How can I control the urge for sex when my partner is not well?

7 answers | Last updated: Jan 13, 2017
A fellow caregiver asked...

How can I control the urge for sex when my partner is not well?

Expert Answers

Kelly Connell is a sexuality educator and consultant with more than 18 years of experience in the field of sexuality. She is the owner of Kelly Connell Consulting, an organization that provides sexuality education and consulting services, and she engages in public speaking and educational programs and writes for various organizations. Connell recognizes that sexuality is an important quality-of-life issue and has provided sexuality education programs to college students and adults, healthcare providers, patient support groups, senior citizen centers, and other organizations and populations.

I am not sure controlling the urge for sex is the answer. Our sex drive ebbs and flows throughout life and is sometimes related to life circumstances. While it is normal for someone to have decreased interest in sex when they are ill, it can be frustrating for both partners. The answer lies in finding ways to express intimacy with your partner that does not necessarily include intercourse. It may be mean just holding each other in bed, massage or any number of non intercourse related activities. Let your partner be your guide about what they feel comfortable with. This can be very important to someone who is ill. You can find release for your sexual needs through masturbation which is a normal, healthy sexual activity and a great option when one partner is not up to sex. You can't force your sex drive to decrease or your urges to go away. I hope this helps.

Community Answers

Wellspouse answered...

I agree with the answer; but I wish it was so easy... It gets frustrating for the well spouse/partner because as a gradual loss of libido by the ill partner continues, the lack of responsiveness and interplay between the two increases.

It is helpful to the well spouse to look for peer support for the feelings they are having about what so often turns out to be a long-term, downhill situation. Just knowing that others are in the same boat at least helps a spousal caregiver to feel they are not alone.

A fellow caregiver answered...

When my husband turned 40 on that day he would not have sex any more. I was 40 also so from then on till now it has been 34 years that I have gone with out any sex but were still together and very happy. Sex is not evey thing when you have a good man.

Wellspouse answered...

Dear Anon:

For some no sex after 40 works, for others, it doesn't. We are all very, very different. I am happy for you that you have found a new normal that works for you and your ill husband... (you didn't say he is ill, but I assume he is.)

Wellspouse answered...

Re the other Anon:

""How can I control the urge for sex when my partner is not well?"

You can but do it for yourself... or as I said above, find a support group for spousal caregivers where you can vent and hear other suggestions... One thing is sure, it ain't easy!

Shulse answered...

My partner currently has cancer. I've found it a struggle to not make love with him. Yet, I go by how well or unwell he's feeling. You can't do any other than that. Please your own body for now. Seeing as it's your body wanting it more, right now.

Kckidder answered...

Pardners of persons with chronic long term debilitating diseases -cancer, alzheimers, other dementias may need to develop relationships and seek sexual relations with others. This is Very input from a counselor or sexual therapist, or minister. There the elephant in the room is gone Linda, Registered Nurse