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February 21, 2018 - Welcome Guest!

Advice » Sexpertise

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Husband won't communicate about sex


My husband is 53 years old and impotent. He sees no problem, does not discuss it, has no desire to discuss it, and no initiative to solve the problem. This has been going on gradually for years, to the point that in the last sexual encounter he had no erection at all.

It has been five months now since my initiating sex. I have tried so much, and he is always on the receiving end and giving nothing back in terms of communication or intimacy.

I am tired of being the problem solver, the communicator and the initiator of sex. It always seems like I am to be the answer to his problems. He has not even spoken of attempting to please me. The issue has always been to have sex when he wants it, do what he wants to do, etc. So this is nothing new. He also has always tied sex and his 'ability to perform' to my having or not having a job, his job making him tired, etc. He can never leave issues behind. We have never been on a trip together alone, other than two very quick and cheap weekends (in 25 years of marriage). He sees no reason to devote 'money' to a trip alone, when 'I enjoy sleeping in my own bed anyway'.

Any hope for a change with a man like this?

Heather (45 year-old woman)


It's interesting the way you phrased your question. You said, "Any hope for a change?" Yes. There is always hope, and there is always hope for change. But with one tremendously important caveat, ie, you can never, ever change another person.

So, that said, how will you change you (since you are the only one you can hope to change)? You describe well the way your relationship has progressed over time to a sexless and seemingly, loveless marriage, and hint at how hurtful and frustrating this has been for you.

All of this has, no doubt effected your self-esteem and self-worth. You may even sometimes find yourself believing some of your husband's hurtful comments, even though you understand intellectually that he merely lashes out at you to mask his own insecurities and fears.

If you could wake up tomorrow brimming with positive self-worth and motivation, what would your day be like? What would you do? What would you feel? What would you think? What would you accomplish? Chances are good, that if you give that sort of fantasy free rein, you will get a sense of what you might hope to change about you. (During your tomorrow fantasy, did you even think about your husband at all?) He is not the problem, and he, apparently does not have a problem, or else he would've written the letter to me. He would've asked how he could change if he wanted to change. You asked.

You, therefore, are the one who is motivated to change. You have reached out to an online counselor for advice and will probably continue to seek therapy, a support group or other guidance to continue on this path of change you have chosen. You deserve to wake up feeling good about yourself and your world.

Hope for change and you will get it.

Take care,

Peg Burr, MA, MFT

This question was answered by Margaret "Peg" Burr . She is a California Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (MFC34374) with a private practice in Santa Clarita (near Los Angeles). She performs psychodynamic psychotherapy with individual adult clients as well as couples, teens, and families. She also runs groups for adults and adolescents. Her specialty area is Object Relations Systems Theory. This branch of psychodynamic psychotherapy uses a client's interpersonal relationships as windows into his or her intrapsychic structure.

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