fordCecilia Ford, who has been a psychologist in private practice in New York City since 1987, has addressed emotional issues for Women’s Voices in many articles over the years.


Dear Dr. Ford,

I am 55 and the mother of three sons. I work full time and really enjoy my life outside the home. I don’t have help from or with the almost-out-of-the-house sons. I have never had household- or child-management help from my husband. He does his part financially and is a “loyal” husband and decent father to the boys. They do athletic things together and he was a key figure in their development as young men who attend church and have good character. I have no doubt that they will earn a living, marry and be decent husbands and fathers. 

At this point in my life I realize that I don’t want to have sex with my husband anymore. Sex was fine (if a bit fumbling) early on but after the second child, breastfeeding, going back to work and never having any time for me, I really lost all interest in sex. I was a dutiful wife until menopause at 52 and just decided I did not want to use any estrogen in my vagina that was suggested by my nurse practitioner to have sex without pain. I told my husband then that sex was too painful due to menopause and that there was nothing I was willing to do about it because the vaginal estrogen created risks I wouldn’t take. We never spoke about it again.

Now, that the boys are almost gone, he has hinted that he would like us to work on our life “for the rest of our life.” He gave me a printout from some site that gave information about treatment of loss of sexual interest in women and it really made me furious. I have chosen to stay married to keep the family together and because a divorce in my religion without a big reason would be considered shameful. I am happy enough to be in my husband’s company and we have a pleasant life with friends and activities in our community. I am just unwilling to be his sexual partner.

I know that there isn’t anything “wrong'” with my libido. I have a hidden vibrator and I use it. I just can’t get over all these years of being left with the responsibility of raising the children, shopping, cooking, cleaning and working full time without any support from my husband. . .even though I did ask for his help. I read that lots of women lose their interest in sex when they have situations like mine. And it is not something that can be fixed by a pill. What can I do to let my husband know that our “loyal” marriage is all that we are going to have?


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