I am 58 years old and my husband is 56. We have been together for 15 years. He has never been that interested in sex, but in the last three years or so, our sex life has been non-existent. He usually sleeps in the other room and he is not even interested in cuddles. He is a recovering alcoholic, and has recently started attending AA meetings.

A doctor replies : “Your final sentences are the most relevant. It is crucial for you to try to understand what connection there may be between his lack of interest in sex, his refusal to provide affection, and his alcohol abuse. You might glean insights about this through joining Al-Anon. While I understand that you are sad, in the very early stages of his 12-step programme, it might be better not to push him too much.”

Doctor’s Tips : Try to be patient and simply support his recovery. Once he has been sober for a while, begin to express your own pain and needs without blaming him, then ask him for something very specific, such as one hug every morning and every evening. Setting clear limits for him might create the encouragement he needs.

Psychological approach : Many men withdraw from sex because they feel inadequate; this may be true for your husband – especially considering the effect alcohol can have on erectile capacity – and many avoid affectionate approaches in case they are designed to lead to sex.

To sump up : Eventually, insist on having the important conversations about sex, touch, and physical soothing – perhaps in a therapeutic setting.

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