Dear Annie: I read the letter from “Saddened,” whose wife has cut off sex. I want to knock some sense into people like you. Life has different stages. We’ve done the sex thing. Why should women look for help? Where are the medications that reduce libido in males? Why doesn’t he get counseling and learn to enjoy life without sex? A complete absence of desire can be liberating. There is so much more room in the brain for other things. – J.P.
Dear J.P.: We received hundreds of letters in response to “Saddened” and were dismayed at the number of women who, like you, essentially said, “I’m not interested in sex, and if my husband doesn’t like it, too bad.” Several women assumed our comment about “medical treatment” meant we advocated hormone replacement therapy. We don’t advocate any particular treatment, only that talking to one’s doctor about what’s available can help.
Our point is that marriages are partnerships. One partner should not be making a unilateral decision that negatively affects the other partner without first discussing it and trying to reach a mutually agreeable decision. AARP ( aarp.org) offers some wonderful information and help under the Home and Family tab, in the section marked Sex and Intimacy. Here’s more:
From Florida: It annoys me when you tell women to consider their partner’s needs and talk to a doctor. I suspect if intercourse were painful for men, they wouldn’t be concerned about their partner’s needs. Hormone therapy has serious side effects. I tried prescription vaginal creams and had terrible headaches. My sister recommended Replens for dryness, and I’ve had fabulous results. It contains no hormones and is sold over the counter.
Texas: I have struggled with painful intercourse for years. Doctors offered my husband Viagra after his prostate cancer treatment, and he said, “My wife wouldn’t want it.” There are other ways to satisfy the needs of your spouse.