My husband can't orgasm during sex, help me cope?
December 9, 2015 2:18 PM   Subscribe

We both want babies, and its really looking like its not going to happen - has this happened to you?

After a number of articles I've come to realize that men having issues with the lack of orgasm during sex is a real issue. Not to discredit my husband, but after he weaned off the Prozac, we thought he would be able to finally have a healthier sex drive and orgasm, but nothing. And now he is starting to have anxiety attacks and insomnia again so he's going to have to go back on the pill. The problem is that we both want to have kids. We recently got married and before marriage we had talked about kids, I knew I didn't want kids but he was so passionate about it I ended up changing my mind and really excited to start a family with him. I knew he had this issue because we were having sex before marriage but we had talked through trying to see if it was the Prozac and testing it after the wedding when the stress of the wedding was behind us. That didn't work. I keep pushing him to go back to therapy, which he did for a while when he first started the Prozac, or for us to go to sex therapy together but he is being super reluctant. He is very much an introvert and no matter what questions I ask to help him get to the root of his anxiety during sex, its not helping.

I feel a tang of resentment because I feel like had he left it alone and not convinced me I wouldn't feel this way. But then I feel guilty and want to stay hopeful because he thinks it can still happen. I've only ever made him orgasm twice the whole three years together, both after he was off the Prozac and only oral. I am at a loss. It hurts to see others pregnant or with their kids or my mom when she asks about grandchildren.

How do I be supportive of my husband? What can I do? Do I need to face the harsh reality and just accept it won't happen? Has anyone else had this type of experience before? Did couples sex therapy work? What are our options now? What do you call this, male infertility?

I won't ask anonymously because I want to be able to reply, feel free to memail me if its easier for you.
posted by xicana63 to Human Relations (20 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
 
What are our options now?

Is your husband able to masturbate to orgasm? I know a couple who conceived through the use of a turkey baster, yes literally a common kitchen turkey baster, because of an issue complicating PIV sex.

I learned this while eating a turkey at Thanksgiving with them. Let's just say it wasn't the information I needed to hear at the time, but hey it worked for them, so kudos.
posted by phunniemee at 2:23 PM on December 9, 2015 [43 favorites]


It's anorgasmia, and it is a real issue with a number of causes-- psychological, physical, and practical. ("Death grip" masturbation -- link NSFW -- as Dan Savage calls it, among the latter.)

To state the obvious, though, he's (likely) still fertile, and male orgasm during PIV isn't a requirement for fertilization, especially if he can ejaculate by himself. See a fertility specialist for your options.
posted by supercres at 2:24 PM on December 9, 2015 [3 favorites]


Adding to the above turkey baster: I have friends who got pregnant by having him come in an Instead cup, which she then pushed into place and kept there. Much like a seed packet left by some underwater critter.
posted by fiercecupcake at 2:25 PM on December 9, 2015 [17 favorites]


If the issue is just anorgasmia during penetration, it's definitely solveable- are you open to trying to inseminate yourself? You can do it together so it still feels like an act of love and commitment to making a child, and it really only requires a $5 turkey baster. A queer friend has a perfect son whom she conceived with this method. If that doesn't work, insemination using sperm from him or another donor can also be done in a clinic.

If the issue is emotional- as in, you are concerned that he may not feel as certain about having a child, that's also something many many people have worked through, and may be something to approach with couples therapy. Good luck either way!
posted by pseudostrabismus at 2:27 PM on December 9, 2015


You can deal with your own anxiety and frustration and stuff by going to therapy alone. There are also people who go to sex therapy alone, actually.

This might inspire him to join you later; your therapist can also facilitate difficult conversations if he's up for that. Therapy can be an incredibly scary sounding thing for people who've never done it - anxiety, a sense of personal inadequacy, etc. are going to make it even worse.

I recommend that you separate your intimacy/sex issues from the baby thing anyway. There are several methods of obtaining sperm for use in becoming pregnant, and the emotional baggage of baby-making-efforts is a known mood-killer.
posted by SMPA at 2:32 PM on December 9, 2015 [5 favorites]


Can sex just be sex for a while? You both want kids and it's great you're on the same page, but this situation sounds like it's putting an awful lot of pressure on him. I'm not saying that he just needs to relax about it and it will go away, but pressure and sexual problems never go well together.

If you're just worried about kids and that's what your question is about, then yeah, as others have said, he doesn't have to orgasm during PIV sex for that to happen. But if your question is about your husband's sexual health, then maybe leave the pregnancy stuff to the side?
posted by ODiV at 2:38 PM on December 9, 2015 [5 favorites]


You can DIY a turkey baster if he is able to orgasm on his own; however, I'm thinking that if he is very reluctant to discuss this, he may not be up for that. He's better off just seeing his doctor because this is very treatable.

If he doesn't want to go that route, you will need to consult a fertility clinic. Sperm can be retrieved.
posted by DarlingBri at 2:38 PM on December 9, 2015 [3 favorites]


Even if he can't masturbate to orgasm, this is a really easy fertility problem to solve. A doctor can retrieve sperm directly from his testicles with a needle (sounds horrible, but he'll get a local anaesthetic.) It's how they get sperm from guys who've had vasectomies if they want to get someone pregnsnt later.
posted by lollusc at 2:41 PM on December 9, 2015 [6 favorites]


Separate PIV sex and ejaculation. If he's able to ejaculate, collect the semen and go for the Instead cup or baster route. If he's completely unable to ejaculate, it's time to go to the doctor for additional options. This isn't uncommon.
posted by quince at 2:51 PM on December 9, 2015


he thinks it can still happen

How? What is his plan here? If he's not willing to try couples therapy, how is he participating in finding a solution to this problem?
posted by prize bull octorok at 2:55 PM on December 9, 2015 [3 favorites]


How? What is his plan here? If he's not willing to try couples therapy, how is he participating in finding a solution to this problem?

Well, if the problem isn't FERTILITY, pregnancy is no way excluded as a possibility, and I imagine they could agree on an an alternative method of conception. This is about babies & sex, but it's also About Babies and Separately, About Sex.

hahaha i almost used 'conceivably'
posted by listen, lady at 3:01 PM on December 9, 2015


Getting pregnant and the issues in your marriage are two different problems. If your husband can produce semen in some other context, then you can use the products of that to attempt pregnancy. But I think you guys have relationship challenges that sound like they are in need of addressing before having a kid together.
posted by latkes at 3:14 PM on December 9, 2015 [20 favorites]


Having been part of two pregnancies conceived without sex, I'd recommend you do some research on how to self inseminate. Turkey basters aren't the most efficient, they just reinforce our mental phallic notion of how things "should" work. Small plastic syringes are a far superior tool.
posted by advicepig at 4:07 PM on December 9, 2015 [4 favorites]


I think if you want this person to be a parent with you he should show a little more agency and proactivity here. If he can't do that you do not want to make a baby with him.
posted by bleep at 6:06 PM on December 9, 2015 [13 favorites]


The issue is not necessarily "anxiety during sex," although that certainly could be an issue, particularly if he feels like the stakes are high. As you I'm sure you know, increased difficulty achieving orgasm is a common side effect of SSRI's like Prozac. It's not clear from your question how long your husband was off Prozac, but it can actually take a very long time (weeks) for the brain to fully adjust after a change in an SSRI, either going on or off the drug.

My understanding is that psychiatrists will often prescribe Welbutrin in addition to an SSRI when a patient is having sexual side effects. SSRIs boost serotonin signalling in the brain, which helps with depression and anxiety, but as a result the balance between serotonin and other monoamine neurotransmitters, particularly dopamine and norepinephrine, can be disrupted, and I believe the theory is that this may be the cause of decreased libido and/or difficulty achieving orgasm. Welbutrin targets these other monoamine neurotransmitters but not serotonin, and so by taking the two drugs together the patient can get the benefit of the SSRI while preserving the balance with the other monoamines, and thus preventing the sexual side effects. Of course, Welbutrin itself can have other side effects, so this is not entirely risk-free.

I hate sounding like a pharmaceutical ad (because screw medical advertising), but your husband could ask his psychiatrist whether Welbutrin is worth giving a try, if that hasn't already been tried. Standard disclaimers apply: I am not a physician, this is not medical advice.
posted by biogeo at 8:14 PM on December 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


biogeo has it. Look also at dopamine agonists. There are a few of them. SSRI-induced anorgasmia is very common.
posted by persona au gratin at 2:05 AM on December 10, 2015


Thank you everyone. I partially under my own anxiety and heat of the moment I wrote this question, but you have all calmed my nerves. I was being very simple minded and didn't consider the self-insemination alternatives. Thank you again, these type of questions are never easy to share and you guys are great.
posted by xicana63 at 5:28 AM on December 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


If self insemination doesn't work, see your OB and talk to her/him about IUI (intrauterine insemination). It's not nearly as expensive as IVF and I know a lot of people who had fertility issues that were able to get pregnant this way.
posted by echo0720 at 10:12 AM on December 10, 2015


Sorry! "Turkey baster" is a short-hand for self insemination with a needless syringe with or without an extender. This is referred to in many TTC circles as "the turkey baster method" but no turkey basters are used. There are a ton of self-insemination kits to purchase online.
posted by DarlingBri at 2:05 PM on December 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


Therapy. Despite what "experts" like Dan Savage say, this is generally a psychological problem.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:25 AM on December 11, 2015


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