“When Your Husband Doesn’t Want Sex” Part Five: How to Address His Sexual Dysfunction

Tactfulness, timing, and teamwork are key when addressing sexual dysfunctions, such erectile difficulties or premature ejaculation, with your husband. Discussions like this often go better if you are both dressed and not involved in sexual activity. Pick a time when you are both well-rested and fed, such as after an early dinner or after lunch on the weekend. Make sure you are in a private place where you cannot be overheard. You might also try addressing this topic as you two take a walk around your neighborhood–that way he doesn’t have to look you in the face the entire time as you discuss a topic that may make him feel ashamed.

Start by letting him know how much you admire and respect him as a man. Tell him how attractive he is to you and how happy he has made you sexually in the past (assuming this is true, which I hope it is). You might remind him of a particularly fun and satisfying past sexual encounter you had as a couple. Then say something like, “Honey, I’m concerned about our sex life. It seems like erections aren’t as easy for you as they once were/when we have intercourse, you ejaculate more quickly than either of us would want. This is a common situation that couples face. It’s not “your” problem–it’s “our” problem, and I want us to partner together to see what we can do together to make things better. I need your help in this area. What do you think we should do?”

Note how you have made the situation a couple problem–that’s the teamwork approach, and it makes your spouse feel less alone and less like he’s “the problem.” You also asked for his help and ideas prior to giving him your ideas. He will have more “buy-in” if the solutions are his own ideas. He’ll also feel less controlled by you.

If he suggests a visit to his doctor (an excellent first step if he has erectile difficulties), you can offer to go with him if he likes. Ditto for a visit to a sex therapist if a medical evaluation should show that there aren’t any physiological reasons for his erectile difficulties. Reading a sex manual, like Restoring the Pleasure, is another great suggestion (particularly for premature ejaculation), but take turns reading it out loud to one another in your bedroom. That way you are learning together and continuing the team approach. If couple issues, such as anger or disrespect, are affecting his sexual functioning, work together to address those issues, possibly with a marriage counselor.

If he tries to give you the brush off and says, “I’m working on it on my own so drop the subject,” or “Sex is no big deal,” or “People our age don’t have sex anymore,” or “I don’t want to talk it,” politely respond with “Sex may not be the most important part of marriage, but it is important, and I miss being sexually intimate with you. I still need you sexually. Please, let’s talk about what we can do together to make things better.”

Have you tried to address sexual dysfunction with your husband? In your opinion, what words and actions should wives use? What should wives avoid?

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