Does He Still Love Me?

couple with back to each other( — No matter what anyone says, just about all relationships have their challenges. Also, just about all relationships experience dwindling amounts of passion and fire, especially compared to that initial “honeymoon” stage.

But how do you know when the problem is more serious?

Dear Spirit,

Please help. My sex life is quickly going down the drain. My husband and I have been married for 23 years and we used to have hot, passionate sex several times a week. Now, we barely “do it” at all, and when we do, he doesn’t seem to stay as…excited as he used to (if you know what I mean). I’ve tried everything I can think of to spice things up in the bedroom – naughty lingerie, dirty talk, and initiating spontaneous sex when my husband least expects it – but nothing seems to be working. When I try talking to my husband about it, he just gives me the old, “It’s not you, it’s me routine.” At first I thought maybe it was just a phase that we were going through, but how can I not think that it’s me when he loses his erection as soon as I touch him? Should I settle for a sexless marriage, or should I keep trying?

Shelia P., Providence, RI

Dear Shelia,

First and foremost, please know that you (and your partner) are not alone. What you’re describing – lack of sexual desire, trouble getting or keeping an erection, and less intense orgasms – may all be signs of erectile dysfunction, commonly referred to as “ED.” Erectile dysfunction affects an estimated 18 million men (and their partners) each year.

Suffering from erectile dysfunction doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re no longer physically or sexually attracted to your partner. In fact, it’s far more likely that the issue is related to something else, which is why it’s critical not to let embarrassment or apathy prevent you from getting to the root of what’s going on.

Before you and your partner resign yourself to the idea that it’s time for him to start taking a medication, know that not every “performance problem,” means it’s time for the little “blue pill.” There could be any number of psychological or medical issues which may be affecting the quality of your sex life.

Some of the more common causes of erectile eysfunction include:

• Stress (which could be new, increased, or occurring over a long period of time)
• Mood disorders like depression and/or anxiety
• Unhealthy lifestyle choices, such as smoking, excessive drinking or weight gain, poor sleeping habits
• Health problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart problems (i.e. arteriosclerosis)
• The use of various medications (including prescription, over-the-counter, and herbal supplements)

The easiest way for you and you husband to pinpoint what may be the cause of his current dysfunction would be to make an appointment with a local primary physician (who may later refer you to an urologist or an endocrinologist). I suggest that your partner prepare a journal for this appointment which should include information of (approximately) when the issue began, what his symptoms are (even if he doesn’t think they’re related to the problem that he’s experiencing), how frequently they occur, a list of medications that he is taking (whether prescribed, over-the-counter, etc.), and lifestyle information which describes his daily routine as well as any recent changes or experiences that may be positively or negatively impacting that routine.

Also, I highly recommend that you attend this appointment with your husband, if at all possible, to help provide as complete a picture as possible about what the two of you are currently experiencing. Your doctor will likely use this information, in conjunction with a series of tests (i.e. blood, urine, erection, ultrasound, and a comprehensive physical) to help the doctor you choose to diagnose, and treat your husband’s symptoms. With a lot of love, understanding, patience, you will find that your bedroom will return to the love den that you remember it to be in no time.

The key to reigniting the flames will likely be the timeless rule: “Follow the doctor’s orders.”

Best wishes to you both.

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