Sex & Relationships

Rx for his libido

My husband used to be interested in sex all the time but now we don't make love as often and he doesn't want to talk about it. What can I do to save our sex life?

Sexual desire is a litmus test of a relationship’s health and when the sexual connection disappears, the situation frequently becomes sensitive. Couples are often not sure how to address and resolve the problem, particularly when it’s the male partner who has lost interest. It may seem old-fashioned, but the truth is, many women expect men to pursue them sexually. Being approached for sex makes most of us feel appealing and feminine, so when our partner becomes less interested, it’s natural for us to feel somewhat frustrated and surprised.

Start by ruling out physical reasons for your husband’s lack of interest in sex. If he’s taking prescription medication, it may be to blame. Antidepressants, anti-hypertensives and anti-anxiety and anti-psychotic medications are some of the worst culprits. Even some over-the-counter medications, such as Benadryl and Zantac 75, have been linked to sexual dysfunction.

There is also the issue of aging. As men age, there is a normal decline in their sex drive. Of course, it varies from man to man just as libido varies among women. Some men never lose it; others may experience lower desire, starting around age 30, due to lifestyle choices such as poor diet, drinking and smoking. Because it takes men longer to get an erection and they require more stimulation to have an orgasm as they age, perhaps your husband’s mind is willing, but his body is too tired. If he’s experienced a bout of impotence lately, having sex may not be high on his agenda. In other words, your husband may be burying his sexuality so that the impotence problem can’t surface again.

Encourage him to talk to his doctor and go for a medical checkup to fully investigate any physical conditions that may be contributing to his decreased desire.

If your husband’s problem is not physical, consider possible psychological or emotional reasons for his decreased sex drive. Stress, job loss or financial difficulties can all have a mammoth impact on a man’s libido. Many men have told me that when they are under financial and work pressure, one of the first things to exit stage left is their desire for sex.

It makes sense, especially when you consider that men sometimes gauge their masculine power according to their ability to provide.

Often people express through their behaviour what they cannot put into words. Look for the “pink elephant” in your bedroom: could your husband be upset about something, sexual or otherwise, within your relationship? Perhaps he feels as if he’s No. 10 on your priority list. Make a point of telling him that he’s important and try to ensure that your actions match your words. Giving him your full attention can be as seductive as stripping off your clothes.

If you suspect your husband is not feeling connected to you, spend more time together being physical. This is not about sashaying into the bedroom and hopping into the sack as soon as you get home from work.

Instead, try going for a walk after dinner or exercising at the gym together. You’ll both have more energy, you’ll feel better about your body and he’ll feel better about his. And never forget that great lovers are great touchers. Touch and kiss him whenever you get the chance and encourage him to do the same to you.

If your efforts to rekindle your relationship fail and you suspect the problem is psychological, seek professional help from a sex therapist. Log on to www.aasect.org for a list of certified therapists across Canada, or www.bestco.info for qualified sex therapists in Ontario.