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A Psychologist Explains A Common Factor She Sees Among Couples Not Having Sex

Co-Founder of Inner Bonding
By Margaret Paul, Ph.D.

“I don’t care if I never have sex again.”

I hear this often from my married women clients, especially those who have children or are in their late 40s. The women who say this have one thing in common: They don’t feel emotionally connected with their husbands.

How lack of connection can affect your sex drive.

Not everyone needs emotional connection for sex to be great, but in long-term relationships, the lack of connection can be a huge factor in a person’s desire to have sex with their partner. In relationships between men and women, there can also sometimes be a chicken-or-egg problem when it comes to sex and connection: Many men say that they feel emotionally connected after sex, while many women need to feel emotionally connected in order to want to have sex. This isn’t a hard-and-fast rule, of course—everyone’s different—but I do regularly notice this conundrum among my clients.  

The neediness problem.

Here’s the interesting thing: Many of my women clients say that when they visit their husband at work and see him in his power, they do feel turned on by him. But when he comes home, he becomes an anxious, complaining, needy little boy—and they are not turned on by that whatsoever.

What’s going is that their husband is powerful in the work arena but self-abandoning—and thus needy—in the emotional arena. He wants sex to relax and feel good about himself rather than to connect with his wife. Rather than taking responsibility for his own feelings of stress and anxiety, he’s coming to his wife expecting for her to make him feel better (or worse, to use her for his own comfort). This dynamic invariably leads to his wife feeling used by him rather than loved.

There is nothing erotic about a needy person.

The situation is also often reversed, where a man wants more emotional connection with a female partner whereas she is disconnected, self-abandoning, and needy. When someone is coming to you for sex that’s all about making them feel validated and soothed, it’s not much of a turn-on.

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