Spousal Caregiving and Loss of Sex Drive
Has anyone here had to be a caregiver to your spouse, only to find that you have begun to see him/her as your “patient” instead of object of physical desire? When you have to bathe, help dress, wipe someone’s behind for several years, something can change even if that person begins to get better.
Has nothing to do with lack of love. I’m covenant and not going anywhere. I’m coming through a very difficult, emotionally exhausting several years with a spouse who was in a bad car accident involving a head trauma as well. There are residual effects from the head trauma and spouse, post-injury, can be reckless, overbearing, with an intense personality. Between juggling my job, managing the finances for us and aging in-laws, letting him be “ the man of the house,” and just the overall stress of life, my nerves are shot. And now add menopause to the mix. I have no desire anymore, but I know it’s wrong. I feel guilty and I feel like Im not a good wife. I love him, but the desire thing has gone into hibernation if not died altogether.
I think I may have PTSD, as many family members of people with traumatic brain injuries do. My sex drive is gone now, and though I have never refused him sex in the many years we have been married, I secretly dread it and have no pleasure. He doesn’t want me to use lubricant because it reduces friction for him, and with no foreplay it hurts every time. I actually tore several months ago and have never fully healed. Frankly, during sex, I have cried in the dark more than once. My only relief is that he’d rather have oral anyway and that lets me off the hook quite a bit. Anyway I guess I’m rambling, but I figure there are probably others here who are married to someone with physical and/or mental illness (in my case, both) who, like me, can only talk about their issues under the cloak of anonymity.
I don’t know what to do other than just do the best I can to pretend it’s all normal.
Sorry for being a big baby and thanks for letting me vent. Here you folks are all fired up about married sex and I throw a wet blanket on it with this topic.
Recently I had to do some caregiving for my husband (a very minor stroke (tingling) and “minor” surgery to remove some benign lumps). Honestly, it was tiring and stressful. We talked about the drift away from each other emotionally because of the exhaustion and pain. We asked each other what we needed and what we could do to reverse the drift. For me, it was snuggling and talk (well, our version of after surgery snuggling). 🙂
I also reread your post, Shy, and noticed you were dealing with menopause. There is a product that might help. Restore Vulvar Skin with Julva
I’m glad you are here. We’re not meant to face hard times alone. Elevation mentioned seeing a counselor and that might be a good thing as well. A face-to-face person with training might be able to suggest some practical ways of dealing with all the stresses you are facing.
Welcome. Thanks for sharing.
I’m sorry I am unable to identify with your trying and complex situation. It must feel like it is more than you can bear. May God’s grace be upon you in abundant measure. Also, we can learn from you. Thanks again for joining us and letting us into your life.
I’d urge you to work on communicating with your husband. My wife was in a serious car accident several years ago and deals with debilitating pain most days. It sounds like you may have had to do more for your husband than I had to for my wife, but I can certainly identify with caregiver being a major role and how that can affect your marriage. The thing that has kept us strong through these tough years is communicating with each other. I constantly affirm for my wife that she needs to be honest with me about her limitations, needs, and desires (which is hard for her since she feels guilty for needing things, let alone wanting anything). I also have to be honest with her about how I’m feeling and what my needs are (even when she can’t meet them). Praise God for giving us strength to persevere. There’s been a lot of prayer and there will continue to be until she’s healed—be that on this side of eternity or not.
Thank you for sharing, Violet, and NO, you are NOT a big baby for sharing. There is a real pain in your message. What sort of self-care are you doing for yourself? Have you considered counseling for yourself? By taking care of your emotional needs, you are not being selfish.
P.S.. You are NOT alone in this…we are here to love on you and to be an encouragement.
I am glad you are here and I hope you share whatever is on your heart so that your burden can be shared. I have no words to offer but I am taking you before the throne of grace with confidence, knowing He can provide mercy and grace to help you in your time of need. (Heb. 4:16)
I am glad you are here, and even though I don’t have any real help for you, I can say that you are neither a baby nor a wet blanket. Your needs and feelings are valid and you are not at all unreasonable to want support. I hope you will find that support here! I will join the many others who are already praying for you and trust that God has a perfect plan in mind for you.
“He doesn’t want me to use lubricant because it reduces friction for him, and with no foreplay, it hurts every time. ”
Shy, please do say no to this. His pleasure at your painful expense? No. There is no reason sex should be painful for you. Offer him intercourse with lubrication for you and if he’s unhappy with it, he can go for oral. You may also want to ask for foreplay if you are going to have intercourse. Sexual pleasure is supposed to be for you both. Sexual Responsibility and Sexual Stewardship