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    Not Tonight, Honey

    What to say to him: continued...

    "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 encounter."

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