Elya K. is a moderator of a phone conference. He and his wife have helped many marriages through the hotline.
Someone sent Elya the following question:
I have a question regarding marital intimacy and perhaps you can offer some advice. I feel that my wife and I are on two different wavelengths and that is causing some hotzaas zera at nights. I am in the mood to be intimate almost every night while my wife is not a nidah, and she is interested much less (0 - 1 times a week). Because of this, we are together only (0 - 1 times a week). I have not expressed this to my wife, as I am embarrassed and don't want her to do something she doesn't want to. Do you think this is an issue that I should be more open with her about? At this point I have not said anything and just try to quell my desires.
Men and women have different templates about sex. A woman links sex with her feeling during the day. If she has a romantic good feeling during the day with her husband, she will be more in the mood. Women do not just jump in bed and have sex. They do in the movies, on TV and in p**n, but not in real life!!
Part our disease is that we sexualize women, INCLUDING OUR WIVES. I did this for over 20 years to my own wife. Once she found about my addiction and some of the details, she told me that I had been manipulating her into sex for over 20 years. I was not consciously trying to do this, but it was part of my sex and love addiction. Women are not sex objects. Sex is a spiritual bond between two people. Sex is a mutual understanding that this is ONE way to show their love for one another. Yet to a woman, you are physically entering her body and she has to feel safe enough to let you do that. If she senses that you are full of LUST and just want to have sex for your own physical desires, SHE AIN'T INTERESTED.
Now, for the remedy to fix all of this: The SA White Book says,
"The crucial change in attitude came when we admitted we were powerless over our addiction and we withdrew from our habit. For some it meant no sex with themselves, for others it meant no sex with their spouse for a while to recover from Lust. We discovered that we could stop, that not feeding the hunger didn't kill us, that SEX WAS INDEED OPTIONAL. There was hope for freedom and we began to feel alive. We turned away from our obsession with sex and self, and turned to G-d and others."
So here's what I want you to do, if you're open to my suggestions. The next time your wife is a nidah, I want you to buy her flowers DURING THE WEEK, not for Shabbos. (If you don't usually do it for Shabbos, you can buy them for her for Shabbos). The point here is to train yourself that you need to show compassion, love, intimacy and romance in OTHER WAYS besides sex. She will be surprised, and then you can begin to talk to her about all this. You don't have to go into details. Just say that you realize that you seem to want to have sex more often than she does, and you would like to discuss it with her. Find out why she is not interested and tell her you would like to make amends IF she senses that you constantly want sex. Tell her you were embarrassed to talk to her about it because you don't want to hurt her or make her do things she doesn't want to do. THIS IS GOING TO BE SO POWERFUL IN IMPROVING YOUR MARRIAGE.
Work together on other ways to feel close. Don't wait for her to tell you to take out the garbage or wash the dishes or help with the kids. You take charge. (They say that romance for a man is a candle-light dinner, while romance for a woman is when her husband does the dishes :-). Your job from now on is to do nice things for your wife, whether she reciprocates or not. No matter when it is during the month, Nida or not. Got me? I promise you, she will reciprocate.
I guarantee, when you do this, things will start to change. It may take a few months or a year, but your intimacy will be richer, both in bed and out.
But you have to talk to her. Part of our problem is isolation. Your wife can be your biggest fan and help in all these matters. Tell her you get frustrated sometimes when she's not a nidah, and you really need to talk about this. It's not easy. Nothing we change in ourselves is easy, and that's why we have to talk about it with others to heal.
Have a meaningful, spiritually intimate week for Chanukah. You can do it.