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Dear Dr Saltzman,
My partner of 4 years and I have a major issue.  Since having our daughter 13 months ago my partner has not wanted to have sex with me.  After many "discussions" about it and excuses he finally told me that he finds me sexually repulsive.  He says I have a smell that he finds repulsive and physically sick.  He still wants hugs and kisses but it seems only when he wants to and not when I want to.  
He says he loves me and I know that he is loyal to me.  Things are becoming very difficult in our relationship because every time I try to cuddle up in bed he pushes me away and some nights wont come to bed and chooses to sleep on the couch.  I love him very much and care immensely for him but being told that I am sexually repulsive to him and that he does not find me physically attractive at all has devastated me.  He says he sees me more as "One of the guys and the best friend he has ever had".  I'm 35 and he is 39 and I really want us to stay together but this is tearing me apart and I find that I am alienating myself from him, which seems to annoy him even more.  He says things like, "so you wont give me a kiss now cause I won't stick my dick in you ?"
Am I too preoccupied with the physical attraction?  Any advice would be welcome please.
35yr old female
Gold Coast, Australia

ask dr. robert saltzman

Hello, Keri--

I am not quite sure what your guy means when he says that he finds your smell repulsive and sickening. Since he still wants to kiss, I can only assume that he is not referring to bad breath or generalized body odor, but to the aroma of your vagina. If that is the case--if I have this wrong, please write back--have you had a physical exam to rule out infection? If your vagina is healthy and clean, it should not smell bad, although the odor will change throughout the month due to hormonal changes, and, of course, menstruation.

ask dr. robert saltzman

Now, assuming that he is complaining about the smell of your vagina, and assuming that your vagina does not smell bad, I imagine that the problem here has nothing to do with you at all, but with your guy. Perhaps he is the kind of man who has a mother problem. In other words, although he was OK having sex with you when you were a 31 year old hottie, now that you are officially a mom, the idea of sex turns him off since he cannot imagine, to use his rather ugly locuation, sticking his dick in mom, and the smell factor is only an excuse or pretext.

You ask for advice about whether you are have attached too much importance to physical attraction. I really cannot say. That depends completely on you and your needs in life. I think that at 35 years old, it would be rather strange to imagine living the rest of your life without sexual intercourse, and living with a man who finds you repulsive—to say nothing about sharing life with a man who refers to love-making as "sticking his dick in you"--but only you can decide that. I understand too that this is complicated because you are parents together, and that leaving him would involve breaking up a new family.

I suggest that you make an appointment with a psychologist who specializes in sexual issues, and that you and your partner try to get to the bottom (no pun intended) of this before you are forced to choose between this sexless existence as "best friends," or leaving him. If he is unwilling to consult the psychologist with you, that would mean that your smell is not really the problem at all, which I already suspect, but that you have hooked up with a man who really does not like sex, or, if he does, has some hangups about it which, without therapy of some kind, will never be resolved.

Be well.

ask dr. robert saltzman

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