You and your husband should both read the book Come as You Are. There could be a hormone issue, or you may just have responsive desire.
As far as lowering your inhibitions without relying on alcohol, check into CBD oil. It doesn't get you high, or make you mentally addled at all, but it does relax you.
If the sounds of sex squick you out enough to lower your enjoyment, it might be time look into some therapy. This is something that you can learn to be okay with.
I might recommend one of the books in the sidebar, https://www.amazon.com/Come-You-Are-Surprising-Transform/dp/1476762090
If she can learn to enjoy sex, that would be a win for both of you.
As a recovering addict myself, I agree that your wife is using drinking as a coping mechanism to avoid difficult feelings. This makes it at least a problem, and at worst an addiction. Sex aside, the biggest thing she can do in terms of finding long-term happiness is work on her drinking. A great no-nonsense place to start is the book Recovery by Russell Brand.
In terms of sex, I think the book Come as You Are by Emily Nagoski would be a great help to you and her, better understanding how her arousal pattern works. (Check out this comic about it, it's a good intro.)
> when she’s sober it’s “harder to let go.”
Like a lot of people, it sounds like your wife has what's called a 'dual control model' of sexual arousal, which is like gas and brake. Some people (maybe including you) can basically just step on the accelerator at a moments notice and get to the right RPM easily. For others, and especially many women, there can be a foot on the gas AND a foot on the brake, in the form of anything stressing them out (the house is a mess, my mom keeps texting me, the kid broke the thing, my husband hates our sex life and is going to leave me, etc.) As you learn more about it, you can get a better idea of what is making it hard to let go, and some real-world strategies on how to help with that.
Another life-changing idea in the book is responsive desire, which may have something to do with why your wife struggles with foreplay.
You might want to read this book, it has a surprising amount of information.
Also check out Come As You Are by Emily Nagoski. It's a really good look into female sexuality and deals with the exact issues you're describing.
You both should read come as you are it could be life changing for her. It will explain the dual control model of sexuality. In it talks about the fact that everyone has a “gas” petal and “break” petal. Men are generally more sensitive to the gas and women the breaks. There are also two different desire types “spontaneous” (80% of men have this, 15 % of women) and “responsive” (70% of women and 20% of men). It will give good advice on how to make the two types work together.
Women actually only have 10% concordance when it comes to physical arousal lining up with mental arousal. Men are at 50%. Meaning women will only have a physical reaction 10% of the times she is aroused. Men have a 50/50 shot. We’re actually all made of the same stuff just arranged differently and I believe you should read come as you are if you haven’t. I disagree with the they’re just like you statements because you’re only half right
We have sex 1-2x a day. But that is no where near the norm. Most people have sex 1-2 week or even month. I (39f) and my hubs (38m) have been together 15 years. In those years it has varied greatly. Yet we both have very sensitive sexual accelerators (read come as you are it’s a great book), Most people don’t. Read the book and it will give you more insight into the dual control model of human sexuality and can help.
I am almost 40, I do NOTHING if I am not enjoying it. What concerning here is that it seems for all the feminism going on here no one has seemed to have read come as you are . An actual researched book on female sexuality. If they had they would understand our sexuality better. There is nothing wrong with a loving healthy sex life.
hehe, sure thing - these are hard won victories that took me a few years to figure out...hoping this helps you get past this difficulty as soon as possible. If you're the reading type, I'd suggest this book - it's all about understanding a woman's sexuality and how it ticks.
Believe it or not the new sexuality research coming out is actually disproving the “hormones” control desire myth. They actually have nothing to do with sexual desire. Read come as you are, it is life changing
Edited for clarification
First off, everyone is different. Every vulva and vagina is wired up a little differently. There are different concentrations of nerve endings in the perineum, vagina, and clitoris. Different techniques and things are gonna feel better to some than they do to others simply because of how you are individually wired up.
Second, we all have different acceleration and brake speeds. Accellerators are like turn-ons that get you going. But turn-offs or brakes come in two major groups: hand brake (like a constant drag) and a foot brake (stop right now). These things can be really sensitive for some and really insensitive for others creating different rates of arousal. They also work in combination where if you have some of your brakes on despite having lots of exciting accelerators, then there is gonna be a slower ramp up than if all your brakes were off. Things as simple as stress can be huge brakes for people. The goal is to turn all of the offs off and all of the ons on.
Third, physical reaction does not correlate with sexual desire or arousal. It is entirely possible for you to be really turned on and ready to go but not super wet. It is also possible for you to have an orgasm and not enjoy it or have no orgasm and still really enjoy it. Mostly what our body is saying is this is sexually relevant. But it has nothing to do with how you feel.
Fourth, a lot of sex is learned repetitive behavior. If you've had a lot of sex with masturbation or penetration, your body may be used encountering sex in that form. It may not react the same when you encounter it in other forms. The good news is you can retrain your body to respond in a way you desire through repetitive action to retrain.
Fifth, a lot of emotional stuff can interact with how your body and mind relate to sex. Shame around sex can be pretty common and may come up in strange areas you didn't expect. If something is off, it could be possible you have something from your past affecting things.
Sixth, sexual, romantic, and emotional attractions are all separate spectrums that are aligned for some but not for others. If you like having sex with men but enjoy being in relationships with women that is totally cool. It is also okay for this to shift as your understanding changes or as you grow.
Finally, this all just adds to understanding your own body and how it works. Because it is unique comparing to others may be less effective than exploring to figure out what is best for you. It is entirely okay for you to be however you are and is not necessarily an indicator of your sexuality. That comes from your feelings. This stuff can be tricky so just try to be gentle with yourself.
If you are interested in more info here are some resources:
Vagina by Naomi Wolf
Come as You Are by Emily Nagoski
Girl Sex 101 by Alison Moon and KD Diamond
Sexplanations YouTube channel and podcast by Dr. Lindsey Doe
If she's never had an orgasm, and considers herself to be "low desire", this book may offer a huge insight for both of you: [https://toptalkedbooks.com/amzn/1476762090)
This book is awesome: https://toptalkedbooks.com/amzn/1476762090
Thank you for this. I think I need to figure out a way to have a situation somewhat like this.
Right now, he's so frustrated in general about it, he's like, "LET'S BONE! WHY DON'T YOU WANT TO!!??" And when I tell him I don't know, he gets mad, doesn't believe me, makes crazy assumptions like I'm cheating.
All of that definitely doesn't help me get in the mood. And right now, I'm not able to just say, "SEX, let's do it." I don't like it. I know he's upset. But to have sex when I don't feel it, it just doesn't seem right.
EDIT: Since this is a higher comment, I'll put this here. Thanks everyone for the advice and wonderful words.
I ordered Come as You Are and Mating in Captivity . I'm going to give them a read and not-so-subtly leave the books out so he can see I'm doing something for the cause.
This isn't trouble! There is nothing wrong with you! Most women do not come from vaginal penetration alone. You are not defective! (And it's possible some of those other women were faking orgasm, which is a thing some women do, you know?)
I'm sure you all can have a lot of fun exploring this, but it needs to start from loving yourself, and your husband loving you, not from a place of thinking there's something wrong with you.
A few books that might help you learn to love your body and your sexuality:
Come As You Are by Emily Nagoski
Woman: An Intimate Geography by Natalie Angier
Hey, I am a female who has had the same problem recently. My BF initiated sex all through our relationship and I loved it and suddenly he told me this too. I have also been abused. I have two recommendations for you that might help you with the root of your problem (confidence issues and anxiety involving sex). I read two books to help with my healing process:
Come As You Are (Emily Nagoski)
I <3 Female Orgasm
Both have tips about sex, healing sexuality, and learning about yourself. I HIGHLY recommend them. They changed my world. You will get something out of both of them. The first is a scientific look at what you're dealing with, and the second is more emotional/holistic. I recommend that one first (I<3 Female Orgasm), and then if you are still curious or are seeking more read Come as You Are
Edit: Links Below
Comparative sex drives is a very common topic over at /r/sexover30. I've recently been learning about a lot of this myself. You can find various different threads on the topic already, but some of the best advice you'll be given is to read Come As You Are . It's very common for partners to have different libidos, and the book does a good job of explaining why, and how to address it. I'm still mid-book with my wife at the moment but we already understand each other a lot more.
This book will give you some great insights: Come as You Are: The Surprising New Science that Will Transform Your Sex Life https://toptalkedbooks.com/amzn/1476762090
since it is matriarchy monday, I'm going to recommend this book to anyone who is a woman or likes to fuck women. I haven't finished it yet but its pretty good so far.