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Lack of intimacy since diagnosis
Dec 5, 2004

Ever since my partner's diagnosis we have been closer in every way but sexually. He isn't willing to talk about it and I'm not sure how to proceed. I'm okay with relieving my own "pressure" but I worry about him being totally asexual. Is this good for him emotionally and physiologically? Do you have any suggestions for broaching the subject? Thanks!

Response from Dr. Remien

I don't know how long it has been since your partner's diagnosis, however, it is fairly common for people to become "asexual" immediately following an HIV diagnosis. This lasts a varying amount of time for different people, but eventually returns to "normal" for most people. With that said, I think it is generally not good for people's general well-being to remain asexual for very long periods of time. Sex can be an important part of personal and relationship satisfaction.

I cannot say what is an "okay" amount of time for someone to not be interested in or to not engage is sexual activity following an HIV diagnosis, since it does vary across individuals. However, if this persists for a year or more, I would recommend that the person speak with a mental health professional about it.

My recommendation to you is that you make yourself open and available to him to talk about it, but that you not pressure him to do so. I'm sure it is quite frustrating for you and it is okay at some point to let him know that you do find it sad and limiting that the two of you are not able to share sexual intimacy and that you miss that part of your relationship. This is not to make him feel guilty, but for him to recognize that there is an impact on full expression of an important aspect of your intimate romantic relationship. I would also encourage both of you to express yourselves romantically with each other, even if it is not sexual at this point in time.


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