Dr. Ruth Westheimer is a psychosexual therapist who helped to pioneer the field of media psychology with her radio program, Sexually Speaking. It began in September of 1980 as a fifteen minute, taped show that aired Sundays after midnight on WYNY-FM (NBC) in New York. One year later it became a live, one-hour show airing at 10 PM on which Dr. Ruth, as she became known, answered call-in questions from listeners. Soon it became part of a communications network to distribute Dr. Westheimer's expertise which has included television, books, newspapers, games, home video, computer software and her own website, www.drruth.com.
Currently Dr. Westheimer is an Adjunct Professor at N.Y.U. and an Associate Fellow of Calhoun College at Yale University, where she teaches a course on the Jewish family, and a Fellow of Butler College at Princeton University, where she teaches a similar course. She is a fellow of the New York Academy of Medicine and in addition to having her own private practice, she frequently lectures at universities across the country and has twice been named "College Lecturer of the Year."
I am finally out of an abusive relationship, but my sex drive is completely gone!
Q. I am 43 years old, divorced for the better (left a once-life threatening, abusive relationship), and have a college degree.
Life for me is about the best it has ever been. I am healthy, happy, and passionately active in music and theatre and have been able to move on. I just have no sex drive whatsoever. Zilch. Is this normal?Some people ask me if I'm a lesbian. I tell them no--I'm just celibate. I'll be honest here---past sexual experiences have been painful and very unpleasant for me. I have seen my gynecologist over this past year and all was fine on the inside. I'm just hesitant about dating and sex. I'm certainly not going to walk into a bar and throw myself on the first guy I see sitting alone!
My burning question: Is having no sex drive whatsoever a sign of pre-menopause, or something possibly more serious, like thyroid problems? My family has a history, and although I have tested negative for hyper- or hypothyroid diseases, I'd like to do what preventative steps I can in remaining healthy in addition to walking daily. I don't know anybody intimately enough to have sex with. I haven't had intercourse for over six years. I'd hate for this to be "it", sexually, for me. What are your suggestions? Do you get questions like mine from many women in my age group? Do men our age ever experience these feelings?
A. There are people of every age who go through dry spells, so this doesn’t have to be “it” as you put it. My advice to you is to stop worrying about your lack of sex drive and to think more about whether or not you’d like a relationship. In my opinion, if you were to find someone to love, then your sex drive would come back. So the basic question is, are you satisfied not having a special someone to share your life with, maybe because you’re so busy, or not? If you would like to be in love, then you should do whatever it takes to find the right person. Eventually the relationship will turn sexual, and my guess is that you’ll be quite ready for it. But I can certainly understand that you’re not eager to have a one-night stand with someone you meet at a bar, especially coming out of an abusive relationship. You’re going to want to make sure that the next person you have sex with is a caring and loving human being, and that’s how it should be. So switch your focus and then see what happens.