First, read about the need for sensuous affection if you have not done so already.
When it comes to sensuous affection, a man typically differs from a woman in having a greater need for visual affection (a mate who makes herself beautiful for him), and less of a need to be warmed up before intimate physical affection.
Your husband may never really understand your greater need for conversation, but he would be foolish to ignore it. Likewise, his greater need for visual affection is real, whether it seems like a good idea to you or not. Men are visually attracted to women by design. Just as adults naturally respond to the cuteness of babies with feelings of tenderness and care, men naturally respond to the prettiness of women with feelings of appreciation and deference. If not for this response to their feminine beauty, women may well be treated with the same roughness and competitiveness with which men often treat each other. Such treatment would be especially harmful in the marital relationship. The way you present yourself visually to your husband influences his emotions for you on a very basic level. When you make an effort to be physically attractive to him, you are sending him a message that you care about your body and his feelings. Although a sullen look and stooped posture may elicit pity and concern from your man in the short term, such behavior will also eventually produce resentment, frustration, and longings that will make it more difficult for him to feel appreciative and affectionate toward you. Taking some simple steps (below) to let your feminine beauty shine through will not only help you meet one of your man's most basic relationship needs, but will also increase his desire to meet your relationship needs.
Let him see that you are trying
One of the reasons he married you was because he found you beautiful. Let him see that you are showing love and respect for him by keeping yourself attractive. To the male brain, a pretty woman is pleasant to look at, but a pretty woman who is obviously trying to be pretty is even more so. So don't be discouraged that you don't have the ideal body, skin, or wardrobe. Put sincere and cheerful energy into looking beautiful for him, and he will feel your love.
Femininity is cheerful. A smile is simple but powerful. A smiling woman is warm and comforting. One who isn't can be frightening. Beauty and pleasantness will turn your man's heart much better than pity will.
Let us always greet each other with a smile, for the smile is the beginning of love.—Mother Teresa
Use a pleasant voice
Always try to use a pleasant tone of voice, even when you are sad or tired. A tired, complaining, or self-pitying voice is unpleasant to listen to, and can quickly dull your romance. Research suggests that using a pleasant voice can actually make you appear more physically attractive to others.1
Practice pleasant posture and walk gracefully
A beautiful woman with poor posture is like a framed picture hanging crooked on a wall. Instead of enjoying the beauty of the picture, you just want to reach out and straighten it. Standing or sitting tall is how you smile with your whole body. Good posture will make any body look twice as attractive, five to ten pounds lighter, and a decade or two younger. See Perfect Posture for help with perfecting your posture.
Also, gracefulness is feminine. Don't walk like you are tired or carrying a load. A graceful walk is good posture in motion. Start with good standing posture, then walk by putting one foot almost directly in front of the other, moving with a comfortable stride and a light step, shifting your weight from heel to toe with a continuous, fluid motion.
Be clean and neat
Cleanliness and neatness are naturally attractive. Bathe often. Keep your hair clean and brushed. Wear clean clothes that fit well and look nice.
If you need to slim down and tone up to let your inner beauty shine through, get a solid start with The Diet Dropout's Guide to Natural Weight Loss.
Men like it. If you don't want to look "made up" every day, just use a little bit to show him you are making an effort to look your best for him and go all out with the red lipstick (or whatever he likes) on evenings you will be home alone together.
Let him advise you on your wardrobe
Your husband is the most important person you can dress for. His romantic feelings for you will increase whenever he sees you in something that makes you look attractive to him, and decrease when he sees you in something that bothers him for any reason. Take all of the clothes from your closet and have a fashion show for him. Throw out the clothes that he likes the least. Remember the ones that he likes the most, and wear them more often.
Don't wish yourself old
Old age comes when you invite it. The body follows the brain. Don't joke or complain about getting old unless you are at least 90. Instead, think young, and you will be. Many people in their 90s still run marathons. Your age has much less to do with the number of years you have lived, than with your attitude. A pleasant voice, a positive attitude, a smile, good posture, a healthful diet, and regular aerobic and strengthening exercises are the fountains of youth.
Keep his view of your body special
Suppose you ate large hastily-prepared portions of your favorite dessert every day for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. You would soon tire of it. Your man's attraction to your body can become dulled in the same way. Alternatively, suppose that you ate your favorite dessert a little less frequently, and always made it a special occasion by serving it in small, carefully prepared portions attractively arranged on your best dinnerware. You might never tire of it. You can keep your husband interested in and appreciative of your feminine beauty the same way. Whenever you let him see your unclothed or partially clothed body, make sure it is presented attractively and for not too long. Just as you would add a little sugar, spice or garnish to a dessert, you can use makeup, sexy clothing, pleasant posture, a smile, or flirtatious body language to present your body as something to be appreciated. Cover it again before he tires of it. If you let him see your underclothed body too frequently, and especially in mundane or unpleasant situations (such as while you are brushing your teeth, watching television, looking for something to wear, slouching or complaining), it's novelty will decrease, and it will become less romantically inspiring to him. Expose your body to him only when he can focus on you, and when you can give him some sensuous affection (at least a flirtation or innuendo). Doing this will create pleasurable associations for your body in his mind.
This is something woman too often forgets. She has been so thoroughly "domesticated" by man that she feels too readily that after marriage she is all his. And by her very docility to his perpetual demands she destroys for him the elation, the palpitating thrills and surprises, of the chase.
In the rather trivial terms of our sordid modern life, it works out in many marriages somewhat as follows: The married pair…are together not only at the times of delight and interest in each other, but during most of the unlovely and even ridiculous proceedings of the toilet [dressing table or bathroom vanity]. Now it may enchant a man once—perhaps even twice—or at long intervals—to watch his goddess screw her hair up into a tight and unbecoming knot and soap her ears. But it is inherently too unlovely a proceeding to retain indefinite enchantment. To see her floating in the deep, clear water of her bath—that may enchant for ever, for it is so lovely, but the unbeautiful trivialities essential to the cleaning processes of a bath, tend only to dim the picture and, if repeated, to dull the interest and attention that should be bestowed on the body of the loved one. Hence, ultimately, everyday association in the commonplace daily necessities tends to reduce the keen pleasure each takes in the sight of the other. And hence, inevitably and tragically though stealthily and unperceived, to reduce the keenness of stimulation the pair exert on each other, and thus to lower their intensity of pleasure in the sex act.
In short, the overcoming of her personal modesty which is generally looked on as an essential result in marriage where the woman becomes wholly the man's, has generated among our women a tradition that before their husbands they can perform any and all of the details of personal and domestic duties. Correspondingly, they allow the man to be neglectful of preserving some reticence before them... In this respect I am inclined to think that man suffers more than woman. For man is still essentially the hunter, the one who experiences the desires and thrills of the chase, and dreams ever of coming unawares upon Diana in the woodlands. On the other hand, the married woman, having once yielded all, tends to remain passively in the man's companionship…Though it may appear trivial beside the profound physiological factors considered in recent chapters, I think that, in the interest of husbands, an important piece of advice to wives is: Be always escaping. Escape the lower, the trivial, the sordid. So far as possible (and this is far more possible than appears at first, and requires only a little care and rearrangement in the habits of the household) ensure that you allow your husband to come upon you only when there is delight in the meeting. A fleeting glimpse of mutinous face as you lock yourself in the bathroom, is far kinder to a man than the wifely docility of sharing a toilet table and washstand.
—Marie Carmichael Stopes, Married Love or Love in Marriage (1918)
Wink at him, play with innuendo, tease him. He'll love it, and feel inclined to be affectionate in return.
Give him plenty of sexual affection
A strong sexual relationship is a vital component of a strong and enduring romance. Even though your husband may be able to meet your relationship needs and give you affection out of duty and love, he cannot feel all of the emotion he should have for you unless he has a fulfilling sexual relationship with you. Sex was created for marriage, not only for creating children, but also for binding husband and wife together in enduring romance. For a discussion of healthy sex in marriage, read And They Were Not Ashamed, or sign up for Generous Wife Tips. Watch WebMD's Sex-Drive Killers Slideshow to learn possible causes for low sex drive.
Does your husband spend too much time at the office or with his friends? Is he too much into sports or video games? Does he spend too much money on big toys? Maybe he has an unmet need for sexual affection. Sexual affection helps satisfy a man's need for toys, entertainment, and adventure. Give it a try. With a little more lovin' from you, he may change his hobbies.