I've been in a loving relationship for over two years, its been great. Until now, its taken a complete turnaround. His thinking is because he can't get an erection he's a failure in pleasing me. No matter what I say, his comment is "why bother". I have been completely satisfied with our love making up until now, I am completely confused. Our love and intimacy made our relationship what it was, now what? What do I do?
This question moved me and I asked Michael Castleman if he would answer this reader He promptly replied:
I feel for you. When men develop erection difficulties and withdraw from lovemaking, they often seem completely shut down and unreachable, and no amount of reassurance seems to help.
Of course, such reactions are not unique to men. Imagine that you suddenly gained 100 pounds and no matter how hard you dieted and exercised, you could not lose an ounce. Now imagine that your lover said: "It's all right. It doesn't matter. I still love you, and want to make love with you." Would you believe him? Would you want to have sex?
To most men, sex means erection, and the notion of sex without erection makes a much sense as baseball without bats. But men CAN enjoy sex--and have great sex--without erections. Erection is NOT NECESSARY for male orgasm. Vigorous fondling of the penis by hand, mouth, or sex toy can produce orgasms every bit as intense and satisfying as the ones he used to have with erections. And erection is not necessary for female pleasure or orgasm either. In fact, only 25% of women are reliably orgasmic during vaginal intercourse because the old in-out doesn't provide much clitoral stimulation. Many women prefer a man with a talented tongue and fingers to a guy who just sticks it in.
Of course, it's a major adjustment for men to decouple sex from erection. Given how adamantly your man has been saying "why bother?" I think your best bet would be to try to coax him into joining you in consulting a sex therapist. To find one near you, visit the American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors, and Therapists or the Society for Sex Therapy and Research.
If he refuses to go, then I urge you to go by yourself. The therapist can help you cope, and make suggestions you might try at home with him. And the fact that you're going may show him how important the sensual side of your relationship is to you, and eventually he may relent and join you. Good luck!
Michael Castleman, M.A., is "one of the nation's top health writers" (Library Journal). He has specialized in health, medicine, and sexuality for 36 years. He is the author of Great Sex: A Man's Guide to the Secrets of Whole-Body Sensuality. From 1991-95, he answered the sex questions submitted to the Playboy Advisor. Visit his Web site about sex after midlife, GreatSexAfter40.com.