Questions & Answers :
Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual/Transgendered Department

Please remember, this column is designed to help the consumer seeking behavioral-health information, and not intended to be any form of psychotherapy or a replacement for professional, individualized services. Opinions expressed in the column are those of the columnist and do not represent the position of other SelfhelpMagazine.com staff.

Question

I have a very strange problem. I'm in a long-term relationship (7 years) with a man I love very much. We've had our rough spots, but overall we do very well and our love for each other deepens over time. Here's the strange problem: the last few weeks I've lost interest in sex. I still find him attractive, but just don't seem to be able to translate that into action. This has never happened before and I feel awful. It hurts him because he's afraid I've lost interest in him. I've tried everything I can think of and can't seem to make it work. I'm pretty freaked out. What should I do?

Answer

When something happens that's never been a problem before, it's natural to be upset and imagine the worst. That's why I want to begin by reassuring you there's nothing very unusual about your problem. Many men have occasional periods of impotence. However, few men feel comfortable talking about impotence, so it's easy to feel like you're the only one when it happens to you.

Here's what I suggest you do:

1. Find a good physician and have yourself thoroughly checked out for possible medical causes. There are all kinds of possibilities. For instance, have you started taking any new medications? Impotence is a side effect of some medications.

2. If the impotence is not due to a medical problem, then find a good psychotherapist. Make sure it's someone who is competent to treat the problem and will consider all possible reasons for it. Also, make sure it's someone who will not jump to the conclusion you are not really gay after all.

3. Finally, be gentle with yourself while you look for solutions. Blaming yourself will only make you feel worse and won't solve the problem.

3/14/98


Author and psychologist Gail S. Bernstein, Ph.D. has a psychotherapy practice in Denver, Colorado. Dr. Bernstein speaks and writes about gay, lesbian and bisexual people for both general and professional audiences, and is the author of the new audiotape, NOT HETEROSEXUAL: An Educational Program About Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual People.

 

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