The Other Half of the Bitter Pill (Sort Of…)

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“You gave my husband viagra?!??!” Her voice rose an octave with the last word. She was livid. “No one asked me if I wanted him to have it!” she sputtered.

The Viagra itself was not the issue. It was that she felt she had to engage in intimate acts for which she was now an unwilling participant. Erectile dysfunction had been her savior. Take that away and she was forced to confront her feelings about her partner and her marriage. Only, she did not really want to confront them…

Cue the male side of the equation:

“What is wrong with me? Why won’t she have sex?” Or sometimes, “Do you have a pill to fix her?” Typically this line of questioning comes at me in an angry torrent, more like accusations as if I am partly to blame. Sometimes it really is an honest inquiry. The answer, however, is terribly complex. Most men in the clinical setting do not want to hear the detailed answer. They want the one sentence solution that I do not have.

Don’t we all want the easy way?

Some really amazing, wonderful men (at least from what I can tell) have asked me these questions over the years and it bewilders me. First that their partners are NOT having sex with them and second because they are asking me for advice. 

I am hardly an expert.

Perhaps it is because I am a doctor and a woman, I am supposed to have all of the answers? 

I wish I did.

As women, we all very readily point the finger in the direction of men and scream, “It is your own damn fault!” I have been there. Multiple times. In fact, I have sat in judgement of other people’s relationships when I had no business doing so because my own was so screwed up.

Like most women, my feelings about and interest in sex waxes and wanes. Hormones, locale, work stress, kids… Like most women, all of those things (and more) play a part for me. 

But I am not all women. I do not live in their house. I do not sleep in their bed. What can I tell these men about “fixing” their partners? I rely on anecdotal information gleaned from years of practice (medical and otherwise…) but it is still one sided.

If they were simply better at making love. If they did more chores. If they would grow up. If they would make me feel loved, protected. If they had more ambition. If… If only…

Sometimes that is true. 

Sometimes it is their fault.

Sometimes, however, it is not. 

And if it is not their fault, is it really that their partner has a low sex drive? Would a pill “fix” them? Or is it a symptom of something more sinister? 

Is it that I don’t want sex or is it that I simply do not want sex with this man?

It is this question that eats at us all, men and women alike.

The truth of the matter is that women are rarely honest with men about the real reasons why we are not having sex. “I hate my life with you,” becomes, “I’m too tired.” Men cannot be expected to fix what they do not know. 

The truth is just too painful.

Often I tell men that they need to ask themselves if they really want to know the truth. The truth in this situation, is rarely pretty. Sometimes it is simply easier for everyone to go on ignoring the problem…

As women we hold so much power. We can grow life. We can inspire masterpieces: great works of art and poetry and literature. We can move men to bleed and die for us. 

We forget that we also hold the power to crush a man’s spirit, to destroy another human being.

So, for men who feel abandoned, isolated in their relationships, I say there is hope, if you want hope. But the solution does not come easy. There are tons of things that have been written on this by people much smarter than me, but if you want my humble, very personal take: 

Women. We want to believe that love transcends sex. It is our own personal fairytale. Step one is to make us believe it is true for you, too, even if it is not. This is complicated because you still have to make us feel more beautiful, more valued than anything else on this Earth. For some men expressions of love and worth are communicated through sex. Not all women speak that language. Some men are very good at all of this, but it falls on infertile ground. We are not receptive. If you are not ready to give up, keep trying. Try differently. Try harder. The seed has to eventually land somewhere that it will take root and grow.

If your partner needs for you to do the dishes or laundry or take the kids somewhere, don’t just do it. Anticipate it.

Believe it or not, sex is a very important part of a relationship for many women, despite what we may say or what nonverbal messages we may send. From a female standpoint, I enjoy the intimacy. I enjoy knowing that I have that kind of power over another, that I can bring them to their knees, move them to lose control so completely in spite of stretch marks and saggy boobs. This becomes more important to me as I get older. It is validating. 

But because sex is so intimate, so powerful, we don’t give it out freely. We have to be wooed.

Sex is never a given.

Make love to me with words. With flowers. With your eyes. Show me your strength, your selflessness. Give me tokens of your appreciation. 

Do this faithfully without sway, even when it feels hopeless and futile. Relationships can heal but they do so in their own time, and it cannot be forced.

Bottom line?

We all need hope.

There is always hope.

I wrote this in response to a request as a follow up to my post about female viagra from a few days ago, A Bitter Pill to Swallow. I have struggled with this post mightily. How personal it is, how long it is, is it too preachy or too peppy, does it really even answer the question I was given: What do you do if you have tried everything? So you all tell me. What do you do if you have tried everything? 

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155 thoughts on “The Other Half of the Bitter Pill (Sort Of…)

  1. I don’t think it’s preachy or peppy. I think it provides a great point for some debate, and is professionally presented. What if we both admit that we’d rather go do something together, and sex feels like a lost opportunity to do something else?

    Liked by 3 people

    • I agree with this. I’ll admit between work and kids and everything else, if I’m tired I feel like having sex is just MORE work when I would rather use that time to read or sleep or something. There have definitely been times where I have said, “It’s 1:00 a.m. You should have said something earlier. I’m going to bed.”

      That being said, I feel fortunate to have the outlook I do, which is a dose of “Sex is important and you should do it even if you don’t feel like it” which stops far short of “Thou shalt have sex upon request every time.” I’m also fortunate that 99% of the time I am glad we did it because I enjoy it, too.

      Of course, there are ALWAYS those times where it simply wasn’t a good idea and I’m kicking myself for not saying “no” more emphatically, but then again there’s those times where we just get out of the habit of having sex and it takes effort to reconnect.

      Liked by 4 people

      • Getting out of the habit definitely happens. Sometimes the effort of reconnect seems like too much effort. Like when the house is so dang messy you feel too lost to even know where to start. So you don’t.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. I can’t imagine.The erectile dysfunction had been her escape. Wow. That’s beyond care of the body.
    I don’t think it comes across as preachy or peppy. I think it’s valid. Like so many things, they’re best discussed with the partner in question, and maybe a therapist. Phew!

    Like

  3. When all human efforts have failed? Pray. Or, better yet, pray first. Outward expressions (or a lack of expression) of love overflow from an inside place… But I think you’re right about the acts of love being a good start; sometimes the feelings catch up to the doings. I admire your willingness to tackle these really hard questions. Wish I could speak more cogently on the issue and spur love along… For everyone. But it’s definitely an inside job; and not of the (seemingly) short answer and convenient little pill sort. How do you want to be treated? Treat your mate this way. Tenderly, sacrificially, lovingly, patiently. The sex part tends to take care of itself when those things are the starting place.

    Liked by 6 people

      • For the record, I did not mean to like my own comment. In fact, it seems a little too “preachy and peppy.” Weird how things mean something so rich to you until you see it in sound bytes through someone else’s lens. Now’s prob’ly a good time to stop talking…

        Liked by 2 people

      • No, I thought your comment was good! Putting love and attention into the relationship, looking outside yourself for strength to do so (like praying), and keeping your chin up will do wonders for a relationship. Everyone notices the lack of sex but maybe misses the underlying issues which need to be addressed.

        Liked by 2 people

  4. I think this was very well-worded. I think there’s a lot of things that go into the decision to have sex and it’s not just an easy problem you can “fix”.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. It’s a fair comment for both sides. Honesty is paramount, but because we love our partners we don’t want to hurt them when our tastes, needs, and sexual appetites change. Blame doesn’t come into it, but understanding and acceptance does. It’s all part of growing together in any relationship (well, in my opinion anyway)

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Very thought provoking post, but I’ll keep my thoughts to myself on this one. I will say that things have a way of working out when both partners are well-rested and free of outside stress, and assuming that they each still care about the other.

    And having the kids grow up and move out of the house definitely helps.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Powerfully written Victo – deserving to be Freshly Pressed. I have given this topic a lot of thought and have terminated one long-term (12 years common law) relationship. I don’t know if I have made any headway into understanding it. I will say this: looking to the other person to change your relationship will not work – it has to be yourself who changes. And hence it is knowledge of self that will see a relationship succeed or fail. That is orders of magnitude more difficult than it appears. I think part of the issue is that we have so little knowledge of ourselves and believe that we DO know ourselves – we are fooling ourselves. I know when I terminated my relationship, there were feelings and emotions buried deep that continued to surface for years. The connection that I thought I knew, was so superficial compared to what was actually there, it was mind boggling.

    This ties in well with a number of your previous posts Victo – as if you have been pondering this subconsciously for some time.

    > “Measure your own pulse…” – Know yourself
    > β€œ ‘For the fourth time, I SAID CHICKEN!’ ” – the shortcomings are yours
    > “You go to sleep in one room, then wake up four hours later in a totally different room.” – the surprise that relationships are NOT just two people , they are a completely different level of understanding – a different room entirely
    > “…incensed by the implication that this drug is a step toward sexual equality. ” – where is sexual equality in a relationship?
    > ” ‘Clearly, I have projected my own insecurities onto those spouses.’ ” -speaks for itself
    > “…I did not want more pressure on how I looked.” – is the answer there?
    > ” ‘Let me tell you about my trouble with girls.’ ” – how others perceive you as a female?

    I could continue but it is obvious this question is a big one you have been pondering for some time – and rightfully so for there are apparently only two things in this world : self and all else. And until we can understand how to merge the two we are only a very small part of who we can be. I have found one interesting tidbit of wisdom regarding this and many other issues: Whenever there are two equally valid but apparently contradictory perspectives, there is always a third higher or umbrella concept under which both are true.

    Liked by 4 people

  8. I think you’re brave to tackle this subject at all. There is more to it I’m sure in most cases than just the couple. For example, I heard my parents fight night after night over sex — others have certainly had the same experience. I learned my mother’s warped and fearful perspective on the topic, diametrically opposed to my dad’s perspective (Hello Henry Miller). In my own life I was beaten by my first husband because I didn’t want him (because he beat me?) D. H. Lawrence wrote long ago that men and women have hurt each other sexually so much and for so long that they should just get as far apart as possible until they can sort themselves out. You (out of kindness) don’t mention what is (I think) a sad truth. Men and women BOTH use sex to control their partners. We think automatically of women being sexually manipulative but it isn’t just women. Men do it, too. It’s incredibly complicated, as I said, even beyond the couple. Frankly, I decided that sex within a relationship is just too damned complicated.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. Reblogged this on SassaFrass, The Feisty and commented:
    I think alot of partners forget that you have to work on both sides of any relationship. Women are not always black and white-though a few are. I think she makes a good point that we as women hold the power-to heal and to destroy. I, like Behind The White Coat, need to be wooed. I need these tokens of appreciation and validation to know that I am wanted in a loving capacity in order for me to give myself in that way to have that kind of intimacy with another. It’s nice to be appreciated for all that I do as a woman and a mom.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. We all need hope.
    There is always hope.

    But we must be mindful, as: “But hope would be hope for the wrong thing” (what I can remember of an Eliot line)
    I too have very strong opinions on this, and I must say that your essay is very thoughtfully and well written, not to mention, very restrained. Kudos!
    For women, age, I think, is an important—though not sole—determinant. I really hate that some men think it’s the woman’s obligation to make herself available for sex whenever they want. Everyone has varying degrees of libido. This really hit home when I was in cancer treatment, sitting in the gynecology clinic of the very good hospital I was most fortunate to be an outpatient at. Lots of sick ladies here, young, old, and everywhere in between. And then, here’s this survey we’re given to complete about our sex life: Jesus, this made me so angry. (Sorry, God’s name, but truly, I say to you that I hope it’s not in vain!) Like, “Hello?!! Are you being serious here?!!” There’s a whole industry being made out of this now—for sick women, not only the healthy. It makes me just want to barf. Makes me want to say to these men: you know, my first dog was an unneutered male; he knew how to take care of his needs by his own little self; it’s not bloomin’ rocket science! And/or go for a bloomin’ run, and/or go weed the bloomin’ garden, and/or go spend a couple of awesome hours picking up the litter in the bloomin’ park. Crikey, this makes me really angry, you have no idea. I wish I could be as understanding as you are about it. Big Pharma, stop this crap. Focus on cancer, Alzheimer’s, schizophrenia, MS, Lyme’s . . . Sigh.
    Thanks for hearing me out. That’s why you’re the doctor, my friend. You sound like a darned good one. Keep up the good work.
    –cb

    Liked by 4 people

  11. I got divorced. Couldn’t bear the thought of a lifetime with someone who I never enjoyed that intimacy with…and as the years went by….I got more and more anxious when I thought I “had” to do it, I would start fights etc… just to avoid having to DO IT. I thought there was something wrong with me. Turns out, there was something wrong with US. My 2nd husband, our chemistry is perfect, and I am thankful.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. This part “…feelings about and interest in sex waxes and wanes. Hormones, locale, work stress, kids…” resonates most for me because I am a post-postpartum, bipolar mom of twins (plus) with crazy hormones, medication side effects, sleepless nights and hectic schedules. I am tired, my sex drive is low, and I really don’t have the time for sex. BUT my husband needs sex. He needs it to feel valued. He needs it to feel loved. He needs it because he has the libido of a 14 year old boy. I know that by keeping him fulfilled sexually, he is more likely to keep me fulfilled in ways that I need (you touched on that a bit, love languages). So, as unromantic as it seems, we schedule sex and do our best to keep to it. Since we started doing that way, we both are more satisfied, both sexually and in our relationship. It won’t be this way forever, but for this season of our lives, that’s what works for both of us.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I am grateful that if women had to be given the lower sex drive, that we were also given the ability to fake orgasm. Very useful tool for both parties sometimes. And you are right that sometimes we just suck it up and do it because they need it even if we don’t.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. I think this was beautifully written and you are brave for addressing such complicated issues. You shed light on the importance in understanding differences between men and women, communication, and intimacy, and you also addressed a recently available solution which would only be a natural thing for you to do. Your honesty on it all gets people thinking and discussing – much better than living a lie or repressing feelings, right? I’m sure you helped many people in hopefully taking the first step in addressing this, if it’s become an issue in their lives. Great job – great work – so well written. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 3 people

      • I think that’s perfectly understandable – I would too, but you did, and showed real courage to other people by addressing a topic that gets swept under the rug too often. It’s always a good thing to open up a forum to encourage thought and discussion no matter how sensitive the topic might be. You just had the guts to do it and voice your opinion as well. Thoughtful, tolerant people have an appreciation for that. xo

        Liked by 2 people

  14. Victo, I will be brave enough to answer your question. I no longer try. Try getting a man to show me love outside of the bedroom in the words he speaks, in the actions he takes, how he treats me as a person. When a man does not know how to love a woman outside of the bedroom, I say no. And I mean it. If it were not for the circumstances of my life, I would have walked a long time ago. A man who is so stuck on his own nose, and his own problems and wants everyone to do for him …. I tried to fix, I tried to do, I tried to please. I grew up. And learned to say when you can treat me with respect and know how to love me, yes even like me, then you are welcome to my bed. Until that day, the answer is no. I have adapted. I pour myself into my Life creating Beauty as I go, heal those who come to me for help, make ME happy depending on no one but me to do that, and with Hope held within my Breast that a day shall come, when a man, even though I am no longer young, will “get me” and Love me for who I am inside and outside of the bedroom. Until that day comes, I carry on with Life, creating for ME. All that being said, I can honestly say I am happy with me. I like me. I LOVE ME. If you don’t, no one shall, believe me on that one!
    Mayhaps some of what I have said here, you can apply to your practice when you are asked some tough questions. (((HUGS))) Amy ❀

    Liked by 3 people

  15. I don’t know…. HO would a similar post from a male perspective look like? Of course, we can’t generalize any gender (the Indian passport recognizes three now), but it’s a thought. Do all, or most, or a majority of, men just want sex? no intimacy, no being wooed (seduced?), no hand holding or hugging? Anyway, I’ll stop now, this isn’t an issue where I’ve seen may discussions end happily! πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • You make an excellent point and hopefully I did not make my post out to paint men as the villains in the story, because they are not. I would love for a man to write their perspective on this, it would be a fascinating read. Can I nominate you for that challenge?

      Like

      • Firstly, sorry for the typo, it was “how” obviously not ‘HO’, it’s morning here and I’m still on my first cup of coffee! πŸ™‚
        And no, I don’t think you made men out as the villains in that post, we do moat of the heavy lifting on that job ourselves. πŸ˜€
        I wish I could think straight enough and long enough to do that….I’ll try and if I do, I’ll link back to your blog and we’ll see what comes of it. Sounds ok? Of course, if there’s someone else to take the challenge, I’ll willingly forfeit. πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

      • Not really. You pretty much summed up a major part of the problem and the solution. I do have a lot of questions about marraige and modern life expectancy. I wonder how much of modern relationships between men and women and sex are a result of the roots of this dynamic being developed when life expectancy was much shorter? Is the fact that we so much longer now at odds with a relationship dynamic was only intended to last ten or twenty years at which time one, or both, parties would be deceased? Is it natural to be unhappy or unsatisfied with a partner after a certain number of years and yet to admit this is an indication of a corrupt mind and heart? How do we know if monogamous marriage is ideal for a population that is breaking new ground in living longer and healthier than any other time in history? We have no precedent.
        But I do know the that words are the greatest aphrodesiac. Once I figured that out my quality of life improved immensely.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Mr. Callaghan, you sir point out some interesting things. I agree with you. I always figured women had a lower sex drive in part because they bore the children. Each pregnancy, before modern medicine, was a potential death sentence.

        Liked by 1 person

  16. I have great admiration for your answer. There are SO many reasons ‘why’ sex isn’t happening. And you gave a wide range of them. Your honesty and truthful speakings may very well help someone address this in a way they never thought to before. Well done Doctor.

    Liked by 2 people

  17. You are brave to take this one on, Doc, and you handled it so well. Kudos for that !

    If intimacy is present in a relationship, it can manifest in a lot of different ways. If you survive as a couple, you can deal with the ebb and flow of the physicality of it, because you know it has always come back, and trust that it always will. That knowledge has sustained me/us for over 4 decades now…it seems to work. ❀️

    Liked by 2 people

  18. Very well handled, Doc. with a topic that needs to be dragged into discussion for many people as we age, obviously. With my dear wife Karen, I learn life really is better when I don’t assume I know what she’s thinking all the time. It’s always best to talk about life’s big and small matters.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. I can tell you put a lot of time and thought into this post. It’s a fascinating blend of clinical and personal, and so real! I’m curious about how men feel about women faking orgasms. Do they really not want to know? I guess it depends on the man.

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  21. The other day I had a patient come to pick up Viagra, but refused to say it out loud. When I asked multiple times which medication he was picking up or needed to refill because it wasn’t ready he just stood there with a look on his face. Whereas other men are just so upfront and up in your face about it. It’s weird some people either are taboo about it, or too honest, I guess that’s because intimacy is still a sensitive subject even in a medical perspective.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have male patients who do the same thing with me or my office staff. It is terribly embarrassing for some. I tell them to just tell the staff to tell me that they need that pill we talked about refilled. No names but I know exactly what it is every time. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  22. Desire is a two way street. Men are visual creatures; women visceral. Our seductions are different. If you husband loses interest in you and develops a wandering eye, perhaps you need to take better care of yourself. Lose weight. Put some makeup on. Fix your hair. Don’t just do it. Anticipate it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are actually right that many women give up on themselves and that can have a devastating effect on a relationship. Getting their hair done or nails done or paying for sexy underwear can actually be an act of love. I am going to argue the weight point with you, though. πŸ˜›

      Liked by 1 person

      • You know I’m a big fan of yours and always will be but I don’t like the tone of this at all. You are looking at this from a purely female point of view and placing the entire impetus on men to fix the problem. If you’re going to dole out advice, doctor, take a more universal stance. Really? Do the dishes and I can get a blow job? Call me when you’re done reading 50 Shades.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Did you read about my angst? Did I not acknowledge that I was not sure it answered the question? That as a woman I HAVE to approach this from the female side and that is most certainly one sided? I disclaimered the hell out of it. You want the man’s side? Write it. Please. I beg you. But don’t tell me it is my obligation to fuck you simply because, because I promise you, that does not work.

        Like

      • Perhaps I missed all your disclosures and anxiety because you pushed a button and I only saw what I chose to see. How very male of me.

        I’ve always been able to tell when a woman was fucking me out of a sense of obligation instead of desire. Nothing will kill my erection quicker.

        Liked by 1 person

      • So, you are a man. Men are not the enemy. Neither are women. I never pretend to be able to fix everything for everyone. I cannot. Unless I am your partner. Then. Then I can. πŸ˜‰

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      • We have a common enemy: TIME. Time makes us less desirable to our mates. It increases our girth and makes us sleepy in front of the TV at 9:45. If you’re (and by “you’re”, I mean “we’re”) going to pick on anyone, we should pick on the real son-of-a-bitch in any relationship: TIME.

        Liked by 1 person

  23. There is one vital lesson I learnt during my first long-term relationship. It was simple but required my constant attention. My girlfriend appreciated the effort though.

    Every day I would think of something to make her feel appreciated. It did not matter that it interrupted everything else for me. Her genuine smile was enough to pale the sun, moon and stars.

    After we broke up she asked me why I made such efforts. I could not and cannot explain why. When she smiled all was well…

    Liked by 2 people

  24. Sometimes “TIME” can make a person more desirable. Okay, it’s only been about 4 years since my high school sweetheart found me again after 39 years, but we needed that 39 years to mature, to learn about what real love is about. It would not have worked otherwise. He makes me breakfast every morning, because he’s a morning person, and I’m not. He does the dishes at least much as I do. He is not perfect, but he tries to make me happy. He tells me I am beautiful. Most importantly, he has so much respect for me, and he is so kind and caring (most of the time) that I feel safe with him. In spite of the fact that we have gained a little weight, and have other challenges that come with age, our intimacy (including sex) is more wonderful on a deeper level than I’ve ever had before, because I feel safe and cherished by him.

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  26. A really interesting post, thanks for sharing!.. Girls use sex to have love, boys use love to have sex πŸ˜‰ Talking, exchanging is so paramount. To me, it all comes to learning to understand each other feelings and point of view even if it seems so irritating at first ..

    Liked by 1 person

      • Totally ! Unspoken needs are so very heavy to carry, and again men and women are so different . I got so frustrated of waiting for the right words at the right time that I created my own solution to each little “crisis”, and it works pretty well. I tell my points in a non aggressive way (still work in progress !) and once I m done I tell my husband what to say /do to fix it. I only know what makes me happy, so we save loooots of time and energy! πŸ˜‰
        but sex is another issue. Imagining the husband coming home with a prescription of Viagra is somehow rude and violent to me, unless it’s his wife’s choice too.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I have been privy to more than one woman who has said that their significant other wields those pills in an abusive fashion. Of course that is not always the case but it occurs plenty. I usually have a talk about that as I am writing the prescription….

        Liked by 2 people

      • This is exactly how I would feel too. So great that you can talk about it and explain it . How do your patients usually react? They understand this feeling ?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Asking for Viagra is a tough thing for a man. Asking for Viagra from a lady doc is even harder. Then having to listen to me explain how this is not a substitute for foreplay for their partners, how it should not be wielded as a threat, how they need to communicate with their partner before taking it so they do not waste an expensive pill… I feel for them. I don’t know how much they hear of what I say at that point.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I understand. It must cost them already to ask a woman. Thanks for reframing, living in Thailand and the Philippines has narrowed my perception of men on Viagra. ClichΓ© but true!
        I really appreciate your comments, now I understand far better the issues.

        Like

  27. Mark didn’t have to respond like that. Your tone was great here. I loved this:

    As women we hold so much power. We can grow life. We can inspire masterpieces: great works of art and poetry and literature. We can move men to bleed and die for us.

    The wooing should not stop once we say, “I do” because that movement toward us, the winning us over is something men are wired to do deep inside and women made to respond to. You sunk your teeth into this one. I’m not sure I would’ve had the energy. =)

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Wow. Thank you for your thought, courage and exceptional insight! This, I needed. About 10 years ago, I had someone close to me rant almost that exact thing you mentioned, “How DARE he get a Viagra prescription, when intimacy is so very painful for me?” Being in my early 40’s, I naively advised, “Well, maybe there’s something you can do so it’s not such an issue.” I felt sorry for my aging friend, but also sorry for her husband when she was obviously glad for his dysfunction. That conversation has haunted me for the last 10 years. Was I lacking understanding? Now, it’s my turn. Menopause in all its glory is ravaging my sense of self, as my appearance and stamina deteriorate, I discover my inner oven, and intimacy is quite painful for the first time since childbirth, (but this time without confidence that it’ll get better with time). I’m scared. I’ve weathered almost 30 years of marriage, and aside from those seven challenging years of Clomid and fertility treatments, our physical relationship has been really, really good for the most part. He’s a good man. Considerate, loyal, attractive. We’ve both been fulfilled, but I’ve also not expected magic – I realize sometimes, it’s OK to be “enthusiastic” for his sake without taking myself or the situation too seriously, or demanding a personal 5-star experience every time. There are simply times when the body does not cooperate, and other times it does. I’ve learned the very best aphrodisiac, for me personally, is learning to genuinely take pleasure in his pleasure. It’s like a ramped up version of thoroughly enjoying the zoo if you go with your awestruck 3 yr old, when otherwise you could care less about elephants and walking around in the heat. Yes, an occasional fake. (When he makes an approach, he’s laying himself open, baring his heart AND ego. I can’t take that lightly. Hearts and egos are fragile creatures). But faking climax wasn’t needed nearly as often after I communicated to him that there’s more than one type of satisfaction, and that on those occasions when the body won’t do what the mind tells it to (through NO fault of the partner), it’s still possible to “have fun” in alternate ways, and in just being close. That approach worked all these years, and even better as the years have passed. Now, suddenly, as pain becomes part of my reality, I’m uncertain, afraid. I’m going to have to find a way to weather this Menopause Monster without leaving him somewhere lost in the dust. Life is never dull, is it!?
    So all that to say, THANK YOU for addressing such a sensitive topic, opening dialog and provoking understanding of “the other side”. There may be more of us impacted and grateful for your insight than you could guess.

    Liked by 1 person

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