Love and Relationships

[Two Pronged] I want sex with my husband, but he uses ‘getting older’ as an excuse not to

Margarita Holmes, Jeremy Baer

This is AI generated summarization, which may have errors. For context, always refer to the full article.

[Two Pronged] I want sex with my husband, but he uses ‘getting older’ as an excuse not to

David Castuciano/Rappler

'That’s what happens when people age, Mommy, sex diminishes,' the husband says

Rappler’s Life and Style section runs an advice column by couple Jeremy Baer and clinical psychologist Dr. Margarita Holmes.

Jeremy has a master’s degree in law from Oxford University. A banker of 37 years who worked in three continents, he has been training with Dr. Holmes for the last 10 years as co-lecturer and, occasionally, as co-therapist, especially with clients whose financial concerns intrude into their daily lives.

Together, they have written two books: Love Triangles: Understanding the Macho-Mistress Mentality and Imported Love: Filipino-Foreign Liaisons.

Dear Dr Holmes and Mr Baer:

I am 53, married 27 years, with two adult children. I retired when the pandemic hit. My husband “Jim,” also 53, is still gainfully employed.

Before the pandemic, our sex life was okay: not frequent, (2-3x a month) but mutually satisfying. If Jim felt like it, he would sweetly tell me that I be prepared for the night.

In 2020 everything changed. Between 2020-2023, we just had sex seven times, most of which I initiated. I am still desirable; many friends ask me how I keep myself slim, sexy, and even  young.

Jim now has difficulty getting hard. He joked that ED or age is catching up with him. I am menopausal, but after foreplay, I am all soaked up.

When I asked him why we don’t have sex anymore, he just says: “That’s what happens when people age, Mommy, sex diminishes. What matters is that we have each other as company. We are together and happy.”

Even our kisses are now limited, no more lips to lips but just quick cheek smacks. During bedtime, we spend time surfing on our gadgets or watching Netflix. When I try to initiate, he moves his body away, sometimes even gets irritated. Then I turn my back and clam up.

I want to suggest we seek medical help, but he might find it offensive and OA, so I just keep silent. I want to compare my sexual experiences with a best friend but I am shy. I tell myself that all other areas in my marriage are okay, so that should be enough, but I feel sad.  

There are the nagging thoughts. Could he be unfaithful? But I see no clues. My hubby is faithful and God-fearing. He is contented going home, watching TV, and doing his weekly golf rounds.

I feel this issue has affected me personally as a wife. I also feel the need for intimacy. It is a form of expression and marital communication.

Is it true that some maintenance meds affect sexual drive?

There are times I feel lonely and, to be honest, I manage to find some release on my own. Is there a problem with that?

Is this really the way it is now sexually for our age and at this point in our married life? Is there a way we can do something to improve this situation?


Dear J,

Not for the first, or last, time, is this column going to be about communication: the bedrock of any successful partnership, whether romantic or otherwise. Other factors may be equally important, but without communication relationships are often doomed to failure.

Two points stand out in your account of your situation: your husband’s words, “That’s what happens when people age, Mommy,” and your unwillingness to discuss your problem either with your husband or even with a close friend.

Couples with children embrace two roles: they are spouses and parents. The qualities required for these are often antithetical – spouses hopefully share passion, spontaneity, romance, adventure, excitement, etc. while parents are expected to be responsible, dependable, down to earth, teachers, planners, organizers.

A husband who calls his wife “Mommy” in the privacy of their bedroom is not exactly prioritizing her role as lover above that of mother, which is of course entirely consistent with Jim’s apparent lack of interest in sex.

You ask if this is normal and if something can be done. What is important is not to be guided by statistical norms but that you both agree on how to approach sex (as well as the rest of your relationship). Life together inevitably requires merging two individuals lifestyles and compromises of many kinds. To do this satisfactorily, especially when sex is involved, requires communication, understanding, negotiation, and accommodation, so if you are unwilling to broach the issues that disturb you, there is little to no hope of a successful resolution.

As your husband is happy with the current situation, you have a choice: either broach the subject with him (his comments about ED and age are openings) or resign yourself silently to zero sex life except for “self love.”

If your marriage is as solid as you suggest, he should want your happiness and be willing to consider your views, see a urologist, change his meds, or whatever it takes, never forgetting that if all else fails, sex is not restricted to penile vaginal intercourse.

All the best,

Must Read

[Two Pronged] What happens when your sex drives don’t match?

[Two Pronged] What happens when your sex drives don’t match?

Dear J:

Thank you very much for your letter. I agree with Mr. Baer that communication is the key, except I do not agree that your husband is happy with the current situation. Like you, he too must be hurting in many ways: sex doesn’t just stop without reasons, and to get your marriage back on track, these reasons have to be uncovered. NOT primarily because you want sex at all costs, but because whatever it is is keeping you apart.

It has been said that sex is a good barometer for one’s marriage. When sex is good, usually the marriage itself is good. And when sex suddenly disappears, usually it is because an element that used to help make the marriage that good has also disappeared.

I know you are hurt, but please remember that he is hurting too. Like you, I do not know the reason for his pain and/or anger – perhaps he himself cannot articulate it – but as his spouse, AND if you don’t mind trying to re-start the conversation once more (even if it means risking being hurt all over again), this is probably the way to go. That is because, at the moment, you are braver than he is, more willing to face the unknown.

Perhaps you can help bolster him up by making clear you are not complaining about the lack of sex (no blame) but just wondering how the two of you (again no blame) changed from being free and easy with each other, to having so many no-go areas in your relationship.

Many people were devastated by the pandemic because it was a clear reminder of how fragile life is. Might intimations of mortality (or of knowing one can never go back to the way things were) be a reason for his losing his zest for life? Might his trying to come to terms with his aging (which may account for his occasional ED) be a culprit? And/or perhaps it is something more simple – like the meds he is taking for his BP and/or his cholesterol levels and/or his heart – but one can never know unless he sees the right professional and/or you both can talk about it. And the more you can be open with one another, the more you can be intimate with each other, first emotionally, and then physically.

You have to be prepared, however, for the physical part of your relationship to be different from what it was before. That is because, as people change, aspects of the relationship they shared also change. I hope that is not a disappointment to you, but a celebration of how your sexual barometer again accurately depicts the state of your marriage.  

The above, of course, is the happy result of successful communication. But what if the opposite happens? What if he refuses to communicate with you and continues to fob you off (like being “irritated”) no matter how hard you try?  

I would consider leaving him. Because what he continues to do is not cutting you off (only) sexually. He is actually cutting you off emotionally/mentally/psychologically. He is strangling the best parts of your being together to death. No wife deserves that.  

All the best,
MG Holmes


Please send any comments, questions, or requests for advice to

Add a comment

Sort by

There are no comments yet. Add your comment to start the conversation.

Summarize this article with AI

How does this make you feel?

Download the Rappler App!