Emily Yoffe gives some advice to a couple where the wife can’t have sex unless she is drunk.
Those are some loaded questions: Is it a problem that your wife has to get intoxicated to enjoy sex with you, or should you be delighted she’s willing to get intoxicated to have sex with you? From your account, your wife was never that interested in sex, and so you are one of those couples who decided to pair up despite your mismatched libidos. I do wonder about people who think love will overcome this problem, because surely everyone knows marriage and kids rarely heat up things. I have suggested scheduling sex, which doesn’t sound sexy, but having sex turns out to be more sexy than not having it. In most of these cases, though, the partners have established that they enjoy each other in bed—they’re just not getting there often enough. I think you need to get to the primary source of your wife’s resistance. Is it more that she lies there thinking: “I’ve got to make appointments for the kids’ vaccinations tomorrow. Are we out of bread? Olivia has a recital Thursday afternoon, so I have to arrange to leave work early …”? That is, her domestic life has subsumed her erotic life, and instead of sex being a release, it just feels like another obligation. Or is she saying to herself, “I hate when he touches my nipples. I hate when he kisses my neck. I hate when he wants me to stroke his …” This inquiry into your wife’s feelings needs to be sensitive, even oblique. So I suggest you start by reading Mating in Captivity by Esther Perel and The Return of Desire by Gina Ogden.
See if these books offer insights or case histories that speak to your situation. If you find these, you can ask your wife to look at some passages. Or you can just act on what you’ve read, taking a page from other semi-moribund couples who have been jolted into bed. Since you applied my suggestion about scheduling sex, I’m going to make another one that I can’t even believe I’m advocating. Consider taking a trip together to Colorado or Washington state. For one thing, when the children are far away with their grandparents or a trusted babysitter, your wife won’t be distracted about the need to make their lunches. For another, you two can explore the new world of legal marijuana. To get aroused your wife has to shut off the competing voices in her head. So join with her and share a joint. Because this letting go will be somewhat subversive, I hope it gets you two laughing your heads off and tearing your clothes off. No, I don’t think becoming potheads is a permanent solution. I’m just suggesting that casting aside your routines and responsibilities might be a way to create some new sparks.