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Question: Lack of sex at home is leading to a self-esteem issue

Dear Lounge Advice,
My husband of 9 months is very physically active and healthy. He is in his early 30s. However, he can rarely get an erection to have sex with me without the use of medication. He is not on any medication and is not clinically depressed. He blames his inability to perform on the fact that he recently was laid off and is worried about finances. Also, we had an encounter with another couple that went badly (in my opinion) several months ago that he blames on me. Anyway, he often says that he loves me, is attracted to me, but has to "stifle" his sex drive because I am not yet ready to get back on the lifestyle horse. By stifling his sex drive, he has very little desire to have sex with me. Pretty much not even once a week. I feel awful about the situation and can't help but feel a ding to my self image. What should I do?



Dear (Anonymous),

I understand most of this, and in fact can empathize with feeling a blow to self-esteem when having the feeling of not being as desired anymore.
No matter how it is justified by our partner, it still weighs heavily on our minds that we just don't do it for them like we used to.
As for his explanation for it, that confuses me. I've never quite heard that one before, so I'm a bit at a loss as how to respond.

The best thing to do is to talk to him about your feelings. Tell him how this has made you feel about yourself.
I see this being a cycle if you handle the situation as I would. Having been in this situation before (albeit for a different reason than stated by your husband), here is how I handled it:

Little to no lifestyle activity due to instability in my own sexual affairs at home. If something is suffering within the relationship, it should be fixed before getting back into the lifestyle or problems will ensue and excacerbate isssues.

However, if he says he is holding back because of not being involved in the lifestyle, then that will lead to a unique problem.

He holds back on you, and you hold back on lifestyle involvement. The cycle continues, resulting in a sexual stalemate between you two.

Something has to give. Sit down and talk about this. It probably won't be the most comfortable topic to initiate. In fact, I know from experience that it can be downright painful. Nevertheless, it needs to be approached honestly.
If his priorities are geared more towards the lifestyle than the health of your relationship, then this is not a matter to be shoved under the rug. Communication at this point is crucial.

If you both fail to work through this, your problems will grow and your self-esteem will suffer even more. Please take it from my experience- this may be hard to work through, but it must be overcome.

Do not expect it to be fixed in a short period of time either. This may be a slow process, but stick with it for the sake of your relationship.

The lifestyle will always be here when you're ready for it again. IF you decide that it is still in your future, of course.
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