"WHY HAS MY WIFE LOST HER APPETITE FOR SEX WITH ME?"

Therapist A is a counsellor with a psychodynamic approach with experience of working with adults and young people .

It sounds as if you are in a lonely place with no one to talk to about your feelings. I can understand that you feel very rejected by your wifeís unwillingness to be involved in a warm loving, uninhibited sexual relationship but it seems, and I may be wrong, that neither of you are listening to the otherís difficult feelings about this relationship but living in sealed off capsules.  

It is very hard in a couple when one person wants something that the other canít or doesnít want to give, whether it is sex or something less significant. You cannot force a sexual relationship and the answer, if there is one, is not simple or one you can find on your own.

You do not say much about how your relationship is in other areas although you do mention that you had counselling for marital problems before which had helped. This perhaps means that given the right setting you could perhaps discuss your difficulties without arguing. 

As we get older, our bodies and their needs change. You have had erectile difficulties and what is happening to your wife may be related to menopause. However, you donít say how for how long you have been experiencing her lack of interest in sex. There could be other reasons too.  I wonder how she feels about living in France, having daughters verging on their teens, getting older or about how you connect in other ways? Maybe your wife senses your anger and frustration. 

Perhaps there needs to be some attempt on both your parts to understand the anxieties of the other. The only way you can help the situation is to open up channels of communication and try to understand what is going on between you. Allow your wife to express what she is feeling and listen without having to put your point of view. Try to focus on the good areas of your relationship. On the whole, for women good sex is very much related to warmth from a partner expressed in other ways and it may just be that your frustration is affecting other times you spend with her. When you tell her how you feel maybe she wants to know she is loved for more than being your sexual partner. I wish you well and hope that you can find a way forward.

Therapist B is a Relate-trained counsellor with experience of working with relationship issues and is an experienced couples counsellor
Hello, I'm sorry to hear that you are unhappy with the way your sex life is working out with your wife, but am immediately struck with something you have written at the beginning of your enquiry. You say that you have been suffering from erectile dysfunction for the last 7-10 years, presumably starting around age 40'ish?Although you are using Viagra to counteract this in a physical/practical way, I wonder if you & your wife were able to talk about the reasons for this more fully at the time?

I'm only guessing here, but maybe your wife felt rejected & questioned her own part in your dysfunction? It may now be a mixture or an accumulation of your wife's own emotional & physical reactions, your different sexual needs, stressful events in the past or even the circumstances involved in your move to France for example -all of which might have caused some sort of stress that is manifesting itself in what sounds like an uncomfortable imbalance in your emotional & sexual relationship.

Quite often couples find it hard to talk about intimate feelings & sometimes there are hidden issues of anxiety, anger, frustration &/or depression for all sorts of reasons which get covered up over the years. You also say that you went to Relate for marital problems which seemed to help & I wonder if you &/or your wife would benefit from some more counselling, either face to face if there is counsellor in your area with whom you both feel comfortable or perhaps it might help you to speak on the phone or by email?

I know it is hard for couples to to start to talk about their sexual & emotional needs but I understand how frustrating this is for you & imagine that it can't be a happy situation for your wife either, as somehow it sounds as though you are having to always ask for sex & she is under pressure to participate when she just doesn't feel like it. This doesn't sound like a very healthy balance for either of you, but perhaps you could put some time aside to talk gently to your wife without any implicit sexual pressure, & ask her if she would be prepared to try & talk about how she is really feeling with a professional counsellor as it is the relationship & marriage that concerns you the most?
It might help to look at the following web sites & share them with your wife if/when she is receptive, but please feel free to write again if it would help you to talk through your own feelings by email/online.

1) Relate offers advice, relationship counselling, sex therapy, workshops, mediation, consultations and support face-to-face, by phone and through this website ...
www.relate.org.uk 

2) loss of libido - also known as or related to libido-, libido reduced, sexual drive reduced, sex drive reduced, libido[low], libido decreased - medical
www.patient.co.uk/leaflets/loss_of_libido.htm 

3)It's become very fashionable to blame our hormones for loss of libido. But is there any evidence that hormones are the real culprits? www.netdoctor.co.uk/womenshealth 

4)While many of us have experienced temporary performance problems in the bedroom, impotence (erectile dysfunction) happens to about one in ten men.
www.netdoctor.co.uk/erectiledysfunction 
Therapist C is a psychoanalytic psychotherapist with experience of working with relationship and many other issues.
I am sorry that you and your wife are having a difficult time. From what you have written, it would seem that you see the problems as being of a sexual nature. However, the sexual manifestations of the difficulties in your marriage could imply that there are complex underlying issues, which may need to be addressed. I am wondering whether what you call your need for sex is actually masking some sort of lack in your life that you are hoping to fill through sex and which may not be something new, as your refer to earlier problems with sex.

There is a certain mechanical tone to the way that you describe your wife and that you write about your sexual relationship that makes me wonder what is going on emotionally and psychologically for you. I do not get a sense of your wife as being another person for you and it makes me wonder how you actually see her and what it is that may prevent you from seeing her as another person. You mention that your wife is fluent in French and that language is not a problem for her. I wonder whether language is a problem for you and if that is the case, whether it is adding to you difficulties. Counselling or psychotherapy may help to address some of the underlying issues that are contributing to the problems in your marriage.