Help! My husband’s constant sexual desires are spoiling a happy relationship

Q: My husband is unable to have any erection but is still very interested in sex. I love him dearly and accept this but would settle for a cuddle, he wants to perform oral sex, or sex toys etc. but I feel he just wants to play with me. I do get aroused sometimes but at 77 not that often and resent being called frigid. This constant desire of his is spoiling a happy relationship.

I want to celebrate you, the deep love you express for your husband and knowing you love to cuddle. I am sorry though, that by being called frigid, you are sexually shamed into having sexual interactions you may not want at the time. Sexual shame is so pervasive in our society that it is easy for people to shame someone else for not wanting the same thing they do, especially when it comes to sex. 

The problem when we are shamed about our sexual needs or desires is it disconnects us from our bodies and restricts our full self-expression. Which makes it even harder to enjoy any sexual interaction, or express what we do and don’t want in the bedroom. Setting our boundaries and expressing them is a powerful way to stay intimately connected yet not build anger or resentment that the relationship is being spoilt. 

Boundaries are a set of personal limits that each of us has as a result of who we are and our life experiences. They do not need to be explained or justified; they aren’t logical – they just are. Keeping our boundaries and being able to lovingly tell them to our partner is essential to the intimacy and longevity of a relationship because they help create trust and prevent the resentment build up you are experiencing. 

The most common reason we don’t express our boundaries is because we are concerned our partner will be hurt, feel rejected or they will think they are doing something wrong. However, when we do start expressing them, we actually feel empowered to engage in the intimacy we want rather than obligated to perform for them.  

It is not an easy thing to start, however with practice, you will become more confident in letting your husband know that you are not frigid, that you love being intimate but you would like different things to him. A great exercise to initiate this is full-body pleasure mapping. Suggest to him that rather than focusing purely on your vulva and vagina, why don’t you spend time exploring other parts of your body to see how pleasurable it feels to touch or taste. Bring cuddles into it as well and show him how much you love those!

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