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Husband Has Low Sex Drive?

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Sex-Starved Woman Seeks Help

Dear Betsy, 

Most women complain that men want to have sex all the time. But with my husband (of only two weeks!), itís just the opposite. Whenever I try to initiate sex he pushes me away. Iíve known him for a year and heís always been like this. I initiate sex and then he resists but eventually he gives in and we fool around. After a year and two weeks, we still havenít consummated our relationship. I feel like I always have to push him and I don't want to feel that way anymore. 

I know he has been hurt many times and I know he has low self-esteem. All three of his intimate relationships lasted for many years. His last girlfriend told me that she would lay next to him naked and he wouldn't ever touch her. Thatís why she cheated on him with everyone in creation. I am committed to making this marriage work, but I don't know how to approach the subject. Every time I bring it up he dodges the issue. I need to know if this is some kind of serious problem. We don't have any children but at this rate there is no way we'll ever have them. I am desperate for some answers. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE help! I am begging here. 

Hope to hear from you soon, 
Mrs. Sex-Starved

Dear Mrs. Sex-Starved,
Unfortunately, no one can accurately assess what the problem is between you and your husband without knowing you. And although the situation doesnít sound urgent yet, it does sound like an important issue to address early in your marriage. Itís too easy for well-meaning couples who want to preserve the peace to drift apart over important issues that really do need to be talked about. A good marriage counselor can help you and your husband break through the silence and develop the skills youíll need to talk about these issues. In the meantime, I can give you some general information that may be of some help. 

Many factors can come into play when couples start having problems in the bedroom. Low desire can simply be a temporary problem related to the natural ebbs and flows of life. Or it can be a symptom of a more longstanding problem: insecurity, inexperience, low self-esteem, poor body image, ambivalence (about sex in general or sex with oneís partner in particular), a history of sexual abuse or trauma, guilt about past behavior, secrets, shame, or questions related oneís sexual orientation. 

Low desire can also be related to a medical condition, or side effects caused by medication. For example, chronic illness can dampen desire, as will anything that robs a person of his vitality or diminishes his sense of worth. Medications prescribed to treat high blood pressure or prostate problems can make it difficult for men to achieve or maintain erections, as will many of the most common anti-depressants. 

A good marriage counselor can help you and your husband sort out whatís causing his reluctance. Two weeks isnít a very long time to go without sex, but youíre wise to try to get a dialogue going before the two of you settle into a painful game of cat and mouse. For an excellent discussion of this topic, you may want to check out Michele Weiner-Davisís latest book, The Sex-Starved Marriage, which you can find in any good library or bookstore. You can also find a licensed marriage counselor in your area by going to: www.TherapistLocator.net  and typing in your zip code. 

I hope this is helpful. My best to you and your husband. 

Betsy 

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Betsy Sansby is a licensed marriage & family therapist whose private practice is in her home near Minneapolis. Betsy is the coauthorówith her husband--of seven books, and has just produced an ingenious communication tool for couples called: The OuchKit: A First-Aid Kit for Your Relationship. Clients who have used the kit describe it as: ďCouples Therapy in a Box.Ē For more information go to: www.theouchkit.com. Send Betsy an email, with your question.

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