Getting the straight talk about sex



Dear Dr. Jenni,

My wife rarely wants to have sex when I initiate it, and only if she’s had a drink or two. How do I get her to loosen up and get in the mood without alcohol, and without telegraphing my intentions?

—Seeking Sober Sex

Dear Seeking,

Many people prefer sex during altered states of body and mind because it loosens inhibitions, provoking heightened arousal. However, if this is the only time your wife becomes sexually interested, then further exploration is needed.

In many heterosexual partnerships, women experience a lower sex drive than men. This is not a disorder. People are programmed differently. However, if one’s sex drive drastically changes during the course of a relationship not due to biological causes such as menopause or other health and stress concerns, then there is often something amiss in the relationship.

If her sex drive has declined throughout your marriage, and the only time she responds in the positive is under the influence, what has stopped you from asking her if she is happy in the relationship, or with your mutual sex life?

The answer can be frightening because she may express dissatisfaction, but this information can be essential to relationship growth. Perhaps she needs more emotional intimacy to feel safe and emotionally aroused. Or she may need you to initiate and invite her to have sex in a more flirtatious manner. If arousal and orgasm are issues, she may need a somatic jumpstart. Ask her what areas need improvement. Once the communication floodgates are open, then you won’t have to learn Morse code to know her needs.

Dear Dr. Jenni,

I’m a 58-year-old man and recently divorced. I’ve taken the time to grieve the end of my marriage and feel ready to date. I’ve started to go online, but I find that many of the women lie! They put up false pictures and lie about age and weight. Why on earth is this happening? How do I find a good, honest, down-toearth woman?

—Online Dating Deception

Dear Online,

Good for you to take time to grieve the end of your marriage. Now that you are dating, remember it’s a game and a gamble, especially online. Online benefits include the ability to search far and wide. This increases your odds of finding someone compatible versus taking your luck to an arbitrary bar. You can also list specific traits and interests to weed out those who may have red flags. For instance, if you are divorced, you may want to date another person who is divorced and understands your experience. Or if your kids are out of the house, you may want the same from your partner, to take time to travel.

On the down side, the computer screen acts as a barrier where people can hide. People eventually meet face-toface, so the truth inevitably emerges. But in the interim, it can feel safe for many people to put up a façade if being vulnerable with their authentic selves feels too scary.

If you have found that many women lie, then consider changing your approach. Perhaps be forward about your experiences, and say you want to know if the pictures posted are age- and weightaccurate. Explain that you are presenting your true self and you are hoping for the same from potential partners.

Again, online dating is a numbers game. You have to be patient to find a good fit, even if that means a number of lackluster first dates. In addition, I suggest doing social and group activities that nourish you. You may find partners with similar interests. Even if you don’t, you will have a good time doing activities you enjoy.

Send questions for Jenni Skyler, Ph.D., to Skyler is a sex therapist and board-certified sexologist who runs The Intimacy Institute in Boulder,


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