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My boyfriend wants to sleep all the time

Dear Dr Nekia,

I am in a fairly new relationship, we have only been dating for a few months. Recently I have noticed a change in my boyfriend’s behaviour. He used to be an outgoing guy, always active, loves water sports and the outdoors, and was always ready to be spontaneous during the summer but now it seems all he wants to do is sleep. He says that he has visited his doctor and has had tests, but they all came back normal even though he admits to finding it difficult to get out of bed. I am wondering if he is depressed. He says there has been no major life changes or added stress, but what else could it be? Please help! I am growing bored and our relationship is suffering.

Sincerely,

HE’S ALWAYS SLEEPING

Dear He’s Always Sleeping,

Even though sometimes medical problems do not show up on routine tests, the good news is that most likely your new beau is pretty much healthy. You mentioned that you suspect that he may be depressed, and if this is a cause for concern, then you should seek out the opinion of a mental health professional. However, because you have mentioned that he loves water sports and the outdoors, one condition other than depression does come to mind - SAD. SAD stands for Seasonal Affective Disorder and affects more of the population than commonly thought. It is characterised by decreased energy, and lethargy during the colder months and can present with symptoms that mimic depression (SAD can occur in the summer as well with symptoms such as insomnia and anxiety). Often times SAD is mistaken for Bipolar Disorder, but although some Bipolar individuals are known to have SAD, SAD differs in that it has a distinctive pattern of presenting itself during a specific season each year while remitting for the rest of the year. Ask him if he experiences these or similar symptoms every fall/winter, and monitor if symptoms worsen as the days shorten and temperatures drop. Further good news is that if SAD is the cause for his change in behaviour, medication is most likely not needed. Phototherapy (light therapy) is highly effective in treating SAD, and there are many easily available options on the net. If in doubt, seek the help of an MD or other form of physician that specialises in phototherapy.

Dear Dr Nekia,

My girlfriends and I recently got together for a long overdue girls’ night in where the subject of fantasising during sex with our husbands came up. Some of us thought that it was not ok to fantasise about someone else while others thought that it was perfectly fine. Is fantasising about another person during sex considered cheating? Does it harm our marital bed in any way?

Sincerely,

SECRET FANTASIES

Dear Secret Fantasies,

The answer to your question depends on how you choose to look at the event. Some believe that fantasising about others during sex is perfectly normal as it provides a non-harmful outlet for the want to experience someone or something new. Many claim that such fantasies even enhance lovemaking and that their partners welcome the excitement that it brings (even though they have no idea as to the cause of your new found appetite). On the other hand, others believe that cheating is not just a physical act, but also a mental or emotional one and these individuals tend to think that fantasising about another person during sex is wrong. I would suggest that you consider both sides in order to make your own conclusions. In spite of the risks that fantasies carry of becoming obsessions, fantasies can be both beneficial and harmful. While your unaware partner may be elated by the excitement that it brings, he or she is being misled into thinking that it is because of the sexual attraction or connection that they are creating with you and this can be considered to be a form of intimate dishonesty. In addition, fantasising about another during sex can be taken to be a kind of masturbation or objectification of your spouse because you are actually not connecting with them in the moment, but are rather emotionally attached to the person or object of your fantasy. You are merely using your partner’s body for gratification, and this can most certainly cause a disconnect in your relationship in and out of the bedroom. Openly discuss and explore your reason(s) for why you may feel the need or desire to fantasise about someone else other than your lover, and ask them how they would feel about it should you choose to engage is such fantasies. You may be surprised to know that he or she does not care, or that they may welcome you to share your fantasies with them so that they can become a part of the overall experience.

Dear Dr Nekia,

I am kind of embarrassed to ask this but I really do not want to schedule a doctor’s visit for it. I love my wife and we have been together for a few years now but sex has become unfulfilling to me. I often find myself “faking it” just to end the experience because the truth is that I feel little sensation from her if you know what I mean. It is not me. I still can feel in my nether regions, but I just can not feel her.

Of course I have not brought this to her attention because I do not know how she will take it and well because I do not know how to say it. I do not want to be unfaithful so I would rather please myself when she is not around. She is noticing my lack of sexual enthusiasm for her, and I feel it is getting to the point where I have to say something but do not want to lie anymore. Help!

Sincerely,

FAKING IT WHILE

MAKING IT

Dear Faking it While Making It,

Yes I do know exactly what you mean. The bad news is that, whether it be male or female, there is no easy way to discuss sexual dissatisfaction with someone without the possibility of their feelings being hurt. Still, honesty is the best policy. The best thing to do is to wait until she is in a relaxed and sharing mood. You know, one of those moods where it seems that all your woman wants to do is talk sentimentally about the relationship and how she feels. Gently bring up the subject of sex, offering her the opportunity to first let you know how she feels things are going in that department. Then share your feelings about things. Let her know that you have noticed a difference, and show support as well as concern by maybe offering to go with her to visit her OBGYN in case there is an underlying medical issue. I know that many men are uncomfortable with these kind of doctor’s visits (trust me, we women are too), but the rewards can be great seeing as how ruling out disease causes is a good idea simply because there are many reasons why a woman can lose elasticity in her vagina. Once medical issues are discussed and/or ruled out, do a bit of research (or get professional direction from a knowledgable sex therapist) on how she may be able to strengthen and tighten her pelvic floor and vaginal muscles. A word of caution is that much like injury can result from the improper exercising of other muscles in the body the same goes for the delicate pelvic muscles so take care. Nevertheless, as a man, you will be surprised at and interested in the many forms of “womanly exercises” that she can do to get the muscles of her lower region in tip top shape! Make it an intimate journey that you both can undertake, and use this as an opportunity for you to strengthen your pelvic muscles as well. In addition to the dramatic increase in sexual sensitivity, strength in the pelvic area wards off common ailments such as leaky bladder, organ prolapse, haemorrhoids, and enlargement of the prostate. In the meantime, I am well aware that men “fake it” too but STOP FAKING IT. You are doing yourself, your wife, and your marriage a great disservice as it is dishonest and can lead to built up resentment and overall disinterest in sexual exploration.

• Contact Dr Nekia for advice by sending an e-mail to nakedtruth@royalgazette.com