‘We haven’t had sex in 15 years despite being married, but I crave intimacy’

File photo: A couple

Dear Coleen, My husband and I have been married for over 20 years. We’re in our late 50s and have two grown-up children. Everything looks perfect from the outside, but we haven’t had sex in over 15 years.

It isn’t me, it’s him. At the start of our relationship, he was quite nervous in bed and struggled to maintain an erection. I was very patient with him, and we managed to have our two sons.

However, after that our sex life just sort of stopped. I was so busy back then bringing up our children that the fact we never had sex was rarely an issue. He’s always been a great husband, and he’s very handy around the house.

When our kids left home his lack of interest in sex continued, and it wasn’t until I was having an honest chat with a friend last year about how she’d gone off sex since hitting menopause that I realised how unusual our situation is.

She said she and her husband have sex a few times a month still, whereas even at the beginning of our marriage my husband and I only ever had sex once every six months if that.

I don’t want to leave him, and our happy home, but I’m only in my 50s and I do want to have sex from time to time. What should I do?

Coleen says

You don’t explain if you ever found out why he had trouble getting erections in the early days of your relationship, or whether there was a reason for his low sex drive. Did you ever see a GP? There could be loads of reasons why he’s not that into sex, and none of them will be aimed at you.

He sounds like a great man and he clearly loves you to bits. But there is clearly something medical or emotional going on, and the good news is there is so much help out there.

The trouble with men is they find it all so embarrassing, but there’s no need to be and I think you need to have an honest chat about this and work out your next steps.

Just communicate how you’re feeling. You don’t have to go in on the negatives, but rather tell him that you’re only in your 50s and that you really love him and want to have a sex life with him. Perhaps suggest going to see your GP together.

You could also start slowly with some intimacy, like hugging, kissing and stroking. It doesn’t have to be all about sex. Just start by holding hands and go from there.

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