Dear Ellie: I’m helplessly watching a crisis envelop my life.
I’m in my early-40s, married for 11 years to a wonderful, caring woman. Things were great in our marriage and we have two beautiful kids.
I was losing my hair and decided to take a hair-loss prevention drug. I believe that it immediately affected my sex drive and libido.
However, the drug was greatly effective in controlling my hair loss. That fact kept me taking the drug for the next two years. My sex drive completely plummeted.
I’ve been treated by a urologist who’s mentioned that this condition afflicts a small subset of users of the same drug. He’s treating other patients and has treated me with medications like Testosterone. Still, my condition hasn’t improved.
The decline in my sexual health and lack of desire has killed my love life with my beautiful wife. I’m now not only dealing with my personal depression, I also feel terrible for putting her through a sexless marriage.
She’s supportive and has stood by me. But she wishes our shared life would’ve maintained the sexual intimacy we once had.
The urologist keeps encouraging me. He’s seen some of his patients improve with treatment. But I’m almost eight years in this hell. No one but my wife knows what I’m suffering.
But I’m responsible for putting her and myself through a vain decision to save my hair. She and my kids are the most wonderful things that have happened to me. But we don’t know what to do.
I sometimes feel she’s reaching the end of her rope. I don’t know what our future holds for us. I’d appreciate your and the readers’ perspectives.
Suffering Loss of Sex
Everyone reading your story can recognize how difficult this situation has been for you and your wife.
And you’re not alone. A search through the Internet reveals reports of other men who’ve sought treatment for hair loss and experienced erectile dysfunction and loss of libido.
You persisted seeking hair growth after the initial loss of sex drive. Maybe early-warning signs of baldness in your family, had worried you when young, so you persevered.
I can’t help feeling that your wife who loves and supports you so much, would’ve still loved you, if bald.
I understand that it’s a deeply personal issue for men - fearing a loss of attractiveness, or looking “old” before even reaching middle-age. Your initial seeking of what you thought was a solution, is logical.
But staying with the treatment you believed was causing a very negative effect on your libido and your relationship with your wife, was illogical. You lost perspective.
But you’re not “helpless.”
As a woman with a fully bald husband in his late-30s, said to me, “He uses the gym to keep looking hot. He works out whenever he can.”
Some women also experience noticeably thinning hair surprisingly early in their adulthood. Hair-industry specialists can create hair pieces to “weave” into the women’s own hair, and men’s too, if they seek this method.
Other choices in the hair-loss field e.g., “hair pieces” are far more subtle and natural-looking from those of a decade-plus ago. Experts at this can create a section of hair or a full wig to cover male baldness.
Seek more information from your treating urologist, and read research on this situation by experts in that field. (Where male sexual drive is involved, there’ll be research). Also, seek referral to a psychiatrist for help regarding ongoing depression.
Above all, honour the love within your marriage and family, by not giving up.
Dear Ellie: I met my husband at 18, married him at 22. When I got pregnant, our life suited him completely. But there was no time/encouragement for me besides caring for our one son whom I adored.
When he started all-day kindergarten, I felt huge loneliness. I found a job, then met a man who was openly attracted to me.
I told my husband about having feelings for the man, and he insisted we divorce. I feel guilty about that, but I’ve been very happy with my second husband.
What guidance do you have for young people (early-20s) planning to marry?
Know yourself, first. Then assess what you need to be happy, not what someone else must provide.
Discuss real differences beyond the immediate romance. Even when you’re both promising commitments, use those feelings to form do-able plans you both approve.
Ellie’s tip of the day
Love and commitment deserve your every effort to learn more and seek new answers for a very difficult situation.
Send relationship questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.