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Sunday, 25 March 2001

Asexual Attitude

Written by  Marsha Ellentuck

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QDear WholeFamily Counselor,

I am having a real problem with my fiance. We are getting married this summer and I love him with all my heart. Unfortunately, I am not very physically attracted to him. Once we're intimate and actually having sex, I'm totally satisfied by him. However, I never initiate sex and often tell him I'm not in the mood.

I am taking Prozac, which I know can be a real libido problem for women. I think this, coupled with the fact that my fiance is not a real scorcher, have led me to have a barren sex life. He says he understands, but I know it is difficult for him, as it is for me too.

I also had an abortion last year (with his child) since we were both still in college and not yet ready to have a baby. I'm sure this plays a huge role in my asexual attitude. Please let me know what you think.

ADear Feeling Asexual,

It seems from your letter that you are well aware of some of the factors influencing your lack of desire. Prozac can have an effect on people's sex drive. There are substitutes for Prozac that do not have this effect, so you may want to talk about this with your doctor.

You're quite certain that your abortion contributes to your lack of attraction to your fiance. Did you feel this lack of desire before your abortion? If your problems with sexual desire started after the abortion, you might want to examine whether or not you blame him in some way for "getting you into trouble," or perhaps you see it as some form of punishment for enjoying sexual activities. Abortions can be traumatic events without the true effects of the abortion being realized in a conscious way. In order to understand your reaction better, it is of the utmost importance to discuss it with your fiance.

Beginning a marriage with a "barren sex life" does not sound promising. I wonder why you would even consider going through with the marriage knowing that such an important aspect of your relationship is so problematic. Your fiance is always the one who initiates, you "give in" sometimes, but more often you reject his advances.

From my experience with couples in therapy, this scenario does not foretell success. Eventually, the husband feels humiliated by what he sees as a comment on his lack of sexual desirability and a challenge to his self-esteem. The woman feels pressured every time they go to bed and sex usually comes to a near standstill with a lot of tension.

If you are so madly in love with your fiance, what prevents you from wanting him? Could it be that you are protecting yourself from being too vulnerable to him? Sexual desire is a complicated issue. If you are determined to go ahead with the marriage, I would advise going to couple therapy beforehand and addressing the sexual issue directly.


Marsha Ellentuck, MSW

Last modified on Thursday, 12 January 2012 14:12
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Marsha Ellentuck

Marsha Ellentuck

Marsha Ellentuck is a licensed sex therapist as well as a couple and family therapist. She received her master's of social work in 1978 from the University of Pennsylvania. Her work as a community organizer led her into the field of sex education, first with teenagers, later with all different populations, including parents of young children and pensioners. During her training as a couple therapist, Marsha realized the need to combine her sex education knowledge with her therapy skills and continued her training in sex therapy. Marsha Ellentuck works in a wide variety of settings -- a family therapy clinic, a sex therapy clinic as well as in private practice. She also gives lectures and workshops on many different subjects concerning sexuality.

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