When she changed, so did their sex life

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Q: My husband and I have been married for 27 years. In the past 10 years, I've gradually lost my sexual desire. Initially we had an extremely physically passionate relationship. I began to change my sense of myself, and no longer wanted to be seen as just a sex object. (Sex had been our only basis for real communication.) I decided to go back to university, and during this time my husband began a series of affairs, with one becoming rather serious, to the point that I filed for a legal separation two years ago.

He stopped all affairs, realizing that he is "in love with me." Unfortunately, I have absolutely no sexual desire for him or for anyone, but I am fine with this. Our relationship feels good, and we are communicating and doing things together. The only thing missing, from his point of view, is our sex life. We talk about this, and he wishes that I would "be like I once was, sexually" (passive, submissive, needy and into light S&M, verbal degradation), but I no longer hate myself or need this type of sex.

He feels that he has shown me that he really loves me by not having sex (occasionally we do) for going on one and a half years, but he is getting more demanding, and he feels hurt by my lack of interest. I do understand him, and I simply do not know what to do.

A: If he could learn to make love to you and not have degrading sex, then I think you have a chance of staying together. You might need professional help to do this, but I think you could. But if he can't — if he needs to dominate you in order to become aroused — then perhaps you two cannot stay together.

This is a simplistic answer to a complex question, I know, but boiling your problem down to its essentials, there's not much more that I can add without having you in my office.

Q: I just got a new hot tub for my house. What should I use for any protection, for both her and me? Also, the same question about the shower.

A: Since you are asking what you should use, which as a male is pretty much limited to a condom, I have to warn you that there are indications that the heat and chemicals in the hot tub could weaken a condom, making it more likely to break. My advice would be to have foreplay in the tub, but have sex out of it.

As to showers, I think the danger to the condom is less, but the risks of slipping and hurting yourself are greater. If you do have sex in a shower, put down a rubber mat so you are less likely to slip.

Q: I'm 26, my wife is 31. We've been married two years. When we were dating, she was open-minded about sex, would try new things and initiated physical intimacy as often as I did. After we got engaged (about three years ago), things started to change. Sex became a chore for her, and she stopped initiating. Virtually all of the advances I made were swiftly shut down. The last time we had sex was more than six months ago.

I've talked to her repeatedly about this, and she says that she feels "gross, old and unattractive," it's her "time of the month," she's "tired" or, the one that frustrates me most, "I just don't feel like it." As a man with a high sex drive, this is a huge problem. I love her with all my heart, but this is ruining our marriage. What should I do?

A: Perhaps in the beginning she was faking orgasms, and if she's never gotten satisfaction from sex, that could be one possible cause of her attitude. Or else there might have been fights for other reasons, and those have caused her not to feel sexually aroused by you.

The fact is, I can't guess what's going on, as there are too many possibilities. You two have to go for counseling. With the help of a professional therapist, hopefully you can get to the bottom of what's bothering her and can repair your sex life. Good luck.

Q: After a man has a vasectomy, what is getting ejaculated?

A: A vasectomy stops only the fluid from the testicles, which contains the sperm, from being ejaculated. This fluid comprises only 5 percent of the volume of normal semen, so after a vasectomy, 95 percent is still ejaculated. This fluid comes from the seminal vesicles and other glands. This liquid contains sugar, which acts as food for the semen, and other enzymes, which do things like liquify the semen once it enters the woman's vagina.

"Dr. Ruth's Sex After 50" (Quill Driver Books) is Dr. Ruth Westheimer's latest book. Have a question for Dr. Ruth? Write to her in care of this newspaper. You can also find her at http://www.drruth.com.

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