My wife and I don't have sex. And it's my fault. I'm looking for answers.
May 16, 2007 2:06 PM   Subscribe

What is the problem? Why can't I have sex?

This post is probably a long time coming. Forgive me in advance for the long post, but this is difficult for me to talk about.

For the purposes of ID'ing me, you can call me A. I've posted this anonymously, but have setup an anonymous email account at if you need to reach me privately.

My wife and I met in early 2003 and were married in late 2005. I'm 32 and she's 28. We are very happily married and while we wouldn't go so far to call ourselves "the perfect couple", we have talked about how we just fit together in almost all aspects of our relationship.

The one aspect that we don't fit, however, is sex. Before we got married, we used to have sex almost every weekend (we only saw each other on weekends because we lived in different cities). Even after we moved in together, we had sex fairly often. But since we're married, we have sex once every few months.

Please don't think that "the thrill of the chase is gone." I really don't think that's the case at all. Also, it's not that I'm not attracted to my wife. Far from it. I think she is very sexy. Physically, we're both larger people (overweight), but that truly doesn't matter to me. I find her physically and mentally attractive in all respects.

But I'm not blind. I know intuitively that the lack of sex bothers my wife. But we don't talk about it. I have a difficult time talking about sex, and the few times we've tried to do so, it's been frustrating because of my sheer mental block about it. I think she's given up on talking about it, and honestly, it's relieving to me to not talk about it. I know that's not helpful, but I can't help but feeling that way.

Other issues that factor in here include:

* I just don't get as tired as she does. My wife goes to bed by 9.30 because she tired earlier in the evening, and since I'm not all that tired, I usually don't go to bed until 1 or 2.

* I'm overweight and diabetic, which I know don't help. I'm pretty sure that one of the side effects of my daily meds for diabetes is that it reduces sex drive.

* There are performance issues here, too. I don't stay hard all for any length of time. When I do manage to stay hard, it takes me a long time to climax. Even though she is very sweet about it and tells me that it doesn't take as long as I think it does, I can't help but feel that it shouldn't take as long as it does. I feel guilty about it, which of course doesn't help me relax and just let it happen.

* Before we got married, she once told me, "I'm a very sexual person." I feel guilty over the fact that I've probably deadened her sex drive.

* I work for a marketing start-up where the hours are killer and the stress is up. I know that doesn't help, either, but that situation is not going to change overnight. That's part of why I'm not so tired in the evenings. I come home at 7.30/8.00, we have dinner, and then relax together for a short while. Then before you know it, she's ready for bed and I'm still winding down from the stresses and emotions of the day.

*sigh* *deep breath*

I really don't blame my wife for this at all. The responsibility really is mine here. Even if we talked about it, the issues here really are mine to deal with. But I don't know why or what to do about it.

* Is it all in my head? Do I go see a psychiatrist? A sex therapist? I wouldn't even know where to begin. Plus, let's be honest. "Talking" anonymously to AskMeFi is a helluva lot easier than talking about it with a shrink or my wife.

* Am I masturbating too much? Even though we don't have sex, I *am* able to masturbate. I feel guilty about it, but I do masturbate to Internet porn usually twice a week.

* Is it sexual health-related? Should I get a prescription for Viagara or Cialis or something like that? I'm not opposed to it, but I'm afraid of any negative side effects, especially related to my diabetes.

* Is it health related? I know that I could always lose weight, but I need to do that in general, anyway. I'm *very* hesitant to blame this on my diabetes meds, because I need them to stay in balance with my sugars (I'm type 2, BTW).

*Sigh* *deep breath*

I'm genuinely curious for advice and counsel here. But please don't advise the simple -- "Just take her to bed" or "Just go have sex" or "Lose some weight." It's not like I haven't thought of any of that before, and believe it or not, it's just not that simple.

I really don't know what to do. I want to be more sexual with my wife, but I just don't know how to start. I am so tired of feeling guilty, ugly, and sexually "broken."

Help. Please.

p.s. I've posted this anonymously, but have setup an anonymous email account at if you need to reach me privately.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (36 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

I'm the last person in the world qualified to give sex advice, but:
1. stop the porn
2. please her orally or by massage
posted by DarkForest at 2:18 PM on May 16, 2007

Yeah, try the Viagra Cialis etc. That will take you out of the self-inducing cycle of apprehension and anxiety that you have fallen into by now.
Not sure how that relates to your diabetis.
posted by jouke at 2:24 PM on May 16, 2007

Make an appointment with your doctor to talk over all of your concerns--take a print-out of this question along.
posted by Carol Anne at 2:25 PM on May 16, 2007

From a woman's point of view here - I'd honestly just go to her and say "Mrs "A" - I've been feeling..." and go from there. I would think that coming to her with your fears and esteem issues over this topic would strengthen the bond the 2 of you share, and open up lines of communication about an issue that affects you both.

It's obvious you have a concern for her needs as well as yours - which is a wonderful quality to have. Tell her how you honestly feel and that you're considering talking to a doctor or a therapist to get your sex life back to where you feel it should be.

She'll more than likely feel good about the fact you're wanting to improve your life together and be more than willing to help you through your struggle. You've got health factors against you - so I think a doctor is the route to go on this one to solve the issues your having.
posted by Nenna at 2:26 PM on May 16, 2007 [1 favorite]

The first step is really to talk. I know it's incredibly difficult to do that, but when you are in a marriage with someone, it's sort of the least you can do when big ol' issues like these come up. There is no one answer here. Whatever answers you do come up with you need to at least include her in the discussion.
posted by sneakin at 2:28 PM on May 16, 2007

3. cuddle naked from 9-930 every night, without any expectations of it going further.
4. set a more reasonable bedtime for yourself

Do these things like they were medicine. You don't have to like them at first.
why is no one else posting??? There should be a hundred posts by now.
posted by DarkForest at 2:28 PM on May 16, 2007 [1 favorite]

While you are doing what others suggest, let me suggest you find a way to get some exercise-even a thirty minute walk daily will help. SPECIFICALLY in the libido area.

I know this from experience.
posted by konolia at 2:29 PM on May 16, 2007

Even if we talked about it, the issues here really are mine to deal with.

I disagree. While it's true that you are the only one who can take the steps to resolve this issue on your end, this is something that is affecting her too and I think you are doing a disservice to yourself and your wife by keeping it all in and not sharing what you're going through.

You are under a lot of stress, you have a medical condition and are on medication that could certainly be affecting your libido and it sounds, from this sentence:

I am so tired of feeling guilty, ugly, and sexually "broken."

that your self-esteem is taking a beating.

My two cents: first, talk to your wife. Tell her what you've told us. Second, talk to your doctor. Maybe he has some practical advice that could help kick your sex-drive back in gear.
posted by LeeJay at 2:34 PM on May 16, 2007

Um please see your doctor. It might be a lack of testosterone.
posted by b33j at 2:34 PM on May 16, 2007

Oh yeah; do something about the stress levels and get enough sleep. Can make all the difference.
posted by jouke at 2:36 PM on May 16, 2007

You've allowed a cycle of negatively re-inforcing behaviors to surround an important part of your life. Posting here says you want to change, but the specific questions you ask are probably only tangentially related to getting past this.

Of course you should ask your doctor about side effects of your meds, and do everything you possibly can to control your diabetes, including really losing the weight. Going for walks after dinner to improve your sleep and work off stress would be help with that, and it's a positive change you can implement immediately, without cost or pre-planning. Just go, and while you're out, know that you've begun to take steps to improve your love life. Walking 30 to 45 minutes 5 to 6 evenings a week, can be life changing, within a couple of weeks of starting it.

When you feel better about yourself, you'll have more confidence about your performance, and your performance is likely to improve. But there is nothing wrong with talking to your doc about Vitamin V or related meds, too. The reason ED meds were developed, is to help men who are having erectile difficulties. And while IANAD, your situation seems spot on label to me.

But actually getting things going again with your wife is going to take some doing, Mister A. You've dis-courted her, and now you're going to have to court her, double, may be triple, to get back to square one. You can't just expect to have a big talk, and publish a schedule, and make a few visits to a marriage counselor, and then things will be rosy ever after.

Nope. You're in for dinners out. For weekends away. For dancing with her. For sending or bringing her flowers. For vacuuming and dusting. For doing the laundry. For taking her car and getting it gassed and checking the oil, and having it washed, without being asked. For bringing her candy you can't eat and she maybe shouldn't.

You are going to have to tell her she's pretty, and mean it. You are going to have put your arms around her, and smell her hair. You may need to hold her hand at odd moments, even. You may even need to smile at her flirtatiously, and even be verbally suggestive!

Basically, you are going to have to re-establish the normal physical affection and flirtatious behavior that's evaporated from your relationship along with the sex.

Take her with you for your evening walks, as a start.
posted by paulsc at 2:40 PM on May 16, 2007 [9 favorites]

I think what you've written here is very sweet, compassionate, and non-blamey, and if you print it out and show it to your wife (um, although perhaps stripping out mentions of "So, I asked the internet about this...") I think it would be a wonderful way to start talking about this. Which, ultimately, is what you'll have to do.

She's your wife. You're partners in life, and in sharing your sexuality with each other. By that I don't mean: GO HAVE SEX, but: you have to talk about this with each other. A lot of married sex is about being close to each other, so when the sex falls away, if you're not talking about it, people tend to lose a big chunk of their intimate life.

Some random practical things:

*I think you should see a doctor. Part of the genius of being married is that you have your lovely wife to go with you as moral support. Please don't worry that the doctor will give you unhelpful "You should be skinny!" advice: you're asking for help in a very important part of marriage, and that deserves respect and serious consideration. If your doctor isn't prepared for that, find someone who is. Your doctor may or may not want to adjust your meds or explore Viagra-type drugs with you. (Well, not WITH you. You know what I mean.) You won't know until you ask!

*I'm all for people having personal private time, but if you're not having coupled sex at ALL, I do think that you might want to experiment with not masturbating for a week or two, and see if that does anything for you vis-a-vis your wife.

*Here's a tip from the realm of exhausted new parents: when your wife goes to bed, go with her. Make out (or even have sex). Then she falls asleep. You get up and go have the rest of your evening.

*Find ways that aren't necessarily sexual to touch each other: a lot of men kind of withdraw from physical intimacy if there's no penis stuff going on. You and your wife need to cuddle, whether its in front of the TV or after sex.

*There's no delicate way for me to say this, but: have you considered, um, mutual masturbation? When people start to have performance anxiety, sometimes removing ALL responsibility for your sexual pleasure from your partner's plate can be helpful: you would be, for instance, less worried that it's taking you forever to climax if it's not your wife doing the, er. YOU KNOW.

*Tell your wife that she's hot and sexy and that you totally want to do her. Part of sex, for a lot of ladies, is that feeling of being desired by your fellow. It's a nice feeling. But you can get that feeling without sex, too.

I wish you the very best of luck! You sound like a lovely couple. :)
posted by thehmsbeagle at 2:44 PM on May 16, 2007 [6 favorites]

Response by poster: Short-Term Solutions:
TALK TO HER. Dang! Get over your anxieties and do it. Realize losing her is worse than your discomfort with talking about this subject. And you will lose her. "Very sexual people" don't get not-sexual, they get frustrated. Seconding the viagra/whatnot meds as a temporary fix. Your anxiety is creating a self-perpetuating cycle. Seconding the oral sex is your friend. To fulfill mutual needs for physical contact with your partner, try massage, cuddling, non-sexual cuddling. This will enhance the sex life. Sleep more. No porn. NO PORN. There's nothing wrong with porn, but you should not be spending what sexual energy you have in front of the computer. Maybe you guys could watch it together, maybe you could masturbate one another, but watching porn and not having sex with her probably makes her feel like shit.
  • Try sex in the morning or in the middle of the night, when you've winded down. Maybe she'd be OK with you waking her up?

    It's OK that if it takes a while. For real. Use it as an opportunity to spend more time on her.

    Long-Term Solutions:
    Lose weight. Losing weight and eating healthier can help boost you energy a lot. And try to find a less stressful, more scheduled job.

  • posted by Anonymous at 2:56 PM on May 16, 2007

    I do masturbate to Internet porn usually twice a week.

    Then why don't you take some of that porn to bed with you and let your wife join in if she wants?
    posted by Neiltupper at 3:02 PM on May 16, 2007

    The incompatible bedtime issue is one I am familiar with. My wife likes to go to bed a couple hours earlier than me. It just means you have to make more of an effort to plan.

    Try to set aside certain evenings on which you'll get home a little early, and keep that night's schedule totally clear of anything else. Call it a "date night", even if you two don't go out anywhere.

    You can also try to set aside a weekend afternoon.

    This problem will not be solved until you start talking with each other about the subject. But once you do, it becomes much, much less stressful!
    posted by Artifice_Eternity at 3:12 PM on May 16, 2007

    It's not abnormal for work-related stress to significantly reduce sex drive. Just wanted to mention that so it doesn't get overlooked in the talk about medicine, testosterone, etc.

    That you seem to find it so difficult to talk about sex makes me wonder whether a part of you isn't comfortable with the sexual part of yourself expressing itself -- that is, with letting that part of yourself be with another, without feeling any guilt or shame or weirdness or awkwardness about it. Those feelings could be connected to self-esteem issues, to the way your parents viewed or expressed sexuality, etc.

    I'm thinking that learning to talk about your feelings around sex openly and honestly might make the situation less murky and mysterious for you. So, to that end, sex therapy doesn't sound like a bad thing to look into. Or, if you choose to go ahead and talk to your wife about this, perhaps you could start with mentioning how difficult it is for you to talk about -- she may be able to help you there in ways you don't expect.

    Finally, if you have erectile problems, you might consider learning to have sex in ways that are less "erection-centric." Part of the theory here is that if you can learn to feel good about something you do in bed that drives her wild, that could help you break out of the self-reinforcing cycle of performance anxiety, low (sexual) self-esteem, and infrequent sexual interaction.
    posted by treepour at 3:14 PM on May 16, 2007

    Talking to your wife:

    Have you ever tried emailing her or writing a note/letter? My wife and I did that early in marriage and it worked well and allowed us to get better at communicating to the point where we talk verbally about stuff now. It doesnt'have to be about your problems, it could be anything, say a 2 minute note while you're at work, about work, life, dreams, the weather, what you think of her, whatever, just something to show you're reaching out to her. Wives like that.

    You're type 2? I'd say it might be meds, but you still masturbate regularly, so that's not it. Work a little on losing weight, say, just an evening walk for 20 minutes. It can help a lot for losing weight and feeling better. Again, don't think it's going to be anything grand, where y ou lose 20lbs in a month, just a little something to get you moving around. Diabetes note: weightlifting works GREAT for keeping your blood sugar under control. I'm Type 2 and when I do strenght training in the morning and eat sensibly, the sugars look sweet all day.

    Early bed time wife: Find something she's into like board games or something and see if she's up to staying up to do that. Try it on the weekends first, where it doesn't matter if she stays up later. Also see if she's up for being awoken for a few mintues when you get to bed, for talking, snuggling or what have you.

    The sex problem. Realize it's not going to go away anytime soon and that's ok. Marriage comes with various ups and downs on all levels. You can get through this. Maybe seek therapy on it. But try doing fun, naked things with your wife, with not expectation of sex. Take showers and baths, lounge around on the couch naked or decide to repaint a room (even if it doesn't need it) naked.

    Get some therapy about the not wanting to talk about sex. You have issues, (which is ok, everyone has issues, EVERYONE) and need some help on them.
    posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:22 PM on May 16, 2007

    Yes, talk about it. But there's also a physical and physiological side to sex, and you have problems here, it seems to me (IANAD). Lose some weight, do some exercise (running, sit-ups, anything to increase endurance in the loins). Watch the porn (to get yourself sexed up and turned on) but cut out the masturbation to orgasm. Yes, all that sounds like hard work and no play. Then go and play with your wife.
    posted by londongeezer at 4:04 PM on May 16, 2007

    2nding 'watching porn and not having sex with her probably makes her feel like shit.' I've been that wife. You don't sound like that husband. Don't be that guy.

    Please just talk to your wife. Everything else is just details.
    posted by Space Kitty at 4:15 PM on May 16, 2007 [3 favorites]

    Cut out the porn. You must recognize that you are satisfying yourself with no consideration for you wife. Ocassional fantasy sex might be ok if your real-life sex life was satisfactory for both of you.
    You seem to be concentrating on your lack of rigidity. If you concentrate on her pleasure and not yours you may relax and enjoy the result. How about just pleasuring her manually with no attempt at penetration for a change?

    A session with your doctor would not be a bad idea, either.
    posted by JayRwv at 4:16 PM on May 16, 2007

    I hope that didn't sound too harsh. Believe me, you're NOT guilty, ugly, or sexually broken. You sound like a good guy who needs a boost to get out of a rut. I hope you both find it.
    posted by Space Kitty at 4:18 PM on May 16, 2007

    JayRwv: "Cut out the porn. You must recognize that you are satisfying yourself with no consideration for you wife. Ocassional fantasy sex might be ok if your real-life sex life was satisfactory for both of you. "

    Ay yi. So if he can't share he shouldn't have any pleasure/relief at all? She's a grown woman who can also satisfy herself too (and if she has a high sex drive as she claims, she must be). Would you say the same to her?

    My two cents is that masturbating twice a week seems quite unlikely to be sapping OP's mojo. Once a day, perhaps.
    posted by loiseau at 5:00 PM on May 16, 2007

    Talk to your doctor about the performance issues. Some of this might be physical, some might be psychological, but the willy drugs will work regardless. As for taking a long time to come, well, that is a lot better than the two minute tango. Are you wearing a condom? Is it big enough and thin enough? Perhaps try sponges or something else if that is the case. Also, are you drinking (I am thinking not as you are on diabetes meds).

    Make dates to have sex, such as "tomorrow, lets hit the sack for sex after dinner, I'll clean up the dishes afterward." There is no rule that you must stay in bed after the deed is done. Go to bed with her a few nights at her bedtime and have some fun. taff's idea of some light exercise and a shower is pretty good too.
    posted by caddis at 6:02 PM on May 16, 2007

    Stop the porn. Unless you both are watching it together, it needs to stop.

    Also, you should REALLY talk to her. Stop ignoring the problem. She may think it is something to do with her, and when you don't talk about it you may just be confirming her thoughts. Silence is always worse than just putting everything on the table.

    Next, go to your doctor. The medication could be ruining your sex drive.

    Though you may not be able to have intercourse, you can at least make her feel special. Take her to dinner at a nice resturant, give her a massage, oral stimulation, etc.

    I know that it sucks and you may even feel like there is something wrong with you, I have been there, but don't put yourself down. It makes things worse. If nothing else speak to your wife. You will feel much better once everything is put on the table.

    Good luck
    posted by slc228 at 6:05 PM on May 16, 2007

    A lot of people say stop the porn. It would probably help, but it hardly seems like you are going crazy over it or anything. If you deny yourself all porn, all masturbation, all other outlets for your sexual energy other than with your wife, I can guarantee you guys will get it on much more frequently. Easier said than done. Porn and masturbation are not the cause of the problem. It's just that denying masturbation will elevate the importance of other options for your sexual release. The downside is that you probably won't be faithful to yourself on this and then it will just be one more thing to feel guilty about when basically very few people really do that. According to Wikipedia (this is just the first source I looked at, so feel free to do more in depth research and by the way this article is definitely NSFW): "most males masturbate daily or even more frequently well into their 20s and sometimes far beyond." So my advice, try a no masturbation diet, don't feel too guilty if you cheat, and see what happens. (Now, you will probably be rebuffed a few times in your sexual advances as you are trying to change the rules, so if that happens, try not to get mad and cheat.)

    [Damn, when I get to work tomorrow and hit "My Comments" this little essay will pop up on the screen, so I encourage at least ten more people to chime in with some more helpful advice between now and then.]
    posted by caddis at 7:05 PM on May 16, 2007

    There is probably more going on with you than you are aware of. I would suggest something more detailed and professional than you are likely to get from us. I would recommend this book. I think it addresses the questions you have very directly. It helped me tremendously, and I have passed it on to friends and family.
    posted by carpographer at 7:27 PM on May 16, 2007

    What type of porn are you looking at? (No, don't post it here. I'm asking you to think about what makes you want to masturbate.) Is it something you can share with your wife, whether it's watching a DVD together or having her do some of the things that turn you on in the movies/pictures you're looking at?

    Speaking as an old married broad, I'd also say give you wife some credit; she knows that you still find her attractive and that you love her. You mentioned that you're both plus-sized - perhaps she has secret misgivings about her own changed physique. Maybe that's why she goes to bed so much earlier than you. (I'm just suggesting a possibility.) And there are other ways of showing affection, as others have mentioned. Hop in the shower with her one morning and shampoo her hair. It's intimate, it's relaxing, and it's oh-so-sweet.
    posted by Oriole Adams at 8:34 PM on May 16, 2007

    If you are only masturbating twice a week, I'd say you have a slightly below average libido. When you say can't have sex, do you mean you can't get or maintain an erection, or that you are uninterested in sex? In either case, I think the stress is the biggest factor. Do you work on the weekends? If you don't, that seems like the ideal time to try to have sex.

    I'm diabetic also, and I've noticed that if I have a low blood sugar it definitely affects my ability to sustain an erection.

    If you have the urge to have sex, but can't sustain an erection, you may want to look into cock rings before cialis or viagra. Just remember that they are only meant to be worn for a limited time period, or you'll basically lose your penis.

    Another possibility is that there is something appealing about the specific kind of porn you watch in terms of fantasy fulfillment that you are embarrassed or unwilling to ask your wife to perform for you. If so it would benefit both of you if you got over it.

    Good luck. Oh, and I'd say everyone has sexual issues at some point in their life. You are not a freak because of it.
    posted by BrotherCaine at 8:45 PM on May 16, 2007

    Oh, and try taking a vacation somewhere and seeing if that helps. Sometimes a change of venue, and less stress is all that is needed. The feelings of failure you are experiencing are being associated with your environment as well as your activity.
    posted by BrotherCaine at 8:47 PM on May 16, 2007

    From your attitude and love for her, I can tell that the situation you find yourself will clear up soon, I promise.

    I'm no expert at sex, or relationships for that matter, but I have watched the odd Sex Doctor once or twice and from what I could tell the most important element to a healthy sex life was clear communication and describing to her what it is you feel, letting go of any inhibitions that may be causing you anxiety. I know this is easier said than done.

    But I guess what I would do is tell her exactly what you've told us. It seems to me like there are feelings that are being suppressed and therefore making it a little difficult for your sex life.

    Perhaps once you have discussed this with your wife, another communication channel may open up and you may even find yourself talking about things that you never imagined of, therefore allowing some progression towards a more dynamic and comfortable sex life.

    I know it's easier said than done, but I wish you all the best.
    posted by Sevenupcan at 11:08 PM on May 16, 2007

    I agree with those poster who have said to write your wife a letter about how you are feeling, based on the post you made, and hand it to her. It should be a good springboard for discussion.

    Then, see your doctor to find out whether there is anything you can do to alleviate the side-effects of your meds. It sounds like you're trying to deal with a physical problem at an emotional level - that's a good start but don't beat yourself up about your low sex drive. If it's the medication that's partly causing this, it's not your fault at all. And the work stress can't be helping either. Don't take this all upon yourself as there are outside factors going on here that you should acknowledge to yourself - these factors may be outside your control, you may have to work around them, but they are reasons, not excuses, and you have to look at them as such to alleviate guilt.

    Internet porn twice a week - ok, can you cut it down to once a week, early in the week? That might help you save some of the desire you do have for your wife and so maybe by the time the weekend rolls around you'd be up for it. I wouldn't recommend taking the porn to bed at first, as your wife would likely think it indicates she's not enough to turn you on since you're not having sex at the moment. Porn is great to share sometimes, but not, I think, if you haven't been having sex fairly regularly without it.
    posted by hazyjane at 12:33 AM on May 17, 2007

    The fact that you are able to masturbate makes me think that its probably your anxiety thats keeping you from performing. Does your wife have a problem with porn? Maybe watching it with her would give you time to get hard?
    posted by thebrokenmuse at 12:47 AM on May 17, 2007

    * I work for a marketing start-up where the hours are killer and the stress is up.
    I suspect the answer is somewhere in this item.
    You would be amazed how much havoc stress can wreak on something like sex. I also wonder if there is more to your bag-o-stress than the job, as well. Money issues? Bills? The general "coping with the issues of modern life"?
    There's a good chance you just have way too much crap banging around in your head to relax enough for good sex.
    posted by Thorzdad at 5:42 AM on May 17, 2007

    Oh, honey. You just need to talk to her. And quit beating yourself up about it. It is "her" problem too if you're this down on yourself.

    Then you just need to have sex. (Takes you a long time? Well, then, worry about making her head explode. Perhaps while snuggling first thing in the morning.)

    Me, I'm not going to tell you to quit the porn.
    posted by desuetude at 6:47 AM on May 17, 2007

    The first thing that occurred to me was that a side effect of your diabetes: diabetic neuropathy, namely - was making you impotent. But since you masturbate successfully twice a week (perfectly normal, by the way; I don't recommend giving it up) that seems less likely. Many folks with diabetes do have erectile difficulty though, and it is one of the first signs of diabetic neuropathy so you probably want to bring it up with your doc.

    I very much doubt that your diabetes medicines themselves are giving you erectile dysfunction. If you are on an antidepressant, that is a class of medicines more likely to cause this side effect.

    But I think that the key to the whole thing is most likely to be in this statement here: 'I am so tired of feeling guilty, ugly, and sexually "broken."'

    If that's the way you're feeling about yourself, it's not particularly reasonable to expect that you're going to be able to enjoy good sex. Rather, I'd expect that someone feeling that way would probably be very ambivalent about sex and probably have a lot of issues centered around sex and sexual performance. And, it looks like you do.

    I disagree with the well-intentioned answers above that say you should just go fix this yourself with some quick fix. My guess is that, since you come here for help, you have decided that you need help from an outside source. I would reinforce that you are right in this decision: you do need some help, which is going to be helpful to you when you obtain it.

    If I were you I would start with my doc, who should pay some attention to ruling out organic causes of the problem; but also ask for a referral to an interpersonal psychotherapist.
    posted by ikkyu2 at 10:53 AM on May 17, 2007

    While diabetes meds probably are not the cause of the erectile dysfunction, anon is also overweight so may very well have high blood pressure, and some of those meds do cause ED. That is why you have to start with your regular doc who can look at every aspect of your current health, specific medicines you are taking, etc.

    ikkyu2's suggestion of seeing an interpersonal psychotherapist sounds like pretty good advice to me. There is lots of advice being offered, but these sorts of issues can be quite complicated and the therapist can ask a lot of questions of both you and your wife which will help to get at the real nature of the issues. Even if there is an organic problem, including some issue with the meds that can be easily fixed, you still have the whole issue of frequency and your self esteem.
    posted by caddis at 12:41 PM on May 17, 2007

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