Q: I’m 10 years into my second marriage and haven’t had sex for eight of them. I really feel too young to be living a sexless life! But it’s complicated, because my husband is impotent due to health problems. I’m at a loss as to what I can do. Can you help?
Impotence is common, but there are some medical interventions that could come to the rescue.
Some men take an injection, others take Viagra. Some men use a vacuum pump. A vacuum pump creates a pumping sensation when placed over the penis. It creates the blood flow needed for an erection. This could be very effective and last for about half an hour. In other cases, giving oral or manual pleasure could bring the blood flow needed for an erection during intercourse, if that’s what you’re into.
There are also many other ways to have fun in the bedroom without penetration. I recommend experimenting with variety and seeing what sensations you most enjoy. The most important thing is to focus less on performance and more on creating a pleasure zone. Perhaps an expectation-free hand job is just the way to help him relax.
If he isn’t open to this, try another relationship-building technique that explores pleasure and reconnection outside of genital-focused touch. Deep kissing, grinding, oral, or anal pleasure could be something to explore.
But don’t neglect yourself, either. Sometimes I find that medical providers tend to focus more on the man’s experience and less on the woman’s. So, for you, it’s best to really get some support for yourself.
Speak with a trusted friend or a professional. Explore the other ways you find satisfaction and pleasure. In some cases, a couple may decide that they can’t meet each other’s sexual needs and find it’s healthier to open up their relationship. I know this is more controversial, but it’s something that people are exploring these days. It doesn’t mean love has left the equation.
Another exercise that can help physical intimacy is sensate focus exercises. Sensate focus is a practice that really takes away the pressure from performance and focuses more on erotic touch and sensual massage. The aim is for both of you to increase body awareness and tune in to giving and receiving touch. It teaches you both to relax and reduce objectification.
By devoting half an hour at least to your week and engaging in nongenital touch and then genital touch, you may feel that lovely feeling of reconnecting and reigniting that physical connection again, in your own way. The best thing about this is that you get to be the authority of your own sexual story and decide what works for you.
Janet Brito is an AASECT-certified sex therapist who also has a license in clinical psychology and social work. She completed her postdoctoral fellowship from the University of Minnesota Medical School, one of only a few university programs in the world dedicated to sexuality training. Currently, she’s based in Hawaii and is the founder of the Center for Sexual and Reproductive Health. Brito has been featured on many outlets, including The Huffington Post, Thrive, and Healthline. Reach out to her through her website or on Twitter.