“Love doesn’t make you a mind reader,” says one therapist. “Love is trusting each other enough to ask openly and answer honestly”

How can my husband and I love each other so much, yet have such a ho-hum sex life?” asked a friend, a high school science instructor who, ironically, teaches sex education classes.

Had she discussed the problem with her husband, a physician, to whom she’s been married for 12 years?

I seem to be able to talk to him about everything but our sex life,” she said at last. “I don’t knopw how to tell him what I need without seeming to criticize.”

Women of all educational levels and life experiences voice similar sentiments. “Most married people lack basic information about their spouses’ sexual preferences,” says P.Shrick, a therapist at the University sexuality program in America. My own informal survey of 60 wives found a myriad of needs they wanted to share with their husbands. But, as one woman told me, “It’s difficult to know how to begin,”

Later I talked with six top sex therapists and was surprised at how often they agreed with the wives about what women would like to tell their husbands. Here are the five most frequently cried “sex secrets.”

Great Sex – for a woman – begins with her life as a whole. Most women need good feelings and experiences during the day and in the marriage to have satisfying sex. Gary, just dint understand this,” says Vicky 29, and married seven years. “He was under a lot of stress at work and was impatient and withdrawn, not wanting to talk or show any affection. He’d watch TV until ,idnight, then come in the bedroom and grab me. If I wasn’t instantly responsive, he’d get upset.

How a man treats his wife out of bed can greatly influence her response in bed. Hurtful words, inattentiveness and criticism can make it difficult for a woman to be enthusiastic, passionate lover. This puzzles some husbands. “For me, sex can be a comfort after a rotten day,” says Ramu, 43, and married 12 years. “Why can’t a woman see sex as its own moment in time – and forget what gone before?”

According to a American Sociologist, “Women are everything in their lives as inter-connected. Men tend to compartmentalize, feeling that a stressful time can be parked mentally and separated from sexual actions.”

Sexuality and affection can’t be comparttmentalised. Good sex is a continuum of closeness and affection.”

It’s important to act loving even when you’re not about to have sex. If a husband surprises his wife with flowers or a gift for no particular reason, if he takes the children for a day, this thoughtfulness may improve the couple’s sexual pleasure – and the marriage.

Speaking up in a firm but gentle way about hurts can help too. When Rama told her husband about her need for attention and conversation before bed, they reached a new understanding. “We save an hour just for us or listen to music, or I might give him a back rub if he’s had a tough day. Now both of us feel happier and more loved.