she won't be stressed out thinking about how she still has to make the kids' lunches while you're trying to kiss her.
3. Give your wife set periods of time when she has zero childcare or housework-related responsibilities. This doesn't mean that you tell her, "Sure, go to the gym," and when she gets back, you've done nothing and the kids haven't been fed and the house is a disaster. It means that while she does her thing, you keep the house going IN THE WAY THAT SHE WOULD WANT YOU TO. Yes, that isn't fair because you don't care about the mess and you're super chill and laid back. However, life isn't fair and you wanted to know how to get laid, not how to rewire women's brains so they don't care about the stuff that you consider superfluous and ridiculous.
4. Make sure that there is time set aside for sex RIGHT AFTER your wife has relaxed and done her own thing. Examples:
- You take care of the kids/house until naptime. She comes home at naptime and you have sex.
- You do bedtime, bathtime, and make the lunches. She reads a book. Then you have sex.
- You ask her for a list of things she wants done and do them all, while watching the kids. She goes out for dinner with her girlfriends. She comes home and you have really good sex.
Now you may say, this is stupid, what a load of BS, a woman is supposed to want sex and why should I have to exchange doing stuff I hate for sex? Well, that attitude is what got you into your current low-sex state. I tell women to suck it up and have sex all the time, but the sex you'll have with a stressed out woman is more of the "Okay, are you done?" variety than the inarticulate moans of passion variety. Decide what you want. If you're cool with bimonthly tepid sex, keep "reading an important work email" while she does bathtime for the 600th night in a row. If you would rather your wife recapture her old joie de vivre, try to make her feel like a woman and not a nanny/housekeeper, at least sometimes.
Till we meet again, I remain, The Blogapist Who Says, That List Thing Really Works.