When Appetites for Intimacy Don't Match | The Oprah Winfrey Show | Oprah Winfrey Network

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♪♪ OPRAH WINFREY: Today... JEREMY: I'm lucky to have sex once or twice a month. AMY: When I do give in to Jeremy and we have sex, I pray that it's over with in two minutes. JEREMY: I'm rejected almost every day. WINFREY: Are you having enough sex? BARBARA: I definitely think our sex drives are incompatible. DAVID: It's not that I don't want to make love to her, it's that I'm just tired. WINFREY: Dr. Phil goes into the bedroom. ALYSSA: We had sex three or four times a week. Now it's been over a year. Robert has one excuse after another. WINFREY: What we're trying to figure out, Phil and America, what happens within a whole year. Dr. PHIL McGRAW: Whatever's going on with you, you haven't told me. WINFREY: When sexual appetites don't match--big problem--next. ♪♪ [APPLAUSE] Thanks, everybody. Let's--let's cut to the chase. How much sex a week do you have? Unidentified Woman: ...(Unintelligible). WINFREY: Would I what? Unidentified Woman: Would you rephrase that to who much sex you have a year, because I could answer that. WINFREY: OK. The answer would be what? Unidentified Woman: Twice. WINFREY: Twice a year? Unidentified Woman: Oh, my. WINFREY: You need Dr. Phil. Unidentified Woman: No! WINFREY: OK. OK, twice a year. Well, this is going to be a very interesting show, America. Is it enough for you? That's the question Phil wants to know, but not enough for your partner. Dr. Phil's here to help figure out what to do when your sexual appetites don't match. This is a big issue, I hear, for millions of couples, when one of you wants it more than the other. OK. So since having children--this happens to a lot of people--Amy never wants to have sex with her husband. Jeremy says he can't stand living with the rejection much longer. AMY: Jeremy and I have been married for six years. We were high school sweethearts. We were so in love. People constantly commented to us, you know, `You guys, God, can't keep your hands off each other.' When we were first married, we were having sex at least once a day. JEREMY: Once we had children, we stopped making love. I'm lucky to have sex once or twice a month. AMY: I can't just flip a switch and being a mom to becoming the sexy wife that he wants me to be. I can't do it. JEREMY: I have a very high sex drive. I could make love to Amy every day if she'd let me. And if it was up to her, she says she would never have sex again. AMY: When I do give in to Jeremy and we have sex, I pray that it's over with in two minutes. I work full-time. I go to school, and when I come home at night, I walk in the door, give the kids a hug. Come on, let's clean up this mess, you guys. Looks like a tornado went through. I'm exhausted, and Jeremy wants attention from me. This is not the '70's. I mean, I work, too. JEREMY: She never wants to hug. She never wants to kiss. She just does not want to touch me at all. AMY: The truth is I wish Jeremy would just leave me alone. He will walk past me and grab me. It just turns me off. The kids are right there, and I don't like that. After I had children, my body became like a road map with stretch marks and purple varicose veins. I can't ever imagine myself feeling sexy or looking sexy ever again. JEREMY: When I tell Amy that she looks beautiful, she's like, `No, I don't,' you know, `I look like a cow.' She just has it set in her mind that she's not attractive at all. My dream would be for Amy to come home and want to make love to me. I'm rejected almost every day. AMY: Jeremy's told me if I don't please him, he will find someone who will. I do feel bad for Jeremy, and I wouldn't know what to do if I was in his shoes. WINFREY: So Jeremy has threatened to find affection elsewhere, right? Somewhere else? You've threatened. WINFREY: Yeah. Dr. JEREMY: Yeah. McGRAW: Tell me what it is that turns you off about sex. You said, `I--I know it's not natural to do that.' What is it about it that really bugs you? AMY: Ever since I had kids, to me it's dirty. It's just--moms don't do that. Dr. McGRAW: Moms don't do that. AMY: That's how I--my perspective has changed. Before kids, we didn't have any problem at all. We couldn't keep our hands off each other. Then once I had children, it was like now I'm a mom. I'm not sexy. I don't--the grabbing and the groping and the affection is just dirty to me anymore. Dr. McGRAW: And-and... AMY: And I can't get past that. I know it's a problem, and I know it's not right. I don't want to feel like this. I want it to be like it used to be. He could touch me and I'd just get this tingling or I'd get so excited to see him, and then--but once I've had kids, it's like the kids are in the back of my mind. My work's in the back of my mind. Schoolwork. I have so much in my mind that I just--I can't push it all to the side and just switch and I'm the wi--I'm the sexy wife like, you know--I can't do it. I can't relax at all. Dr. McGRAW: Well, that--that's a paper tiger. I'm going to come back to that in a minute. But, Jeremy, how do you feel about this? JEREMY: It's frustrating. It really is. Like Amy was saying, we were high school sweethearts. We--we've never had a problem sexually.

And then we got married--you know, we just couldn't wait to get married because we wouldn't have to sneak around, you know. It was just--you know, we'd have our own, you know, house together; it would be just great. And then we got married--you know, we just couldn't wait to get married because we wouldn't have to sneak around, you know. It was just--you know, we'd have our own, you know, house together; it would be just great. And it was until we had our children. And then it just went downhill. Dr. McGRAW: Now listen very carefully to my questions here. Do you like your husband? AMY: I love my husband. Dr. McGRAW: That isn't what I asked you. I said listen very carefully. Do you like your husband? AMY: Yes, I like my husband. Dr. McGRAW: You like him. He's a nice guy. He's... AMY: Um, he's grouchy. Dr. McGRAW: Yeah. AMY: I think he's grouchy a lot. Like--I think he's grouchy a lot of the time. But I think a lot of that's because of me... WINFREY: Uh-huh. AMY: ...because I'm not giving in. McGRAW: Yeah, that'll make a guy grouchy. It will. It'll make a guy grouchy. Dr. McGRAW: I mean, it will. WINFREY: OK. WINFREY: OK, but the answer to the question is you do--you like him. AMY: Yes. WINFREY: OK. Dr. McGRAW: `But.' You said I like him, but... AMY: Right. Dr. McGRAW: `But's' a big word in my vocabulary. JEREMY: She says that I need to do more around the house as far as helping with the kids, doing the laundry, doing the dishes. And I feel I do a lot around the house, but she says I need to do more. And--and that's... AMY: It's not equal. I feel that we both go to school, we both work full-time, we're both parents. It should be split down the middle. Dr. McGRAW: Yeah, but here--here's my question. Why are you not interested in having sex? It--you're either not interested in it because it feels dirty and you think that it's unnatural and immoral, or it's because he doesn't help around the house and you've got too much else to do. Those are two very different things, and I'm trying to figure out whether one's just a bunch of justification to support the other or it's one vs. the other. I mean, what--what--what is the--what is up here that all of a sudden--because you're an intelligent woman. I can tell from talking to you. You--you--you have the ability to reason. You've got to know that we're not all a bunch of perverts because we still have sex. AMY: Right. Dr. McGRAW: We do still have sex, don't we, some of us? There's just--there's just--this isn't an epidemic in the room, is it? Because if it is, I'm getting out. I mean, you--I mean, you've got to know that it's--that this--that this is kind of a natural thing or we wouldn't last very long, right? AMY: I know it's a natural thing, and it's just--it doesn't do anything for me. I don't enjoy it. Dr. McGRAW: OK. Now that's a third reason. I'm serious. I'm just trying to... AMY: I have a... Dr. McGRAW: I'm trying to get you... AMY: I have a--I have a lot... Dr. McGRAW: I'm just trying to get you to think through it. You said it's dirty. He irritates me because he doesn't do things around the house. I'm really tired from work, and I don't get anything out of it. Now I mean... AMY: I know. I could go on and on, probably. I mean... Dr. McGRAW: There's more. AMY: No, I--I think that just it--I think all that adds up to going to bed at night and trying to lay down and I'm mad because he didn't help around the house or, you know, I'm tired because I had a bad meeting at work, school went bad, I--you know, got a lot of schoolwork to do. Maybe all that's pushing on me, that I can't just get in the mood. Dr. McGRAW: And--and--and you--you can imagine if we wrote down that internal dialogue about what you're saying to yourself about this throughout the day, there's no other possible inco--outcome, is there? AMY: No. Dr. McGRAW: I mean, with all the things you're saying--it's dirty, I'm tired, he irritates me, I--you know, all of these things, you go through there, it's like--and isn't that what you mean by flip the switch? AMY: Yeah. Dr. McGRAW: I can't talk to myself 10 hours a day about how this is not a good thing and then go in there and do it. And that's what you call flipping the switch, right? AMY: Yes, yes. Dr. McGRAW: You can't expect me to program myself negatively all day and then get motivated about being with you at night. AMY: Right. Dr. McGRAW: And that's as much a part of it as it is him just grabbing you and saying, you know, `Come on, baby,' you know. AMY: That's what he does, sometimes. Sometimes I'm like, `Can't you be romantic?' Dr. McGRAW: Yeah, I mean, I know what he does. I got--I got it. I'm the guy. I understand that. And so, you know, partially it's that you could use a little better technique... JEREMY: Well, it... Dr. McGRAW: ...OK? JEREMY: Any--any time I--I try to--to be romantic with her, i--it's right away. `I know what you want. You can go ahead and stop now. I know what you want.' You know, it's--you know, we'll be laying on the couch watching TV and I'll be, you know, `Honey, let me rub your back.' She's `Well, that's as far as it's going.' AMY: But... Dr. McGRAW: Well, she's pretty much right, isn't she? Because aren't you pretty much like a crazed dog at that point? I mean, it's like--well--well not, I mean, really, you start rubbing her back... JEREMY: Yes. Dr. McGRAW: ...you're thinking, OK, that went OK, so, you know, let's... JEREMY: When--when you do it maybe once a month, it--it's hard not to. Dr. McGRAW: But that's what I mean. It gets where... JEREMY: It's hard not to. WINFREY: Yeah. Dr. McGRAW: Yeah. AMY: But I know--he never just rubs my feet or my back just to be nice. WINFREY: OK. A lot of women are afraid to be affectionate because the slightest little gesture... WINFREY: ...gets them all barking. Dr. AMY: Gets him--yeah--all worked up.

McGRAW: And--and I'm saying that--and I'm saying when you are absolutely sex-starved and crazed, that's pretty right. McGRAW: You know? WINFREY: OK. I--I got your point. WINFREY: I hear you. McGRAW: And--and I'm saying that--and I'm saying when you are absolutely sex-starved and crazed, that's pretty right. McGRAW: You know? WINFREY: OK. I--I got your point. WINFREY: I hear you. Dr. McGRAW: Isn't that--and you admit that, don't you? JEREMY: That is correct. I mean, she can walk by and just give me that look and I'm just ready right now, you know. I mean, it's... Dr. McGRAW: OK. And that's not flattering to you at all. AMY: It--I can't say it's not--I mean, I--I like the fact that he wants me all the time, and I probably like the fact that I can shoot him down all the time. I don't like--I don't want to be like that. I just--I just want this fixed. I mean, there's plenty of women out there that have more stress in their life than me and their sex life is fine. So my whole thing is what's wrong with me? WINFREY: We're--we're going to finish with Amy and Jeremy... Dr. McGRAW: All right. WINFREY: ...when we come back. We'll be back. ♪♪ ♪♪ WINFREY: We were saying during the break that Amy represents literally millions of wives--I know, we hear from you--who feel that they're just not interested in having sex with their husbands. They love their husbands. I mean, when I went to the gynecologist--I do go, you know--the la--last time I was there, she was telling me I should do a show about it; that's one of the reasons why we are--because it's like an epidemic of young women who love their husbands, Phil, they love their husbands, they just are no longer interested in sex. Dr. McGRAW: OK, but now--and I understand it's awful easy to just kind of sweep that all into one category. But you still have to do differential diagnosis. There are some that it is a hormonal situation. It is a biochemical situation, and then there is a whole 'nother group within the category of women who don't want to have sex, a--or men who don't want to have sex, for that matter, that it is a psycho-social situation. It is relational, it is a function of what's going on. It doesn't have anything to do with the chemistries or the plumbing or anything of the sort. And there are legitimate groups in both categories, and what I always do in terms of differential diagnosis is go to the simplest explanation first... WINFREY: OK. Dr. McGRAW: ...and rule that out if there is--i--if you can do that. WINFREY: OK. What's the simplest explanation? Dr. McGRAW: Well, in this situation with Amy, you've given us lots of things that tell me that it wouldn't make any difference where you were biochemically or hormonally because you're saying, `I've made some choices in my life. I've chosen to have about three lives going at one time. I'm a mother. I'm a wife. I'm a student and I work.' And when you make the choices, you live with the consequences of that, and it may be that you've put yourself in a situation where, at the end of the day, you just don't have anything else to give. You just--you just smooth out. I mean, you've been to work. You've been to school. You've come home and done your other job, which is kids, and I noticed on the tape, first thing you did was walk in, let's cl--let's pick this place up, looks like a tornado came through here. So the door wasn't even shut and you were into your next job, your next role, and you wind up at the end of the pecking order, so there's just not anything left there. And then along the way, you decide, `This is really dirty. I am now a mom,' and so that kind of is an umbrella over the whole thing. Now I would want to work through those things before I started taking pills or patches... WINFREY: Yeah. Dr. McGRAW: ...or you know, something else, really. WINFREY: Yeah. Dr. McGRAW: I would want to rule those out. WINFREY: Then--then--then my point also, too, is--and I hear this a lot because I've been talking to women for 16 years now on the show--that if you put your husband at the bottom of the pecking order--women put their husbands--spouses at the bottom of the pecking order and then don't know why the marriage isn't working. Dr. McGRAW: Yeah. And--and--and men are the same way... McGRAW: ...only worse. I mean, men--men are really worse. WINFREY: Yeah, men, too. WINFREY: Both spouses do it. Dr. McGRAW: So I'm not trying to pick on one gender or the other. But in this situation, you're the one that is pulling back, and I--and I--and I want to be sure that we--that we cover some certain things here. Number one, do you understand what you are predicting in this marriage with this behavior? I mean, what you're setting up to happen in this marriage with this behavior, do you--I mean, do you really expect Jeremy to be celibate from 27 through however long he's together? Do you think this is going to work? AMY: No, I don't think it's going to work. That's why I just do it sometimes to make him happy. Dr. McGRAW: OK. AMY: To satisfy him. Dr. McGRAW: A--and, Jeremy, am I right, I mean, are you willing to be non-sexual, asexual the rest of your life? JEREMY: No, not at all. I mean, I--I love my wife. She's the one I want to be with, and I want her to want me.

Dr. McGRAW: OK. And--and--and so you understand, you're sending a message that is going to say, you know, you can either--we can either have an active, intimate life, or we can't. Dr. McGRAW: OK. And--and--and so you understand, you're sending a message that is going to say, you know, you can either--we can either have an active, intimate life, or we can't. And when you send that message, you choose the consequence that goes with it. Are you trying to tell him to leave? AMY: No, absolutely not. Dr. McGRAW: Do you want him to leave? AMY: No. Dr. McGRAW: Do you expect him to stay under the current conditions? AMY: I'd like him to, but I don't know. I--we've sat up many nights and talked about it, and I told him, I was like, if there was something I could take to make me get aroused or feel something, I would. But I just don't. And I don't know what's causing it. I don't know if it's the stress or it's something else. Dr. McGRAW: See, the... WINFREY: I thought he put it pretty well. You don't---there's nothing left. If you're going to work... AMY: But... WINFREY: ...and going to school and coming home and having to be a mom, you're tired. Dr. McGRAW: And listen, I--understand what I'm getting ready to say. You're not doing something wrong here. It--it--don't feel like that you're inadequate or in trouble. What you're saying is, `I don't want to feel this way, but I do.' AMY: Yeah. Dr. McGRAW: So, I mean, it's not like you--you--you've done something wrong and you need to be punished or ridiculed here in some way. And I also hear you saying `I have a willing spirit. I--I--I want to work on this.' And the first place you have to turn--and this is--this is just so important. We--we've talked a lot in weeks past about internal dialogue. And I'm telling you, when you talk to yourself all day long and set yourself up for an outcome, it is a hugely powerful control in your life. You have to be willing to challenge what you're saying to yourself about this and get rid of the things that are misleading you. AMY: Yeah, I just don't know how to stop worrying about the kids and the housework and--it's like never-ending. Dr. McGRAW: That's not--let me tell you where you--where I think you need to go here, because it's not about stopping to be concerned about those things. It's about balance. WINFREY: Yeah. Dr. McGRAW: And it's about the spirit with which you enter the relationship. It's about the spirit with which you enter this. And--and here's the spirit. I've said that the formula for success in a relationship is that the quality will depend on how well that relationship meets the needs of the two people involved. And so what you have to do is you have to say, `I want to look at Jeremy's needs as legitimate, and I want to ask myself is there something I can do to meet those?' And, Jeremy, you have to look at Amy's needs and say, `I'm going to consider these to be legitimate. What can I do to help her with these thoughts and these feelings?' It's all about the spirit with which you come into the relationship of saying, `I--I want to find a way to make this work' rather than just ignoring it or being--because it's not what he wants, you turn away from each other. You know he's upset because of what you're not doing, so you turn away from him instead of turning towards each other to talk about this and discuss it. And then you have to challenge your thinking. Is this true? You say sex is dirty once you've had a child. Is that true? AMY: No. Dr. McGRAW: You know that's not true, so stop telling yourself that. Is it in your best interest? It's running your husband off. It doesn't get you what you want, because it's running your husband off. So, I--I mean, all of those things go together to make you able to evaluate your thinking and change the spirit with which you do this. And you have to be patient. If I say, OK, go home with a willing spirit, you can't just dog-pile her in the foyer. You know, you--you've got to be patient. You've got to be patient and work through this. WINFREY: Dog-pile her in the foyer. Don't do that. Next, what to do when it's your husband who doesn't want sex. We'll be right back. Dog-pile her in the... ♪♪ ♪♪ WINFREY: Talking sex with Dr. Phil today. Are you a once a week, a once a month or once a year kind of person? Dr. Phil is answering couples' sex questions. Debbie from Minnesota wrote, `Could you please do a show on husbands who do not want to have sex? My husband, Frank, and I have had sex maybe six times in 22 years.' Audience: Oh! WINFREY: `I'm at the end of my rope.' I can understand why. `I want to know if other women have this problem or if I'm the only one.' Six times in 22 years. Debbie, you're not alone. We heard from hundreds of women who say they want it and their husbands don't. Hard to believe. We thought, you know, men always wanted it. Not so says Alyssa. Her husband, Robert, hasn't been intimate with her in over a year. She's tired of the excuses. Look at this. ALYSSA: Dr. Phil, what does a woman do when it is the man who doesn't want sex? My husband Robert and I have been married for six years and have a three-year-old daughter. I have always been the one initiating sex. When we were dating, we had sex three or four times a week. Then it was down to once a month.

Now it has been over a year. Robert has one excuse after another. I told him I can't take his rejection anymore and I want to separate. Now after years of me nagging, Now it has been over a year. Robert has one excuse after another. I told him I can't take his rejection anymore and I want to separate. Now after years of me nagging, he finally thinks we need help. But I have built up a wall so high, I do not know how to break it down. He's a wonderful man, but I need to be loved. I'm afraid of having a life with no sexual contact. What do I do? Sincerely, Alyssa. WINFREY: Well, Robert says he's just now realizing how important sex is to a relationship. ROBERT: Yeah. Dr. McGRAW: And she's been complaining about this for six years. ROBERT: Yes. Dr. McGRAW: And you're just now figuring out... ROBERT: Ultimatums. Dr. McGRAW: I mean, really, I--you know, I'm sorry. I just don't believe that. I--I think... WHITE: You said ultima--did you say ultimatums? ROBERT: Yeah. She--she wants to leave, or she's talked about leaving, so... Dr. McGRAW: OK. That's what you understand. ROBERT: There you go. Dr. McGRAW: OK. You understood before that it was important to her. ROBERT: Absolutely. Dr. McGRAW: It's just now she put some teeth into it and got your attention. ROBERT: Yes. Dr. McGRAW: OK. So--but--and so now you're saying all of a sudden you want to? Or all of a sudden now you're just willing to? ROBERT: I think I always put too much emphasis on other things than sex in the relationship. Putting family and work and everything that I provide for the family, I always thought came first before that part, you know. That was like icing on the marriage, you know. Dr. McGRAW: But--but--but these are not mutually exclusive things. I mean, you say you put emphasis on family and work and money and all that, but you do go to bed at night, right? ROBERT: Absolutely. Dr. McGRAW: And you don't work while you're in bed. ROBERT: Right. Dr. McGRAW: And so you're there. The two of you are alone. Door shut. You're there. And, I mean, it's just not natural that you're just laying there thinking about work or--or something. What--what is it you don't like about it? What is it that's unappealing to you? ROBERT: Sex itself you mean? Dr. McGRAW: Yes. ROBERT: I love sex, I--and there's nothing wrong with that at all. It's just--I think both people have to be in the right frame of mind to be in that situation, to be, you know, sharing that--that time with each other. If it's not heartfelt, then why--why are you doing it, you know? Dr. McGRAW: Well, don't you think in six years you would have kind of worked your way over there? ROBERT: Yeah. Dr. McGRAW: No, I'm serious. I mean, you say you got to be in the right frame of mind. I--I'm just--I--I just--I don't get--I--I--and I'm not--I'm not trying to be hard on you. I'm trying to understand what your telling yourself for six years about this. What--what--what--what do you say about this? WINFREY: Alyssa. ALYSSA: Well, I--I don't know what the problem is, either. I've tried for a long time to understand what's going through his mind. The main problem is that now that it's been so long--and you know, when we--before we got married, you know, it was--we did it quite frequently, but then it just started to dwindle away and he would say, `Well, I--you're really special to me and I think sex is--should be saved until we're married.' And so then we got married, and the wedding night came and went, and the honeymoon came and went, and I was just--you know, sometimes I wish I could have said, `OK, there's a problem here, and I need to move on,' because I--but I didn't realize, I guess at that time, nor did I express to him right after we were married, that that was really important to me, because I wanted to make this marriage work. And--and after reading several books and--and watching several episodes of OPRAH, I realized finally, about last fall, that I can only make myself happy, and if he's not helping in making the marriage work and everything, then I've got to go, and that's why I said I'm leaving, because I just--I don't know what's wrong, and I've asked him every question I could ask, and--and it just--and now that I've said that, he's kind of turned around and said, `Oh, well, OK, let's do it.' And--and I--now I feel like, `Well, why do you want to do it now?' You haven't wanted to--you know, you haven't had much interest in such a long time. Dr. McGRAW: Yeah. ALYSSA: So why now? Dr. McGRAW: Well, really, Robert, I--what's--what--what--what's up with all of this? I mean, you--you're saying you just have to be in the right frame of mind and all, but you're saying, honeymoon and in the time after, you weren't in the right frame of mind and then for six years you haven't been in the right frame of mind. It is--I mean, what's missing here? ROBERT: I think a--a willing partner, you know, on her end as well. I mean, it's not always--it's not--it's a painted picture of a constant, you know, her always, you know, asking me for that and me turning her down. It's--it's really not been that way.

It's--it's been more a scattered type of relationship where we--we will make love to each other and then we'll go a long period It's--it's been more a scattered type of relationship where we--we will make love to each other and then we'll go a long period of time without, and then we'll make love. WINFREY: Year's a--would you say a year's an extraordinary time? ROBERT: A year is way--I mean, way over... WINFREY: So what we're trying to figure out, Phil and America, we're all trying to figure out here, is what happens within that period of time of a year? Because you had said, you know, it's about getting together, and being in the right frame of mind. So within a whole year, January to December, you weren't in the same frame--we're just trying to figure out what's up with that. ROBERT: Well, that should be directed here. We should--I think she has the answer for that, actually. ALYSSA: In the last year, he has tried to initiate a couple of times, but, as I said, in my letter, I don't want it anymore. So now I've--now I guess it's my problem. That's why I wrote, because I need--I feel like I need some direction. Dr. McGRAW: Listen, I--you know, I ran into a couple not long ago that had been married 52 years. And I said what's your secret? And she had a really great answer. She said, `We just never fell--fell out of love at the same time.' And I thought that was really a--a great observation, because you do have ups and downs. You--you do yin and yang within a relationship. But the--the thing that I'm--I'm trying to--to get you guys to understand here is my belief is if you've got a good sexual relationship, it's about 10 percent, and if you don't, it's about 90 percent. WINFREY: Right. Dr. McGRAW: Because if you don't, somebody's feeling rejected, somebody's feeling hurt, somebody is--is going to be really shut down and--and backed up about it. Do you two--do you love your husband? ALYSSA: I do. Dr. McGRAW: You do. You--you have--you have good feelings about him as a person, as a human being? ALYSSA: I do. Dr. McGRAW: And are they--are--are they feelings more than just `I kind of like you'? I mean, you really--you--you--you have a special feeling for him. ALYSSA: Yes, I do. Dr. McGRAW: That hasn't gone. ALYSSA: No. Dr. McGRAW: Whatever's going on with you, you haven't told me, Robert. I mean, I don't--I don't know what it is, and maybe you don't know what it is, so you don't know how to--how to put words to it. But whatever it is, you haven't told me what it is. And--and just threatening to leave won't cure that problem, whatever it was. I mean, whatever keeps you from being motivated sexually to be with your wife, whether you call it a problem or just a characteristic or whatever, just a threat's not going to change that. Something--you're going to have to deal with that in some way at some level. But what I do see is whether it's through ultimatum or whatever, you have come to a point that you have a willing partner here, and I would really, really encourage both of you to give this thing a shot where both of you are on the same page at the same time, because I believe, particularly when you have children involved, if you're going to get out of a marriage, you have to earn your way out of that marriage, and that means you have to turn over every stone, investigate every avenue of possible rehabilitation. Go to counselors. Go to your pastor. Read books. Come here. Do whatever you can do to try to put it on, because I don't want you to be looking at your daughter 10 years from now and her say `How come I had to grow up without my daddy?' and you have to say, `Well, I don't know. We just couldn't get it together at the same time, and I got tired of it.' That's not much of an answer to a child that has to deal with that. I want you to be able--it--it may wind up that way, but I want you to be able to look at her and say, `You know what, we really had compatibility problems. Let me tell you everything we did to try to preserve this and it just didn't get there.' But until you can say that, I don't think you're ready to pull the plug on this, and you've got to figure out what's going on with you, because it is not just fixed because she threatened to leave. WINFREY: Next, she keeps track of when they do it and when they don't. According to her calculations, it's not enough. ♪♪ ♪♪ WINFREY: What to do when your sexual appetite doesn't match your mate's. We heard from couples of all ages who are struggling with this problem. Barbara says her sex drive is in full throttle. But when she's ready for sex, her 44-year-old husband is ready for sleep. BARBARA: I'm a 45-year-old honeymooner that has sex only about once or twice a month and I'm supposed to be at my sexual peak. DAVID: I can appreciate the fact Barb's at her sexual peak, but Barbara's also a housewife. I leave at 6:30 in the morning and I come home at 6:00, 7:00, 8:00 at night. It's not that I don't want to make love to her. It's that I'm just tired. BARBARA: I definitely think our sex drives are incompatible. If he would give one-tenth of the energy he puts into his job to our sex life, everything would be great. DAVID: If Barb and I have sex once a day, then she wants it twice a day.

If we have sex twice in a day, she wants it three times a day. She told me we were doing good. BARBARA: He'll say to me, `Barb, it hasn't been that long.' And I'll say, `Oh, yes, it has been that long,' If we have sex twice in a day, she wants it three times a day. She told me we were doing good. BARBARA: He'll say to me, `Barb, it hasn't been that long.' And I'll say, `Oh, yes, it has been that long,' because I mark it on the calendar. And I do mark it on the calendar with a little heart. And that's my little symbol, so that I know that that's the night we did it. DAVID: When I come home, I--I'm afraid to touch Barb or to be affectionate to Barb because if I do, I know that she's going to automatically assume and want to make love to me. I may just be wanting her have her close to me or to touch her or to feel her or to kiss her just to let her know I love her. BARBARA: I told my husband if he doesn't use it, he's going to lose it. DAVID: I think that she's taken it to a level that's not necessarily good for our relationship. BARBARA: Sometimes I really do cry about it. It makes me feel that maybe I'm not pretty enough. I always like to wear makeup and stuff so I look pretty for him. But when he rejects me, it hurts my feelings. He does tell me how pretty I look and everything. But by the time I look over to him again, he's snoring. DAVID: Barb is a good girl. I love her to death. I want her to be happy. There must be some sort of a compromise here a--and we just need to try and find that compromise. BARBARA: I don't want to end up having sex with him once a month. I'm absolutely madly in love with this man. I'm just too young to be old. I want Dr. Phil to try to help me understand his needs and where he's coming from and make him understand my needs and where I'm coming from. WINFREY: There you go. Dr. McGRAW: So how often are you having sex these days? DAVID: We have two different versions of that. BARBARA: Well, this month was a good month, OK? And thanks to you, Oprah, this morning. WINFREY: Really. BARBARA: It was a big one. This is four--four times this month. But usually, last month, in December, one time. November, twice. That's just not enough. Dr. McGRAW: OK, and it... DAVID: And obviously I think it's more often than that. DAVID: But I don't--I don't count the times. Dr. McGRAW: How can you not agree on--I mean, isn't this a fairly... BARBARA: I have proof. WINFREY: She has proof. She has a calendar. BARBARA: I have proof. Dr. McGRAW: She's got documents here, so... BARBARA: I do. Dr. McGRAW: I mean, but how do--how do--how do--really, how do you all disagree about how many times? I mean, because it would seem like that's an either all or none sort of deal. BARBARA: No, this is how we disagree. I will say to him, `Honey, don't you think it's time we fool around?' And he'll say, `Barb, we just did it. And I'll say, `Oh, no, we didn't, we did it two weeks ago.' And I--I think that's too long. I'm in my 40s. I think I'm speaking for a lot of American women here. This is the prime of my life. I want to enjoy my sexual life. He's just tired all the time, Dr. Phil, and I'm so tired of him being tired. Dr. McGRAW: OK. Now say what you mean. Don't... BARBARA: All right. I will. I feel real strongly about this. But now seriously, though, there's something that--that I picked up out of this tape, David, that I want to ask you about. You have said that you think that she is, like, addicted to this and over--overfocused on it and that it--her energy for it is not healthy, is that correct? DAVID: If we make love three times a week, she wants it five times a week. If we want--if--if we make love five times a month, she wants it more. It's never enough, and she--and in her--and in her defense, I mean, she always says how good it is and she's always very positive about it. But one of the problems that I perceive that we have is that it--it has come to a point that I'm actually--I don't want to kiss her or touch her or do the things that we used to like to do and that I used to like to do because of what some other people have said. I know it's going right into the bedroom. Dr. McGRAW: OK. But--well, there's two things that--that may be problematic here that you need to consider. One is, you just may be, like, way good at it... BARBARA: He really is. He is. Dr. McGRAW: ...and so she's, like, really highly motivated. So I mean, you've got to own that part of it. And second, you say if you do it once, she wants it twice, she wants it three times. You know, maybe after she kind of got caught up, that maybe that would relax a little bit, and you would have--you would have more of a natural flow. Seriously. I mean, is that a possibility? BARBARA: Absolutely. He needs to catch up. That's absolutely true. Dr. McGRAW: So... BARBARA: I don't see--to me, Dr. Phil, I don't think he has that big of a problem, you know. I mean, I could, like, not clean the house or, like, not cook. But to want to have sex, I think that's a pretty good problem to have. Dr. McGRAW: That has its benefits. WINFREY: We'll finish up with Barbara and David when we come back. We'll be right back. ♪♪ ♪♪ Dr. McGRAW: What I'm concerned about is if you've labeled her in your mind, if you've put a label on her in your mind as being wrong in what she wants, then basically you dismiss this as her problem instead of something that the two of you negotiate a plan that you can both be excited about. And so if you--if you put a label on it, `You're wrong, you're overmotivated, you're in some way inappropriate there,' then you divorce yourself of it and you don't have any involvement in coming up with a solution. It's her problem. She needs to fix it. I--is that how you look at this, honestly? And be honest about it. DAVID: No, I have not labeled it her problem. I have a desire to make love to her. I just--I work a lot. I come home. I'm tired. I go to work in the morning when it's dark, and I come home at night. And after being home for 30 minutes or an hour, and having dinner, then spending another half an hour with--with my daughter, it's--I'm just tired. Dr. McGRAW: Is her happiness important to you? DAVID: Very important. Dr. McGRAW: It's on your priority list. McGRAW: Is it--it's on your radar screen. DAVID: Very important. Dr. DAVID: No question about that at all. Dr. McGRAW: Because, you know, it really does come down to choices. And I understand the legitimacy of what you just said. `I work long hours. I come home.' And there comes a point in time where, as we were saying, you have to make some choices, where you say if I'm leaving it all at the office, then I have nothing to invest at home, and so you can be successful here and--and failing here as opposed to not leaving it all at the office and bringing some of it home energywise and--and also you have something to give. If you come in and you're just totally zonked, what kind of companion do you think you are, whether it's sexually or otherwise, if all of your energy is left at the office? DAVID: Good point. Dr. McGRAW: If you come in mentally, emotionally, behaviorally, sexually bankrupt, you're not much of a companion for your partner. WINFREY: Isn't that why you always play tennis before you go home? Dr. McGRAW: I--I play ten--before I come home because it, like, charges my batteries up, because I have cabin fever terrible if I go home without that. But instead if I play and get my blood flowing again and stuff, I come in having played. I--you know, I butt family time up against play instead of work and I'm revitalized and I'm recharged. And I'm just wondering if--if, really, it seems like you guys are obviously--I think you're a really cute couple. You seem to have a lot of energy for each other, and you both got a sense of humor about it--which I think, David, you need to really hold on to. And--and so--and so I--and so I--I really would just really encourage you to say, `I don't want to leave it all at the office and let me see if we can come up with a plan that both of us can be excited about where we get'--because--and I wasn't just kidding. You do play catch-up. And--and once you kind of feel like you're not being deprived and--and you have access, you'll calm down and things will be something you can both live with. WINFREY: Maybe they need a weekend away somewhere. BARBARA: Oh, that would be wonderful. WINFREY: We'll be right back. ♪♪ ♪♪ Dr. McGRAW: You know, I--I--I really believe that relationships are negotiated. WINFREY: Yeah. Dr. McGRAW: And the negotiation never stops, and--and it's not an adversarial thing. It's not like you want to win or lose. My idea of negotiation is a win-win. Find out how to get both partners as much of what they want as you possibly can. WINFREY: And you have to be willing to ask for what you want. Dr. McGRAW: And be specific. I mean, because I've said men don't get it, but we are trainable. WINFREY: Yeah. Dr. McGRAW: We just need--you just put the dots close together and connect them with a bright line and--and we can figure these things out. But it's negotiation. And in the s--when it comes to sex, you're not going to all be at the same place at the same time. WINFREY: All the time. Dr. McGRAW: You're not going to both want it at the same level all the time. That would--that--I mean, that's not right. So what you've got to do is negotiate a way that you--you know, one can come up, one can--can compromise some, and--and you figure out how to get the most of what each of you want. And it doesn't have to be an argument. It's not a fight. It's not a competition. It's a cooperation in which you negotiate to find something that works for both of you. WINFREY: We'll be right back. WINFREY: So we're out of time. It's another Tuesday come and gone. Thanks, everybody. Thank you. ♪♪ [APPLAUSE]

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