Sex ad­vice

Sunday Star-Times - Sunday Magazine - - ADVICE -

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.

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