A: What's wrong with "I'm turned on by velvet. Are you?" For that matter, what's wrong with an attractive, compatible woman who will not necessarily share your wild attachment, but is willing to indulge you in yours? I'm afraid you are creating a predicament where none needs to exist. If your attraction were to sex on a bed of nails or to sandpaper underwear, then you'd have a problem.
Q: I am 31 and have been happily married for two years. We have a wonderful relationship, full of oft-declared love, respect and adoration. We communicate well and often, about a wide variety of subjects, sex included. These haven't always been "fun" discussions along the line of favorite fantasies and positions, but have concerned fears and insecurities. Now my libido has largely vanished. In the early, heady days of the relationship, we were practically feral and I want that back. It still flickers, but my engine is slow to start and it's becoming increasingly difficult for me to achieve orgasm. I am bewildered! In many ways, I am happier, healthier and sexier than I've ever been. I wonder at times if I miss the variety of men I had in my 20s, but I rarely even fantasize about other men and in no way do I want to actually be with another. I deeply believe that I've caught the best man in the world for me. The "honeymoon" still lives, and merely spooning naked in bed behind my husband turns me on. The desire in my mind is just not transmitting desire to my body. I have asked myself what I could do (or ask him to do) that would help to fan the fires, and I've come to no conclusions. Toys? Lingerie? Porn? Another person? Perhaps we should look toward sex more often and more spontaneously, but how do we do that with opposing schedules and a life together that is necessarily grounded in routine? I have had another bout like this, but during that time, I was in a barely functioning relationship that lacked passion and I was deeply depressed. Fortunately, that time passed, in all respects, as I always knew it would. This time has little in common with that one, and I find myself without a strategy. Maybe I'm not asking myself the right questions. I'd appreciate anything you could offer.
A: The three major areas to explore in a situation like this are: 1) the relationship itself — are you carrying suppressed anger or not getting something you need from your mate? 2) Your psychological well-being, as you have — are you depressed? Bored? Lonely? 3) Your physical health, such as the possibility of a hormonal imbalance or nutritional deficiency. Psychologically aware as you are, I'd start with a full physical checkup, then build into your busy lives more sweetheart time (not necessarily time having sex), just for good measure. Isadora Alman, author of Doing It: Real People Having Really Good Sex, is a board-certified sexologist and a California-licensed marriage-and-family therapist. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Her Sexuality Forum is at