QUESTION: For most of my 27-year marriage I’ve enjoyed a tender and romantic sex life, but in the past year my husband has changed. He barely approaches me, is far less tactile and verbal and sometimes abandons lovemaking halfway through. I’ve tried to talk about it, but he shrugs me off. I feel distraught. How can we recapture our joy?
ANSWER: There’s nothing more distressing than finding the person you love best has become a stranger to you. There’s a temptation to think, “Is it something I’ve done?”, but in reality that’s rarely the case. The change is baffling precisely because some external agency is involved.
Cynics might suggest another woman, but you would surely be aware if your husband was addicted to his phone and spending hours away from home? Typically, it’s the erotically unfulfilled who stray, while you say the pair of you have enjoyed a good sex life.
My guess is that the problem is physiological or psychological - or a combination. If your husband has enjoyed an untroubled sex life into middle-age, the sudden onset of impaired libido would prove a huge shock to his sense of self.
Numerous health issues from heart disease to diabetes can play havoc with desire and men’s ability to sustain an erection. Around half of men aged 40-70 will suffer from erectile dysfunction at some point and 80 percent of cases stem from physical causes.
The biggest clue is that your spouse abandons sex without achieving orgasm. That suggests a problem with male plumbing, because a man with a steady erection doesn’t tend to pull away.
Two of the most common causes of a depleted libido are depression and stress, but a failing appetite for sex can, of itself, make one feel low. Has your spouse had anxieties in the past year? The most robust men can go off sex if their professional or financial security is threatened.
Many men’s sexual vitality is index-linked to their sense of success; take that away and they wilt. Put it like this: no man who’s made a bad investment, or seen his company’s stock price plummet, will feel sexy. The more they bottle up the truth, the worse they feel - ashamed that their emotions and self-discipline have failed them, let alone their winning streak.
The problem can be intensified by the fact most frequently prescribed antidepressants tend to suppress libido. For that reason I would check your husband’s medicine cabinet in case, unknown to you, he’s taking a drug that has personality-altering side-effects.
Above all, you must ensure your husband goes to see his GP. Small changes, such as exercising and reducing alcohol intake, can have a big impact. If your husband is suffering impaired blood flow to the genitals this might be the first symptom something’s wrong with his heart (chest pains arrive later), so it’s crucial he has a full check-up.
I would also talk to your husband’s family and friends to see if anyone else has noted changes.
Your last line of resort is to make it clear how distressed you feel and how you can cope with anything - even a lack of lovemaking - if communication is restored.
The key is not to put more pressure on your husband, while coaxing him into seeking a solution. It’s a delicate dance, but once you’re allies again, it’s a far shorter step to rekindling your lover’s flame. - Daily Mail