Sex File: My husband prefers gardening to making love – Irish Examiner

My husband and I have no children and are free to have sex whenever we want. We’re only in our 50s, but now it seems he prefers being out in the garden to being in the bedroom with me. When we do have sex it’s always at night. I miss our afternoon delight – and isn’t he a bit young …….

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My husband and I have no children and are free to have sex whenever we want. We’re only in our 50s, but now it seems he prefers being out in the garden to being in the bedroom with me. When we do have sex it’s always at night. I miss our afternoon delight – and isn’t he a bit young to prefer gardening to sex?

Although it is quite possible that this dry spell is a blip that will resolve itself in time, a lot of men begin to struggle emotionally when they are in their 50s, so it could be that he has retired quietly to the potting shed to examine his life’s purpose and question how to make the best use of the time that is left to him.

It sounds as if he is, I would say, going through an age-appropriate transition, so why not join him as he potters around the garden? Ask him how he is feeling and whether there is anything on his mind. Give him time to open up and don’t be tempted to fill the silences. Don’t make this conversation about sex, and try to avoid making it about you – simply focus on how he is, and be prepared to really listen. The next conversation can come further down the line.

Hitting 50 can be a big deal for women too, but for us menopause marks a definitive physiological life change, whereas men don’t experience a parallel cessation of hormonal function. Although male testosterone levels decrease after the age of about 40, in a healthy male the decline is only about 2% a year, so most men don’t notice. They notice other physical changes, though.

Men in their 50s may find that they don’t have quite as much energy as they used to have, and slowing down can mean they end up putting on weight. It’s a possibility that your husband now restricts sex to night-time because he’s feeling self-conscious about his ageing body. A lot of men begin to exercise more in midlife to try to stave off the inevitable physical decline, but even if a man feels 25 on the inside, what he sees in the mirror looks different. Reminding your husband that you find him attractive and taking every opportunity to touch him, from holding his hand to hugging him or rubbing his back, will keep you both physically connected.

As I said, there may be nothing wrong with him, but you do need to be mindful of his emotional state because stress and anxiety, whether they are caused by physical, emotional or financial concerns, can have a negative effect on libido and erectile function. At your husband’s age a general health check is always a good idea because underlying health issues can have a serious impact on sexual desire and function. 

An estimated 52% of men aged 40 to 70 suffer from erectile dysfunction, according to the Massachusetts Male Ageing Study and the European Male Ageing Study, and the biggest cause in later life is atherosclerosis, a thickening or hardening of the arteries that is caused by a build-up of plaque in the inner lining of the blood vessels. It would be worth getting this checked out. 

I would also say that gardening and sex don’t have to be mutually exclusive. Why not offer to help him in the garden and see where you end up.

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