Q. My wife and I have been married for 5 1/2 years and despite a LOT of hard work (including counseling) have been unable to resolve a very simple, yet damaging problem: We aren’t having enough sex to keep each other happy and to be “normal.” Making a long story short, I’ll address what we’ve finally concluded after 2 marital separations, marriage counseling, and advice and support from our friends. That is, my wife seems to be a very normal and healthy woman (she is 27). She desires sex regularly (2-3 times per week), and is comfortable masturbating on her own and having orgasms with me. Additionally, she makes it clear to me that I don’t have to jump through hoops to “get her going” so to speak. The issue with me, is that I don’t identify with the typical and normal attitude and behavior of most men. Namely, I mean the obvious overt desire most men have to engage in sex very frequently (i.e. 5 times per week or even daily for a man in a long-term relationship). While I’m very comfortable masturbating on my own to fantasy (including fantasizing about my wife) or pornography, I find myself avoiding “real sex” with my wife. Not intentionally, I simply rarely want it (i.e. 1-2 times per month). Although I am currently masturbating more times than that (3-4 times per week) I believe this is a direct result of my work situation (I work from home and am by myself all day, every day). I have held other more typical jobs where the opportunity for self-gratification isn’t quite as in reach and have found myself going weeks between orgasms (back to the 1-3 times per month schedule). I will also add that my wife and I married as virgins and came from a conservative Christian background (which we no longer follow or believe). I’m sure there are issues in both our lives stemming from this type of upbringing. I’m having a difficult time figuring myself out as the sexual avoidance disorders (i.e. Hypoactive and Aversion) imply an overall lack of sexual desire and drive. Whereas I DO have some type of drive, it’s just more infrequent than most normal/healthy men.

A. Masturbating 3 to 4 times a week is actually a good healthy sex drive. However, your sexual energy is being diverted to masturbation instead of sex with your wife. Why is this? There are many reasons for this that need to be determined over time and in counseling. Sex should be exciting for the both of you and sexual behavior in the bedroom should be modified so that goal can be accomplished. I would recommend a good sex therapist or a therapist who is very skilled in sexual issues.