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Q. My husband has had little or no interest in sex for years. I've tried lingerie, backrubs, and romantic dinners, but nothing works. Help!
Joyce Dolberg Rowe, L.H.M.C., a psychotherapist in Hull and Quincy, Massachusetts, answers:
A. Every couple goes through periods when one or both partners are too busy or not in the mood. But the sustained lack of interest you mention signals that something is wrong. Some physical conditions can lower libido in men, as can some medications. If you think illness may be a factor, urge your husband to have a complete physical.
Stress can also diminish sexual desire, as can a deep-seated fear of intimacy. An affair can take a spouse's attention away from his partner, too. However, the most common reason men and women avoid lovemaking is unexpressed anger at their partner. Could your husband be upset about something in your marriage? Does he expect things from you that he doesn't feel he's getting? Any hostile or negative feelings he has must be recognized and dealt with before you can find pleasure in lovemaking again. Have a serious talk about the issue, but if you can't communicate, I strongly suggest you see a therapist together.