A frustrating feature of selling your book on Amazon is that you have no control over which pages it offers in the Look Inside option. Most of what you get is the Introduction and Acknowledgments, but none of the meat of the book.
I knew my marriage was in trouble the night I dressed up in his favorite French maid outfit and he started having passionate thoughts about … french fries. And when I bent over the bed, he gazed at my buns and thought longingly of two all-beef patties with special sauce. It got so bad that his idea of a hot date was adding tabasco sauce to his chili dog.
Nearly any kind of TV was enough of a distraction from sex for him too. A good rerun of Friends would do it … or even a bad one. I remember one night he told me to take a bath, he would be right in … wink wink, nudge nudge … 45 minutes later, shriveled and shivering, I squelched soggily into the living room to find him engrossed in an infomercial for vacuum cleaners. Something about that self-adjusting cleaner head with the powerful motorized brush had him completely enthralled. “Oh, sorry,” he said. “I lost track of time.”
That was … strange. I felt a tiny chill run down my spine. Just that slightest hint that something was off although I wasn’t sure what. What I didn’t know at the time was that this night would mark the beginning of a long and difficult chapter in our marriage.
It was like one day I just looked up and realized that my husband’s sex drive was AWOL and without realizing it, we had turned into roommates. While he was still warm and loving with me, he simply didn’t seem physically attracted to me in the same way he used to be. Night after night, he was content to snuggle with me on the sofa instead of taking me in the bedroom and tossing me down on the bed. I had never signed up to be roommates!
Looking for Clues
If this is going on in your marriage, you are probably just as confused as I was. It’s kind of like you have your own personal version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers going on and you’re wondering who took your real husband and left behind this hollow shell of a man. He’s definitely not the same guy you married. You want to say … whoever stole my husband, would you please give him back?
You can see that he’s struggling, but you don’t know how to help. He drudges through his day, just trying to put one foot in front of the other. You’re torn between compassion and the desire to wring his neck! Because my gosh, the way he shuffles and sighs and constantly falls asleep in front of the TV is driving you nuts! You’re tempted to check his pulse once in a while just to make sure he’s still alive.
And sex? Well, his sex drive seems to be missing in action. It shows up once in a while if the planets align in just the right way but that guy who couldn’t wait to pounce on you is nowhere to be seen. Where did he go? It’s a mystery.
Maybe you’re wondering if he’s found someone else. But then again, where would he find the energy? You’ve wondered if he’s gay, but that doesn’t fit either. Alternative life styles take a lot of effort, and he isn’t motivated to do much of anything lately. Or maybe he simply doesn’t find you attractive anymore. There have been a few times where he seemed up for sex, but his equipment …wasn’t. Ouch. That killed the deal … for both of you. You lie in bed at night listening to him breathe, wanting to shake the answers out of him.
So you’ve got this mystery on your hands that you can’t figure out, with you and your husband reluctantly playing the lead roles. You’ve talked to your husband about what’s going on, but he doesn’t have any answers; heck, he doesn’t even seem to recognize that there’s a problem. “I’m just tired, honey.”
He says it’s normal for couples to stop having sex after they’ve been married as long as you have. You see it as this huge red flag that something is wrong; he sees it as a normal passage of life. You wonder which of you is right. You’ve started questioning whether there’s something wrong with you that you miss sex so much. He acts like he’s a dinosaur while you feel young and vibrant.
Marriage Is a Sexual Union
|A marriage without sex is like a pool without water.|
But here’s the deal … at its heart, marriage is a sexual union. Without sex, you have a roommate, not a marriage. A marriage without sex is like a pool without water … empty and disappointing. If you’re not getting sex in your marriage, then in a very real sense you are being cheated out of what you signed up for. There was a time when your husband would have been first in line to agree with that statement. What happened to that guy?
No One to Talk To
By this point, you probably feel like you have nowhere to turn. You need his help to solve the mystery, but he simply doesn’t want to talk about it. If your husband is like most men struggling with low desire, he may have reached the point where he gets defensive and irritated any time you bring it up. He tells you that if you would just stop nagging him so much, maybe he would want it more. Oh right, like that’s worked so well for you! It’s just his way of avoiding a topic that makes him feel inadequate. The problem is that if you do talk about not having sex, he doesn’t want sex … and if you don’t talk about not having sex, he doesn’t want sex. Hmmm … where’s the winning combination here?
Okay, you can’t talk to your husband about what’s going on, but you need to talk to someone! Your best friend? Um, no. If she talks about sex at all, it’s to complain that her husband is constantly wanting it, no matter how tired she is. Your mom? Your sister? Could there be a more embarrassing conversation than to admit that your husband has lost interest in you? Nope, there’s no help there.
Maybe you’ve thought about making a doctor appointment for him, but what kind of doctor should it be and what would you say? “My husband is tired all the time and would rather have Cheetos than have me.” You flinch when you think about having that particular conversation. You’re not sure how you would get your husband to go to the doctor anyway, when he doesn’t even admit there’s a problem. You just don’t know what else to do.
You probably feel fairly discouraged right about now, but hang on because there’s help to be had. If your guy would rather bury his face in a box of glazed donuts than between your breasts, then keep reading; this book is for you.
Identifying the Culprit
|A man’s sex drive doesn’t simply disappear for no reason.|
Here’s the thing you need to understand. A man’s libido doesn’t disappear for no reason. I’ll pause to let that sink in. A man’s libido doesn’t disappear for no reason. I know, I just used a double negative. Meaning that there is a reason for the change in his sex drive. Even though you don’t yet know what it is, there is an underlying cause for his missing libido. While you may feel powerless at this point to solve the mystery, you actually have a vital role to play in finding the answers and fixing the problem.
So what could it be? What’s causing his sex drive and energy to tank? You’ve taken stock of the situation and ruled out the more obvious culprits; he’s not having an affair, he’s not gay, he doesn’t seem to be depressed, and he’s not addicted to porn. What’s left?
Well, it’s possible that what you’re dealing with is a hormonal problem called low testosterone. That sounds all sinister and scary, but low testosterone is actually fairly simple to treat. Of all the things that can affect energy and sex drive, low testosterone is by far one of the most common, and compared to an affair, et al., it’s also the easiest to deal with.
|Low T is surprisingly common.|
In fact, low T is surprisingly common; in one study of 1475 men with a mean age of 47.3, 24% of the men had low testosterone levels (defined as less than 300ng/dL). Testosterone levels decline with age, so low T becomes increasingly more prevalent as men get older. While not all men with low T levels experience symptoms, for a sizable number of them low T is a libido killer. When those testosterone levels go down, sex drive quickly follows.
You’re Not Crazy
When you’re in the dark years of low testosterone, it’s easy to forget what things used to be like for you and your husband. You start questioning whether your memories of how things used to be are even accurate. You start feeling like things have always been this way and always will be … especially if your husband is living in denial, and tells you that it’s normal for couples to stop being intimate after they’ve been married a while.
He’ll say things like, “Honey, we’re not 26 anymore. Every guy I know is tired all the time and no one I know who’s been married for this many years has all that much sex.” And you start thinking, “Maybe he’s right. Maybe I’m the one who’s being unreasonable. But if he’s right, then why am I so miserable?”
Memories of encounters we had from earlier in our marriage are what sustained me during the darkest times when my husband was deep in the low T fog. When I was ready to give up on my marriage, my memories gave me hope. I knew that somewhere behind that tired, run-down, passionless façade, was the bold, sexy, sensual man I had married. I knew that things could be different for us. At times, that hope was the only thing that kept me going.
What I want you to do is to pull up a memory from when your husband was sexy, confident and vibrant, and I want you to hold on to that when things get bad. That guy is still there. He’s hiding under all the low T layers, but he’s there. The trick is finding him again.
Round-Up of Symptoms
Okay, let’s put it all together. While your frustrated nights are probably what drove you here, they’re not the only problem. Guys with low testosterone levels usually have a boatload of other things going on; low energy, lack of motivation, trouble concentrating and remembering, weight gain and muscle loss, and problems with erections. They simply seem to lose their zest for life. I’ve included a Low T quiz at the end of the chapter so you can check to see whether your husband has any low T symptoms.
Adam experienced low T as a flatlining:
“I just feel gray all the time. I don’t get excited about things the way I used to. I go to work, I come home, I watch TV, and I go to bed. Every day is the same. Nothing seems worth a lot of effort anymore.”
–Adam, Investment Analyst, 39
For Jeff, it was the fatigue that got to him:
“When I was low T, my energy was low; I woke up late, ran out of energy early and couldn’t focus easily. I was able to get through my day and get my work done, but it took all I had. There was no extra capacity for thinking ahead or making plans. The bedroom was actually the last place I saw symptoms. The mental fog and afternoon fatigue came much earlier.
–Jeff, 43, Sales Manager
Unique Man – Unique Symptoms
|Low T creeps up gradually and subtly, unnoticed at first by either partner.|
It’s important to note that not every man reacts to low T in the same way. I’ve worked with guys whose libido stayed high even while energy and concentration took a nosedive. Some guys who start out with a high sex drive may go from wanting sex seven times a week to only wanting it three times a week. Or a guy may go from initiating frequently to waiting until his wife initiates. Another guy may not only not initiate, he may actually turn his wife down when she initiates.
Some guys notice an inability to concentrate or a feeling of depression first, while others notice a lack of energy. I’ve worked with guys at 200ng/dL who could barely get out of bed; I’ve also worked with guys who were quite functional at the same level. It simply depends on the individual man.
Mike had no idea how low testosterone had impacted him until after he started T therapy.
“I didn’t realize how much low T was affecting me until I increased my levels. Now I can look back and see how many areas of my life were impacted, but if you had asked me at the time, I would have told you that I felt fine. I feel alive again.”
—Mike, 53, Compensation Manager
Low testosterone affects multiple areas of a man’s life. Take a look at the questions below and see if they ring a bell.
|The Low T Quiz|
|Have you noticed that his sex drive isn’t as strong as it used to be?
Does your husband seem tired a lot, even though he’s getting plenty of sleep?
Is he less fun; the things he used to love to do are too much bother now? Is he less social than he used to be?
Is he finding it more difficult to concentrate and forgets things more often than he used to?
Is he grumpy, stressed, moody or irritable more often than he used to be?
ðHave you noticed that his morning erections are less frequent or less firm?
Does he lose his erection more often than he used to? Are his erections less firm?
Is he having a tough time losing weight, with a lot of his weight primarily in his mid-section?
Is he having a tough time gaining muscle, even though he’s working out?
Does a lot of this sound familiar? If your husband is dealing with some of these symptoms, the culprit may be low testosterone. So you can put away those sharp implements. It’s not that he’s lazy; it’s not that he doesn’t love you; it’s not that he finds you unattractive. He doesn’t have a girl … or a guy … stashed away somewhere. His hormones are simply messed up.
As one of my low T clients told me, “During the worst of my low T phase, Salma Hayek could have stood in front of me stark naked, and I would have craned my neck around her to see the TV.”
You may be feeling a huge sense of relief right about now at the thought that there’s a medical issue at play. It means that there’s a reason for how he’s acting and that it’s not personal. He doesn’t have some huge dark secret and he’s not trying to hurt you.
What to Expect at This Point
- You and your husband are both confused and frustrated with what’s going on in your marriage.
- You probably find yourself arguing a lot and you likely feel disconnected from each other.
- You’ve talked about the situation so often that he has put up shields and refuses to talk about it anymore.
- Put away the sharp implements; you’re not going to need them. Not until Chapter 10, anyway.
- Realize that you’re not some kind of a freak for wanting a healthy sex life with your husband.
- Understand that there’s a reason for your husband’s missing libido.
- Recognize that low testosterone kills a guy’s sex drive and his ability to live a full life.
- Take the Low T Quiz in this chapter and see if it matches up with what’s going on in your house.