Viagra not necessarily the answer


Most men who lose interest in sex are very embarrassed about it. They may try to tell themselves - and their partner - that it's normal to stop wanting to make love when you're 35 - or whatever milestone they've passed. That's rubbish - there are plenty of sexually active pensioners.


Or they say their partner is a sex maniac, though all she (or he) is wanting is to make love once or twice a week maybe - hardly wild. Or they say they've too many problems at work - which may be part of the reason but it doesn't mean that nothing can be done about it.


Or they try to put the blame on their partner - they say that she's too fat to turn them on, or doesn't make love well enough - when in fact they are just looking for someone to blame for a loss of interest they sense within themselves.


None of this is surprising when you remember how devastating it is for a man to lose interest in sex. Right from when he was young he will have heard men swapping banter about how randy they are. He fears he's not a proper man if he doesn't feel like sex.


If you're going to get past this barrier you're both going to have to overcome your own insecurities and confide in one another.


OK, if your relationship is generally poor, you should be getting help from a counsellor rather than just worrying about the sexual element, but if you two generally get on well, take a deep breath, say you love your partner, miss making love and you want the two of you to work together to revive your sex life.


A medical check up would be a good idea. Cutting down on smoking and drinking could also have a dramatic effect, since both affect the blood supply to the bits that matter. Getting regular exercise will help too.


I know some guys have got the impression that Viagra is a cure-all for just about every male sexual problem, or that it can be used as a recreational drug simply to enhance sex even when there is no real problem - except perhaps a bit of boredom.


In fact, Viagra has been designed specifically to help men experiencing physical problems in getting or maintaining an erection. It is not suitable for all men - and can be dangerous in some circumstances - which is why it is only available in this country on prescription.


So-called Viagra available on the Internet often isn't the real thing, or may be formulated in the wrong strength for you.


Viagra isn't the answer when the problem is that a man has just lost interest in sex, has lost his sex drive, when it isn't related to physical difficulty in keeping or maintaining an erection.


And it's important not to try to self-medicate because research has shown that taking Viagra can damage men's fertility by affecting their sperm.


If erection problems are the real issue, I can send you a free leaflet spelling out self-help therapy. If work problems or other worries are a stress factor, my leaflet on Coping with Nervous Stress will help. If it's age-related, the one on Sex in Later Life contains plenty of practical suggestions.


But the problem often isn't physical so much as that the man's not giving his love life the priority it deserves - and needs if it is to survive. He may have a very stressful job but in that case he needs to learn how to relax properly if he's not to harm his health as well as his sex life.


Plan a couple of evenings or afternoons a week you will spend relaxing together - it doesn't have to lead to making love but just being together.


Learn how to give each other a massage - a wonderful way of relaxing but also of getting back in touch with all the marvellous sensations our bodies can give us. It helps rev up the hormones no end. I can send you free leaflets on Massage for Couples and Sex Play and Sensate Focus.


Many men stop wanting to make love because they are cut off from their emotions. They may have come from a family where there was little physical affection shown, perhaps especially towards boys. All this manly stiff-upper-lip stuff is the absolute enemy of a good sex life.


Our partners can't know we love them unless we show them every day. Get into the habit of kissing and cuddling regularly, so that there isn't such a chasm to be crossed for you actually to make love.


The partner of a man who has lost his sex drive can take the lead by showing him lots of physical affection. In fact, she should think carefully whether she has been putting all the responsibility for their sex life on to him, so that it's no wonder he's been finding it a bit much.


It's no good just moaning at a bloke that he doesn't show he fancies you often enough. How often do you show you fancy him? How often do you make a pass?


While men often feel very pressured by a demand that they make love when they are simply not in the mood - as do women of course - most men will respond to a loving caress in the right place, unless there is something very wrong with the relationship in general.


I can send you a free leaflet on How To Revive Sex Drive which spells out self-help sex therapy step by step to discover new and thrilling ways for you to make love.


Some men are affected by their partner having a hysterectomy, either because it brings them too close to fears about ageing or because they are very squeamish about surgery.


Whatever the cause, it is totally unnecessary to relinquish a pleasurable part of your relationship forever, so do book up to see a counsellor.


If you'd like free leaflets on reviving sex drive, saving your sex life, or one on 50 tips to brighten your love life, or any other help from me, just let me know.


Email problems@deardeidre.org. I look forward to hearing from you.



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