Yes, money woes will affect your sex drive

Yes, money woes will affect your sex drive. Photo | Photosearch

What you need to know:

Robert is unable to perform when he fell into hard economic times, and his wife Rita is unhappy

Sex problems are rarely an emergency. In real life, however, many people find themselves in sexual situations that they consider a crisis. I was therefore not surprised when the phone rang at 5 am last Sunday. It was an unfamiliar number and in my half-sleep state, I thought I could let it go but the caller won’t give up and so I picked it up.

“Doctor, it is Rita,” came the voice which I could barely recognise, “yes, Rita whose husband cannot get erections, we met a few days ago in your clinic.”

“It’s very early Rita,” I said, my hoarse voice betraying my sleepy state.

“He has failed again, he is distressed, he now wants to come to the clinic,” she replied, “we have to see you today.”

I had seen Rita the previous week. She came to the clinic because they had not been able to have sex for four months. Her husband simply could not get an erection. In the course of the four months, Rita persuaded her husband to see a doctor but he refused. He instead got annoyed and threw tantrums. Rita gave up.

“I have been depressed, feeling hopeless and helpless all this time; how do you help a man who has no interest in helping himself?” Rita asked rhetorically.

In her wisdom, given the circumstances, Rita decided to get a boyfriend. It was a workmate with whom she had been sharing a lot about her marital problems. It started with after-work coffees. With time the coffees graduated to dinners and as the saying goes, the rest is history.

“Doctor, you see I am a human being, I have feelings, the forced abstinence could not work for me,” Rita lamented.

Despite the rather bold step, Rita was not at peace with what she was doing. She feared that if her husband discovered what she was doing she would be divorced. This, to her, would be a social disaster. She could not imagine her children growing up in a broken marriage. It was after this initial consultation that we agreed that she would once again try to convince her husband to come to the hospital. The man had finally accepted to seek help.

And so, I created time to see Rita and her husband in the clinic last Sunday. After brief introductions, I zeroed down on understanding the man’s erection difficulties. The man was 48 while Rita was 47. The couple had three children. They were both accountants. 

I examined Robert, Rita’s husband, and ordered tests. The results were all normal, save for slightly deranged cholesterol levels which, though not good for sexual function, were not bad enough to cause erection failure. The significant finding in the whole assessment was that with the changing economic situation in the country, Robert was facing severe financial pressure. He was no longer able to process a bank loan which he had taken to start a side business. The business was insolvent. Things were not any better at his workplace. There was pending restructuring.

“I am at risk of being retrenched, how will I pay school fees for the children? How about the mortgage, how will I process it?” he asked, his gaze fixed on the horizon. I nodded in understanding, encouraging him to say more.

He was annoyed that his wife could not see the situation the family was in. She was taking life easy and living as if things were okay.

“She still shops as if I have all the money,” he said, “sadly, she keeps throwing words that insinuate that she cannot be in a marriage where a man is not meeting the financial needs of the family.”

I put the couple through therapy and this last week they had two sessions. They seemed to be making progress but then yesterday Rita called with another concern.

“You remember the man I slept with when my husband was not cooperating?” she asked, “the man is causing me serious trouble now and I need urgent help.”

Incidentally, the man wanted to continue having sex with her and when she refused he threatened that he would go public and share pictures that they took together in compromising situations on social media.

“I need urgent help, I am stressed, the man is nasty and says that he does not care even if this will cost him his job,” Rita explained noting that they were colleagues at work and that the fiasco would not only cause problems in her marriage but also at work. Rita gave me the man’s number to call and plead with him to drop his demands.

“Tell her that I need to have sex with her then I will let her go back to her husband,” the man told me.  I felt helpless in this situation and told Rita as such. All I could say is that sexual dysfunctions should be fixed in ethical and moral ways to avoid getting into social dilemmas.