Ask the Audience #3: Male Sexual Dysfunction

From a reader:

I have a problem that I think would be opposite of most women.

My husband is not into sex -- at all. I thought I would be the one having to tell him no but I've been rejected so many times I've lost count. I've pretty much given up. We have sex maybe once a month -- maybe less. And basically we have it when he is in the mood -- which is usually in the middle of the night. Maybe he has dreams occasionally that turn him on?

Our sex life was pretty good until about a year and a half after we were married. Then he came down with a chronic illness. Plus he works 2 full time jobs and is involved in church and other community activities. He's so tired, in pain, and stressed most of the time. He just doesn't have the time or the interest. I'm guessing the medication he is on has lowered is sex drive.

Is there any hope? I want it so bad! He doesn't really like talking about it. And I'm the most unsexy woman in the world. What can I do to help spark his interest??

Culturally, we're programmed to think that men are always ready to go sexually, and that it's always the women who want to forgo sex. However, this article estimates that 20-25% of men suffer from low sexual desire and hypothesizes about some possible causes. Erectile dysfunction (ED) can also inhibit a couple's sex life. Low desire can be the cause of ED, or ED can result in low desire -- it's the whole chicken and the egg conundrum. You can read about erectile dysfunction here and here.

Our sexual relationship, just like any other aspect of a relationship, evolves and changes over time. There can be bumps in the road as we work to improve this part of our relationship. Sexual hurdles are bound to come and go.

What are your loving ideas to help this couple through this difficult time?


  1. Has he tried anything like Cialis or Viagra? I think anything to get him going, then plan a fun relaxing date when he does have time in that busy schedule of his. Make this a priority for your relationship at least a few times a month. Always try to see what YOU can do for the relationship, find out what turns him on? maybe it means buying a new perfume or a sexy piece of lingerie, even if it's pricey I bet your marriage is worth it. Good Luck! :)

  2. Can I recommend that he have his testosterone levels checked? This was the case with my husband.

    Often, their problem is not that they "can't get it up," but more that they aren't in the mood or are disinterested.

    Low testosterone can be the cause. It is a simple blood test, and testosterone therapy is relatively easy (a gel he can apply each day, or shots he can get at the dr.'s office).

    I would go this route before trying something like Cialis. Good luck to you. Our marriage struggled with this for years and it definitely gave me a blow to my self-esteem feeling as if he didn't want me.

    I would also suggest this marriage website for more info (look under the "Lack of Desire" subtopic): www.boards.themarriagebed.com It has helped us greatly!!

  3. Thank you, both, for your comments. Anon, I'm very glad that you found the problem and a solution. Thank you so much for sharing this information with us.


  4. For anyone else who may be having problems in this area, my husband has a low sex drive himself, overall health and depression are a major factors and so a trip to the Dr's office is always a good step.

    I've also found it a lot easier to get my DH to talk to me about anything he's avoiding by asking for a specific time to talk about it, when and for how long, like "could we talk tonight after the kids go to bed for about 15 minutes?" It's amazing how much you can talk about in just a few minutes and when guys have an exit they can take it makes it easier for them to do what you ask and you may find that he talks for much longer. Another technique is to talk to them while doing something he enjoys like fishing, cooking, putting together a puzzle, it works well on kids too.

    Hope this helps.

  5. Why is he working two full time jobs? Is there anyway you would be able to have him cut down his work hours? I used to work too much and spend too much time in school stressing and we never had sex. My husband encouraged me to quit my job, and we have learned to live on less, but our marriage I soo soo much better. If you're too tired to from work, well of course your not going to have sex. I would say to do whatever you can to make sure he blows off a little steam now and then. If cutting back his work hours means finding a less expensive place to live, selling a car, or finding other ways to live on less, in my experience doing these things has been absolutely worth it for my husband and I.

  6. Your comment, "And I'm the most unsexy person in the World", makes me wonder why you would say that.

    If you think that, then is that what you are portraying to your husband? Does he only see you in your frumpy clothes? Do you doll yourself up for him? I see so many women that don't take care of themselves, and they are always looking so unkempt. I look at them and say to myself, "your poor husband".

    Not sure if this is the case here, be we need to do what we can to keep ourselves attractive to our men. And, visa versa.

  7. “Is there any hope? I want it so bad! He doesn't really like talking about it. And I'm the most unsexy woman in the world. What can I do to help spark his interest??”

    This made me SOOOOO sad! You are in NO WAY unsexy and I don’t even know you! Let’s get this straight, how many ever years ago your husband, met you, fell in love with you, and then proposed to you. Because of this he obviously finds you attractive (unless of course it was an arranged marriage and even then I’m sure he grew to find you sexy!) or else he wouldn’t have wanted to spend the rest of his life with you! I think women often struggle with self images/low self-esteem and being a strong, confident woman is normally what classifies you as ‘sexy.’ I know that when I turn on my “powerful confident woman” I find that he’s roarin’ to go a lot faster! Although I do find myself to be confident it was struggle of how to transfer that over to ‘naked-time.’ It’s not something that will happen over night, it’s something you have to work on. If you’re having problems with self-love/self-image out in the ‘real world’ start on that before you move on to the bedroom. If you are confident out in the world but not in the bedroom, start there! SHAVE! Smell good, take a shower to make you feel calmer, cleaner and more in the mood, wear lingerie EVEN IF YOU AREN’T DOIN’ THE DIRTY!!! Making yourself comfortable in bed will make him more comfortable and might be the key. You being confident and realizing YOU ARE SEXY will be the thing that sparks his interest!!! There is always hope!!! Don’t give up and PLEASE continue to try and talk to him! Even though you say he doesn’t like to talk about it you need to try. Try with small things first…little questions not the “why won’t you have sex with me?” that’s a scary question and I doubt he’ll answer it honestly and he probably will say “but I do…just not right now,” Not very helpful. Small, sweet, and simple things first. Good luck and remember YOU ARE SEXY!

  8. I think it's important to keep a long-term perspective on problems like this and realize they can pass. Things can improve and be better than they ever were. Heaping on loads of anxiety or hopelessness will compound sexual problems. I think taking action is critical (seeing a doctor, following the advice given here, etc.), but both spouses should have patience and realize that problems like this are common and normal at some point in a couple's relationship. Just keep taking steps to improve where you can.

  9. Your H sounds exhausted. I think he is taking on too too much and not giving your marriage the attention God wants and YOU deserve. I suggest the book "Stripped Down" by Tony and Alisa DiLorenzo. It sounds like you H isn't making your marriage the priority it should be. It is a great, quick read that will help you connect on multiple levels, not just sexually.

    It points out how priorities need to be
    Your marriage
    your family
    jobs and other stuff

    in that order. As a Christian it sounds like your H can relate to that. Our most important earthly relationship is the one we have with our spouse. And it seem like your poor guy has been led away from that reality by life. I agree whole heartedly with the comment that says he needs to cut down.

  10. When a man gets depressed he may not feel like he wants to have sex: This can happen to a man, especially if they have lost their job or are going through financial difficulties, this can lower their libido. Many times a man's ego is tied into his career. He may be feeling down because he feels he can no longer provide for his family, or is somehow less of a man.



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