Our sex life is vanilla. How can I encourage my wife to help us spice it up?

I’m a stay-at-home dad, she’s stressed out at work, worried about money – and ignoring all my suggestions for the bedroom

My wife and I have been together for 18 years. We have a good sex life but for the past few years I have brought up the fact that I feel it’s become very “vanilla”. I have asked for her input on spicing things up, but she’s never given me any ideas. I’ve bought toys, books and made suggestions, but often these are ignored. My wife has a very stressful job that is demanding of her time and attention. I’m a stay-at-home dad to our two school-age children. My wife says she is too stressed from work and feels too bad about her appearance to have the time to fantasise or be creative in the bedroom, and that I have to be content with what we have. I am just as attracted to her now as I was when we first met.

She has also recently confessed that she is resentful of my not having a job and that some of her stress comes from me spending money that she works so hard for. I’m trying to rein in my expenditure, but I’m having a hard time connecting her lack of interest and inability to fantasise about sex with her reasons because my feelings come naturally out of my love and attraction for her in good times and bad.

Pamela Stephenson Connolly is a US-based psychotherapist who specialises in treating sexual disorders.

If you would like advice from Pamela on sexual matters, send us a brief description of your concerns to [email protected] (please don’t send attachments). Each week, Pamela chooses one problem to answer, which will be published online. She regrets that she cannot enter into personal correspondence. Submissions are subject to our terms and conditions: see gu.com/letters-terms.

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