Question: How can I ask my wife for sex? We have been married for 19-plus years, and have not had sex for ten years now. I am desperate. IT is complicated. Any ideas? Dear Reader:Thank you for your question. I can feel your frustration. There are many factors to consider. It brings up many more questions that can be directed to both you and/or your wife. * What else is happening with your relationship? * Is there depression or other mental illness? Is depression medication a factor? This can dramatically change a person's desire or inclination towards sex. * Was there a recovered memory of sexual trauma or abuse as a child? * Was there an injury? Is there now a disability that makes sex uncomfortable or painful? * Has an affair occurred? Do both parties know about the affair? Are you certain that either party is unaware? * Has there been a history of drug or alcohol abuse? * Has there been a history of domestic violence, in any way? Verbal, emotional, mental, physical, sexual? * Did she have a child, was it a traumatic delivery? * Have either of you gained a lot of weight? Has this weight created negative feelings? * Do you watch a lot of pornography? Do your viewing habits make her uncomfortable or insecure? * Did you at any time have an arrangement to involve others in your sex life? * Did either of you contract an STD from these activities? * How busy are you with your careers? Do you have opposing daily schedules? * Do you have children? How much time and energy does it take to care for them? * Have you made her feel inadequate in previous discussions about wanting a different sex life? All of these questions and many more that I haven't come up with could provide insight to her discomfort, mistrust, and fears for not wanting to share her most intimate gift with you. The length of your marriage shows you are committed. It’s important, though, to not take each other for granted. Have you sought out a counselor to work through this or other trouble with your marriage? I would recommend using someone with Non-Violent Communication therapy techniques. One of the big factors of NVC is removing blame, not finding fault and providing active listening techniques. Be open with your heart – fill the conversation with love, compassion and be ready to respond with any statements, reaction or behaviors with an open mind and focusing on digging to the root of the pain. This is where a therapist, someone trained in NVC can be helpful to mediate your situation. Finding those holes and filling them with strength and hope can bring a new level of intimacy and trust. Does she like romance? Would she appreciate coming home to a clean house, with dinner ready, candles lit and flowers? Perhaps after dinner you could ask to begin seeing a therapist, tell her you want to be there for her as her husband and best friend. I cannot stress enough the importance of bringing up this kind of monumental discussion OUTSIDE of the bedroom. Asking her to discuss why she doesn't want to have sex while you're laying next to her frustrated, rejected and hurt will only deepen the wounds. Your desire to hear what is really going on should make a profound difference in her letting you in (figuratively and perhaps literally). Leave behind your needs, desires. Don’t be selfish. Release your own pain and fears. Come to her with accountability, humility, understanding, compassion and love. Be sensitive and without reproach. If you are strong enough to hold her up, your marriage could move forward. If you are not, move on without her or let go of the idea of having a sex life. To find Non-Violent Communication therapists and centers in your area, go to: If you have a question or a topic you would like to have covered in this column, please go to: and click on the link for the Google form. Or, call (614) 636-0936 and leave a message in my Google Voice Mail Box. Both options are 100 percent anonymous. Thank you.

Appears in Issue: