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Ask Stavroula: My Wife Is Avoiding Sex

The National Herald Archive

Dear Stavroula,

I am 55 years old, married for 25 years to a woman my age that I fell in love with from the first moment I saw her. Although we went through many difficult times in our lives, our relationship was always strong on all levels. We are what they call a "very loving couple" and I feel lucky for that. My problem is that since my wife went into menopause she has not cared at all about the sexual part of our relationship. Every time I try to approach her romantically, she avoids me with various excuses and shows that she is not interested. I have tried many times to have a conversation with her, but just when I raise this issue she becomes aggressive, and accuses me of only thinking about ‘it’, and she closes herself off. I understand that this is a very difficult time for women, but I feel that this is a problem in our relationship I don’t know how to talk to her about so that we can overcome it. On the other hand, when I think that this will be a permanent situation, it brings me down, because our love life is very important to me. I have asked her to talk to a specialist but she also avoids it with a thousand and two excuses. How can I help her find herself again?

Manos

Dear Manos,

Menopause is indeed a very difficult time for women and your partner is lucky that you recognize and understand it.

She is currently struggling with very important changes in her life, first of all hormonal and physical. By themselves they often cause great discomfort, anxiety, or agitation and affect the way a woman now perceives her body. In this phase, the woman easily gains weight, sees her body change, her sexual desire may decrease, and she feels that she is getting older.

As her self-image changes, so does her sexuality. She feels that she is no longer attractive, that she cannot enjoy sex, that she has lost her femininity. And of course, all this does not leave her psyche unaffected. She becomes more irritable, may have panic attacks, or may be depressed.

Many times after a while the menopausal woman can regain her balance and accept the new conditions in her life. But sometimes this is more difficult, and then the help of a specialist is necessary for both the woman and her partner who does not know how to manage the changes. Maybe your case also belongs to this category.

But what is very important in any case is the attitude of the partner. Approaching the problem with respect and love can work wonders.

Maybe your wife is resisting sex because, as is the case with many women, she still can't handle the mourning for the part of herself that has been lost forever. The realization that sexual intercourse no longer offers the same pleasure or even worse, can be painful, brings frustration and perhaps even resignation.

That is why your role is very important, to understand that she is not alone in this change, that you are there and you continue to want and love her through the new conditions of her life. Let her know that it is not the sex you are looking for with her, but her embrace, her caress, her feeling. Take her in your arms and explain that you miss contact with her, not because you want sex but because you miss the physical expression of her love. Talk to her lovingly and show her that you understand how difficult it is for her to adjust to her new life and that you will be there to talk to her and support her. Make her feel safe and confident that despite what is changing, your feelings remain constant and that she will always be the one you are in love with for 25 years. Love is always the best medicine.