Q: My husband is 60 years old, in great shape and a fitness fanatic. You never would think that he has sexual problems. For a few years, he has not wanted to have sex. At first I would beg for it and we would still have sex, but his heart was not in it. It has now been more than a year since we had sex. He does not want to take Viagra; it makes his heart race, he says. I have begged him for intimacy. For him, intimacy means putting his arm over my shoulders every once in a while and giving me a hug. He drinks a few beers every evening and does take a low dose of medication for high blood pressure. I'm 56 and don't want to give up loving, physically as well as with my heart.
A: I am not a medical doctor, but perhaps he could ask his physician about the other medications for erectile difficulties and the available doses, assuming that an inability to have or maintain an erection is the problem here.
There are potential solutions here, but he has to be willing to work with you. You might need professional counseling to get to the bottom of what is going on. But see if the two of you can see his doctor together to discuss pharmaceutical options. Just allowing you to go along would show that he does not have anything to hide.
Q: My partner and I have been together for about six years. We have two kids, and things are getting a bit old. I'm 23 and she is 22, so we aren't old, but we don't have that spark anymore. Can you point us in the right direction?
A: Is it your sex life that lacks a spark, or your relationship? If you both sit around and watch TV all night and then expect to have passionate sex, that's probably not going to happen very often.
But if you spend the time actually being with each other, paying attention to each other, talking and sharing activities, even mundane ones like doing the dishes, the two of you will make your connection closer, and that definitely will help improve your sex life. Try that, and let me know what happens.
Q: I am 35, have been married for four years and am having problems in my sex life. Since my child was born, I've had no desire for sex and don't like to have my husband touch me. I do not enjoy any sexual act, and there is no passion between us.
Almost four years have passed, and our sex life is terrible. I do it once a month just to try to have another child, but I hate it. How can I get my sex drive back, and could it be that I am not attracted to my husband and that is the main reason?
A: To actually answer your question, I'd need to have the two of you in my office, but I suspect that your relationship changed after you had your child. Or maybe it didn't — maybe you weren't very much in love with him from the beginning, and now that you have a child to love, you don't have much use for your husband.
If you want this marriage to last — and if you're trying to have more children, that would be a good thing — the two of you should seek counseling. Once you get a better understanding of what is really going on inside your relationship, let's hope you'll be able to repair it.
Q: How do you tell if your husband is thinking about having an affair? I want to know how you can tell if someone is emotionally in love with someone else even when he says nothing is going on.
A: While you can't be certain without actual evidence, I believe in trusting one's gut instinct, and if you feel that your relationship has changed, and if you think it has something to do with this other woman, then if I were a betting person, I'd bet you were right.
If you have the courage to do so, put your foot down. Tell him he must stop all contact with this woman, or else you are not going to stay married to him. If he doesn't love her, even if he gets angry for a time, he'll listen. If he refuses, then you might have your answer.
Even if he's not having an affair with her, it certainly would show that his feelings for you weren't very strong, and that might be a good enough reason to leave. I admit that it's easier to just continue the marriage and hope for the best, but if the end of the marriage is inevitable, then the sooner it ends, the better for you.
"Sex for Dummies" (IDG Books) is among Dr. Ruth Westheimer's most popular books. Have a question for Dr. Ruth? Write to her at drruth.com.
Husband's disinterest in sex may mask other issues
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