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Are You Spouses or Just Roommates?

You've drifted into a sexless marriage. Can this relationship be saved? Yes, experts say.

Vibrators and Pills

Tools and toys are important, too.

Men: Viagra, Levitra, or Cialis can be effective in men with erection problems, but if you have certain medical conditions or are taking certain medicines, you may not be able to use them.

Ladies: Don't fret if you're not feeling desire right away. Enjoy the process of becoming aroused. A vibrator can help with that, she advises. "After menopause, they may need a more intense vibration, at least initially, if a woman hasn't been sexual in awhile. She may need a vibrator."

If vaginal dryness and pain are issues, look into topical lubricants and moisturizers, Foley adds.

Many vaginal products contain estrogen (which can come in cream, vaginal ring, and vaginal tablet formulation), which helps with dryness, irritation, and muscle tone in the area. If you cannot take estrogen, products like Replens or K-Y Jelly can help with lubrication.

Try a Marriage Retreat

Keeping your marriage on track -- sexually and otherwise -- requires good communications skills, Solee adds. A therapist can guide you toward improving those skills, possibly recommending a marriage retreat.

"It's not our differences that pull us apart, it's how we handle them," she tells WebMD. "You need to really listen to your partner in a way he knows you love and respect him. Take a marriage cruise or retreat or a wilderness workshop. Learn to disagree in ways that breed joy and intimacy." Marriage education classes are also held in local community centers, churches, and military bases, she adds.

Some workshops are intense group therapy for couples. "Some are enrichment weekends -- you learn to massage each others' feet, or talk about sensuality. It depends on how deep your rift is, whether a therapist would recommend a lighter or deeper workshop," Schwartz says.

Group therapy lets you see the relationship more clearly. "Often, people find it easier to give empathy to other people than to each other," she explains. "But once empathy is in the room, it kind of fills the room. It helps you give it to each other."

You learn from other couples in the room, Schwartz adds. "Some people give voice to something you haven't been able to. It's different if it doesn't come from an authority figure. It becomes a discussion among equals. Other people can see things you may not see. If everybody looks at you and says, ‘Why are you being so hard on her?’ everything changes. You suddenly see, whoa, I am."

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Reviewed on August 23, 2007

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