Not Tonight, Honey
What to say to him:
"Yes, thank you!" Remember, he's not only asking for something that
makes him feel good, "he's offering something that will make you feel good
too," says Perel. And just for fun, the two of you can reminisce about how
little sleep mattered when you first started having sex.
"Some other time. I just don't feel sexy tonight"
The average woman plays many roles during the day: mother, chauffeur, house
cleaner, employee, cook. So it's easy for her to forget that femme fatale is
also part of the cast of characters—and that she's a captivating creature who
can still knock her husband's socks off with one sidelong look.
What to say to yourself: Act as if you feel sexy, right down to a costume
change. "If you just get your mind in the game, the feeling will
follow," explains Holly Hollenbeck, author of Sex Lives of Wives:
Reigniting the Passion . "After the kids are in bed, put on a sexy
little top or a nightgown," she says. "It's not something you're doing
for him—this is for you, to help you tune back into your sexual identity."
Soon, it won't be an act. You'll remember that you are a sexy thing.
What to say to him: Nothing. But make sure you stroke him by the dishwasher
or brush up against him when you take out the garbage. "Let your husband
know that, yes, you do see yourself in a sexual way. And you also see him that
way. That's very reassuring to both partners," Dr. Holstein says.
"Can't we just cuddle and watch Law & Order ?"
When couples drift into the celibate zone—feeling as if it would take a $150
meal or an act of Congress to spark some interest—there's trouble ahead.
Theoretically, of course, no sex is fine, as long as that appeals to both
spouses. But experts say that's rarely the case, even if an oft-rejected
partner has given up and stopped asking.
What to say to yourself:
"I deserve some fun." Even going out on your own, with friends, can
help you get back in the mood. "If your husband doesn't like the opera, go
with your sister," says Ruth Westheimer, Ed.D. (otherwise known as Dr.
Ruth). "You'll come home alive, happy—and ready for an intimate
What to say to him:
"I need a date." Doing novel things together can reboot your sexual
appetite, explains Helen Fisher, Ph.D., a professor of anthropology at Rutgers
University and author of Why We Love: The Nature and Chemistry of Romantic
Love . "Go to the city, or even just to a different part of town for
dinner," she suggests. "The excitement will drive up the dopamine in
your brain and trigger your sex drive." (Don't believe it? Just try it,