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Ask psychlady Your Own Question
psychlady, Counselor
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 6893
Experience:  I have over 16 years experience in treating adults presenting with a variety of relationship issues
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Ill try to be short, factual but complete...

Customer Question

I'll try to be short, factual but complete...However, I am a bit of an emotional mess right now. My husband's 50, I just turned 44. We've been married for 14 years, the second for both. Opening up and talking about sexual things on a 'general level' as in "what I like, what you like, what kinks turn us on, etc" are fine. Acting them out, not a problem..However, talking at a deeper level about intimacy isn't easy. Up until about 18 months ago, our sex life was full and seemingly satisfactory for us both. My husband seemed to have a 'normal' arousal level for him, no major changes...ebbs and flows depending on the situation (and outside factors) and there were occasions of needing more direct stimulation to achieve erection. 18 months ago, I discovered that he'd joined 2 online singles/hook-up sites (for fetishists) and had really complete profiles of the type of woman he wanted for him/us. He blatantly lied about them, was defensive, etc. It took quite a few months for me to be able to regain any level of trust. Those events may not be important to what's going on now for him, but they are for me because I don't trust what he tells me. (Fast forward) I'm pre-menopausal and have noticed changes in my body over the last 6 months or so that affect how I respond sexually. Such as, I've noticed that how my breasts are touched: things that used to arouse me now annoy me/shut me down. I've ignored addressing it verbally because overall, sex is satisfying. I do, however, in the moment, use redirection, change in movement, whatever, to communicate. However, there was an intimate encounter back in June that left me feeling as if I were simply "handy" and whatever was going on in his mind, it wasn't me...he wasn't "present" with me (he was performing oral sex). I know we both fantasize sometimes during sex, that's no biggie...but I've never felt so "alone" and even direct hints of "ouch" didn't change his behavior in the moment. So I screwed up my courage and addressed that along w/ my changing body. Since then, our sex life hasn't been all that great. Sex has become somewhat arduous and I've been afraid to open my mouth again since I see a direct correlation between that 'talk' and now. I knew he was now having performance anxiety because I opened my big mouth. Yesterday, there was an absolute 'failure to launch' and although he kept saying, "it's not you, it's me", one of the things that came out of the conversation was that he can't talk about what's going on w/ him mentally and he threw it in my face that if I'd opened up "in the moment" instead of a laundry list (that he requested), maybe he wouldn't be having problems. Honestly, I think he's bored with me but is too emotionally attached to be honest about needing to find outside stimulation. I'm more hurt and devastated that he won't talk to me about it.

**Edited to add actual question(s)** How am I supposed to trust him as he's not been honest in the past and refuses to be open and honest with me now? How can I possibly support him 'working through' something that he won't talk about? I'm angry and hurt and feel that it's all very personal and that there's something 'about me' that is at the root of this.
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  psychlady replied 5 years ago.

Before you worry about an emotional source to his not having an erection you have to consider his age and a number of other possible problems. It can be a list of issues other than you. He may be telling the truth. Not being able to get an erection can even be for a very short period of time. Consider any physical issues before believing that he does not find you stimulating.


You may be generalizing the fact that you are worried about him finding you attractive because of the online behavior. That may never have been resolved and you are finding it difficult to believe that this is anything but a major problem in your relationship. In fact they are probably not related. If they are than that can be resolved as well. I know he has refused a counselor (marriage counselor) but anything sexual can be resolved in that setting including any feelings regarding physical interactions and how he sees you can be resolved. You may be projecting your insecurities since online behavior onto him. He may still find you attractive and may be a different reason that you have not considered. Reconsider speaking to a counselor


If this has been helpful press accept

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I can see that my original jumbled post left a lot of the details out and I can see where that led to a lot of conclusion jumping. Let me see if I can clarify my "issues" and fill in a few blanks.

My issue is I'm left in the dark and don't really know what's going on. (Therefore, I know it's easy for me to imagine the worst case scenarios.) However, all attempts to communicate and "let's deal with this together instead of either of us living in our own heads/with our own fears", is avoided by my partner.

It isn't *I* who believes the sexual problem experienced last weekend to be a 'major problem'. He is the one making dire pronouncements and yet won't discuss why he thinks this.

There are a number of very personal and very real reasons why he won't consider counseling for himself nor for our marriage.

What I'm looking for is some way to set aside what I know to be true (actual facts) and how I see him shutting me I can be supportive, open and approachable (and remain hopeful).
Expert:  psychlady replied 5 years ago.

This is very embarrassing for a guy and they can overcompensate with this reaction. This is quite common. It is also common for the female to feel in the dark. You used the right word - reassuring. You are going to need some patience but let him know that sexual difficulties do impact the relationship but being honest impacts it less. Let him know that he has your total support and that you would like for him to interact with you about this so you don't feel shut out. Portray understanding and let him know that you don't think less of him.


Give him actual examples of how he is a good partner such as being understanding or being kind and downplay the sexual issues. When you appear as accepting this will decrease the chances that he will shut you out. This is very gradual work however so allow some time. When you point out his positives it makes you approachable. You can let him know that you want to work through this together. It gives him an opening when things do get stressful. Ask him to share why he thinks he is having difficulty and tell him that he can come to you.


Find time for intimacy that doesn't include sex. This will give you a chance to be a couple aside from sex.



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