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My life in sex: ‘The HIV medication my wife is on completely inhibits her libido’

Fadu News 2018-09-07 18:00:00

‘Her ex had been sleeping with prostitutes, unbeknown to her.’ Illustration: Lo Cole for the Guardian

I met my wife when we were 19. We were friends and didn’t get together until we were in our early 30s. When she became pregnant a few months later, we were overjoyed; but our joy soon turned to fear when a routine blood test showed she was HIV positive. She’d been married previously and it transpired her ex-husband had contracted the virus after sleeping with prostitutes, unbeknownto her.

It was a shock to say the least. There were so many questions. Am I positive as well? Is this a death sentence? Should we keep the baby? It was almost worse when we found out I was negative, because she was then scared she might infect me. We spent hours crying together, trying to figure out where this would lead our lives, and decided to stay together.

We are now married with two children, aged nine and six, and have a great life together save for one aspect: sex. We collectively had hopes my wife would be able to overcome the negative feelings she has towards sex, but the medication (she’s on it for the rest of her life, to survive) completely inhibits her libido and we now have sex once every couple of months at most.

She recently told me that she’s thought about leaving, or letting me have extramarital sex, and that hurts. I can’t get upset with her, after all she/we have been through, but just letting go of any kind of a sex life is not an option either. I feel really selfish even writing this down; I just want to find some sort of balance. I don’t want to be with anyone else. I love my wife and she is the only person I want to be with.

• Each week, a reader tells us about their sex life. Want to share yours? Email sex@theguardian.com.

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