A Lack of Intimacy

By Annie Lane

February 7, 2020 4 min read

Dear Annie: My boyfriend and I have been together for just over a year and a half. While we were first getting to know each other, he made me aware of his depression, which he is currently on medication for (and has been for about a year now). He also goes to therapy.

One major side effect of his medication is that it's killed his libido. I can count on one hand how many times we've been intimate during 2019.

When we first got together, we had a normal sex life. It wasn't until we moved in together that I picked up on his lack of interest in sex.

I've had many conversations with him about my feelings on this topic and how it affects me as well. While I do not question at all if he loves me, the lack of being physical often makes me feel unattractive. We are, unfortunately, on two different sides of this topic. He feels if I love him, I should be able to hang in there; I feel like if he's as serious about me as he says, he should be mentioning all this to his therapist or perhaps another doctor to try to find a solution.

He won't speak to anyone on the topic as for him it's just "too embarrassing to speak about" to anyone other than me. I often get angry that we do not have sex, but I try not to take it out on him. I'm to the point that I don't even want to talk to him when I'm feeling upset because I feel like my feelings on this subject don't matter.

I'm very familiar with depression, as it runs in my family, and I completely understand that it does affect everyone differently. But I can't help how frustrated I am with not being intimate. I feel I've done everything I can to try to help the situation; I've tried different things to turn him on, such as sending him flirty text messages or greeting him in a special outfit when he gets home from work.

I feel he's the only one who can fix the problem. Even though we are not intimate, I'm always trying to make sure he knows how handsome, sexy and smart I find him. Despite feeling neglected in that way, I don't want him to feel like I'm not attracted to him.

I'm just stuck and don't know how to get my point across anymore. Aside from no bedroom time, our relationship is great. (And before anyone writes in to suggest that his lack of interest is because he's cheating on me, I know for a fact that he is not.) — Feeling Neglected

Dear Feeling Neglected: There's a good reason we call it "intimacy." Sex helps couples bond. That's not simply a romantic notion but a scientific fact: The brain releases the hormone oxytocin during sex, which increases feelings of closeness and trust. Other activities can release oxytocin as well, such as hand-holding, hugs (that are at least 20 seconds long), cuddling and back rubs. You might show affection to your boyfriend in these ways, and ask that he do the same. This can help you foster feelings of intimacy right now.

But the long-term necessary solution, as you have suggested, is for your boyfriend to talk with his doctor. There is absolutely no reason for him to be embarrassed. The doctor will not be shocked, as lack of libido is a common side effect of many antidepressants. He or she can recommend some other medications and rule out other underlying health issues.

"Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie" is out now! Annie Lane's debut book — featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette — is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to [email protected]

Photo credit: StockSnap at Pixabay

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