Q. I am 54 and my husband is 58. I have a healthy sexual appetite. My husband’s libido has vanished, however.
He says it’s psychological rather than physical and refuses to consider medication. He’s heard stories about Viagra not working and won’t take it.
He has not been checked by a doctor but says he will make an appointment. I’m still waiting. This is beginning to cause real problems between us. What course of action do you recommend?
A. Viagra is not the only treatment for men with sexual difficulties. In fact, Viagra won’t work for lack of libido, but only for erectile difficulties.
Low libido can be caused by many factors including performance anxiety, low testosterone levels and medication side effects. Some drugs that may have a negative effect on sexual desire include antidepressants, blood pressure medications or anti-anxiety agents.
Check out our FREE Guides to:
• Drugs That Affect Sexuality
• Female Sexuality
Since this issue is causing trouble in the relationship, the two of you may benefit from counseling. You can find a certified counselor in your area by contacting the American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors and Therapists in Richmond, VA (online at www.aasect.org).
Many other women are going through similar difficulties. Here are just a couple of examples of similar stories:
“Hey everyone, I’m glad I’m not the only one with this problem, though I wish none of us had it. My boyfriend and I have been together for almost three years and for the most part our relationship is really great. He is very considerate and affectionate in general but for the last year his sex drive has been about zero. We’ve had sex fewer times this year than I can count on both hands.
“When we first got together we couldn’t get out of bed. Then at the beginning of the year he was going through some personal problems and we didn’t have sex for over five months. At first I was understanding and didn’t even bring it up for three months. I finally said something and he said it was just because he was severely stressed. He said that he couldn’t even get aroused anymore at all and if it continued to be the case he would go see a doctor.
“Now he is physically capable of…ahem ” parking the car in the garage” but he still has very very little interest. I try talking with him about it and he just gets hostile or blows me off. I’ve tried every trick in the book; surprising him with little outfits, sending dirty pictures, taking sexy showers, and most of the time I’m rejected or I can tell he’s just doing it to make me happy. I know we won’t go back to twice a day but I wish I could get once a week. I understand not always being in the mood, but if roles were reversed I would get myself in the mood for him. In fact, even when we do have sex we do all of his favorite positions because I figure its the “least I could do”. I can’t remember the last time I was on top.
“Last night we watched “Take This Waltz” and the couple in it has the same problem. She said to him at one point “it takes all of my courage to seduce you and you’re teaching me not to be brave.” I’ve been crying on and off for a day straight because I have said that exact thing to my boyfriend. I don’t understand how to make him understand how it makes me feel when he turns me down and how by him not initiating anything ever, I feel rejected again. It’s getting worse and it’s starting to put strain on our relationship. I find myself being suspicious of him all of the time because I convince myself he’s cheating on me or that he doesn’t love me and just doesn’t know how to tell me, though he swears neither of those things are true.
“I don’t want pills and frankly it bothers me that I’M the one who has to change when I don’t feel like I’m the problem. I’m hoping there’s an exercise or an herb or something that would help.”
“I have been married for eleven years and am very much in love with my husband. He is no longer interested in me.
“t is really strange I believe he loves me with all his heart and me vice versa but sex or satisfying my specials needs are not important. He has problems with erection and states that the drugs for this condition are just to expensive, but he spends money on what he wants to spend money on.
“I guess since he does not need or want sex any more that that is not a priority to spend money on erection drugs since it seems to be only my problem he doesn’t care.
I want and need sex and just need attention. Is there a drug to kill my Libido? I am going crazy without his attention sexually.”
Just sign me “Miserable”
“I have been with my boyfriend for two years. Our sexual relationship was good when we first started out. I was more horny than he was, but I put that down to the fact that before getting with him, I was a virgin so I thought it was normal.
“Then things started to go down hill. First it went down to once a week, then once a fortnight then once a month and now, we haven’t has sex in half a year. I’m telling you this to let you know that you’re not alone and also to urge you to get this problem sorted ASAP, because it doesn’t get easier with time.
“I’m not saying you should dump him, but I suggest you try to get him to see a doctor or something if it gets much worse. I left it too long and now I am at a point where I feel like we will never have sex again and it is killing me inside. It’s lonely and I have no self esteem left. Now I am scraping the barrel for ways to change myself, because I can’t get him to do anything. I am unwilling to cheat and I am unwilling to leave him. I am also very unhappy.”
You may wish to read other stories at these links:
We hope you can get some support and find a path forward. Perhaps if your husband gets some counseling or actual treatment it could restore your relationship. You may also find our interview with Dr. Ruth on this very topic of great value. Getting your husband to listen to our interview might make a big difference in his attitude. Here is a link to the one-hour broadcast titled “Sex After 50” radio show # 680.