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My husband only gets romantic for sex

 My husband only gets romantic for sex (Photo: iStock)

Hi Chris,

I’m in a good long term relationship, but I’ve started noticing that my husband only ever touches me when he wants sex.

And that annoys me so much I even find myself flinching! How can I get him to touch me romantically at other times?

Craving Touches

Chris says,

Hi Craving Touches!

You’re far from being alone. Many women in long term relationships complain that their partners only touch them to initiate sex. And eventually, like you, they find that so annoying that any touch makes them flinch.

Therapists call that flinch a ‘bristle reaction.’ Your partner’s touch makes your entire body tense, because you know it only means one thing. It all builds up slowly. You stop holding hands. You only kiss as part of foreplay. Until eventually every touch feels like a prelude to sex.

Any touch feels loaded, because there’s an expectation attached to it, and that makes every sort of physical connection much more difficult.

The bristle reaction is what psychologists call an honest signal, because it’s subconscious and difficult to hide. Your body is responding defensively and saying that you’re not interested.

But that means that your husband ends up feeling rejected and embarrassed, and you probably feel resentful and maybe a little guilty.

So how can you break this cycle?

Make a habit of holding hands when you’re sitting together, or gently reaching for each other in passing. Remember those long kisses you enjoyed when you were courting? Start doing that again, every day. And try really hugging each other as you leave the house, and when you return.

Talk together about your preferred initiation style, and establish some ‘erotic time zones.’ When do you feel most sexual? When is your favourite time to be intimate? How can you both initiate sex better? Where do you like to be touched on your body? 

In fact, the more you talk about your preferences, the better. Because you both want to be intimate and close. So talk through how to do that in a way that feels good to both of you.

All the best,


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