Dear Amy: My husband and I have been married for 37 years. During our marriage our sex life was good (but infrequent).
Our kids are grown and moved out. My husband has heart issues and is on a lot of medication.
These meds make it impossible to have sex and he can't take ED medications, like Viagra, due to his heart issues.
These problems have made my husband very upset and he has stopped wanting sex altogether. I've told him many times that I completely understand, and he is no less a man in my eyes.
But now there is nothing — no sex, no kissing. Nothing. He barely pays attention to me anymore. He escapes into the TV room when he's home.
I feel very lonely and alone. I need advice on how to talk to him about this.
Amy says: Sexual dysfunction and loss of libido is common in men who have had heart surgery or treatment for heart disease. (Your husband should see his doctor!)
My theory is that he proactively avoids affectionate physical contact because he associates this sort of contact with having sex. Because of his libido, impotence and other medical problems, he is avoiding romantic contact because he can't face the physical risk — and the fear and awkward conversations that force him to confront this extremely painful issue.
Over time, withdrawing from physical contact in order to avoid sex has led to him withdrawing in other ways.
You want to hug, hold hands and kiss your husband. The way back in would be to make eye contact, tell him that you love him, and that you would like to hold hands with him and continue to walk through life together. Will he hold hands with you for five minutes? Set a timer.
Practice touching and demonstrating physical warmth and gauge his comfort.
Once he is confident that physical affection won't lead to sex, pressure for sex, and all of the discomfort surrounding it, he should feel more comfortable being physically close with you. Physical closeness, warmth and comfort will be good for your relationship — and also for his health.
College T-shirt humor
Dear Amy: A reader wrote in wondering about wearing T-shirts from colleges they had not attended.
The late, great comedian Mitch Hedberg told a joke about doing college shows and always buying a T-shirt at the college bookstore: "While walking down the street one day someone shouted at me, 'Hey, Wash U, did you go there?' I shouted back 'Yes, it was a Wednesday!' "
Amy says: Another Hedberg gag: "I'm against picketing, but I don't know how to show it."
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