My husband and I have been happily married for 12 years, however our sex life is now all but nonexistent. He desperately wanted children and I was unable to give him any despite a number of rounds of IVF, which is a source of profound grief for us both. Neither of us make much effort in the bedroom any more but I feel very strong sexual needs. I love him too much to start an affair. A friend suggested I visit a professional gentleman and she gave me a phone number. I plucked up the courage and visited him. Suddenly I feel relieved and happy. My relationship with my husband has improved and neither of us seem bothered by our lack of physical love making. We continue to cuddle a lot and fall asleep happily. Should I be worried that he will wonder about my newfound peace? Both grief and fertility treatment itself are renowned for challenging sex lives. As you will know all too well, grief demands that you meet with and work through the ongoing, terrible pain of loss. Perhaps you have achieved this ahead of your husband or maybe you two need help to step back into being sexual with a goal of pleasure rather than conception. Fertility treatment can rob sex of its spontaneity, pleasure and any other meaning than getting pregnant which takes eroticism completely out of the picture.
Whether you should worry about outsourcing your sexual needs depends on the terms of your marriage. Are exclusivity, fidelity and honesty important to you both? And what do you both want for your future? If you envisage growing old together, can you hold and grow your love and respect for your husband when you go elsewhere to get your sexual needs met? Can you two remain intimate when you have such a secret? And given your question, are you carrying some guilt about this choice? Keep in mind that perhaps it’s early days yet and more time for grieving will clear the space for your husband to reclaim his libido. If not, I would recommend he get some grief counselling. As you’ve realised, life, even at its most horrifically painful, is too precious to spend partly shut down.