wife no longer wants to have sex...

my wife informed me tonight that she is no longer interested in having sex with me.
i have very significant erectile dysfunction since takedown. i'm the man i was before surgery about 4 times a year and beyond that the surgery has turned me into a two pump chump. if i can get it up at all...
i can understand where my wife is coming from and in a sense im relieved but on the other hand i feel betrayed. i was very agressively pushed into this by her and my surgeon, i had no interest in having the surgery, ever. i could see all the things that are a result of this long before they occured. i told her and my surgeon that i need my independance and this will take it from me which it has. that said...ive made my peace with most of it until my wifes comment tonight.
there is a legitimate part of me that sees this marriage ending slowly and coldly because im not sure i can respect someone who would push me into something like this and then say such a thing. i mean the level of pressure i would feel if i ever attempted to have sex with her again is astronomical.
the relieved part of me thinks im overreacting but both parts of me have no idea how i can stay "happily" married to her now.
i feel like i should be angry but i feel more shut off...

your thoughts?
Original Post
That's horrible Frowner I understand your feelings of betrayal here. This is a very huge issue for any marriage. Now I wonder if you ever tried Viagra or over the counter erectile disfunction aids such as yohimbe extract, avena sativa, L-arginine, saw palmetto, tibulus terrestris, ginseng?
i would consider taking viagra if insurance still covered it but considering its roughly $25 a pill, not a chance.
anything over the counter i dont touch and i dont trust. ive already been blessed with a permanent case of pvc's related to my ibd that limits certain medications that are actually tested by some governing body. no way im gonna risk further problems to my health to something like yohimbine...
i'm more interested in the psychological aspect of what to do in this situation.
i would consider taking viagra if insurance still covered it but considering its roughly $25 a pill, not a chance.

Jeez! I can't freaking blame you for not touching it Frowner or anything else for that matter. I'm sorry to hear about your situation. Hopefully somebody here can help you since I honestly don't know what to tell you now. I'm just sorry they ever talked you into a J Pouch to begin with Frowner
I think it would be very good for you to talk with a therapist about this. I think you need to embrace the fact that your wife didn't actually push you into this. She might have strongly suggested that you have the surgery because your health was horrid, but unless she drugged you and dragged you unconscious into the operating room without your knowledge, you actually chose to have the surgery. No one can make you do want you really don't want to do.

If you have ED and can only perform 4 times per year, it seems like your sex life was nearly non-existant already. It seems like you want to blame your wife for a number of things that really aren't her fault. Yes, she may not want to have sex any longer and that is definitely her choice. But it seems to me that you're harboring some resentment and anger toward her that may not be completely justified. Therapy could help with this. You should see if you can find a therapist who is familiar with chronic illness.

You need to decide whether your marriage is worth working on. If it's not, and you have too much resentment toward your wife, it may be time to move on.

From the female perspective, I find it interesting that all comments so far are purely about having sex and not about underlying causes or cures. Sex is only part of a healthy and loving relationship.

kathy Big Grin
for the record...
i had never experianced ED of any form in my entire life until takedown surgery.
i wasnt that sick, medication wasnt working very well but i was exceptioanlly functional.
this was brought to my attention by my doctor in regard to the medications not working very well and continuously brought up by my wife as the magic pill that will make me "all better" and my doctor sold it right to the end as such.
anyone can claim im displacing or whatever but the fact is you arent given an option to just take steroids until you die, they wont let you. yes, i was told that...
spare me the quit blaming your wife speech!
no one is blaming her but we are all responsible for the things we say and do. you either have a thought as to how better deal with it or you dont.
kathy, thank you for presenting me a wonderful opportunity to clarify...

im mostly interested in what a man would do, at this point i dont need a females perspective, no offense.

married 12 years and overall get along quite well. this is an issue FOR ME whether its an issue for her or not.
I had ED issues right after my takedown, my surgeon said it was due to having to shove all the nerve bundles out of the way to do the jPouch. I was able to get a prescription for Viagra at the time. I think if you ask your doctor, since the ED was caused by a surgery, you may be able to get it covered by insurance.

That doesn't change the fact that your wife has said that to you. As a man (or a woman for that matter, if the man-junk isn't in play) there's lots of things you two can still do to be intimate with each other.

In all honesty, it sounds like she may just be using the ED/surgery as an excuse. I mean if you CAN get it up every once in a while and she still doesn't want sex, that's not an ED problem: that's a marriage problem.

My ED issues lasted about a year, then slowly got better. Now Ye Ole Member is back to it's pre-surgery self.
This was one of the things I was most scared of after surgery. After my 2nd (out of 3) surgeries I thought I was impotent. I didn't have any activity for about 2 and a half weeks and I mean nothing. No morning wood, no sexual thoughts. It was scary because I am only 31 and I'm thinking my sex life is over. Luckily, things slowly turned back to normal with no drugs or viagra type pills. How long has it been since your surgery? I wouldn't throw in the towel yeat because it may just take some practice and theirs nothing wrong with practicing alone if you know what I mean. I try to get a lot of "practice" and believe that has helped. My wife was also very understanding and patient with me so that helps a lot. Sorry you're going through this, I know the feeling and it sucks. Have you thought about going to the doctor? This is a very common problem, even for guys that didn't go through crazy surgeries like us.
In all honesty, it sounds like she may just be using the ED/surgery as an excuse.

I was thinking the same thing, but one thing I should note is that if there is nerve damage, viagra, cialis and levitra is not necessarily going to help with that. Those drugs help/assist blood flow in the penis and if the erectile function is being impacted by nerve damage they will not help cure that although they could still help, since you say you do not have complete ED.

When I first experienced partial ED, which was many years after my surgery at the age of 43, and discussed it with my doctor, he compared erectile functionality to a car engine. He said a lot of different parts of your body interact to produce a smooth, "long acting" erection just like a lot of different auto parts have to operate in concert for your car engine to run smoothly. As we men age, just like when a car ages, things slowly start to break down. So the erection that once could be maintained for 30 minutes of sex in your 30s, now suddenly goes soft after 15 minutes, even though you are still having sex with the same partner and she is just as attractive to you as ever.

My point is that nerve damage could be one component. Age and weight gain could be other components. Not being in great cardiovascular shape could be yet another component. So if you can fix one of the others maybe you can compensate for the nerve damage issue. Or maybe not. I guess it depends on the scope of the damage. From what you are saying it is not complete ED so I am thinking you have a shot at improvement by "tuning" the other parts of that engine.
thanks for the thoughts and perspective.
im 37 and my surgery was 2.5 years ago.
ive spoken to my doctor who told me i should speak to my surgeon, spoke to my surgeon. his response was to inform that if it worked during the loop, which it did then its psychological.
i think there may be something to the excuse part, not sure what it could be though, she has put on a lot of weight but ive never even given her a strange look in regards to it. its not like i find unattractive...
i have spoken to the insurance company in thsi regard and they stand firm in its cost.
i have spoken to my uncle who is a counselor and he told me to take it one day at a time and box the clown to my hearts content, let her worry about it. after all i didnt do anything wrong and dont have anyting to apologize for, you cant control other people.

my intent wasnt to excluse women but if the commentary was going to imply im just shifting blame cause im angry about my disease and im a man...not interested.

i think my uncle nailed it and i believe there is somehting to the excuse theory, thank you.
I don't understand why you wouldn't want a womans perspective in this situation. If I were experiencing this, I certainly would welcome a male perspective. Just my 2 cents. If all else fails, Scott Randall gave you the longest list I've ever seen in terms of drugs for ED. He must be somewhat of an expert.

Good luck with this.
From a strictly medical point of view, if everything was working before your take-down, it should not be surgery related. That is because the potential for trauma or damage to the nerves of sexual function occur during the construction of the j-pouch, when the rectum is dissected. The take-down is pretty superficial, and does not involve that area.

There could be psychological issues going on, as you probably have multiple stresses in your life. Plus, it is not common for ED to begin before age 40, so there definitely could be physical reasons too. Since you have talked to your primary doctor and your surgeon about it, I would think a referral to a urologist is in order. I think it is too early to assume there is no treatment.

Jan Smiler
Best thing to do to address any possible psychological causation of ED is regular exercise and make sure you are eating a proper diet.

I am tending to think, based on everything you have posted, that there are deeper issues in your relationship with your wife than just sex, and that may be causing stress and, resultantly, ED.

As Jan noted it is unusual for ED to rear its ugly head before age 40 and most men I have spoken to had it happen for the 1st time in their mid 40s. My 1st episode was at age 43, shortly after I turned 43.

I would second the recommendation to see a urologist, have your weight and blood pressure checked, etc. If the urologist believes your issues are psychological or stress related, you need to remove the cause of the stress or pick up the exercise level which will really help you deal with it better.
5459, Does your wife have any health issues herself? Maybe she just doesn't feel like having sex at all, and it has nothing to do with you. Just a thought from a womans point of view.
How was she during the time before your surgery, during your illness? Was she there for you? It sounds like you haven't been communicating very well or you wouldn't be so shocked by what she told you. I'm sorry you are hurting and it doesn't sound like you believe counseling can help but isn't it worth a try.
Good luck to you!
i have no weight issues and my blood pressure is also normal, i have no health issues outside of the pvc's which are not a problem unless i consume stimulants or way over exert. i eat as well i can without putting myself through hell digestively and i take all the suggested vitamins.
i often get comments from people about how fit i look for someone who lost their colon to disease. my wife also has no health issues other than being recently over weight but overall her bp is good.
she is a very type a personality who is not overly communicative in reagards to her feelings. she knows this and feels as though it is her personality type and she shouldnt have to be someone she isnt...i agree. she has been very supportive through the entire process but lately im not sure its the same. lately i sense some guilt on her part for pushing me into the surgery.
i dont think the issue is related to anything but sex and fair or unfair sex is what makes a couple, imo.
good sex life, all things being equal means happy marriage, i firmly believe this from what ive seen through my family. i dont think you can replace sex in a marriage with cuddling. what is a man and a woman who share time but dont have sex...just friends. yes, there comes that time when sex is on the back burner but thats usually after years of a healthy sex life.

i have noticed the few times when it works like a champ all involve late late at night when my pouch is completely empty. i personally dont believe this is psychological in spite of what anyone says. i know my unit and it literally hasnt worked the same since literally my takedown surgery. ive yet to understand how any doctor can claim that having stuff in an area that used to be your rectum deosnt interfere with sexual performance, in my case i know it does. that said, even when it has worked it is smaller than it was as well, by almost an inch.

i spoke to my mother and father...no one on either side of my family has had any history of erectile dysfunction or ibd. my grand dads on both sides did it until the months of their death. in fact my dad is 63 and it still works like a machine...gross.

at this point im not sure it matters much...
i dont see myself making much of an effort to only get told its not worth her time because i cant perform the way i used to
I certainly would not presume to try to tell you what the basis of your marriage is. I can only express what mine is based upon. I've been married for 36 years to the same man, and I think no less of him because he has diabetes and erectile dysfunction, although he is still functional. Still, it does not appear to be as severe as yours. My point is that I would not dream of telling him I was not interested in his advances, no matter how seldom it was, or if he was successful. I would love him just the same.

That leads me to the conclusion that perhaps there is more going on here than just this one issue. Unfortunately, chronic illness can take its toll on relationships. I hope you can work things out with her.

Have you seen a urologist about this? It would seem to be the only way to get to the bottom of this issue.

Jan Smiler
It is interesting that the ED was after the take down. You have implied that your pouch does not function well. Have you had a scope since take down to see what it looks like? Is your general energy level good? A poorly functioning pouch can really sap ones energy. I find that my sexual function is directly related to my overall energy level

Did the wife give any rational for her decision? That is a pretty big club, so to speak, to swing at you out of the blue with no reason. Believe me there is a reason, and she needs to level with you.

Just for the hell of it you should try the Viagra type drugs, see if they work. Why? because my guess is your marriage is on shaky grounds. Often you can split the pills sometimes even a quarter of a pill will work. This greatly lessens the cost.
I have to agree with the people who think her statement is part of a larger issue of hers, but I would like to see you follow up with a urologist. Sometimes surgeons and GI's have too narrow a point of view.

Joint therapy might help her discover what that larger issue really is. After almost 30 years of marriage, I do not believe that sex is the glue to a marriage or that a marriage is a failure if there is a break in the couple's sex life. Joint therapy can help clear the air. Rekindling the romance after a bad time can make both the marriage and sex twice as enjoyable as before.

Marriage can be tough. Sometimes it takes a lot of patience and forgiveness to get through the rough times. No matter what I hope things get better for you.
i lost my testicles to a botched vasectomy and needed testosterone for years. as i became sicker with this disease i stopped taking it and at this point i fear starting it back up for a couple reasons. 1st prostate issues and second all those nerves that testosterone gets excited are all wrapped around my new pouch area and if there is one thing i dont need is more activity down there. needless to say we have been sexless for a couple years and we are more in love than ever. sure i feel bad because its my faulty body thats the cause but we cuddle and kiss and adore each other daily. im 52 and shes 41 so of course after my pouch settles i will begin the testosterone again. every single time in the past i had an erection problem it was not mechanical but psychological. you have a tremendous amount of pressure on your brain and if you dont remove/control it you will continue to struggle. take it from a true veteran in the field. when you get your head together you will blow her mind. dont let it become a vicious cycle. i dont do well cause i cant so i cant cause i dont do well. thats no way to live at any level of life. i didnt read the whole thread but do you still have morning erections? if so your body is raring to go when there is no pressure. we as humans think way way too much. we literally stand in our own way of happiness. for the next few weeks let her know that if you approach her its just to hold hands etc, not for sex. get the friendship back. again if this was covered im sorry but i wish you the best...
My reply is going to be short, blunt and to the point. Which is atypical for me, but, here goes.

From all I've read, all I've "not" read (i.e. read between the lines), it sounds to me like there is alot more going on here than meets the eye.

If it were me, I'd get counseling for ME and ME alone, then possibly with her. But it sounds to me like something's going on mentally and psychologically that needs to be addressed in addition to issues within your marriage.

Just my $0.02 Smiler
sex is what makes a couple, imo
In my female opinion, what makes a couple is much more than sex. Perhaps your wife would like to know that being a couple is more than that. Perhaps this is her way of seeing if there is more to your relationship.

From the female perspective and from the perspective from most males that I've discussed this with, sex isn't what makes a partnership.

Again, I think you could greatly benefit from therapy to help you come to grips with the ED, your wife's comment, and to help your relationship.

kathy Big Grin
My pouch it's highly functional, never an issue in any regard, regular check ups.
At this point i'm gin to take it one day at a time a my counselor uncle suggests. Truth be told therapy doesn't interest me and if it did I would go to my uncle.

Morning wood is extremely rare after takedown, once a month maybe.
That also leads me to believe there is nerve damage.
My take at this point is that she isn't much of a communicator and I can't change that...what ever happens will happen and if I hit the wall I'll do my best to take the high road.
I currently have no interest in making advances to someone who isn't buying.
I can say for certain my wife would tell me that we don't need counseling and she has no issues. Yeah, I know...?

Thanks again for taking time to respond.
I guess I am sort of confused in regard to what you want in the way of support or advice. I am clear that counseling is out, and you feel there is some level of neurological damage. A number of us have suggested a urology consult to sort this out, but I haven't seen that you intend to follow up, or am I missing something? We can't fix what is broken in your marriage, but there may be treatment for ED... Just saying, no need to give up prematurely.

Jan Smiler
That also leads me to believe there is nerve damage.

As Jan mentioned earlier, this seems very unlikely if you were highly functional prior to takedown. It's the step 1 that could cause nerve damage, but you said you were A1 after step 1.

You really should see a urologist if there is a chance that this is a physical issue.
if youre not having morning erections it doesnt mean its not psychological but if you did have morning erections that would guarantee it. many of us are severely depressed after all of this and struggling to get back to a chemically balanced body with all the meds and anesthesia etc. a depressed mind/body will pull function from non essential organs to heal more essential organs so relax and give it time. i bet you come back 100 percent. look at me. no testes and no t with a j-pouch and depression and i havent seen morning erections forever but i know its all good and if not viagra is a blast Smiler you say this "sex is what makes a couple, imo" but if your relationship was great and your wife lost the ability to have sex are you really saying youre no longer a couple? if she knows this she is most certainly devastated by it as i would be and im a man...
Thank you Jan, as I was just going to say basically the same thing. 5459, you've received some amazing advice here. Please let us know how you plan to move forward.

Regarding your comment "sex makes a couple"....I think the more accurate statement would be "a great couple, who are truly connected, make for great sex".
my intent is not to disregard any advice...
i am going to get the ball rolling on the urologist visit but as i assume most of you have experianced...that is not a quick process.
i will assuredly need a referral and wait at least 6 weeks probably closer to 12 for an open appt date. i mean this is the same insurance system that made me wait 6 weeks for a colonoscopy after id lost 45 pounds, not fast.
but yes , the heart of the matter is the comment and what the comment implies and doesnt imply. i can say for certain that i would never make such a hurtful comment to her. so no, im in no hurry to resolve this from the sex aspect cause i have no intentions in making any advances until im at least over the emotional kick to the gut...
maybe we arent a great couple, maybe we just get along well, i dont know. but i know 1 person cant fix something that involves two people.
outside of this issue i have no need to see a therapist...i am as proud of myself for how ive handled this disease and its effects as i could be. and i will continue to do my best, just more independantly perhaps.
Oh OK, that makes sense. I just didn't want you to assume that if there is something physical going on, that you are stuck with it. Based on what you are saying, it seems to me that the most likely culprit is a low testosterone level. Because if it was surgical trauma, there would have been a problem after the first surgery, not just take-down. But, there easily could have been a gradual loss of testosterone production from a variety of causes. That is something easily taken care of. Even if your marriage is kaput, you probably will want to get this taken care of, for your own sense of well being. And you never know, if you feel better about yourself, your wife may see you in a different light.

Good luck to you. I hope you get the referral going sooner than six weeks...Plus, your primary doc could do some simple blood tests before the consult is scheduled for some basic screening groundwork.

Jan Smiler
It is just that in a younger man, that is the more likely cause, since it is remote from the nerve damaging part of the surgery. Maybe it was related to prednisone use (long term use, then discontinuing it)? I don't know if there is a cause and effect there, but just thinking out loud. Long term prednisone use can mess with hormones and be related to low testosterone. Once you reach age 30, the levels naturally decrease anyway, and prednisone may add insult to injury, so to speak. There are other causes too. Not sure about anesthesia...

Jan Smiler
Firstly, I did not read deeply into every post so if I repeat something, please forgive and/or ignore me. Having said that...

Is it possible that she said it because of the frequency of ED versus the four times a year?

Could she be giving you an out for the more frequent bouts of ED? To, in a sense, give you an out as far as any embarrassment the ED might cause you as a man?

Did she say that she doesn't want to be married? That she no longer loves you?

Is she just no longer interested in sex and it has nothing to do with you?

Having been on the female side (and as a poucher) of occurences of ED (it seems), it's frustrating - again as a female - when your spouse is having an issue. It makes me, as the female, feel as though perhaps I am doing something that is not a turn on to him. Again, maybe she was giving you an out?

Can you, are you willing to live in a sexless marriage - even for a year - while getting everything checked out? Perhaps this could be a time to re-court her. Some wooing perhaps?

On a totally different topic, is it possible that there is something in her past that is being brought to the surface that could have brought her to this thought?

While I don't think it should all be on your shoulders, it shouldn't all be her fault either. Perhaps there is more to the story.

Again as a female, the sex part of the relationship is a bonus to a good emotional, mention, etc. relationship.

Sorry for all the questions. Just something to think about.
I'm gonna get my testosterone checked, if that's not it then I'll go the urology route.
Quite frankly I don't care what her issue is at this point, it doesn't excuse the behavior.
When someone kicks someone when they're down it's never the fault of the person being kicked.
I find it troubling that only one woman posting a response didn't attempt to turn this back at me while defending her, simply can't understand that on any level and i'm not even going to try to
Sorry you feel we are trying to blame you and don't feel supported. I can't speak for all women, but speak for myself, so I'll try to explain and hopefully you will not see it as an attack. Since I don't know your wife, or you, I really cannot comment about who is at fault, but will take your word for it and agree that it is not right or appropriate to say unkind things to someone you love, particularly when he is feeling vulnerable.

So, not to defend your wife or her type of communication, but from my own personal experience, there are always two sides to the story. Some people lash out and stay stupid things they regret when they are angry, frustrated, or whatever. It does not make it right, but it means perhaps there are unresolved issues, and maybe there is a reason she is not supportive of you. I think that is what we are trying to get at, not that we are trying to make it your problem and not hers. She could be having an affair for all we know. You said yourself that she does not communicate typically. That cannot be good, for either of you.

Having been in the "sick" role myself, I have seen how it does take its toll on the relationship. When I am feeling lousy, I am focused on myself, and sure, my family gets weary hearing about it. I get weary talking about it. It wasn't until my husband was diagnosed with UC himself about 10 years ago that he told me that he finally understood what I had dealt with most of my life. People on the outside never really "get it."

Jan Smiler
Jan, I felt like you were the one who didn't turn back at me and I appreciate that.
I appreciate the way you express yourself.
I think you might be on to something in regards to the "no really gets it" and perhaps she no longer understands or is beginning to lose interest in my day to day challenges.
Time will tell but if nothing else my eyes are more open to potential issues and potential solutions.
They say the husband is always the last to know, if that applies to this situation I will not be the last to know...good or bad. My eyes are open now.
Thank you
I hope things get better for you. I am sure it is not a good feeling. At least a woman can "fake it" when things are not working as expected. Although, even when I intend to fake it, somewhere along the line, he pushes the right buttons to get me interested. Good ole college try, I guess...

Anyway, my point was that we get so wrapped up in what is going on with us (and for good reason too), we tend to not really notice that the other person is having problems or is drifting away.

Jan Smiler

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