I feel helpless about his impotence.

Poor limp plant.
Photo via Flickr.com; some rights reserved.

I don’t know what happened first — my husband’s erectile dysfunction or the serious problems in our relationship.

He has always put pressure on himself to “perform” (a verb I detest when applied to sex). I enjoy being in bed with the man; there is no need to try so much. (I say “much” because I’m really trying to avoid the word “hard” in this blog post. It’s amazing how often words like hard, big, long and come will occur in writing when you’re writing about penises. Damn it.)

As our marriage went through some lean years, we drifted apart. What little sex we had was often clouded by his here-again-gone-again boner.

During a terrible period in our marriage when I was depressed, in poor health and stressed to the max, he was angry and resentful that I was so withdrawn, and he had a four-year emotional affair that I eventually uncovered. He stopped it instantly and has been remorseful.

After his affair, we got back in the marital bed and enjoyed it. I don’t know why he was able to stay hard then as compared to the years before. Perhaps because he was so glad I didn’t kick him out, or because he secretly enjoyed the pain he had caused me with his affair and felt that I got what I deserved for being depressed and withdrawn, or whether he actually did have sex with the other woman (he claims not …. riiiiiight) and that sex made him feel more desirable. Whatever. It was nice to have not only sex, but satisfying sex, again.

Since then, we’ve once again experienced continental drift, because recovering from infidelity is difficult, and it’s an up-and-down process. He knows I am still traumatized by his years of infidelity, and I think his guilt cripples him. it shows up in our bed.

During my weakest moments, I fear that his inability to maintain an erection these days means he’s once again stepping out and just doesn’t have any energy left over for me. I don’t have any signs this time other than my own insecurities, but I do still deal with the fear.

Or maybe he has lost his desire for me because I’m 54 and fat. (He is too. And I don’t care. I love and want him.) If it’s a visual thing, let’s do it in the dark. Or he can close his eyes. I’m flexible — let’s work this out.

We still try. Thursday morning before work, he was feeling frisky, and it was lovely for me to be desired and petted in bed again. He took a “you first” approach, which was just fine with me. Afterward, I turned my attention to him and did something I’ve always enjoyed: I went down on him. I’m good at it, I love the rush I get from giving him such pleasure, and it really turns me on. From what he was saying and how he was moaning, I could tell he was really getting into it.

His penis, however, did not get the memo.

Completely, totally, undeniably limp. If you’ve ever tried to go down on unresponsive flesh, it’s not only unappealing, it’s damned difficult. And frustrating. And disheartening. It’s difficult not to take it personally, too.

He still tried. I hate it when he grips his limp penis at the base, squeezes it to force a little blood into it for temporary stiffness, and then tries to JAM it in me. It hurts, because he’s trying to leap in there while he can, and it feels desperate and I know from the second he starts that it’s not going to work. I don’t act or speak discouragingly, but it is awful for both of us.

On Thursday morning, he took two horrible, painful hard jabs at me while I was telling him to stop it, goddamn it. Within seconds, he had come on my back and my butt. All without having any sort of erection.

This has happened so often for us. I wanted to just scream. Instead, I rolled over and tried not to take my frustration out on him. He seems to think it was a fine sexual experience.

I don’t know what to do about this. Talking to him about it makes it much, much worse; he will wait a long, long, long time before trying to initiate sex again, and he will be so fearful that it might happen again that he will MAKE it happen again. But not talking about it means he will ALSO wait a while before trying again — like I might forget the last time if he waits a week or two.

UGH. I want an active sex life!

He’s taking pills for this before, but they give him headaches, and it requires advance planning, which he doesn’t do. Or he’s embarrassed to get refills. I’m not sure why this solution hasn’t worked.

I am so discouraged. I want sex with my husband. I need that intimacy. I want that pleasure. We need that bonding. And I don’t know how to approach him about this.

One of the things he has often said was that he feels intimidated by me, with me being strong-willed and bossy. (I was bossy when he met me in college 1979 and in 1994 when he married me. Did he think that was going to change?!) It’s not that I’m not nice — I’m nice in a pretty average kind of way. He’s just weak, and that’s the truth of it. Because I don’t want to be my bossy self on this, I really don’t want to initiate a frank discussion and advise him to check again with his doctor and his mental health therapist or even a sex therapist (one thing we haven’t tried).

HE needs to take care of this. And he isn’t.

I don’t know how to fix this or what to do. Forgive my awful black humor when I say, “I don’t want to be a dick about this.” I just want a more satisfying sex life without making this more difficult for him.

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