A Good Men Project reader submitted this question since he is struggling with an issue that often occurs in relationships. I am responding, with a caveat. Although I am a clinician/social worker/therapist, my answers are not meant to be therapeutic advice. Instead, they are an observation of his concerns and some general guidance.
This is (name removed). I am from Bangladesh. I got married last February. Marriage gives people divine happiness through sex. But for me, sex is a “To-Do” thing. Because I can’t love my wife. I want to love strongly her but the attraction is missing. The reason behind it is I loved a girl before my marriage. I did not break up our relationship. When I first got ready to sex with my wife, I found that she is not like my ex. I started to compare her body with my ex. I could not get an erection that night. It was really a nightmare for me and for my wife as well. I am still unable to get a firm erection and I have totally lost my libido/sex desire. But I had strong libido for my ex-girlfriend before my marriage. I got excited with just the smell of her body. Where has that libido gone? I want to be very happy in my sex life. I found your article today in the Internet heading “When Men Are Not Attracted to Their Partner” and understood that you are the right person who can help me out from this situation. I am very helpless nowadays. I don’t have any communication with my ex for the last 2 months still I can’t love my wife like I did my gf.
Please take my matter seriously and help me out.
Thank you for the courage it took to bare your heart and soul as you asked an important question. I am going to respond with my own questions since relationships are many layered with subtle and obvious nuances to them. I am also not going to assume that I know anything about your culture and the ways in which relationship dynamics are expected to be carried out, so please excuse a bit of treading carefully. My first thought is that divine happiness can come from sex, but also from companionship, trust, and communication. Sex can indeed be transcendent with a partner with whom there is a connection.
I also believe that it is more than what goes on below the belly button. For many people, sex is about the process of ‘get it on, get it up, get it in, get it off, get it out,’ but it need not be so. It can also be about tenderness and touching heart to heart, breathing together, making eye contact, being playful, showing appreciation for the other person. That leads to closeness and intimacy. As adults, many of us have had multiple lovers/partners. Each one is unique in body, mind, and spirit. Comparing one to another leads to disappointment and pain. What if you could see the beauty in your wife, as different as it might be from your former partner? What can you do to honor your wife’s unique being?
You mention that leaving the relationship was not your choice. Are you still hurting from that experience? Do you feel you were ready to love again? Does your wife know how you feel? Wondering what drew you to her initially? Can you still feel that initial attraction? In what areas do you feel compatible with her?
I encourage you to look within and ask what it is that you desire in your marriage. You both deserve the best you can each offer.
Wishing you healing in this matter.
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