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“I’m keen to be intimate, but he isn’t”


Advice Q & A with Desiree Spierings

Sex Therapist and Relationship Counsellor

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The Q

Since falling pregnant two years ago, my husband hasn’t been interested in having sex with me. I am keen to be intimate, but he isn’t. We did have a good sex life, however, since the birth of my baby a year ago we’ve only been intimate a handful of times. We’ve had many arguments over it to the point where he wont discuss it with me. My self esteem has suffered enormously and I feel devastated. Can you help me understand what is going on with him?


The A

It could be that your husband is suffering from what is called Madonna-Whore complex. This is when a man views a woman as either pure Madonnas, or sexually attractive prostitutes.

Men who suffer from the Madonna-Whore complex face a dilemma. On the one hand,  they are unable to have sexual relations with a woman they love and admire; and on the other hand they cannot love a woman they desire.

This unconscious process can sometimes develop in men shortly after they further commit to a woman, such as in the case of childbirth.

It is important for you to understand that you are not the problem. In fact your husband thinks you are perfect, almost too perfect! He has put you on a pedestal and viewed as his Madonna. Consequently, he can’t connect with you sexually.

The good news is that with therapy it is possible for your husband to change his mindset. By getting support around this concern, he can come to realise that it is perfectly okay, if not crucial in a committed relationship to have sex with his Madonna.

Take a look on the resources page here for a guide.


Advice Q & A with Desiree Spierings. Ask Desiree a question.

Desiree Spierings is the Director of Sexual Health Australia and is a qualified and experienced Sex Therapist and Relationship Counsellor. She believes it is important to recognize that there is no ‘normal' sexuality and that normality is defined by individuals depending on their sex, sexuality, culture, religion, personality, upbringing, language and creativity. She has a BA/Psychology from Macquarie University, a PG/Dip in Psychology from Macquarie University, and a Master Health Sciences/Sexual Health from Sydney University. Her PG/Dip research was on rejection and she is currently conducting her literature review for her PhD on infidelity.


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