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"My husband has no sex drive"


I am a 32 year old newly married woman. My husband is also the same age. We have no diseases or strange health issues. This is both of our first marriages. We have been married a year and a half. We have never had sex.

Maybe I should have seen red flags waving in the beginning of our dating relationship when he told me that he didn't want to have sex outside of marriage. Maybe I should have taken the hint when I spoke to his ex girlfriend and she told me that they also didn't ever have sex. Maybe I should have gotten a clue when we tried to have sex before we got married and he lost his erection not longer than a minute into it.

He cannot successfully hold an erection for sex. This is one of the reasons that we have never had sex.

He also has a low sex drive. He never initiates sex and even admitted to me that previous to our relationship he almost went to the doctor to find out why he didn't have more desire.

He has told me that he's sorry over and over again. He's told me it's not my fault and things will change. Things never change. He is not willing to seek help. He tells me he will go to the doctor "soon" but this has been continuing now for months.

I cry myself to sleep many nights and I feel more alone in this marriage than I did when I was single. I had sex more as a single person than I do now. When I have any sexual memories come up, they are not with him.

I don't know what to do. I love him but I just don't know how long I can wait around to see if he wants to go get help.

My friend thinks I should give him an ultimatum and stick to it. Move out and tell him I won't ever move back in if he doesn't seek help.

I have asked him many questions from "Are you gay?" to "Have you ever suffered sexual abuse?" and the answer is always no. I believe that he is telling me the truth, however, you can never really know for sure.

He has also admitted that he has never had sexual desires for any of his girlfriends in the past.

He tells me that it might be the fact he used to take steroids for a few months when he was younger.

I feel worse about myself more now than ever. I have terrible self esteem and have gained weight due to how unloved I feel. I do not feel strong enough to leave him at this time.

Do you have any ideas for what I should do?

16 Mar 2006
Name: Jessica
Age: 32

Dear Jessica,

First things first, I want you to realize that your husbandís lack of sexual desire has nothing to do with you. Feeling rejected and hurt when our partner doesnít want to engage in sex with us is, of course, only natural. But as youíve told me, your husbandís disinterest in sex didnít start with you, and if it continues to go untreated, it certainly wonít end with you either.

What I want you to realize is that his lack of sexual desire isnít about him thinking youíre unattractive, rather, itís about him suffering from a sexual disorder. Jessica, Iím convinced that even if all Hefís playboy bunnies were standing right in front of him, your husband still wouldnít feel aroused.

The problem of little to no sex drive in men can be psychological, physical, or a mixture of both. Psychologically, your husband may have performance worry, fear of physical intimacy, hang-ups about his sexuality and/or body, untreated depression or perhaps heís gone through other types of sad or traumatic experiences in his life that have left him void of any sexual craving.

Physically, maybe your husbandís testosterone level is low; men with low levels of this hormone have very low sexual desire. Other types of physical ailments that could lower your husbandís sex drive are chronic pain, any sort of disruption to his hormonal balance, fatigue and/or lethargy.

Another thought, when we refuse to face something for so long, sometimes our anxiety about it becomes worse than the actual problem. For your husband, this issue has gone untreated for such an extended amount of time, that heís allowed his concern about it to become bigger than he is. His anxiety about it is so intense, that emotionally, he finds his sexual disinterest impossible to confront.

But, for both your sakes, and in order to save your marriage, it is absolutely necessary that he does.

Why is your husband so hesitant to finally go to the doctor and get treated? Because as a man, society says heís supposed to have unlimited carnal desires; heís supposed to want sex all the time. And because he doesnít, he feels emasculated, like less of a man. And in going to the doctor, heíll have to admit Ė out loud Ė to someone other than you that he has no sexual desire.

So how do you get him to take the plunge and make an appointment? I think your friend, with her ultimatum idea, has a point. While I donít think itís necessary to move out or ďseparateĒ until he finally decides to get help, I do think you need to sit him down and explain to him just how much this is affecting you and your marriage. But you need to do so in a way that doesnít make him feel embarrassed or ashamed, because I promise you, he already feels both those emotions intensely.

So you need to show him that youíre on his team and that no matter what, you love him. As chauvinistic as this may sound, build up his manliness; make him feel masculine and strong and let him know how important he is to you. Iím telling you right now, without this type of support system, heís never going to seek the help that he (and you!) desperately need.

As for medical treatment, I suggest he see a doctor as well as a psychotherapist. Although Iím inclined to think the issue is a physical one, clearly there are a lot of emotional and psychological factors at play here too. As for the two of you, I might even seek couples counseling until you get your relationship Ė both the physical and emotional aspects of it Ė back on track.

Good luck!

Marissa

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