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Bye, bye Sex Life?

Jan 29, 2011

I really haven't had sex in the three years since my HIV+ diagnosis. The reason I'm posting in this forum is because this is almost assuredly a mental issue. At 44, my testosterone levels are actually higher than normal and aside for HIV, consider myself in very good physical health.

The first year or two, I figured that after some time had passed and the initial shock of my diagnosis wore off, that sex would once again part of my life. That time has come and gone and yet, I still have no desire to be sexual with another man.

I am currently in a 2 year committed relationship with a very understanding HIV+ man that has learned to find his sex somewhere else. We are intimate and affectionate in other ways so I'm satisfied in that arena. With that said, it has added a strange unspoken dynamic to an otherwise successful relationship as his sexual appetite is considerably greater than mine.

After all these years I wonder if that's it for me in the sex department. Can you suggest some way I might jump start my sexual desire or to at least make peace with my new life as an asexual gay man?

Thanks for your time and expertise. Because this isn't easy to talk about, I'm unsure where else to turn.

Response from Dr. Fawcett

Thank you for this important posting. Sexual intimacy is a significant component of most satisfactory relationships and sexual functioning itself is important for everyone's good emotional health. Sexual desire is complex and results from complicated interaction between psychological and physiological factors. Studies indicated that around 25% of HIV+ men experience low sexual desire, which seems to be related to several factors: anti-retroviral drug therapy, older age, and depression. You are still a young man so I'd say older age isn't really a factor. Depression, however, may be playing a role. I have had many clients for whom an HIV diagnosis created negative beliefs about themselves, such as being somehow tainted or being "damaged goods." You might benefit from psychotherapy to discuss if such core beliefs are working in the background to impede sexual desire. I would recommend a clinical sexologist (someone with specialized training in sex therapy). Here are some links to directories:

AASECT Directory

ABS Directory

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