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Discussion Starter #1
I've been married two years, and we are both in our early 30s. We dated for a year before getting married.

Our sex life started off on a bad note. The first time we tried to have sex while dating, he was not able to maintain an erection after penetration.

Because I had friends whose boyfriends dealt with some impotence, I tried to do the opposite of what they had done. I didn't make a fuss, I was patient, I held back and tried to suppress my sexual needs, hoping that if I didn't cause him to feel stressed about it, he'd feel more confident and that would improve things.

After a few months of dating I started pressing him a bit saying that it wasn't typical for a guy in his early 30s to be dealing with this to the extent that we were almost never able to have sex normally (though he tried his best to please me in other ways). Finally he went to a doctor, got on blood pressure medication, and that improved things a little bit. He was able to maintain longer, to finish most of the time, and the sex, when it happened, was very good. He always told me how much he wanted me, how attracted to me he was, that he thought I was gorgeous, and that I wasn't the problem. And at the time, I actually looked pretty damn good.

We got engaged and then moved in together. Every other aspect of our relationship seemed great. I wanted to make a life with him. As soon as we moved into our new place, he hurt his back and was out of work for five months. We still had some sex during this time, but not a lot, though I chalked it up to back pain, being depressed about being out of work, and tried not to press the issue. But then he went back to work, even got a new job, and then there was always a new reason: he was stressed, or he was overworked. I've out-earned him for most of our time together, even though he's narrowed the gap recently, so it's not like he was dealing with the pressure of being a breadwinner, and because this was happening before we intertwined our finances, I didn't think it was the reason.

I went through a several month period of low interest in sex, gained some weight--turned out this was due to my birth control, but he didn't seem particularly perturbed by the lack of sex. Once I got off that birth control and my sex drive went back to normal, I started to really feel the lack of physical intimacy. We've been having sex once or twice a month on average. Sometimes it's gone six weeks or longer.

I'd bring it up, let him know how frustrated and neglected I was feeling, and we'd have sex twice or three times in that week, and then things would go back to normal. And of course he always made me feel like crap by starting to berate himself and talking about how he is a failure and can't perform. He seemed to have very little interest (even though he's otherwise very affectionate physically--kissing, cuddling, fondling), and still continued to have issues keeping an erection.

Finally, a couple months ago I confronted him in a big way and insisted he needs to go to the doctor, let him know how hard it has been for me to suppress my desire so much of the time so that he doesn't feel pressured or feel bad. But it has hurt me. It has left me feeling unwanted and made me question whether I want to see the rest of my life seeing sex and affection dwindle from so little into nothing.

He agreed to go to the doctor, reluctantly and after much pleading from me. Ran lots of tests. His testosterone is normal. Blood pressure is fine with the medication. No autoimmune diseases, no vitamin deficiencies. Nothing. The doctor said that he needs to take better care of his body and exercise more and that will address the fatigue and other symptoms. So there were no more excuses left, no more things to blame it on. The remaining choices were to start exercising (he's very sedentary but not really overweight) and see if it helps or try something like viagra or cialis.

Well... it's been a few weeks since that last doctor's visit. We've attempted sex a few times, and it's been disappointing. And I don't know what to do. He knows I've felt miserable and that sex is an important part of the relationship to me, indispensable. He says he wants to meet my needs and that he loves having sex with me, but he's not doing anything different. He's still eating junk. He's not exercising. He won't entertain the idea of trying to pill just to see if it will even work. And it feels like we're back to square one.

It's gotten to the point where I keep thinking about the amazing sex life I had with my ex and missing it. I find myself increasingly irritated with my husband's faults, and even though I don't say anything, rather than wanting to be supportive and understanding when he is down, I am starting to see him as weaker and less of a man. I'm sexually frustrated and feel totally undesirable despite making an effort to look good for him. I feel my willingness to have a physical relationship eroding out of resentment and am starting to fake enjoyment during sex, hoping that if I put on more of a show it'll help him cross the finish line.

I don't know what to do or how else to discuss it with him. When I suggested counseling, he got resentful about that and once again went the "I can't perform" and "I'm a failure" route, and while I'm left to console him and his pride, my feelings and needs remain untended, and every day, despite him being caring and wonderful in so many ways, I am feeling increasingly lonely and removed from my marriage.

Help.
 

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I'd be doing more digging with the doctor. When you say there's no more excuses, I don't quite agree, as a man in his 30's shouldn't have prolonged erectile dysfunction unless there was a medical or mental issue.

You say you've been having sex once to twice a month and have gone six weeks at a time without. Has it been like this since the beginning?

At the point you are at, things are getting really worrisome. You are thinking about an ex-lover with envy, he's shutting down and labelling himself as a loser, and neither of you is actually 'tryiong.' Rather, it now seems to be a situation where you demand or nag him into some sort of effort, which he does half-heartedly, such as a doctors visit.

I'd at least post-pone any marriage plans until you get this resolved. If you are thinking about another man (whether you plan to pursue him or not) that's not a good omen for how your happiness will be in the marriage.

He also needs to focus on what he can do (weight loss, physical fitness, more doctors visits, etc.) and you need to back off a bit in regards to the pressure. No one really puts their best foot forward to fix an issue if they are forced to deal with it by someone else. It needs to come from within. Hopefully post-poning the wedding will be a shock to the system.

Fianlly, you say that he shouldn't have to worry about being the breadwinner. While I commend you for being progressive thinking and not traditional in relation to where finances come from in a household, not all men share that mentality and in fact some take a great deal of pride in being able to support their family. Have you actually asked him how he feels about earning less than you and if he'd like to be able to be the 'breadwinner'?
 

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There are not that many marriage problems that can be solved by taking a pill. But this is one. If he won't even do that then I would say he doesn't deserve you.

What he really needs to start a comprehensive action plan that includes:

1) New diet and exersize regimen to boost his drive and overall health.
2) Practice masturbating to learn to get and keep an erection, and to increase his frequency. Include kegel exercises.
3) Use viagra with you to help repair his confidence.

But those are all things he has to do. So, next time he whines about being a failure, tell him he has not yet earned the right to call himself a failure. He's just apathetic. Which is much worse. It's one thing to try at something and fail, but quite another to watch your marriage go down the tubes when something relatively simple could be done to save it.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
@Kingsfan

We've already been married two years, and I mentioned in my post that it has been like this more or less for all of our marriage. The first year we spent together, we had a little more sex, but still not as much as I would have liked.

He says he knows what he needs to do but he just won't do it, and I'm sick of trying to push him to exercise and eat better. I've done that. And I'm always the one leading the charge and the moment my motivation wanes, that's when he stops too, and he won't pick up unless I do.

I'm just tired. I'm tired of trying to make him healthier, trying to make him care about sex more, and trying to initiate and take the pressure of him.

He doesn't like not being the breadwinner, but he makes much more now than when we first met, and we were having slightly more sex then. He's also the first to say that in his industry he's never going to make any money so I'll always out-earn him. It's not something he's happy about, but not particularly motivated to change it either. I don't know how to make him want to change these things. I can't want it for him.


@east2west

Thank you for giving me a good response for the next time he calls himself a failure. You're right. You can only fail if you've tried.

What he does is try to bring up all the things he does for me (he's caring and supportive and helps around the house and all that), but letting the dog out at 2 in the morning is not the same as showing some desire for your wife who is feeling neglected and increasingly disconnected from you.

We're like very affectionate roommates.
 

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What is keeping you in the relationship?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I love him. He's an incredible partner in other ways. We laugh together, want the same things (mostly), speak the same language. If he weren't my husband, he'd probably be my BFF, but I never used to look at him that way and it scares me.

On the rare occasion that sex happens and when he's feeling confident, it's really freaking good.

I want the spark that was there before it got distinguished by discouragement. I don't want to concede that after two years there's nothing that can be done to make this better. 5 or 10 years that'd be a different story. I'm not ready to write him off.
 

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You mention confidence. Is it a confidence issue for him in your opinion? If so, where does the confidence come from? Is it based on his sexual prowess, or more based on his body image or something else?

Have you discussed a sex schedule, or maybe a target frequency to shoot for? Maybe try agreeing to what your current frequency is and then going up slightly from there for a bit. For example if you are having sex once every two weeks, try once every ten days. It's not what you want I know, but it would be one more time a month roughly than what you get now and maybe after a few months or so you could discuss upping it a bit more.
 

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You have a good relationship with your husband. Don't let your thoughts go elsewhere. Work on your sex life without giving up. You must change tack. What you've done so far hasn't worked. You mentioned that he knows what he must do. What is that? If he hasn't tried Viagra or Cialis then he needs to be encouraged to use them now that his health is in order. If he's not trying these on purpose, delve into a discussion on why. Go to the doctor together and discuss the issue.
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Discussion Starter #9
Maybe an incremental schedule is not a bad idea.

He does have some confidence issues. He is out of shape, yes, but he is actually very good looking, great smile, great dancer.

I've always told him how good he looks, encouraged him to dress well and not cover his body in baggy clothes, always tell him he's a great lover and let him know I enjoy the things he does.

But he tells me he's always been like this. Still, for a guy in his 20s and early 30s, it makes no sense that his equipment would be so unreliable.

And in reference to east2west's comment, I thought that trying a pill would take some of the pressure off and boost his confidence a bit when he's not worried about performing, but I think taking something sounds too much like admitting defeat to him. He's much better at denial. I'm just running out of willingness to keep nudging him. Once I lose interest in trying, I know that will be the beginning of the end.
 

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While I am fully prepared at some point in my life to 'take a pill' I will likely not view it as a boost to my confience. I don't a guy who breaks his leg views crutches as a boost to his confidence either.
 

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While I am fully prepared at some point in my life to 'take a pill' I will likely not view it as a boost to my confience. I don't a guy who breaks his leg views crutches as a boost to his confidence either.
While I agree to an extent. If I had ED problem and a wife that was more then willing to let me try it. I would go for it. The OP seems to got something good together with her husband. She admits its awesome when its on.

So why not have a pill to boost the frequency of love and inject some excitement/joy back into the marriage? Its not giving up. But then again, I've dealt with many "outside the norm" physical issues. If I could talk a single pill to solve a physical problem AND get intimacy with my wife? Well that's a win/win.
 

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To the OP. Dont give up. I know its been two years. But if he gives you so much of everything else. Try and inject some romance back into the relationship.

Work on filling each other loves tanks. Then approach the topic again.
 

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While I agree to an extent. If I had ED problem and a wife that was more then willing to let me try it. I would go for it. The OP seems to got something good together with her husband. She admits its awesome when its on.

So why not have a pill to boost the frequency of love and inject some excitement/joy back into the marriage? Its not giving up. But then again, I've dealt with many "outside the norm" physical issues. If I could talk a single pill to solve a physical problem AND get intimacy with my wife? Well that's a win/win.
I don't disagree with you, but that's not my point. The OP asked about confidence regarding the pill and I said that while I would be willing to take the pill, I know as a man it wouldn't give me 'confidence' in my abilities while doing so.
 

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I understand where you are coming from. :)
 

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Update:

I approached my husband about trying a pill, calmly, and before getting into a frustrating conversation.

I told him all I want to do is try to see if it works, and whether without worrying about performance he might be able to enjoy himself more and less likely to hold back. So he said yes and got a prescription for Cialis.

We'll see if it will help take him out of his own head and back into our bed.
 

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Update:

I approached my husband about trying a pill, calmly, and before getting into a frustrating conversation.

I told him all I want to do is try to see if it works, and whether without worrying about performance he might be able to enjoy himself more and less likely to hold back. So he said yes and got a prescription for Cialis.

We'll see if it will help take him out of his own head and back into our bed.
Good for you. It sounds like progress. However, one word of caution. If he takes a single dose and things do not go all that well, don't let him give up. Sometimes the dosage needs to be adjusted a bit and I have read some cases where one medicine may not work but another does. All of these types of medicines work using the same biological mechanisms (in theory) but there is no telling how an individual body may react all the time. Don't feel crushed if it doesn't work the first time.
 

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A brief update:

So he took the first pill (Cialis) on Friday night. We had already made plans for a lovely date night to go out to dinner, and had a lovely, relaxing time.

When we got home, I initiated, and things went well. They went super well. The sex was incredible. We both went to bed relaxed and happy.

He had actually gotten some really lousy news at work earlier in the day and the fact that this didn't become an excuse for him to give up on romantic time is monumental.

I initiated the next morning and he didn't brush me off with the usual "I am not wired to do this more than once in 24 hours." He had some trouble maintaining but made sure I orgasmed, and within an hour he was willing to try again, this time successfully. This was also a big change.

He actually said he was sorry that he waited so long to do something about the situation and we both agreed that the sex was much better when he was present the whole time, rather than stuck in his own head. He did say that when he wasn't worried about his performance he didn't feel like he had to hold back or discourage sex.

Big leap forward. He is still not crazy about the idea about having to take pills for an extended period of time, and he worries that now if he doesn't deliver often enough, I'll leave.

I'm trying to let him know that while it was really painful to be rebuffed and ignored repeatedly, all I need to see from him is that he is committed to staying open with me and working on things. He said he could do that.

Had great sex again on Sunday. I initiated again, but for now I'll take that. And three days in a row--can't remember the last time that's happened.

So... things look promising. He doesn't want to always have to take Cialis, but I think he liked the results when he took it. I think he liked not worrying about whether he was going to last and it seems like the increased physical intimacy also brought us closer together (which I've been dying for) and some of the conversations that we've struggled with got a little bit easier. I feel like we're a little more aligned now and at least walking in the same direction.
 
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