DOCTOR'S ADVICE - Why won't my husband sleep with me?
Q I need your advice about my husband. Suddenly, he does not want to have sex with me, and I would like to know what is going on. I suspect that he has another woman. He travels a lot in his work, and he has a lot of opportunities to meet women.
We have been married for nearly 20 years. In fact, our 20th wedding anniversary will be in June. I thought we had a very happy marriage, and the sex has always been great. We have three children, and I love them very much. And I love my husband, too. But last summer, things began to change with him. I noticed that when we went to bed at night, he did not kiss and caress me quite the same way as he used to. He was kind of half-hearted about it.
Then, not long before Christmas, I realised that we were not having sex as often as we used to. And when I tried to get him to, very often he would roll away to the other side of the bed. There have been occasional nights when everything goes OK and we make love. But I am sorry to say that, since the new year, we have not had sex once. So what is going on, Doc? Is he seeing another woman? Is he in love with her? And is she making him too tired for me?
A This is a sad story, and a very common one. I have often been asked the same question by wives who think that their husbands must be having an affair.
But I must tell you that I think it is pretty unlikely that your husband is fooling around with some other woman. What is much more likely is that the poor man has erection problems but is too embarrassed to tell you.
You see, what frequently happens is that one night a man realises he is having trouble in getting a good firm erection. Instead of explaining to his wife what is happening, he is so embarrassed that he just rolls over and pretends that he is asleep. When this has happened a few times, it is understandable that the woman starts to think that he no longer desires her or that he is having sex elsewhere.
The key to solving this problem is to talk about it. Silence can only make everything worse!
So, though it may be difficult for you, I think you must sit down and say frankly to him: "My love, I guess you are having trouble with sex - and I want to help you."
COULD HAVE ED
He will then likely admit that he has erectile dysfunction (ED), which used to be called 'impotence'.
The mere fact that that the two of you begin talking about it may well help him. Also, you may be able to discover from him whether there are any techniques you could use that would assist his erections. For instance, you may be surprised to know that some men who have lost their nature can be reinvigorated by love play involving a vibrator!
However, it is very important that you encourage him to consult a doctor. The doctor may well be able to find the real reason why your man is having erection problems. For instance, it might turn out that he is taking some medication which interferes with the blood supply to his penis.
These days, it is very common for doctors to prescribe a drug from the Viagra group. In most cases, these pills will restore the man's ability to have sex with his wife. In fact, I have seen numerous cases where Viagra or similar pills have actually saved a marriage!
So, please, do not delay. The time has come to sit down and communicate with your husband. I am sure he will be grateful for your concern.
Q I am due to have a coil fitted next month. How soon after that will I be able to have sex?
A Some doctors would say that you can go ahead and have intercourse that night. However, I feel that you should give the coil (IUD) 24 hours to settle down in the womb before having sex.
Q When I was young, I injured my penis, and this has left a scar on the side of it. Because of that, I have never attempted to have sex with a woman. But now I have two questions, Doc. First of all, do you think a woman would object to my appearance if she saw it? And second, could I have surgery to get the scar removed?
A Sorry to hear about this injury. To answer your first question, I find it difficult to imagine that any reasonable and sympathetic woman would be offended or put off by the fact that you have a scar on your penis.
As it relates to surgery, a plastic surgeon could remove this scar for you, perhaps putting on a skin graft taken from some other part of your body. However, it is impossible to guarantee that you would not have a recurrence of the scar. Good luck.
Q I was raped when I was a teenager and, because of that, I have never been able to bring myself to have sex with anyone. Now I am in love with a wonderful man, but I am terrified by the idea of him penetrating me. What can I do, Doc?
A Sadly, this is a common reaction after someone has been raped. Women who have been violated in that way are often affected by a powerful aversion to sex. They may also develop the condition vaginismus. That is a kind of muscle contraction which occurs whenever any approach is made to the genitals.
Fortunately, it is possible to get treatment. So I urge you to see a doctor or psychotherapist who is experienced in dealing with sexual problems. You would need to see her regularly over a period of several months. There is a good chance that she would be able to help you to relax and enjoy sex with the man you love.
Q I am bisexual and, though I no longer have any dealings with other men, I have fallen in love with a beautiful woman and would like to marry her. Do you think there could be any future for us, Doc?
A Well, I have been consulted by a number of bisexual males who have given up their old ways and formed loving and stable relationships with women. However, I think that the one thing you must do is to ensure that you tell your girlfriend about your past. It may come as a bit of a shock to her. But if she loves you as much as you apparently love her, it may well be that the two of you can form a successful marriage partnership.