DEAR ANNIE: My husband and I are both in our 60s and have had a mutually loving and enjoyable sex life. We were intimate once or twice a week. Until now.
‘‘Bill” recently was diagnosed with prostate cancer, and we have elected to do nothing aggressive. The doctor suggested “dutiful watching.” Bill has some erectile dysfunction, and so he has all but eliminated sex from our bedroom. What used to be once a week is now less than once a month.
All I need is the cuddling we used to have and the touching and caressing. But I can barely get him to hold my hand. Sometimes, I wake up during the night and find that Bill is also awake. But he won’t respond to my sweet caresses.
Bill refuses to talk about it. How do I assure him that I love him from the inside out? I don’t care if we don’t have sex. I just want the affection he used to show. — Sleepless in Seattle
DEAR SEATTLE: So many of our readers have this same problem: Their spouses withhold affection because they fear it could lead to an expectation of sex. But lack of affection only makes one’s partner feel unloved and unwanted.
Men who suffer from erectile dysfunction often feel stressed about their sexual performance. And undoubtedly, the prostate cancer is weighing heavily on Bill’s mind. According to the American Cancer Society (cancer.org), survivors and their wives have greater success reviving their sex lives when they go through couples therapy (online or in person). Please suggest it to Bill.
DEAR ANNIE: I need to get this off my chest. I am stunned at the number of events to which my husband and I are invited by folks who live in the same town but who have never once had the courtesy to offer a drink or a meal that didn’t involve our bringing a gift. These “friends” ought to ask themselves, before issuing an invitation, whether they have ever welcomed us into their homes for so much as a cup of coffee.