19 Sep 2012

How To Deal With A Decrease In Sex In A Long Term Relationship

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A recent letter to the Guardian website asking for marital advice piqued my interest, which as always is in all things romantic. In this case it was a situation of the romance having gone missing from the marriage – or at least the sexual aspect of the romance. The writer claimed that she had been married to her husband for 10 years, I presume happily, given that her reported frequency of their having sex was 5 times per week. She said that up until a couple of weeks ago, this was the case – but then things rather abruptly changed.

All of a sudden her formerly randy partner cut back their lovemaking to a mere once a week, and she was not happy about this situation at all. Furthermore, she stated that she would try to interest him in more frequent sex by touching him, again we make the presumption that she was attempting foreplay that they were both used to, and that used to do the trick. But all to no avail – his libido seems to have up and left except for that one time per week. She asked for advice on how to solve this problem, and the answers were quite rote and perfunctory.

The marriage and sex expert told her that she should definitely back off from putting any pressure on him to change. She said that the problem may fix itself and within another couple of weeks he’ll be back to his former self. But pressure will cause more anxiety, and no good will come of that. The columnist recommended gentle and caring communication about what might possibly be the cause of the change in behavior, and to keep in mind that certain medications can take their toll on the formerly libidinous person, and that medication is available to counteract the ill effects. With a quick reassurance that it was not the writer’s fault so not to worry, the advice was over.

I remained strangely dissatisfied with the response to this concerned woman’s cry for help as it stood. I decided to see what I would have answered had I been the advisor, and here’s what I came up with.

First of all, I hear your complaint that this is a sudden and unwanted change, but you need to understand that all things are relative. You and your husband were very fortunate to have had such an active sex life. Maybe he is simply worn out after so many years of frequent sex – not to be facetious, it really does happen.

It’s the sudden change that makes me suspicious about the whole situation, and that’s where you need to focus your energies. Not to beat around the bush, but one possibility is that he is having an affair and he can’t keep up his former pace with you. You have to look for any clues that this might be the case, and proceed accordingly.

If you can absolutely rule this out, then you should look into hormone replacement therapy. Often men start to lose their ability to make testosterone and keep it at the same level it was in their active years, and a blood test will tell the tale. There are also supplements that can help with libido and increased desire, so do some research on what he could be doing for himself and for you.

I would assume that you would know if he had started taking some new medication, so I’m not really worried about that possibility. But there is nothing wrong with getting some help from the doctor with ED drugs – they are very common and there are several to choose from, so you’ll find one that works. Just remember that this is going at the problem a bit backwards, however – ED treatment doesn’t increase libido except in a roundabout way – being able to have more sex means he’ll want more sex.

The best advice anyone can give is to communicate honestly and openly, and don’t accept the explanation that this is normal for all men very seriously – especially not for someone with his activity level. Make sure he understands that your sex life is important, and that you’ll do almost anything to get it back to how it used to be. Encourage him any way you can, and realize that a little pressure is a good thing – it will motivate him to solve this problem, with your help.


Grace Pamer is a full time romance and relationship writer. She writes romance and marriage proposal tip columns for various publications including YourTango.com and GalTime.com. As seen on FoxNews.com, Cosmopolitan.com, DivineCaroline.com and CanadianLiving.com to name but a few.

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