Drinking alcohol can cause impotence but that isn't enough to get some men to give drinking up.

Drinking alcohol can cause impotence but that isn’t enough to get some men to give drinking up.

I have been married over 30 years to a man I love dearly. He is a drinker and for many years our sex life has been lacking. He has sought help for his low sex drive and there is no obvious problem but he says no doctor has even mentioned alcohol as a probable cause. As a consequence he refuses to believe there is any connection between the two. Is there any possible way I can change his belief that the two problems are not linked?

What’s the point? You won’t convince him to stop drinking. No doctor is going to guarantee that his impotence will be cured if he stops drinking. And even if one did, your husband isn’t going to believe it. Many men drink regularly after a hard day’s work. Alcohol is a depressant and helps them reduce stress and relax. Over time, the after-work drink becomes a necessity. Of course, they don’t realise that they have gradually drifted into alcohol dependence. Because they need it, they won’t admit it’s a problem. This is called denial and it is an element of any addiction. Being in denial, it is likely that your husband minimised the extent of his drinking to his doctor.

He is also likely to minimise the problems he’s having with impotence. He will drink to escape his feelings of shame and inadequacy.

Why has this become a problem for you now? You say that for many years your sex life has been lacking. It seems that previously you were willing to put up with it.

Maybe you are at a reflective stage in life. You are assessing what is working for you and what needs aren’t being met. Perhaps you’re suffering what some people call empty nest syndrome. After thirty years together, perhaps your children have grown up and left home. In that case, children have absorbed your attention in the past. Now, you are looking to your husband for companionship and attention. But he isn’t really available. He is in the habit of using alcohol to cope and he is not likely to stop now’just because you have suddenly become needy.

You cannot change your husband. He isn’t interested in giving up the drink and it doesn’t sound like he is as worried as you are about your meagre sex life. Impotence cures are readily available, but he hasn’t sought them out. You say you love him dearly. Continue to love him and accept him as he is, a drinker with a low sex drive.

Now with the rest of your time, make a decision to have some fun. Channel your sexual energy into creative new interests. Go to a gym. Learn Latin dancing. Help out at hospital, hospice or a school. Study. Apply for a course or university. Take up art, ceramics or leadlighting. Go horseriding, skating or do water aerobics.

It doesn’t matter what you do as long as it takes energy and you enjoy it. This is the time to focus your attention directly on you. Take responsibility for meeting your needs and don’t expect anyone else to do this for you.

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