“Will I ever have sex ever again with my wife?” is a phrase that often runs through the minds of many married men in their late 40s and 50s.
And it’s not just intercourse, but intimacy in general. And it’s causing a lot of frustration in relationships.
We know and understand that women have their own frustrations when it comes to husbands and sexual frustration. But there are unique issues facing men today that their fathers would have never dreamed of.
Men today are more involved with their families than in the past, and as intimacy can begin to wane over time, these sexually frustrated symptoms may show up.
Here are 5 ways your sexually frustrated husband’s symptoms may be affecting your marriage.
1. He feels totally disconnected.
Have you noticed you don’t hug as much as you used to? If it’s really bad, you barely acknowledge each other or even look up from your phone or say hello.
2. He feels his partner hasn’t lived up to their vows.
“To have and to hold” is something men take very seriously once they have chosen to take someone’s hand in marriage, and never expected that it will end.
To put it more succinctly, Esther Perel in her book “Mating in Captivity,” says this: “So much of masculine identity is predicated on self-control and invulnerability. Yet I have also observed that these very restrictions leave men to other venues of self-expression.
In the absence of a more developed verbal narrative of self, the body becomes a vital language, a conduit for emotional intimacy….Through sex, men can recapture the pure pleasure of connection without having to compress their hard to articulate needs into the prison of words.”
3. He’s upset and hurt by his partner’s lack of interest in sex.
Since men produce 90% more testosterone than women, they tend to think about sex more, almost twice as much, and less about love and intimacy.
Because of a partner’s lack of interest in sex, sometimes a man can feel like he’s just a roommate.
A 2014 article in Prevention Magazine found that men aren’t only concerned about their own pleasure, but also pleasuring their partner. It’s one of the most sexually satisfying experiences a man can have.
So much so that they feel it’s their physical responsibility to stimulate their partner to orgasm, and when it doesn’t happen then men begin to question their sexual prowess.
This guilt could also exacerbate the problem and can even lead to sexual dysfunction.
4. He’s looking for variety.
In the end, your husband would simply take what he could get if he could have it more often, but if that’s not the case then he needs the two of you to spice things up. If not, then sex feels more like an obligation instead of an enjoyable intimate act.
5. He may start looking for an extramarital tryst.
It’s not his first choice, but if you have indicated loud and clear that sex between the two of you is no longer an option, he’s going to seek out his own pleasure even if it risks his marriage.
According to a Psychology Today article, testosterone conflicts with monogamous effects of the hormone oxytocin in the brain and a high testosterone level in men makes the risk more plausible.
Sexual frustration can make someone very depressed
He may hide it well because he’s poured most of his time into his work or supporting the family to keep busy, but the lack of intimacy has likely left him very depressed.
When he tries to bring up the conversation about sex, or even attempt to be flirtatious and his partner doesn’t reciprocate, creates a diversion by changing the subject, or gets into an argument that will kill the mood, he knows why.
If this is shocking to hear and you see your marriage going down this path, what should you do to alleviate these challenges in your relationship?
Here are 4 things you can do about it:
1. Get to the root of the problem of sexual frustration
If a partner loses interest in sex, the most important thing to do is to acknowledge it. Never try to sweep it under the rug, minimize it, or create a diversion and ignore it altogether.
By not talking about it you avoid something that could be solvable. For example, a partner may no longer enjoy sex because he doesn’t shower before he goes to bed like he did earlier in the marriage. Well, that’s an easy fix, as long as it’s brought up.
There may be some underlying issues that may require a therapist to unpack, but you owe it to your partner to explore it.
2. Talk about the really great moments
There are a lot of events that can impact how much someone desires their husband. Instead of focusing on those, partners should sit down and talk about the intimate moments that were truly great.
What were the two they wearing? What type of smell was in the room? What sort of activities led to finally having sex? What was said? Was there role-play? Or flirting?
Whatever the answers are, set the intention to make those things repeatable. It may not be perfect the first time, but just trying may be all that’s needed.
3. Don’t try to make up for lost time all in one night
A sexless marriage doesn’t happen in one night and a sex-plentiful marriage won’t happen in one night either. It’s vital to discuss expectations when sex is back on the menu and create a schedule until the act becomes more spontaneous again.
Establishing emotional closeness is vital. This may be the most critical piece of the puzzle. Neither partner will enjoy any sexual activity if they’re not relaxed. Anxiety kills the mood and performance.
4. Alternative solutions to sexual frustration
If an open relationship is the only option then that must be discussed in advance. There will need to be Do’s and Don’ts if partners choose to enter into this arrangement. Things like sexual boundaries, strict parameters, emotional support and verbal consent are crucial in making this work.
A husband’s sexual frustrations aren’t just his problem. Having a series of conversations to get back on track requires clear and honest communication within a marriage.
If the obstacles stem from sexual dysfunction issues, then it’s imperative to work together, get it resolved and seek professional help if necessary.
Don’t let his frustration about “never having sex again” end a perfectly good marriage.
Keith Dent is a certified empowerment coach by The Institute for Professional Empowerment Coaching (IPEC). He has 10 years of experience and is the author of In the Paint: How to Win at the Game of Love. Contact Coach Keith for a free consultation.