"I’ve been happily married almost 10 years now, my wife and I have enjoyed a really great sex life. Until about two years ago. My wife had a complete hysterectomy. Our lovelife went with it.
We have tried several things to raise her sex drive. Nothing has worked.
My only release is masturbation, which I do several times weekly. Unfortunately, I’ve developed a fetish along with it. I can only get off by looking at female models in lingerie catalogues. Only the snug fitting panties section! I love panties. Please help.
Dear All Alone,
First, don’t worry. You probably don’t really have a fetish. That word means a lot more than you think. Fetishism is when someone cannot become sexually aroused/achieve sexual climax without the presence of a certain object not generally associated with sex, i.e., feet, certain foods, copious amounts of latex, team mascots, you get my meaning. Your love of undies is something different altogether. A catalogue model wearing cheek-peeking boy shorts and a lace push-up is decidedly more conventionally sexual. Ask any teen-age boy or, for that matter, anyone who works at Victoria’s Secret. They built an undergarment empire by abandoning yesteryear’s clinical treatment of women’s “foundation” wear and blatantly selling sex in their catalogues. So if girls in thongs serve as fodder for your masturbatory fantasies, fear not. Unless you find yourself unable to perform sexually with a living person, you’re nothing but a healthy, normal adult male. However, you would do better to not waste your passions, and instead enjoy the real thing.
Which brings us to your wife. Many women experience a loss of sex drive post-hysterectomy, the severity depending often on the type of procedure that was performed. The ovaries produce estrogen and androgen, two hormones which produce sexual desire. If your wife underwent a total hysterectomy, the ovaries were removed and that is the likely cause of her diminished libido.
However, this is a many-layered, none-too-positive event in a woman’s life, and the cause of her lack of interest may rest with her emotional state. She may feel disconnected from her own sexual organs, or undesirable. She may fear that sex will be painful, or she may simply experience less pleasure than before. If her pre- and post-op counseling was sub-par, she might be grappling with feeling incomplete, even “broken,” or any number of issues we can’t guess at. In any case, I think this is the point when you should call in the cavalry. If you’ve been working patiently and lovingly for two years to help your wife and have seen no progress, it’s time to get outside help.
Editors note: This Baggage Claim first appeared in NUVO on Oct. 12, 2005.