Dear Dr. Majumdar,
I am writing this to seek some solution to my issue. I am ashamed and embarrassed to say that although I have been married for 20 years, I have hardly had an active sex life. I’m 45 years old and my husband is 51. Ours was an arranged marriage and we otherwise have a good relationship, we have common interests, come from similar cultural backgrounds and even similar professions. We both love each other, but sex is something that seems to have been a challenging aspect for us. When we got married we were naturally quite sexual, but I had the natural nervousness that any girl would have and when it came to penetration I would clam up. My husband suggested that I sort it out and then we do it. But as you know, sorting it out can only happen if we tried harder but somehow neither of us tried much after that. He didn’t make much effort to try either. When I tried talking about it he would not want to talk about it. I would suggest exploring some stuff together but somehow he hardly seemed very enthusiastic. He doesn’t want to talk about this subject at all although he agrees it is important. Even when I suggested seeking professional help he resisted initially but I still went ahead and visited a few therapists. Eventually, he came along too to visit once recently. I was told that I had Vaginismus and the therapist prescribed a few exercises. But I don’t know if it is because of the anxiety but I find even doing those exercises very difficult. I find it very difficult to spread my legs and insert my fingers (the exercises prescribed) although I do try once in a while.
I’ve discussed with my husband about exploring sex outside marriage. I told him he could look outside for himself. Although he says he will, he doesn’t seem to have bothered to do that either. As for me, I’ve tried, and once even managed to go almost the whole way with someone else. But I was still tight and still am, as I haven’t done much beyond that. Quite honestly, I’ve reached the stage where I just want to have sex before I get too old. At this stage, I really am not bothered about the moral implications as I’m not really cheating as my husband knows about it. But can you please suggest some way of relaxing? And are there any ways to get more sexual energy, because I don’t know if its because of the anxiety and guilt (for wasting so much time) but I don’t consistently feel the sexual need and drive, although I do get aroused. Perhaps it is also to do with my age — I’m already feeling the symptoms of menopause with very delayed periods. In fact, I first felt the delay this time and that’s when I really felt the truth hit me painfully – I’m reaching menopause and I’ve hardly had sex. It’s eating me from within and makes me feel extremely inadequate. I have great difficulty accepted that now its too late to even conceive. I’m exploring the idea of adoption with again no response from my husband. Anyway, that’s a different issue. Right now I just want to go ahead and have proper sex because I don’t want to give up yet. Can you please help me with some suggestions? Thank you very much.
Related reading: I’m still a virgin after 4 years of marriage
Dr. Sharmila Majumdar says:
I really emphasise with you on the time lost, which can’t be turned back, but do not lose hope. I will keep this short and simple. Today sexual medicine has advanced quite a lot and there are various solutions available. But before we go to them what I need to understand from you first is, if you intend to resume your sexual life with your spouse or with another partner? I’m not asking this question from a moral point of view but from a scientific and practical one.
The thing is, it could perhaps benefit both of you much more if both of you could begin to enjoy a conjugal life with each other. Continue to attend the sex counselling/therapy together, even though right now, you have not felt successful in those efforts. Regarding the declining libido, please do not get disheartened at all. There are ways to increase a man’s libido and also a woman’s. Why I strongly advice your spouse and you to resume your sexual life, with each other only, is because in this era of sexually transmitted infections it would be foolish to take a chance by having sex with someone known or unknown.
I would request you to speak gently to your spouse and make him understand the emotional trauma you have been and are now going through. Despite having an otherwise normal married life, I understand that it’s a life which is incomplete. Just keep the faith. Things can certainly work out should your husband cooperate just a little. He will slowly open up. There must be so many knots to untie from both sides. My best wishes to both of you and please do think about the consultation, as that might benefit you.
In case you want to consult me, you can do so either-online or by consultation at my hospital in Hyderabad. All the details are on my website doctorsharmila.in.