Sleeping Alone In The Same Bed

Rebecca Levy-Gantt
5 min readDec 15, 2017

“That part of my life is over” said my lovely 68 year old patient as she sat at my consultation desk across from me at our first meeting. I had asked if she and her husband were sexually active, as part of our initial intake. When she answered she didn’t exactly seem unhappy — more like resigned — like that it was just a “given” that the answer to the question was “no”. Of course my automatic follow-up question was “Is that ok with both of you?” (Lesson #1 of evaluating sexual disorders= it’s only a problem if the patient thinks it’s a problem). Her answer was sad — “No it’s not ok! I love my husband and I want to, and I know he wants to. But we can’t. So we don’t. And then we don’t talk about it and we just live this way.” She suddenly seemed teary eyed at the prospect of actually letting it all out.

This is actually not an uncommon scenario — and not necessarily restricted to the over-65 age group. Truth is many couples for many different reasons lose that part of their relationship gradually and never address it. If it causes distress then it is something that should definitely be discussed in the doctor’s office — even if the doctor or health care provider doesn’t initiate the conversation.

With this particular patient (as with all others) it was important to get a history on the problem — what was the relationship like before? Physically? Emotionally? What…

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Rebecca Levy-Gantt

An Ob Gyn in Napa California, who has been practicing for more than 25 years. Also a writer (blogger, memoirist, advisor, humorist). Author of Womb With A View