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How a Checkerboard Explains Why Your Wife Isn’t Having Sex With You

If you’re like many men, you are incredibly frustrated in your marriage. Sex is less frequent and less passionate than you’d like. Every time you initiate, it’s a hit-or-miss prospect as to whether or not your wife will respond.

Worse, on the nights she does respond, you can’t ever tell what you did differently to garner success.

So, what’s the deal with that? Why isn’t the woman you married more interested in having sex with you?

To answer that, let’s take a look at another mystery.


Take a look at Square A and Square B on the checkerboard … one dark-colored, the other light-colored.

Or are they?

Look again.

You’re not going to believe this, but the two squares are exactly the same color. The cylinder’s dark shadow confuses your eye into believing that Square A is darker.

Optical illusions like this help us realize that things are not always what they seem.


Find the Missing Piece of the Attraction Puzzle

You may be under a similar illusion about what drives female attraction and makes a woman want sex. If you’re like a lot of guys, you’ve basically thrown your hands up in mystification as to why it’s so hard to attract the woman you married.

“If she loves me, why does she always turn me down?”

Just like our optical illusion above, it doesn’t make sense to you.

That’s because you’re missing a vital piece of the puzzle. The fact is that your wife can love you very much, but still not be attracted to you.

Love and attraction are not the same thing.

Understand that Love is Different than Attraction

When it comes to romantic love, there are not one, but three separate love systems at play.

  • Attraction
  • Attachment or Relationship Comfort
  • General Sex Drive

They’re powered by different hormones and neurotransmitters and create different emotions and behaviors. They’re related, yet separate, and can act either together or independently. Dr. Helen Fisher has conducted fascinating research identifying and defining these love systems.

1. Attraction

Think back to a time when you fell head over heels in love with someone. Do you remember those feelings of excitement and euphoria surrounding all your interactions? The longing to be together and talk for hours at a time? The anxiety you felt when you couldn’t be together?

That was the Attraction love system at work, powered by the neurotransmitter, dopamine. Dopamine is connected with pleasure and reward. In fact, because it feels so good, when dopamine is involved, you often find addictive behaviors like gambling and drug use.

Attraction is characterized by an increase in dopamine and a decrease in serotonin, the hormone responsible for feelings of calm and relaxation.

2. Relationship Comfort

In contrast to attraction, relationship comfort causes you to bond and feel comfortable with your partner. Powered by the hormones oxytocin and vasopressin, attachment creates feelings of trust, calm, security, and affection.

That desire to clean the garage together or the longing to snuggle up together under a blanket and watch TV? That’s relationship comfort at work.

3. General Sex Drive

The Libido system is just straight up sex drive, independent of who your partner is or whether you even have a partner. It’s driven by the hormones testosterone and estrogen. (Surprisingly, women do produce testosterone and men do produce estrogen, although in smaller amounts than the opposite sex.)

The three systems can act together, but they also operate independently. You can feel attraction for someone you don’t love, and you can love someone deeply, yet still not feel attracted to them.

You can have a deep attachment to your partner and also feel attracted to them, and yet if your general sex drive is damaged in some way, you will still not want sex. 

You can also have sex with someone without feeling the slightest amount of attraction for them, although this happens more rarely, especially for women. (Unless copious amounts of alcohol are involved. Then, all bets are off.)

While all of this is interesting, how does it actually help your marriage?

The exciting part to all this is that there are specific traits and behaviors that affect each love system. You can actually put the love systems to work for you once you understand how they operate! This is really good news because it means that you can control what happens to attraction in your marriage.

Once you master these concepts, you become the master of your own sexual destiny.

Put the System to Work for You

Relationship comfort is probably what you associate most with your marriage and with being a good husband. It’s what you mean when you say, “My wife loves me.” You’ve probably spent a lot of time and effort to strengthen the comfort in your marriage. Because that’s what you were taught to do.

The problem is that while you’ve got really strong relationship comfort going and you’ve created tons of oxytocin responses in your wife, you haven’t spent a lot of time on doing the things that create the dopamine response of attraction. And oxytocin in your marriage means diddly-squat when it comes to creating sexual attraction in your wife or getting the sex you want. For that, you need to do the things that increase dopamine.

You need to work on the traits and behaviors that build attraction.

Traits that Build Attraction

While men are more attracted to a woman’s physical appearance – both youth and beauty – women are more attracted by a man’s education, financial status, power, excitement, and strength. Remember, I’m talking about straight-up attraction here, not attachment or bonding.

So, what does that mean for you?

It means that the stronger you are in all areas – physical strength, social strength, career strength, financial strength, emotional strength, etc. – the more attracted your wife will become.

Now, none of this happens overnight. It’s tough to make these kinds of changes, but you can slowly, gradually display higher value and increase attraction in your marriage.

Traits that Increase Relationship Comfort

In contrast to the traits that build attraction, very different traits increase attachment, or comfort. Comfort increases when you show stability, dependability, kindness, compassion and tolerance. 

Being a good dad, helping out around the house, listening to your wife, spending time with her, and touching her … all of these will increase your wife’s sense of comfort at being with you. She will feel more bonded and connected to you.

When you show leadership, confidence, courage, and intelligence, your wife’s attraction actually increases.

Change Your Perspective

I know much of what I’ve just told you goes against everything you’ve been taught. The idea that your wife is attracted to power and strength is hard to take in. You were told that being a good husband and a good dad would give you a good marriage, and your mind wants to reject the reality behind what really attracts women.

But let me ask you something … how is it working for you?

You’re a good husband, you’re a good provider, you spend time with the kids, and you help out around the house. You’re great at loading the dishwasher, and you always always put down the toilet seat.

Has all of that given you the marriage you want? Is your sex life where you want it to be? Or is your wife frequently ‘too tired’ for sex? Is she wildly attracted to you or would she rather play games on her phone than go to bed with you?

Being a good husband and a good dad is not going to get you the sex you want. 


Just like optical illusions alter your perception of reality, so do preconceived notions of what builds attraction in women.

Square A and B … the same exact color. Attraction and Attachment … very different love systems.

Engage Your Wife

It may be tough to digest this paradigm shift, but it’s better to accept the reality of attraction and adjust your behavior to do the things that will actually attract your wife than to flail away under an illusion.

Your marriage will be better for it … your wife will be happier for it … and you’ll be a more satisfied man.

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