What to do if he’s not up for it (Part 2)

Your partner’s off sex? Here you’ll find practical solutions to get him back in bed again. But if you haven’t read Part 1, give it a quick read first. It talks about why he may have lost desire – which is crucial to know! Stop trying to seduce him if it’s not working.

Opinion sharply divides on whether you should be trying to tempt him back to sex by doing overtly suggestive things like installing a lap-dancing pole in the lounge and serving dinner in nothing but heels.

The reason why is that it works on some men and freaks the hell out of the rest. Will it work for you? It depends on why he’s off sex in the first place.

If it’s because he sees you as a friend rather than a lover, treating him to a sexy surprise could well do the trick.

If he’s avoiding sex because of erection problems, the pressure of not being able to perform when you so desperately want him to, could be absolutely disastrous.

He may feel that a ‘real man’ would be rock hard if treated to what you’re offering. If he’s not, his sexual confidence slides quietly through the floorboards. Another reason why this can backfire: one of the problems is sex is too available to him so pushing it in his face (perhaps literally) doesn’t work.

There’s a reason why some weight loss experts say to fill the house with chocolates and cakes.

The more readily available something is, the less we want it.

“We demand stability in marriage, then when we get it, we complain things are always the same,” says David Schnarch, sagely.

Find out what turns him on

You already know the answer to that one, right? You sure about that? Our partner is often the last person we tell our strongest, core turn-ons because they’re often slightly dodgy.

Your favourite masturbation fantasy is a girl going down on you?

Bet you haven’t confessed that one to hubby. (Justification being ‘Well I don’t want it to happen in reality and he can’t exactly turn himself into a girl, so why risk it?)

Get him comfortable enough to share his closely guarded real sexual self, risk letting him see you emotionally naked and you’re poised on the edge of seriously good sex.

At the very least, you know each other’s ‘flavour’ and theme so you can…

Indulge the turn-on

Stop with the knee-jerk reaction, however offended you might feel. Our secret turn-ons aren’t secret desires to do them.

He fantasises about being dominated by a sex worker? Pressing a hundred quid in his palm and dropping him off at the nearest brothel isn’t what he’s wanting. What he wants is for you to ditch the innocent white lacy underwear you thought he’d like, for a leather corset, stockings, suspenders and a wicked pair of thigh-high boots.

Acting on his true turn-on in some way makes him feel heard, so don’t dismiss it as silly or ‘bad’ (or funny, even if it’s positively hilarious!)

If he’s come up with something doable and you’re happy to indulge him, do it. He wants you to shave your pubes in the shape of an arrow? Stifle the giggle and get cracking with the razor.

He saw some ghastly red and black underwear online that’s so tacky you can’t bear it? Buy it. You’ll only have it on for about ten minutes so who cares if it’s itchy as hell.

No one is saying you should always be acting out your partner’s fantasy if you aren’t comfortable with it, but every so often, a little indulgence in each other’s desires could be just what you need to get your sex life off the ground.

While you’re at it, ask what turns him off as well.

He hates that perfume you just spend a fortune on? The way you say ‘Do you want to have sex?’ in a disinterested, ‘I guess we should’ fashion? Wear the perfume out with friends and rethink the way you initiate.

Think back to what used to do it for him in the past. Talking dirty? You taking your clothes off nice and slowly for him? Do you still do it? If you don’t, do it again!

Let him know you notice that he’s trying

Reward the smallest sign of progress and don’t force him to go too fast. If he seems stuck, ask him what he needs. Keep it light and positive not accusatory or nagging. Make it clear you’re doing this together, it’s not all up to him.

Don’t over-react to any erection problems

If his penis isn’t 18 anymore, he’s fighting it all the way. He expects to lose his hair and develop a beer belly but no-one really talks about what happens to man’s best friend as you get past 40. The first time he doesn’t get an erection on cue is a sobering experience, even if he’s not sober.

Erection problems aren’t the same as low desire but if he experiences one, sooner or later he’s likely to feel the other as well, say the experts. (Only 7% of young men report problems being able to keep an erection. It’s 12% by age 40, 18% by 50 – 59 and 25-30% by 60.) Erections don’t happen as spontaneously post 40, he usually needs hands-on stimulation – so give it to him!

Penises become more unpredictable as their owner ages, more vulnerable to his feelings and insecurities.

So be attuned to his emotional as well as sexual state. Let him know you think this is all normal so he won’t panic or get embarrassed. Embarrassment is often why he starts doing the whole fake yawn at bedtime thing, terrified you’ll suggest sex, terrified he’ll fail again.

Until eventually he’s avoiding sex altogether, unless it’s just with himself.

He’s fine emotionally but nothing’s working physically?

Look at his lifestyle. Get him to cut back on alcohol, quit smoking, exercise, reduce stress wherever possible, get enough sleep. Get him to see a doctor if you think he may be suffering from low testosterone or might be a candidate for Viagra or similar.

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