How to manage mismatched libidos

Fred and his wife are very happy but have mismatched libidos, so he’s asked Jo Lamble for some tips to help make their relationship more intimate.

Q. Fred
My wife no longer seems to enjoy sex but, bless her, she persists. I’m starting to feel quite bad and, although my libido is still quite strong, I have found a couple of times that my ‘member’ has failed me, possibly because I feel guilty. I’m wondering how I can broach this subject with her. Do I give up on sex? Or can you suggest any ways that I can give her pleasure? It doesn’t even have to be sexual but I’d still like to have sex with her. I don’t know what to do. 

A. Many readers will relate to what’s happening in your relationship because having mismatched libidos is a really common problem. Your wife sounds lovely to want to please you and you sound just as caring to want to please her. The good news is that having conversations about sex is still intimate and good for the relationship. You don’t want to feel guilty and neither does your wife. So, fill the conversation with empathy for her and tell her how much you love her and love having sex with her but you’re aware that she doesn’t seem to be enjoying it any more. Ask her for suggestions on how you can give her pleasure. Maybe you’ll need to offer a few suggestions of your own and see what she thinks, such as giving her a massage, doing more housework, bringing her cups of tea in bed. Point out that you’re not asking for sex in return for your efforts, you just really appreciate all that she gives to you and you want to give in return. The most important thing is that you have the conversation (and have it again when necessary). Avoiding the subject doesn’t increase closeness – it creates a wedge between you.

It could be that some temporary impotence is being caused by guilt and it’s possible that your wife is also experiencing an emotional reaction when your ‘member’ fails you. She may feel you’re not attracted to her any more or she may wonder why you would bother to have sex if it’s not physically working all the time. All these potential thoughts and feelings are happening without you sharing them with each other. Open up about how you feel when you lose your erection and ask her how she feels. It might be an awkward conversation but remember that when you and your wife have these really personal conversations, it reminds you both how special your relationship is. Only the two of you know what’s going on in your bedroom and that’s what intimacy is – sharing on a really personal level.

If you have a question for Jo Lamble, please send it to [email protected]

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