Unhappy couple having problems at bedroom family conflict

We met three years ago. I recall he had some degree of difficulty with erection on our first night together. I thought it was performance anxiety and didn’t pay much attention to it. We dated long distance for a while, and when together, he seemed as much interested in sex as me, disregarding occasional issues with erection. He moved in with me and that was the end of it. All of a sudden it seemed that he couldn’t care less about sex. Nothing turned him on. No sexy lingerie, no sexual innuendos. We fought and jeopardized the relationship over this but instead we got married and now have a baby. I married under the condition that we’d see a counselor, which we did for the past 10 months. As things improve between us, erections worsen. He says it’s the result of three years of pressure, but I know the problem was there from day 1. He’s healthy, his testosterone is perfect, normal weight. I’m 36 and he’s 47. My questions are: can the lack of interest be the result of fear of failure? If so, why does he still try three years (and some therapy) later to deny that it all started with his physical problems and not vice versa?


  • Michael Castleman says:

    I sympathize with your situation and your frustrations. The short answer to your questions is: I don’t know. I can’t explain his libido loss or his erection situation. There are so many possible factors involved…. The longer answer is that I can suggest some issues to consider and perhaps discuss with your counselor.

    About this erection situation: He’s in his late 40s, which is the time of life when men’s previously reliable erections start to become iffy. Various factors can exacerbate this: smoking, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol and blood pressure, but even in totally healthy men, during the decade from the mid-40s to mid-50s, men’s erections become less reliable and lose firmness. This is not necessarily erectile dysfunction (ED), but for many men, it’s very disconcerting and anxiety-provoking. Sometimes a vicious cycle develops. Erection changes cause anxiety, and anxiety constricts the arteries including those that supply blood to the penis, so anxiety aggravates the erections changes, which causes more anxiety…. Has he tried erection drugs? They might help. What’s happening to his erections has clearly upset you, which is totally understandable, but please try to appreciate that it’s a part of men’s normal aging process. I suggest that you—and he—read these articles from the Info Library: Erection Myths, Weak Erections or ED?, ED Causes, ED Treatments, the , and .

    About his libido loss: It’s possible that his anxiety over his erection situation has suppressed his libido. It’s possible that your sexual conflicts have contributed as well. It’s also possible that he just doesn’t have as much sexual desire as you do. The myth is that men are horny goats and women less interested. According to sex therapists, when there’s a major desire difference, in about two-thirds of cases, the man wants more sex and the woman less. But in one-third of cases, it’s the other way around, with the woman having the stronger libido. Maybe you’re one of those couples. He might love you madly, but just not have much or any libido. Desire differences are inevitable in long-term relationships and they’re one of the leading reasons why couples consult sex therapists. I suggest you read the article, “You’re insatiable!” “You never want to!” How to Resolve Desire Differences.

    Finally, you mentioned that you’ve seen a counselor. That’s great and I’m glad it’s helping. But what kind of counselor are you seeing? Relationship counselors are at their best when dealing with communication and control issues—how couples talk to each other, and how they work out disagreements. But when the issues are sexual, it’s often more productive to consult a sex therapist. Sex therapists are relationship counselors who have special training in sexual issues. A sex therapist will not tell him to want sex more, or you to want it less. The therapist will explore both of your sexual feelings and help you work out a mutual accommodation you can both live with. For more on sex therapy, read An Intimate Guide to Sex Therapy. To find a sex therapist near you, visit the American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors, and Therapists, the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality, or the American Board of Sexology.

    I hope this has helped. And if you want to elaborate about your concerns, please feel free to email me again.

  • art_e_mis says:

    Thanks so much for your answer. I really appreciate.

    I’ll read all the articles that you recommended. Meanwhile, I guess I’d make myself clearer.
    About erection. I understand it could be part of aging. He’s very healthy. I know that what hurts me is much more the lack of interest, because I feel unwanted. I’d be very supportive of any physical issue if that’s what keeps him from being sexual with me. The fact that he doesn’t show any sexual interest toward me, it’s really the worst part for me.

    I also understand that he might have less sex drive than me. However, I think that if I left to him any initiative, we’d probably have sex once every two months. Which seems to me to lean on the very low side. I guess there must be point where interest is below healthy. It’s not about negotiating once a week over three times. It’s that I feel as if he could happily do without completely.

    Our therapist so far seems to have focused on other aspects of the relationship. I think we needed to work on communication, anger, etc. She has however a certification in Sex Therapy as well. Last time I mentioned to her that maybe my husband and I need sex therapy, specifically. She said that she believes that it’s “too soon”. She did not elaborate, but I guess she referred to the fact that my husband has been so far in denial and has just started to talk about physical issues, whereas for a long time he insisted that he was just fine. As per myself, I also had to come to terms with the fact that he “simply” might not care that much about sex. That said, I’m ready to compromise.

    Thanks again, I needed so much to feel heard.

  • art_e_mis says:

    P.S. On the physical issue: beside the partial loss of erection, there are times when he cannot perform at all. In fact, that seems to be worsening.

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