You've seen celebrity clinical psychologist Dr. Sherry Blake, author of The Single Married Woman: True Stories of Why Women Feel Alone in Their Marriages keep the Braxton sisters calm on the hit show, Braxton Family Values. Now it's your turn to sit in her chair...
Dear Dr. Sherry,
My boyfriend of 3 years was diagnosed with a blood cancer. It has been a very painful time watching him go through chemotherapy and attending weekly doctors appointments with him. After a successful stem cell transplant, my boyfriend is now in remission but he is on a 2 year plan for a maintenance chemotherapy treatment. He has resumed his pre-cancer diagnosis' lifestyle by traveling for work, going to the gym several times a week, etc. The problem is that now our sex life is non-existent. I have questioned the lack of intimacy and he said that he no longer has the desire for sex because of the toxic chemicals in his body. I love my man and I am grateful that his health is improving, but I am a healthy 47-year-old woman with a healthy sexual appetite. It is a difficult topic for him. I have recommended seeing a specialist but know he won't take any erectile dysfunction pills. I don't want to end my relationship but I also don't think I deserve to be deprived of one of the benefits of being in a healthy and loving relationship. Help!
Health problems can be stressful and quite challenging. It takes a toll on people emotionally as well as physically. The emotional stress is often as devastating as the physical difficulties. It is great that your boyfriend's cancer is in remission. But his illness is definitely impacting your relationship. His explanation for his lack of interest in sex is more likely related to psychological issues than to " toxic chemicals" in his body. I hate to say this, but his excuse is somewhat " Bull Sh--t" and does not tell the whole story. He is avoiding having sex with you for some other reason. The "desire" for sex and sexual intimacy is more an emotional issue while the " ability" to perform is a physical issue. Even if he took the ED pills, it only impacts his ability to function sexually. It does not impact his desire. It seems as if you have been very patient with your boyfriend during this process. You are right, your sex life should not be put on hold indefinitely. I recommend that you have an honest conversation with your boyfriend and share your concerns and feelings. I also highly recommend that you seek couples therapy to process the unspoken issues interfering with your relationship. If he is unwilling to participate in therapy, seek individual therapy for yourself to process your feelings and help decide how long you are willing to have a relationship without sex or intimacy. If you are not clear about your needs and expectations, they will never be met. --Dr. Sherry
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