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National Cervical Cancer Coalition

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PostPosted: Tue May 31, 2011 1:07 pm 
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This Q&A was featured in ASHA's Ask the Expert's forum at ... nships.cfm

I am a male and have been married for more than 20 years. Recently, my relationship with my wife has deteriorated to an extent where there is no physical contact (and no sex!) whatsoever!

I am not the type who looks for different partners. I am currently celibate, as I'm earnestly trying to work on this marriage. I am becoming depressed, though, and do feel the need to have a sexual partner, but my conscience won't allow me to be disloyal! I'm worried that all of this will have an effect on my health.

The World Association for Sexual Health defines sexual health as the "...state of physical, emotional, mental and social well-being related to sexuality; it is not merely the absence of disease, dysfunction or infirmity." This definition applies through the lifespan and encompasses the changes in individuals as well as changes in relationships with their partners. By definition, when these changes are associated with distress, they are unhealthy.

As briefly described, the changes in your marriage as well as in your sexual relationship are causing great distress, at least for you. And, many people find seeking professional help for these types of problems to be overwhelmingly embarrassing. However, this type of help can be effective for both relationship problems and accompanying sexual problems.

Physicians, psychologists, licensed social workers and marriage/family counselors all might be helpful. One resource for locating sexual health professionals in your area is available on the website of the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists .

--J. Dennis Fortenberry, MD, MS
Indiana University School of Medicine

Q&A posted by Fredo

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