I have lived with Jeff for nearly seven years. We were both married before and each have two children. Mine live with us, and his live with his ex. Both divorces were caused by our spouses’ infidelities. For the first five years, Jeff was insanely jealous of me, but our sex life was great. We have a lot of other common interests. We experimented in the bedroom in every way, with vibrators, dildos, vacuum cleaners, and even cucumbers and bananas. But his jealousy was getting to be too much, and eventually I left him for a short time.
I came back when I realized how much I love him. But now his attitude toward me has changed. I ask him what’s wrong, and he says he’s grown up. His attitude in the bedroom has changed too. Even though I try everything to turn him on, he doesn’t keep an erection long enough for us to have intercourse. This is really bothering me.
He says it’s his blood pressure medication, but I don’t believe it. I asked him to see his doctor and have it checked out, and he said he did but nothing was wrong. I think there must be something his doctor could give him, but he won’t even tell the man what the problem is. Well, something is obviously wrong. Either it’s physical, or he just doesn’t desire me anymore. Either way, I have to know what the problem is.
Jeff promises me that we’ll start making love more often, but when I try to get him excited, he says I’m a nympho because I want it all the time. He now says there are more important things in life than lovemaking. I’ve tried playing erotic games with him. He used to love stuff like that. Not anymore. Now he says, “Grow up.”
I tried getting him away for the weekend without the kids around. We watched some erotic films, and he had no trouble performing. But when we got home, it was back to nothing again. He seems to have trouble performing at night, and sometimes tries to wake me early in the morning when he wakes up with an erection. But I’m the type that needs a cup of coffee to wake up, and I can’t totally enjoy sex at that hour. I try to go along with it, because if I don’t I know there will be another week gone by that I won’t get any sex. Occasionally when I get really angry about our once a week status, he’ll try to increase it to twice a week. But he’ll throw it back in my face the minute we get into an argument. Now he’s blaming his inability to get it up on my “aggressiveness.”
Sometimes I do think it’s a physical thing. But then, what about his reaction to the erotic films? Then I think it’s me. He tells me how much he loves me. I don’t know what to do, and I’m going out of my mind with sexual frustration.
Editor’s Note: Well, J.A., it’s hard for us to analyze exactly what’s wrong without Jeff’s side of the story. You bring up some interesting evidence, though. For instance, did you know that Jeff may be right about his blood pressure medication? Many of these drugs work to relax blood vessels, and that includes the ones in the penis. Get Jeff to bring his specific problem up with his doctor. There are other drugs his doctor can prescribe. He may not have the same side effects with another drug.
Also, it occurs to us that the high blood pressure and the inability to perform could be linked, rather than cause and effect. Perhaps both are signs of an underlying problem, such as stress. We bring this up because of the evidence that Jeff was back to “normal” when you took your vacation and also because he has trouble getting an erection at night after a stressful day and less trouble in the morning after a relaxing sleep.
You could ask Jeff to discuss the antidepressant trazodone with his physician. Recent studies show an improvement in the ability to get and maintain an erection in heretofore impotent men. There are side effects, however, as one recent episode of a popular television hospital drama showed. One possible side effect of trazodone is a dangerous condition called priapism, in which the man gets an erection that just won’t quit. We’re talking hours of painful erection. But this is only true of a relatively small group of users. Jeff’s doctor will be able to decide what’s best.
In the meantime, why don’t the two of you try a little counseling? It may help relieve Jeff’s stress, and will help you work out any jealous feelings you may have.