Q. Doctor, I have a problem I hope you can help me with. I just got married for the second time and things are not going well in the bedroom. I was happily married to my first husband for 15 years. We had a great sex life and I gave him four lovely children. They are the joy of my life. Then, he died in a tragic car accident. It was the worst time that could have happened to me. I had loved him so much, and he had loved me dearly. I became depressed and was taking antidepressants. But a year or so ago, I met another man. He is a wonderful man, and I was overjoyed when he proposed to me. I said yes immediately. Well, now that we are married, I am glad to say that we get along very well and have a lot of fun, except for one big problem. Whenever we try to have sex, it does not go very well. I just cannot summon up as much enthusiasm as I should. So far, I have not orgasmed with him at all. Several times, I have felt as though I was about to, but at the last minute, I lose the feelings. I also have the impression that he is not totally satisfied with me. Somehow, it seems that intercourse with me does not feel as nice as he expected. I believe that his first wife was very good in bed. But they divorced after a year, and had no children. What is going on, Doctor? Please help me save my marriage.
A. There are several different things going on here. First, you are in a situation which I have seen affect many women. I call it 'the second marriage syndrome'.
You see, when a woman's first husband dies and she gets involved with somebody else, it is often very difficult for her to get sexually excited with the new husband.
Sometimes, she may feel no desire at all. Other times, she may get a little turned on, but then find that everything suddenly switches off.
The reason for this is fairly obvious. Deep down, the poor woman feels that she is being unfaithful to her deceased husband. Often, she has the feeling that he is looking down on her and saying something like: 'Shame on you! I thought you would remain faithful to my memory.'
Of course, that is not very rational. I think it is fair to say that most men, after they die, would actually prefer that their widows find happiness, eventually marrying a second time. There are very few men who believe that, after a husband has passed away, his spouse should never enjoy sex again for the rest of her life. Now, I would like you to reflect on that idea. Try to appreciate that your first husband would want you to be happy and enjoying sex.
I think you should find yourself a good counsellor who can help you talk through these issues. She can gradually assist you to feel better about relaxing and having a good time in bed.
There are a few other important points which I would like to bring to your attention. You say that, when you are in bed, you almost orgasm, but you can't quite get there. Are you still on antidepressants? Some of those drugs are well known to cause that side effect of making it difficult to orgasm.
Second, you noted that you suspect that your husband is not enjoying intercourse as much as he expected. That may be just a mistake on your part. However, it does occur to me that you have had four children. So it is almost inevitable that your vaginal tissues are not as firm as they used to be.
Bear in mind that your new husband used to have a wife who did not have any children. Therefore, her vagina was probably quite firm and tight, and maybe he got used to that. So if you have any suspicion about your vaginal tissues, you should see a 'gyno' and ask him if they need 'tightening up'. However, your first priority should be to see that counsellor - maybe take your new husband along with you. Good luck.
Q. Doctor, I seem to be obsessed with my wife's past lovers. It is making me very distressed . I keep thinking about her being naked in their arms. I am disgusted by the thought of her being penetrated by them. What is awful to me is the idea that she may have enjoyed sex with these men more than she does with me. This is ruining our love life, Doc. Whenever she climaxes, I get a mental picture of her climaxing with another man. Then I say something like, 'I suppose X's penis was bigger than mine, was it?' And that ruins the entire evening. And during the day, I think of this every few minutes. I can't stop myself. Please help me, Doc. I am a successful businessman, and could afford to pay for treatment.
A. Well, I think you should see a psychiatrist right away. It seems to me that you may have some form of 'obsessive' illness, probably a form of obsessive-compulsive disorder. That is a psychological condition in which a person can't help thinking about something, even if he knows that doing so is harmful or distressing to him. A psychiatrist could help suppress those thoughts. He will probably give you medication that would help you get over this. Do not delay!
Q. Doctor, I am making a trip to England shortly. Do I have to declare the Viagra tablets which will be in my luggage?
A. No. Customs officials are not interested in Viagra, which is a perfectly legal medication.
Q. I had a miscarriage some time ago and was admitted to the hospital. Since then, I have noticed that I have been having some strangely irregular bleeding. Is there something wrong with me, Doc?
A. It sounds like you may have what is called retained products of conception. This means that a little piece of placenta (afterbirth) may still be lodged in the womb.
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