My Boyfriend Can't Handle Intimacy. What Can I Do?

Dear Jacqui,

I’ve been divorced for a very long time and suddenly found Mr. Wonderful. We’ve been dating for only 1 month and it’s probably been the happiest time of my life. We are completely compatible…except there is a sexual problem. I have given him manual and oral sexual pleasure and he keeps encouraging me to continue. However, he has never approached me sexually, just lots of loving hugs and cuddling, but not even one deep kiss. Arthur is not in the best of health; he has problems with gout, high blood pressure and takes medication that may affect his libido. He is a little overweight and enjoys his daily libation. I’m a very active, sexual woman and have had several discussions with him to express my needs and desires. On one occasion I even showed him how to touch me, stroke me and kiss me.

He made a feeble attempt and fell asleep within a couple of minutes. Later he apologized and said he would make it up to me but he never even tried. Last week he proposed and we are talking marriage. I’ve tried to be patient and understanding but now I feel so torn. On one hand I can’t imagine life without him. But I’m not sure I could live without sexuality and avoid becoming frustrated and resentful.

Francine B.

Dear Francine

It is very understandable that you are confused by Arthur’s contradictory behavior. He claims to love you, yet refrains from even touching you in a sexual way and reciprocating your sexual gifts. It is clear that you are a very caring woman and have demonstrated a lot of patience and understanding. His inability to be sexually active with you might be caused by a combination of physical as well as emotional problems. Clearly, you need to broach the subject and find out what’s sabotaging his sexual ability or lack of libido. It may well be that the medical issues are the primary cause of his loss of desire and his health issues, which in turn affect his emotional response. We tend to think the issues are inter-related. Several medications, especially blood pressure remedies, can cause loss of libido, but not all of them do. I suggest you both visit with his medical doctor and have a frank discussion about his state of health and the effects of his medication on his sexual response. Then, if necessary, you may have to involve a therapist specializing in sexual issues to find a solution that satisfies you both.

The one thing we recommend is that you solve this problem before you realize your wedding plans. This issue is too important to overlook and may well stand in the way of your finding happiness, in or out of marriage.


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