Your husband doesn't want to ravish you 24/7 — and you're confused. Why wouldn't you be? "Western culture has fabricated a blissful story line around weddings and honeymoons and being newlyweds," says Ursula Ofman, New York City-based licensed clinical psychologist and sex therapist. "People think men are supposed to want to have sex all the time. So if a newlywed husband does not want it as often as his now wife, she is likely to feel rejected, unattractive and frustrated."
But the reality is that if your husband's sex drive isn't through the roof, it's likely not you. "Too often, women think that a man's sexual desire is a direct reflection of their love or attraction to them, but this is often far from the truth," says Madeleine Castellanos, M.D., sex therapist and author of Wanting to Want: What Kills Your Sex Drive and How to Keep It Alive. "A man's libido has more to do with his overall energy level, feelings about himself, stress levels, and freedom from emotional strain."
With that in mind, here are three potential causes for your new husband's slowing sex drive.
He's transitioning from a single sex to married sex mentality.
The steps may be the same, but the emotions and meaning behind the act may have changed for him. Married sex, Ofman says, "is even different from cohabiting single sex. Now you are family to each other, and you are supposed to have sex," she explains. "That is a major shift in rules, and often the sex life suffers." Plus, now that you've tied the knot, "sex within marriage feels like a command performance for some men, and therefore it may not feel [like] something they want for themselves," which could explain a waning sex drive, Ofman says.
He needs to recover after the whirlwind of wedding planning.
For the months leading up to your wedding day, you and your now-husband spent after-work hours plotting seating charts, following up on MIA RSVPs, and fielding snarky comments from wedding guests. Then his life changed — for the better! — in a big way. "All big life events are stressors that can temporarily interfere with our regular interest in sex," says Ofman. "Often this may be more driven by an inner-personal issue rather than inter-personal issue, and normalizes with time. [But] if the situation does not improve after a few months it may be smart to seek help."
He hasn't been taking care of himself.
Perhaps his way of recuperating after the wedding and honeymoon involves binge eating buffalo wings while watching a marathon session of Game of Thrones — every night. "Men's libidos can shift if they aren't taking good physical care of themselves," explains Castellanos. "A poor diet, lots of alcohol, smoking, or nutritional deficiencies can severely impact a guy's sexual energy and desire."
No matter what, try to keep this in mind: "Never underestimate the effect that a big life change — like marriage, a new job, a big move, etc. — can have on a man's sex drive," says Castellanos. "How you approach the changes also makes a difference in how it's resolved. Be supportive and hopeful, rather than personalizing it and lashing out either in anger or in sadness. Being positive puts you both in the best position to help yourselves and each other in making things better."