DEAR MRS SAL­IS­BURY…

Sunday Star-Times - Sunday Magazine - - SEX ADVICE, ROBYN SALISBURY -

My wife and I have been to­gether for 26 years and we have had no ma­jor rows.

I love her very much. I am get­ting on in years but still have an urge for sex. My prob­lem is that she does not like to par­tic­i­pate in phys­i­cal sex. We used to have phys­i­cal sex (it was not mak­ing love) about once a month and then it was over in a few min­utes as she would say: “Hurry up I need the toi­let,” or a host of other ex­cuses. She does not like me fondling her and will not do any­thing to me. When we do have sex she just lays there and does not take part in any way. She has never once ini­ti­ated sex. We last had sex more than five years ago and since then I can­not get an erec­tion – I put that down to a psy­cho­log­i­cal prob­lem. I have tried testos­terone and Vi­a­gra-type pills, to no avail. If I broach the sub­ject, she starts an ar­gu­ment, so I give up. Once, she told me she was brought up to believe sex was only for mak­ing ba­bies. She re­fuses to do any­thing about this. I am un­sure what I can do.

It’s time for a ma­jor row. You two are now ut­terly sex­u­ally dis­en­gaged. I wonder whether you’ve man­aged to re­tain (or ever achieve) non-sex­ual close­ness and af­fec­tion or whether that has gone down the drain, too. The sex you used to have is un­likely to have been sat­is­fy­ing for ei­ther of you; so in­evitably sex­ual en­ergy has left home. I’m cu­ri­ous about your open­ing sen­tence and your re­fer­ral to walk­ing away from an ar­gu­ment. Is it scary to ex­press anger and hurt? Ar­gu­ments don’t have to be de­struc­tive. Fair fight­ing in­volves tak­ing re­spon­si­bil­ity for your own feel­ings, and not blam­ing or mak­ing deroga­tory com­ments. You need to speak clearly of your hurt about not feel­ing de­sired, maybe of not feel­ing loved ei­ther.

Re­gard­less of be­liefs in­stilled for your wife in child­hood, be­ing a grown-up means we get to re­flect and make adult de­ci­sions. It’s not OK to be in a com­mit­ted, on­go­ing in­ti­mate re­la­tion­ship and make a uni­lat­eral de­ci­sion to with­draw sex­ual or per­haps all in­ti­macy.

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