July 28, 2011 at 3:14 pm , by Jennifer Castoro
When you’re newly married, in love and childless, sex is usually pretty easy to keep at the top of the agenda. But what happens when a romantic slump sets in while you’re still young, mad about each other and have a butt whose size is relatively similar to the one you had when you got hitched? For Angela and Lane, a young couple married for several years who are now dealing with Lane’s disinterest in sex, the problem started a bit too soon.
Angela’s turn She and Lane haven’t successfully had sex in eight months; he usually flat-out shuts down Angela’s advances, and when he doesn’t he can’t keep an erection. They’ve always had amazing chemistry and equally amazing sex, and Lane was always a generous lover. But after one unsuccessful attempt that ended with Lane insisting there was nothing wrong and turning on the TV, they haven’t so much as cuddled. One of Angela’s friends is pregnant, which makes her insanely jealous because she’s dying to start a family, too. She’s terrified that her husband doesn’t find her attractive anymore and tells him so constantly – and she also tells him she refuses to stay in a sexless marriage.
Lane’s turn He feels like a complete failure at absolutely everything – his job, his marriage and his life in general. He’s scared to initiate sex because he’s sure he’ll fail again, and when Angela says it must be because he’s no longer attracted to her, it makes him feel worse. Lane works for the family business and feels like a loser there, too, since he isn’t as successful as his older brother, who’s always been better than Lane at everything. The incident Angela mentions as the start of their problems happened after Lane had just lost a big contract at work and his brother secured one. Then Angela told him their friend was pregnant and he started to think about supporting a family on his own – and freaked out. He’s not sure he’s ready to be a father yet, but it’s a moot point since they can’t have sex anyway. He doesn’t want to lose his wife over this but can’t see how to fix it.
The counselor’s turn The cause of Lane’s erectile dysfunction, or ED, was purely emotional. At work, he was terrified of making a mistake and regretted not pursuing another career. At home, he feared not being able to support his family and was embarrassed about his problems in bed. The counselor started by having Lane write out on paper his successes at work, and he realized he was more than adequate and even equal to his brother. As for parenthood, Lane feared losing his independence just as much as supporting his family, so he and Angela discussed it and promised that they would still travel, spend time together and do the things they loved as individuals after the kids come. Angela also realized she wasn’t quite ready for kids herself but felt compelled after her friends starting having babies, so they agreed to start trying in a few years, which eased Lane’s anxiety. And as for sex, once Angela realized her attractiveness had nothing to do with Lane’s ED, she stopped panicking and taking it personally. They worked to resume non-sexual contact, like massages and cuddling, and gradually resumed their once-active sex life. If it doesn’t happen one night, they don’t make a big deal of it and are able to make it work the next time. Lane is thriving on the job, too, and no longer feels like a failure.
September 14, 2009 at 6:04 pm , by Jennifer Castoro
Aah, men. We love them, we hate them, we use them as pillows and punching bags (not literally, of course) and psychologists all in one. And no matter how baffling their behavior, we always try to figure them out! Analyzing what he meant when he said this and how he looked when he did that can provide hours upon hours of entertainment, can’t it? I’m Jen, your neighborhood relationships blogger. I’ve been in a serious relationship for a few years, and though I’ve promised my wonderful, loving, understanding boyfriend I won’t share too much (hi, honey!), I have to dish at least a little! I’ll also have some guest bloggers that are blissfully wed to get a little married-lady perspective.
Currently on my mind is a rather weighty topic. (Is it too soon to get serious? I hardly know you!) Right now, I live by myself, and my partner lives by himself, and we’ve been thinking about merging the selves under one roof. The discussion started for various reasons, but it mostly came up because we’re ready to really commit. Of course, there are tons of pros (and cons) we’ve been weighing endlessly cheaper rent, more enjoyable grocery-shopping trips and dinners eaten together versus less privacy, more-cramped quarters and having to share a bathroom–but I’m glad we’re really thinking it through before we take the jump.