Q: My husband has no interest in sex with me. I've been married to this good guy for 26 years. Great friend and wonderful father to our two elementary school aged children. He's always had a low libido. For the past 5 or more years he's had E.D. on top of it. He's seen medical doctors but even with prescriptions he has no interest in sex with me! I'm in my late 40's and feel like I'm wasting the prime of my life in a sexless marriage. I've been seeing an individual counselor for over a year and she had encouraged me to get him in counseling or us both in marriage counseling. I've done the research...he won't make the appointment. We communicate well but he makes no effort to resolve this problem. I feel like he knows I'm trapped. He is making me choose between our family and a sexless life. It makes me angry. Help. What do you suggest? --Renee B.
A: Feeling trapped is a common feeling for a lot of spouses -- not just wives, but men too. And it's easy to feel angry when we feel trapped.
I can't say at this point exactly why your husband has no interest in sex or won't go to marriage counseling. But I can tell you having worked with men with erectile dysfunction and other sexual performance problems, embarrassment and shame can be big contributors to their not wanting to talk to a counselor.
However, my guess would be that there's more going on here than just his having no interest in sex and not wanting to talk about it. A lot of men use not going to counseling as a way to have power and control in the relationship. And unfortunately, a lot of wives don't realize how they hand this power right over to their husbands. I hear you surrendering power in the statement "he won't make the appointment."
I'm glad to hear that you're working with a counselor. You're a step ahead of a lot of wives who surrender their power to do even that.
Here's what I suggest you do:
- Tell him you're going to marriage counseling, with or without him, but you'd like him to come with you.
- Give him the option to have input on choosing the counselor and meeting time. Give him 24 hours to give you his feedback.
- If he gives you none, then go ahead and choose the counselor and make the appointment.
- Let him know what day and time the meeting is scheduled for and the location. Tell him he can meet you there.
- Don't say anything else about it and go to the meeting.
I can tell you that more than a few guys want to come to tell their side of the story. Even if he doesn't come, he'll probably be curious to know if you really went. There are ways to discover why your husband has no interest in sex, so stop feeling trapped and learn how to change your sexless marriage.
--Kurt Smith, Marriage Counselor
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