My husband is 31 and I am 28. We are both healthy, active, thin people without psychological issues. We have an awesome marriage of three years except our problems in the bedroom. Sex has never been awesome for us but lately it is getting worse. My husband has little interest in sex with me. At first I was worried there was someone else but after asking him he said it is just his libido is low. During sex it is also difficult for him to maintain his erection. What could be causing this? He is in great health and does not smoke. It is starting to hurt my self esteem and I am sure his as well. Help!
I wish I had a dollar for each time someone writes: “WHY does my partner do this?” The simple fact is, how would anyone know without asking him? All I can do is speculate about possibilities. The only way to find out for sure is to ASK him.
So your partner enjoys sex less often than you do. The first step is to ask yourself what you’re actually using sex for. Is your desire truly for sex itself, or is it for the cozy, intimate feeling you get after sex? Some women only feel loved and cared for after sex because some men are only able to express their love during sex. If you don’t feel intimate and loved in your non-sexual time together, this can put a lot of pressure on sex to make up for what seems to be lacking.
Additionally, there are physical conditions that can affect desire: depression, prescription drugs and large amounts of marijuana may contribute to a lessening of both energy and desire.
Secondly: past traumas also may prevent us from expressing our sexuality.
Of course, there are also many other factors that can influence someone’s level of sexual interest or desire. There may be other issues in his life that contribute to his current behavior. Is he content with himself, with his life, with your relationship? Are there, or have there been any family or work crises? And what about you? Has your appearance changed dramatically? Are you doing something (anything) that might be pushing him away?
If he’s interested in sex, but feels no desire to actually be sexual with you, perhaps he’s not being aroused by what the two of you are doing. And just to complicate matters further, sometimes we go through periods where our desires may take a break, and this has nothing to do with our partner or any conflicts, but merely our all-too-human biological and/or emotional ups and downs.
Is he feeling anxious? Anxiety is the enemy of good sex. If he feels anxious or unsure of himself, his desire will be affected. Or he may have conflicting feelings about being sexual, based on earlier issues in his life. Or he may actually FEEL desire, but suppress it, due to feeling conflicted. Are you aware of any reasons he may have for avoiding sex? One clue is that even when the two of you are sexual, it sounds likes he's not very aroused. This could indicate he has some conflicts, either about sex in general or about sex within the context of your relationship. Either of these can contribute to the possibility that he’s not turned on to you currently.
Understand that there could be many other reasons that he’s not turned on: Men receive so many messages from society, advertising, family, movies, television, magazines, friends, books, religion, (the list is endless) about what “should” happen between two people that when it comes down to having sex, a man may equate sex with “performance” and pleasing his partner, rather than just relaxing and enjoying the pleasure himself. Everything is goal-oriented—like a football game. The other message that many men receive is that sex is somehow dirty and wrong, unless you’re doing it for reproductive purposes. Sometimes this can creep into our unconscious thoughts and sabotage any pleasure. Some men are very affected by cultural or family messages that unmarried women who have sex are somehow “dirty” or “evil.”
So, let’s recap: He may have some underlying physiological issues, he may have unresolved attitudes about sex in general, he may have performance issues, he may be bored, he may be frustrated—or it may be something else entirely.
The next step is to talk with your partner regarding how the two of you can make this work for the both of you. I strongly suggest the two of you try talking to each other—rather than arguing with each other—as your first and possibly most productive step. The most helpful attitude is “what can we do TOGETHER to make this work for both of us?” Remember to share only your feelings; don’t attack him or accuse him. This process involves problem-solving as a team. You might ask him to share whether there’s anything he might like you to do that would increase his desire. Certain clothing, activities, or…? If you put your heads together, you might be able to work out a creative solution. For instance, there are lots of ways to be sexual and intimate that don’t involve p-v sex. If your partner’s sexual energy is low when you want sex, how about asking him to hold and stroke you while you self-pleasure? My guess is that once you two get comfortable, he’ll find that it’s not only intimate, but fun too. If this isn’t an option you care to pursue, are there other things the two of you can do that will satisfy your desire more often? Think of this as a fun way to get to know each other better, and it won’t seem so daunting.
How about getting up a little earlier and having sex in the morning? Many men love having sex in the morning—and many women are uncomfortable with the idea because they don’t feel attractive. So get up a few minutes early, brush your teeth, comb your hair—whatever else you need to do to feel attractive—and get back into bed with him. Also ask him what are HIS best times? Perhaps Saturday evenings when he’s had a chance to relax a bit? And would he like to try some new things? Maybe dress you up? The possibilities are endless, so get going. You can still have yummy sex for the rest of your life; you’ll just need to invest in a little communication and creativity.
It’s time to get help so that the both of you can talk about your separate and joint issues. A counselor who is trained to help people talk about sexual concerns can guide you through the process of discussing these issues with each other in a safe environment. Dr. J
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