You need to stand up for yourself and take charge. Telling her there is a problem and discussing it is not the same thing as taking action and letting her know that what she wants is unacceptable if she wants to stay married to you. What you really need to do is think whether you are willing to live this way for the remainder of your marriage and then choose a course of action.
My advice to you is:
#1 - Do NOT consider having children with her until you resolve this issue.
#2 - Do your part and make sure you are meeting her needs. If she isn't feeling listened to and taken care of then don't expect her to take care of your needs. If you are doing those things then make sure you are still dating her like you did before you got married.
#3 - Be willing to walk away if she doesn't meet your needs. If she knows you are willing to walk over this, then she'll have to decide if she's willing to end her marriage to you over her not wanting to have sex with the man she claims to love and wants to spend the rest of her life with. If she is willing to let your marriage end of it, then show her the door and wish her well.
I agree about the children part. The last thing I would want to do is end up separating, and my parents divorced when I was young. Awful, no child should have to see that.
Marriage should be a renewable agreement every couple of years, where if the terms are broken by either party they should be able to leave the marriage without penalty or be responsible for any monetary obligation.
I took my vows willingly, and I meant them to be unconditional, so that's not a road I want to travel. I'll do what I can within the bounds of my vows.
But before you go down that route - have there been any major changes in you? Has your appearance changed (ie - weight gain), has your job status changed? Do you still hang out with your guy friends and engage yourself in your hobbies? That is all important stuff, and relevant to this discussion.
Thanks. I think I'm all good on these points, but I have to wonder if I'm not meeting my end of the bargain in some way. I actually ask her often if there's anything more I can do for her as a partner, and I feel like I'm pretty responsive.
How much time are you spending together meeting eachother's emotional needs? How often are you two having sex a week, and how often are you meeting her needs for intimate conversation, non-sexual affection, and companionship (doing fun things together)?
For women to desire sex, they need 2 things:
1. An emotional connection
2. The prospect of enjoyment
You may think you're doing enough to make her feel connected enough to desire sex, and it may be true that you do a ton for her, but if you're not spending enough time meeting her emotional intimate needs (listed above), she's simply not going to desire sex.
Dr. Harley in His Needs, Her Needs recommends at least 15 hours a week of dating your spouse. He says that almost all sexual issues in a marriage disappear once a couple is willing to do this. He found the best way to restore intimacy in marriage was to devote the same time you did when you were dating. Helping with the chores, kids, and providing financially are certainly needs spouses have, but they won't cause feelings of emotional attachment as much as meeting the intimate needs listed above.
These are great points. My wife has been very clear that she feels more willing to be sexually intimate when she feels emotionally connected, and I'm not sure I've done my part, nor do I know exactly what she needs in terms of this connection. We have a lot of conversations (and I've done some work to make sure I'm communicating in a way that meets her needs), and I treat her to her favorite meals regularly. Maybe I need to do more to figure out how we can build a stronger emotional connection...It's certainly true that we do less 'fun stuff' than we used to, given our finances and the stress of our jobs. I will talk to her more about this. Thank you!