Relationship advice: Why does my husband only touch me when he wants sex?

Question: My husband seems to touch me only when he wants sex. I’d love to cuddle more, but how can I make him understand that when I hug him it doesn’t mean I want to run to the bedroom and have sex?
My first question is, how often do you have sex? If getting naked is as rare as a sighting of Ogopogo, your sweetie has just cause for hoping that touchy equals feely. Couples often bring this issue to my therapy couch, and the man points out that touch feels good–and infrequent sex can mean that a simple touch really turns him on. He interprets the delicious feelings as a prelude to more. He then reverts to his 18-year-old self, desperate to get to second base before you change your mind. You pull away, he feels he has struck out and then he pulls away altogether, leaving you both a little hurt and wary. Touch then becomes a loaded issue, and pretty soon you are patting the dog more than each other.

If your sex life is healthy and frequent, the issue is slightly different.
Some men (and women) need to learn how to be comfortable with non-sexual contact. Touch is vulnerable and intimate. A soft, slow embrace with eye contact can be more emotionally intense for him than hot sex.
So he moves all touch toward sex in order to feel more confident and less exposed.

In that case, you need to coach him to slow down and enjoy the entire sensual palette. The delights of non-genital touch are endless–from intertwined fingers at a concert to naked cuddling–yet most couples do not cultivate this art form. My sex therapy adage is “touch more, touch often.” This means you must create the conditions for more types of physical contact, ranging from sweet and cuddly to raw and sensual. Discuss the need to have more physical fun with your man, and make touching your new hobby.

Here are a few things to explore.

Hug hello and goodbye: Hug tightly and hold a full-body embrace for a couple of shared deep breaths. Lay your head on his shoulder or share foot rubs on movie night (I purchased a reclining love seat specifically as the “cuddle couch”).

Take a partner dance class: You'll be able to touch and move together to music.

Schedule an “erotic touch” date: Tease each other’s body everywhere except the genitals–no orgasm allowed. It’s guaranteed you will discover pleasure in previously ignored parts of your bodies.

Explore the lost art of kissing:
Remember the long evenings spent necking on the couch with your first love, every nerve ending crackling with sensual desire? When you could kiss for, literally, hours? I challenge you to remember the last time you kissed your spouse that way. The erotic power of tongues exploring should not be underestimated. I’m 49, and my boyfriend and I kiss a lot–those hot, slow kisses that go on for a long time. This scandalizes my college-age sister, who thinks kissing is for the young. But when my boyfriend and I started dating, and were still keeping our clothes on, I said, “Let’s always kiss like this, even when we’re lovers.” And we do, even at our age. So can you.

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