I'm 9 years into my second marriage.
Hi and welcome to the board.
The choices we make in thought, word and deed inevitably return to us in kind.
If she is really always tired or not feeling well, has she had a physical checkup recently to make sure she doesn't have any illnesses? A friend of mine had Epstein-Barr virus and she was literally tired all the time--she would come home from work and have to go right to bed, and she had a desk job, it's not like she was doing physical labor. She ended up having to take 3 mos. off from work, plus take medication, etc. I'm sure there could be other diseases that would make a person tired, also depression can make someone seem very tired too--so I'd definitely start w/ that area. You can say to her some time that since she complains a lot about being tired, you want to make sure nothing is wrong w/ her and ask if she would go to a dr to make every thing check out.
Also, on the tiredness scale, I remember that my 1st DH really didn't do that much around the house--both of us worked f.t. but I was doing way more than he was on top of that, and not only did it make me tired, but it made me resentful. At that point, I felt like sex was just another chore to do for someone else--not something for me to enjoy. You know there is this book called something like "porn for women" and it's pictures of hot guys cleaning the house. lol So believe me, having your husband cook dinner and take care of you is one way to be more relaxed and to be looking forward to sex.
But I think you really won't get to the bottom of this problem unless you can really talk about it honestly. Good luck.
Well, I have a while before I am in my 50's, however I have been M and D twice and I have been with SO for a little over 4 years now.
I can really only speak in
The reason sometimes she doesn't feel good is that she has ulcerative coilitis and sometimes has a flare up with it which bothers he stomach.
So far, you haven't said whether or not you have asked her what you can do to make her want to feel better about this. I think we have all said you need to fill her needs as much as she should be filling yours. Open and honest communication is the only way to solve the differences, and then as a couple you work together to reach a solution that will not leave any lingering resentment for either of you.
I am not sure about how the colitis affects her. Any time I have anything 'wrong' going on down there, I am really not 'in the mood' either. Between the colitis and maybe the age factor, I can certainly understand the withdrawal.
Like I said before, my DH has a much stronger sex drive (or did) than I did. Before we got married, we talked at length about what if one of us became incapacitated and could no longer preform. I was so afraid that he would just start randomly going out and looking for other partners. Turns out, this issue was mostly mine. My point being we talked and talked. As it turns out, over the years HE has slowed down. He actually needs longer in between. At first I took it personally, but again, we talked and and arrived at a place where we are comfortable.
As far as masturbation goes, it's when you use it despite the fact that you have a willing partner. Maybe she would relieved to know that you are able to get through the in between without pressuring her. Sex should be an investment from both. Masturbation is no investment at all in the relationship. It is purely a physical release. Sometimes people masturbate because it's easier than investing time, energy and emotion in another person. It doesn't sound like that is your case, but really, you need to be open with her.Pam
Okay - I have a few thoughts on this and they may or may not apply so here goes.
Colitis is painful and less than pleasant, when experiencing bowel difficulties a person is in pain and feeling less than sexy. Mostly for women we need to feel attractive BEFORE we want to make love. That alone may be a barrier. The route which would work for me under those circumstance would be lots of TLC. Little touches, little moments where my man tells me he wants me with his eyes and his body. The hand on the small of my back, the little kiss on side of my neck. NOT on the same day you hope to make love, maybe a few days of extra attention, maybe a week. Send her the signal that she, as she is, appeals to you deeply. WHen she is in her robe, fresh out of the shower, remember she just spent some alone time with her body that she knows is not what it once was. Just because you don't know what she was like 20 years ago doesn't mean she doesn't sometimes feel un-lovely. Her body is not making her happy, show her she makes you very happy. In small gentle steps encourage her to see her as you do. You don't need to bring home flowers, just give the love you feel.Second possibility - she might be in pain during intercourse. She might be in a lot of pain sometimes and not telling you. Telling you to stop would be admitting (to herself) that she is inadequate - she can't even make love! I say this because I am a past master at hiding painful moments during tender moments. If she makes love to you when she is in pain it is because she wants that benediction, that giving and receiving. If I never had another orgasm I would still want the satisfaction of giving my partner satisfaction. If she has pain during intercourse and is not telling you, you need to be very respectful and very understanding.Try one of those moments when you're on the couch, the TV is muted, her feet are in your lap getting a massage then ask some gentle questions: Has the colitis been bothering you a lot?I worry that when we make love you might be sore. (Show her your own self doubts, you have to be vulnerable to give her the safety so SHE can be vulnerable. If she can tell you "a little sore" or "sometimes it's uncomfortable" than this is a really big step! Everything is pretty close together inside the female body, so your mutual problems may all be a matter of geometry.)Try asking - is it worse when you're on top, or, is it better when I'm on top?
Now comes the tricky part based on your communication in the partnership. Let her know she can tell you in the moment. (You may want to do a 'brake check' so that you are sure you can stop when she asks you) Maybe it's a matter of angle or penetration. Her telling you will take time and slow progress. Trying to sort it all out in one session in bed is way too clinical. Check in a little but mostly give her the message that if she's not comfortable you want to know, and you'll stop, change positions, or even if necessary call an end game. Getting the communication during love making might take weeks or months. Even if she talks with the doctor about it there might not be any solution except you two being creative. If it turns out she's been in a lot of pain and all this time you've been going along unaware, you're going to be upset and hurt. She was too scared, shy, feeling inadequate to tell you. You'll have to come to terms with that lack of trust, but the best cure is gaining her trust.
Maybe none of this applies, maybe she is just tired, working too hard, stressed (which stresses the colitis issues) and simply not interested in being physical. But giving extra TLC and getting an open dialogue about physical issues is all for the good and maybe her hearing your vulnerabilities and concerns will help her open up on what the real problem is. This is slow work but you sound like a very caring and determined man, I have faith you can find a solution.