I’ve been in a 32-year marriage with a man. We’ve adopted children together. Lately he’s become impotent. He won’t take any of the meds for erectile dysfunction. I’m still a very, very horny man and wanting sex. I wonder what your advice would be for us. Communication has always been a big part of our relationship, so telling me to discuss this with him won’t be helpful. I’ve done that already. I am considering looking for a sex partner other than my husband, but I don’t want to jeopardize my marriage. And let me know what you think.
OK, here’s what I think. I think a lot of gay men (and straight folks too) stay together in healthy, loving, long-term relationships, even though the relationship (or marriage) is sexless. Most people in these relationships choose domestic tranquility over sexual tension. That sounds like you and your husband, right? And sometimes the partners in these types of relationships give one another permission to pursue the sexual gratification they need and want outside the primary relationship.
That being said, there is certainly a large percentage of gay men (straight folks too) who could not, nor would they want to not stay in a sexless, or one-sided relationship. And so this alternative satellite relationship arrangement would not appeal to them. But this doesn’t sound like you.
The secret here then is to get the permission you need to find what you are looking for before you start the search. I can tell you from my many years of experience that nothing will undermine even a strong, healthy relationship faster than one of the partners launching out on his own looking for satisfaction without asking his partner’s permission to fly solo.
And if you think “flying solo” is only about sex, you are mistaken. Imagine if one person in a relationship unilaterally decided to make a big purchase with communal funds; a purchase so large that it would jeopardize the family’s financial stability. This kind of “flying solo” could easily crash a relationship.
You say that you and your old man are competent in the communication department. Excellent! Because you’re gonna need all those communication skills to broach the subject of sexual independence.
Of course, not to do anything, or settle for the status quo is not an option either. Living without a healthy sexual outlet, even if it can’t be with one’s primary partner will only lead to aggravation and disappointment and that will destabilize even the best of relationships. My experience tells me that the sexually vital partner living in a sexless marriage, like you Keith, will inevitably build up so much frustration that he won’t be able to control it. There will inevitably be an explosion, one that could easily destroy your relationship.
I’ve worked with dozens of couples, like you and your partner. Some develop strategies for fixing the sexual problems that have come between them. These couples choose to work on rebuilding mutual sexual satisfaction into the relationship. And that can happen lots of different ways. Others couples decide that mutuality can never be achieved and thus they choose to amicably end the relationship and move on. But there is always that third way where one partner concedes that he is unable to fulfill his marital duties and thus grants his partner the freedom (within bounds) to follow his dick.
One can only hope that your partner will welcome this discussion. If he refuses to join you in that conversation, he is in the wrong. I can understand not knowing exactly what to say about things that are goin’ south, or even not knowing how best to say what may be on your mind, but to clam up all together, that would be unjust.
Once a couple has identified the problem the next step is learning how to talk about it in an effective yet non-threatening way. This can be tricky, to say the least. But it is still so much easier than trying to avoid the issue all together.
Whatever you do, don’t settle for the path of least resistance. Your leadership might be just the thing your husband is looking for to muster his own strength to face the facts. Either way, the problem you are facing will not go away simply by ignoring it. Disappointments will become resentments and resentments will inevitably lead to acting-out and that will surly fuck things up royally.