Question: Dr. Dobson, my wife will not respond to me sexually unless the circumstances are just right. It isn't enough for us to just enjoy each other physically. I have to talk to her and spend time with her before we even go to bed or else she is disinterested. Are other women like this?
Answer: The majority are just like that. Sex for a woman is not exclusively a physical experience. It must have a romantic element to satisfy her. Unless a woman feels a certain closeness to her husband at a particular time—unless she believes he respects her as a person—she may be unable to enjoy a sexual encounter with him. When she makes love in the absence of that romantic closeness, she often feels used. In a sense, her husband has exploited her body to gratify himself. Like your wife, she may either refuse to participate, or she will yield with reluctance and resentment.
To the contrary, a man can come home from work in a bad mood, spend the evening slaving over his desk or in his garage, watch the eleven o'clock news in silence, and finally hop into bed for a brief encounter. The fact that he and his wife have had no tender moments in the entire evening does not inhibit his sexual desire significantly. He sees her on her way to bed in her clingy nightgown, and that is enough to throw his switch.
But his wife is not so easily moved. She waited for him all day, and when he came home and hardly even greeted her, she felt disappointment and rejection. His continuing coolness and self-preoccupation put a padlock on her desires. Therefore, she may find it impossible to respond to him later in the evening.
The inability to explain this frustration is, I believe, a continual source of irritation to women.
From Dr. Dobson's book Complete Marriage and Family Home Reference Guide.