Let's Talk About Sex (and Grief) - Part 1

Understanding Grief / Understanding Grief : Litsa

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Sex and grief, grief and sex. They aren’t really words we lump together often. And yet, we get questions about this topic a lot. A whole lot. When I started researching this article and posted on social media asking for questions, thoughts, and feedback, it felt like I had opened the floodgates for people to share something that felt like a big, unspeakable secret. Grief impacts sex. Sex impacts grief. But how, when, and why is pretty hard to predict.

There is significant heterogeneity, as they like to say in mental health. In other words, it looks very different for different people. The research is nearly non-existent (now, to be fair, there is one book on the topic that I imagine may include some research called Living, Loving and Loss: The Interplay of Intimacy, Sexuality and Grief. Unfortunately, the cheapest available copy is $125 on Amazon so its contents remain a mystery to me). But we do have other research and the feedback from thousands of grievers we’ve worked with over the years.

What we hear from people, like so many things in grief, is both all over the map and has common themes:

Grief has ruined my sex drive and I have no idea how to get it back.

All I can think about is sex, but I feel too guilty to act on it.

I’m having tons of sex and it’s great and I feel great about it.

I’m having tons of sex and it’s great but later I feel terrible about it.

I want to have sex but I’m worried I’ll regret it.

I have a desire to have sex but have surging emotional responses when I do.

Everyone has opinions about my sex and dating life now.

My partner is grieving and has lost their sex drive and I’m trying to be patient but it’s really hard.

The circumstances of my loss mean that, every time I try to have sex, it is intensely triggering and I’m worried I’ll never be able to enjoy sex again.

And on and on and on.

Though we can’t break down all the possibilities for you when it comes to grief and sex, we can assure you that there is a lot that is in the range of “normal”. We can say with some confidence that...

  • You might lose your sex drive for a period of time.
  • You might gain a jet-engine powered sex drive for a period of time.
  • Your sex drive might not be impacted either way, but you might start having a range of new feelings about having sex.

I know, I know. That alone is not all that helpful; so let’s break it down a little bit further. Grief is a physical, emotional, and cognitive experience. Sex is also a physical, emotional, and cognitive experience. Layer those two things together and things get, well, complicated.

The Physical

When Your Sex Drive Is in Overdrive:

The pain of grief, though often thought of as an emotional pain, is also a deeply physical experience. And though we often distinguish physical and emotional pain, the brain is activated in VERY similar ways when we experience emotional pain as when we experience physical pain. One study even suggests that Tylenol can reduce emotional pain. Weird, right?! So it's no surprise that, when we are experiencing emotional pain, our brains will seek out ways to ease the pain response in the brain.

Having sex causes us to release feel-good neurotransmitters and pain-reducing hormones that can, at least temporarily, give us reprieve from the immeasurable pain or numbness. It can also simply be a meaningful physical connection with another human being at a time that can feel so isolating. As one WYG reader explained:

“In those moments, all my anxiety, my PTSD, my insecurities, my loneliness just melted away. I was able to be fully present, enjoying him and being together.”

And those good feelings aren’t even as temporary as you might think. Participants in a study at George Mason University reported still feeling higher levels of happiness the day after sex. And it didn’t matter whether the sex was particularly satisfying or if the person was in a relationship; people’s positive emotions, mood, and sense of meaning were, on average, increased the day after sex regardless.

When Your Sex Drive Disappears:

With all these feel-good, pain-reducing, mood-boosting benefits then, it might seem surprising that some people’s sex drives drop or disappear completely during grief. But as with many things in grief and neurology, there is rarely a single story. Grief can increase stress chemicals in the brain and, in some cases, can cause an onset of depression or exacerbate existing depression. Any of these things can physiologically make it harder to feel interested in sex or to get the same pleasure from sex.

One WYG reader shared a comment echoed by many:

I am just never interested in sex now. It never seems appealing. Once I am actually having sex, it does feel good and often makes me feel a bit better—but I really have to force myself”.

From a strictly physical perspective, the interest just might not be there in the same way for you—and that, at least for a period of time, is very normal.

The Emotional and Cognitive

When Your Sex Drive Is in Overdrive:

Though the physical piece of having sex may be giving you a nice chemical boost, it's important to look at whether your thoughts and feelings are doing the same. We heard from many readers who said something along the lines of:

“I had a lot of sex those first months/years and, though that’s not how I normally am, it was what I needed at the time and it really helped me through.”

But just because your sex drive is up doesn’t mean your thoughts and feelings are aligned with that drive. We had other readers say things like:

"I feel a deep desire to have sex, but I feel so guilty—like I am betraying my partner’s memory."

Others said things like:

“My desire to have sex is up, but I keep thinking that it's too soon, that I need to wait.”

That might be a story you’re telling yourself, but it might also be one that you're hearing from other people and that might be creating some feelings of shame. One reader, whose sex drive was way up and who was finding great comfort and pleasure in sex, shared:

“A good friend judged me harshly for dating when she thought it was too soon. My dating life then stayed undercover; I’d date people in a city forty-five minutes away to avoid being seen.”

Other people’s judgment can quickly have an impact on us, even when we otherwise felt good about the decision.

These thoughts and feelings can quickly diminish the benefits of sex, leaving one feeling badly about their urges and actions. So it can be helpful to explore those thoughts and feelings. There is no rule-book, no “right” amount of time to wait—so part of the work of being comfortable if and when you decide to have sex is doing your own self-assessment. Though this post was about readiness to date, it may offer some insights that are also helpful when considering sex. And talking with a counselor can be a huge support in this.

When Your Sex Drive Disappears:

The thoughts and feelings that come alongside a disappearing sex drive can be wide-ranging. Perhaps the most common we hear from people is from those who are partnered and who experience immense guilt; guilt ranging from feeling like they are depriving their partner of sexual intimacy to guilt that their partners now may be taking it personally, thinking it's a loss of attraction or interest. But for those who have lost their sex drive, whether partnered or not, it can feel a deep loss of identity coupled with feelings of isolation.

For those who previously had a very active sex life, the loss of interest is its own loss. Grief, which can be a deeply isolating and lonely experience, can feel even more lonely and isolated when sexual intimacy is no longer an outlet.

Talking with your partner about this, if it's occurring, can be hugely helpful. Often partners struggle with feeling that the loss of interest is about them, even if rationally they know it is connected to grief. Reassuring a partner that it's not about them may help to comfort them, and allow space to better communicate about other types of intimacy that might work for both partners.

It can also create a space to talk about or consider trying to have sex, even when you aren't in the mood. You should never have sex against your will, but sometimes the actual process of touch can get you in the mood when you weren't previously. This is something that can be valuable to explore if you're interested in trying to get your sex drive back, but it requires good communication.

We have only scratched the surface of this complicated topic, so please leave a comment with anything from your experience to questions you would like to see in the next posts in this series.

We wrote a book!

After writing online articles for What’s Your Grief
for over a decade, we finally wrote a tangible,
real-life book!

After writing online articles for What’s Your Grief for over a decade, we finally wrote a tangible, real-life book!

What’s Your Grief? Lists to Help you Through Any Loss is for people experiencing any type of loss. This book discusses some of the most common grief experiences and breaks down psychological concepts to help you understand your thoughts and emotions. It also shares useful coping tools, and helps the reader reflect on their unique relationship with grief and loss.

You can find What’s Your Grief? Lists to Help you Through Any Loss wherever you buy books:

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55 Comments on "Let's Talk About Sex (and Grief) - Part 1"

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  1. Just Confused  May 30, 2024 at 12:43 am Reply

    I lost my husband 7 months ago, and every single day of this now lonely life has been challenging. I’ve sought therapy, both group and solo, and it has been helpful. However, recently, I’ve been experiencing intense sexual urges, which are very confusing. The most perplexing part is that I have a desire to be with someone who knows us and is close to my husband. To be clear, I’ve never had any desire to be with this person or found him attractive, but when I close my eyes, I see my husband in him, which makes me want him even more. These urges are pushing me away from talking to his friend or even being around him. I don’t understand what’s happening to me or why I can’t stop these thoughts. This is so confusing and very frustrating.

  2. Trish  December 7, 2022 at 9:05 am Reply

    I lost my 3 year old grandson to a tragic accident, very unexpected. Prior to the loss I had a very active happy sex life and drive, the last 4 months, it seems difficult to even be in the mood. And when I do have sex my significant other has stated it’s not the same, we aren’t as “kinky” as we use to be. I’m afraid and so is he that this loss has changed me, changed me sexually. Is it even possible that losing my grandson had triggered a sexual change?

  3. A g  September 30, 2022 at 6:05 pm Reply

    My mom passed away almost 4 months ago from an aggressive cancer. I lived with her the last three months taking care of her through chemo appointments an later through home hospice.
    I’ve had a lot of guilt over my lack of sex drive. I think the hardest thing when it comes to that guilt is talking with my partner about it and being honest with myself as well about my needs.

  4. Marie  July 13, 2022 at 12:31 pm Reply

    Since my partner died after 30 plus years together,my desire for sex and connection and intimacy literally skyrocketed…I need the physical intimacy so much..its an irresistible drive and longing that makes all the pain go away.So happy to read I’m probably not the only one in the world..

    • Tobey  August 24, 2022 at 5:45 pm Reply

      I too have felt the same way as you .. my husband died a year and half ago, I was with him for 29 years, since I was 17. I started to date almost 2 months ago and I have been embarrassingly promiscuous.. which is not like I ever was. I just need that physical touch and to be connected to someone. Unfortunately, if I do find that I am interested in them, my behavior is very needy .. because I need to feel safe and secure. My husband died suddenly.

    • CuuL  March 31, 2023 at 6:46 am Reply

      My wife of 20 years died beneath me as i was performing CPR on her… After that I kept going with life as best I could (I have three kids)… But, without her there to handle all the social interactios for me like she always did, everything went sideways… I lost everything ( I know it was probably MY fault)… But after that, I view all people (except my kids) as trouble… I would prefer to be alone (even if I am, for lack of a better word, horny), because they CAN’T compare to Her…

  5. Maryann  March 25, 2022 at 9:47 pm Reply

    I lost my Husband 6 months ago he died of complications of kidney stone was on a respirator for one week. We had been together anworked together for 43 years. He was my Soulmate and love of my life. Six years prior to his passing also had a similar episode with kidney stones and was on a respirator for four days which he was able to come out of but it affected his memory and heart function. He was diagnosed with frontal temporal Dementia and for the pass six years. Just before he passed away for about one year it was difficult sexually. Now that he is never coming home I’m feeling this tremendous desire for sexual pleasure. Our sex life was non existent for tge pass 3 years. I don’t know how to feel. But sexually strong strong desires are here. I do feel guilty to even think of being with someone else. If anyone can give me insight on how to proceed with my desires please share them with me.

    • Elizabeth Graeter  September 4, 2022 at 8:37 pm Reply

      My husband died 7 years ago. I can’t imagine having sex again. I have no desire. I’m repelled by the thought of it.
      Why? I’m not old.

  6. Ben  March 4, 2022 at 1:52 am Reply

    So my fiancé lost her father the first week of February and she was grieving for about three weeks without us having intimacy(and we just got engaged 3months ago) ,the other time i came on to her and she refused and i understood where she was coming from.some time went by and i was shocked when she told me she wanted us to get intimate,so we got intimate and I could see that her energy was coming back,until she went to visit her mother (who believes alot in our traditional beliefs) told her that what she did was and she should consider having bad luck already,because she had sex before her second cleansing ceremony.now she’s back to feeling guilty that she didn’t respect the grieving period,how do I make her feel better.does she really going to have bad luck until the future because she didn’t “respect” her father’s grieving period

    • Litsa  March 4, 2022 at 9:05 pm Reply

      Ben, I am so sorry for your girlfriend’s loss and for the challenges that have come with it. One of the tricky things about rituals and beliefs is that thery are very personal. If she feels like she has violated a tradition, even if it is a tradition that sounds very specific to her family/culture/religion, often the best thing you can do is talk with her about how she is feeling and what she needs from you in order to feel supported. She may not know, but having an open discussion is often the only way to find out.

      • Michelle  December 14, 2022 at 2:41 am

        My partner lost his sister 5 years ago suddenly. His way of coping is by being busy all day every day.
        He’s always been a hard worker but used to make time for us and intimacy was never an issue. Now though, it’s another level.

        I’m trying to support him in every way i can and when he’s really low i step up and support him with extra affection and try and make him feel he has a safe place to be vulnerable if he needs to be…and he appreciates it and calls me his rock.

        All the being busy and the grief has left him with nothing left in the tank for me though and I’m trying my hardest to not take it personally but its starting to hurt now after 4 years. ( We met 13 years ago, had a break for 3 years and then got back together again.)
        We’ve talked about it and say we’ll do better but nothing changes. I know he’s struggling but i am to and it’s hard for me to talk to him without him getting defensive and trying to spin it all back on to me.
        Its getting to the stage where I’m finding it easier to just shut down….it’s feeling more like a friendship than relationship.

        I know his grief will become easier to live with… i lost my Dad 27 years ago so i know grief too. So i know things could get better if i can stop myself sinking, i just need help for him that he’s just not anle to give at the minute.

  7. Tim  January 31, 2022 at 9:22 pm Reply

    My wife lost two close family members at the beginning and end of year. She has been grieving ever since and has had no interest in myself in any way. I try not to take this personally but it hurts and feels like it will never happen again. Any advice would be appreciated Thk. U.

  8. Tim  January 30, 2022 at 3:46 pm Reply

    My wife has just lost two family members including your father and your grandmother this past year now after this or sex drive has gone completely down understandable I don’t know if it’s gonna come back I’ll be patient it’s just a different way of life that we’ve never had before any suggestions?

    • Jason  July 2, 2022 at 12:08 am Reply

      My partner lost a baby early pregnancy and is having trouble greiving and even not letting me make love to her

  9. Jill  December 4, 2021 at 11:54 pm Reply

    I lost my partner and best friend of 4 years and I miss him and cry every day. I also miss the intimacy and hugs and touching. I don’t feel ready for a relationship but I sure could use the sex. Not sure if I would have guilt feelings or not it has been 3 months and it feels lonely, painful and so hard. Is it a horrible thing to want sex? If I am open about not being available for a relationship but needing intimacy is it unfair to the other person?

  10. Jan  November 8, 2021 at 2:37 pm Reply

    I’m going to try to make this short my cousin witch and her and I were really close and her boyfriend I was around them both a lot she died and not really good death with cancer and brain bleeds and everything we were both there watching out for her being that her family were druggies we have to watch out for her he took her everywhere he took her to all her doctor’s appointments everything they’ve been together for maybe four years we’re going to get married well right after she passed we started having sex and I’m afraid I’m the one that’s hurting here now as well guilt he feels guilty but our sex is so good we keep doing it hot and heavy help please I can’t take this he just wants sex he’s told me that but let’s sex comes intimacy but all we do is have sex almost every night

    • Litsa  November 9, 2021 at 6:28 pm Reply

      Jan, I am so sorry for the many complicated feeling that you’re having. In grief, there can be a huge want to connection (emotional and physical), just to feel something good when other things hurt so much, and when you both loved and cared for the person who died that can create a trust and connection that leads to intimacy. For sex to be healthy it has to be working for both of you both physically and emotionally. It sounds like the emotional piece isn’t working for you with the guilt that you are feeling and, if that is the case, it is important to set a healthy boundary for yourself. Talking to a counselor or therapist might be a good place to start if that is proving difficult. This woman’s book and the resources on her website might also be helpful – https://www.nedratawwab.com/set-boundaries-find-peace

  11. Tonia Fetzer  October 4, 2021 at 8:45 am Reply

    My Spouse and I lost our 17 year old daughter almost 9 years ago this November. Has anyone ever heard their disabled significant other say that they can’t have sex with you because you look too much like our child? I’m so hurt because we’ve been together 29 years and always showed love and affection? I don’t know what to think or how to react other than I have a hard time understanding and trusting him now. I think this is something way deeper. This is also hurt because my Mother disowned me and said when my Dad and her divorced that she didn’t want nothing to do with me because I reminded her of him! My mother was mentally, emotionally abusive and now how would someone react to the situation my spouse? Please any advice?

    • Litsa  October 25, 2021 at 1:18 pm Reply

      Tonia, I am so sorry you are coping with this. I would suggest that you and your husband see a couple’s therapist to try to work through this issue together with the support of a professional.

  12. Danielle Randle  August 10, 2021 at 11:04 am Reply

    I feel like I’m disappointing my partner. He says its okay, but i just feel so much guilt because my sex drive has been pretty much gone for 5 months, since I lost someone so close to me. I get in my head a lot about it thinking that he probably wishes be had someone else. And blah blah. We talk about it but nothing changes on my end. I just feel broken

    • Bobbie  March 5, 2022 at 1:12 pm Reply

      I read your post and it really stuck with me because I am going through the same thing I lost my sister and my dad 5 months ago (1 week apart from each other) and since then I have zero interest in sex. I know it bothers my husband. He says it is not about the sex and understands but feels like I have fallen out of love with him which is not the case at all. I know I have changed as a person since my loss because I lost a huge part of me. I am afraid that eventually he may not be able to deal with it. I am not glad you are experiencing this but I am glad to know that I am not alone.

      • Gene  March 22, 2022 at 8:05 am

        I’m sorry you and your partners are dealing with this. My partner lost their sibling four months ago. I avoided directly mentioning anything sexual until very recently. I asked if they were interested and they replied that they had too many thoughts and emotions to even begin to think about something like that. I understand this, but it’s a little more complicated as they have always struggled to some degree with getting in their own head and generally feeling overwhelmed. In terms of sex, we very rarely would have sex more than once every week or two and then we would both agree that we were fools to have waited so long again, but the cycle inevitably repeats itself. I have always had a higher sex drive and even when I would finally get the courage to discuss this disparity it would end in acknowledgment only and no plan to change our dynamics.
        I believe that they had been experiencing mild depression even prior to the pandemic due to their anxieties but the pandemic and now the loss of their sibling has plunged them into serious despair. I really have no idea where to even start.
        This is why I say that I understand. There are a lot of layers here and I understand, but it still doesn’t make me miss our connection and our intimacy any less. I too am grieving but their grief takes precedence as I believe it should. I’m afraid this will last forever and I’m very scared that this has locked in the parts of our relationship dynamic that I saw as being fixable prior to this loss.

    • Trish  December 7, 2022 at 9:11 am Reply

      I totally understand that feeling. My partner and I have found it very difficult during these past months and he actually stated to me when we do have it I have lost the “kinky” side. I don’t know how to be what I was prior to the death.
      It’s been over a year since you posted this, has things improved? Do I have hope?

  13. Adrian  July 14, 2021 at 9:00 am Reply

    I don’t know how to feel. I haven’t felt the urge to have sex in 11 years since my fiancée passed away. We were young and now that I’ve turned 31 I feel like there’s no point in even trying anymore, so even if I find someone attractive I stay as far away from them as possible. I’ve lost what I thought could be great friendships because I’m naturally a caring guy and they thought I was leading them on so eventually they stopped talking to me when they figured out I wasn’t going to make a move. Does this end? Is there any other male that has gone through this? I can’t find anyone who identifies with me and that’s almost as lonely as not having my partner.

    • Carly  July 24, 2021 at 2:57 pm Reply

      My son lost a baby and his girlfriend at the same time. He struggles with depression and hasn’t been involved with anyone since. He just works. He’s only 28. I wish he could talk with a counselor about his pain. I worry about him. I just want him to be able to move forward. I hope you do too.

    • Tamarah  April 10, 2022 at 12:56 am Reply

      I am so very sorry for the excessive pain you have been experiencing for so very long. I think you should try to get some counseling for yourself, you have been blocking potential healthy relationships for long enough and you deserve to have positive, close connections in your life. Please stay strong and I hope you are able to find peace and clarity soon in your life. 🙏🏼

    • Ashley  April 20, 2022 at 5:09 pm Reply

      I just lost my fiancee a week ago. He and I were supposed to get married in November. He was my best friend and I have known him almost 9 years. I’m 31, he was 26.

  14. Peony Rose  June 20, 2021 at 3:53 pm Reply

    I lost my husband last march, I totally loved him and still do we didn’t have an amazing sex life a bit boring to be honest. However a neighbor a couple of doors away has visited in the evenings had drinks together a couple of times very very recently we ended up in bed together and I really enjoyed sex first time for years he came again the following evening and again was nice. I live in a road of terraced houses he comes when it’s dark and leaves before sunrise , we are hiding from neighbours and I find it really awkward but enjoying sex. I do feel guilty as it seems so soon after losing my husband and worry about what the neighbors will think of me if they see him coming and going. Also fear what my sons will think if they find out.

    • Brian  August 5, 2021 at 1:46 am Reply

      I can resonate with your story. I lost my wife after a brain illness in June. She spent 4 months in hospital and tragically was never the person I knew. I have started dating a woman who is my age and single. She was known to my wife some years back and is godmother to one of my stepchildren which makes it awkward. I am starting to fall in love her, we haven’t had sex yet but had cuddles and deep kissing. I am wondering if you felt guilty after sex. This is the unknown zone for me. I didn’t feel guilty about kissing. I was always loyal to my wife when she was alive but feel I need some intimacy again.

      • Joe  August 5, 2021 at 8:27 pm

        Brian be very careful. Since my posting I have had a real rollercoaster and realised that I have no idea what I am going through. So much so that I have recently been referred to a grief counsellor. I fully understand the need for intimacy and cancer and brain tumours are destructive. It is far too fast and the person you know just keeps dropping another level. It is like a lift you cannot get off. I have realised that 10 months after my wife’s death I am reliving some emotions and remembering things that until now have been gaps in my memory. I have been going out with a person who is really lovely but we agreed a few months ago to wait until I felt better in myself. Since there is no pressure and we just enjoy our times together we can see a future but at the same time we are building a great friendship. My only advice – I fully understand the need to feel alive again but the bedroom may just complicate matters so make sure you are mentally ready.

  15. Joe  March 16, 2021 at 12:28 am Reply

    Wow, I thought I must be the problem My wife passed away from a brain tumour that destroyed our life in 5 months. The grieving blurred from the diagnosis and the role of caring for her made this intense. Survivor guilt the lot. We had only been together for 8 years but we never had a fight we were just so well matched.
    Since her death, I am actually scared that falling in love again and having sex can result in this all-consuming pain. It’s heading for a year and everyone says she wanted me to move forward but in reality, it not only her it’s the feeling that I will never have such an intense love again and that the pain of grief is just too great. That being with someone else opens up that potential to have this grief again. People tell me that it will get easier with time – I just don’t believe them at all. I think the loss of a lover, partner and best friend can keep triggering the pain when you least expect it. The only reason to seek someone else is to combat the intense loneliness – I can be lonely even surrounded by people.

    • Callie  May 2, 2021 at 8:29 pm Reply

      My husband died in 2018 leaving me with a son nearly five year old son that remembered his father as someone that cared. He blames me for his fathers death and not spending his last winter alive with his son and me. The August before the man my husband found I was in an affair with showed up just to talk because the last time they encountered each other, five years before. My husband put him in a ICU with nearly every bone above the waist broken, the left side of his skull fractured, All over the attempt to humiliate my crippled husband, by sweeping his cane then laughing about it asking me how had I ended up with my husband the looser. He return his red oak 4’4″ tall 13 pound dragon head toped cane like a spear to shatter the other mans skull.. I tried to stop an more damage as my husband used the furniture to drag himself and his legs over to the other man to administer his justice by using his fists to break bones while the other man laid knocked out on the floor.

      I called 911 and laid where my husband swatted me in anger to the other side of the room. The police picked my husband up off the floor took him to the regional mental health because it was the fourth time in a decade my husbands rights caused people to be sent to the hospital broken and bleeding He had lost the use of his legs in a MRSA infection and a stroke latter. It also set his Parkinsons up worse and other problems that had developed in the three years of rehab.

      When My affair partner showed up just to talk to me four years later where we moved in Wyoming. He was telling me his wife was going to reconcile with him and she stepped out of their car to have her say as we watched my husband leading the other horse pulling a travois with a large amount of dry food supplies.

      She actually walked up and hit me, As she lft to go back to the city My son came out at my urging to introduce him to my friend, When he showed up and realized Ii was going to talk to him, My husband told his son that he was to care for me got his horse and betty ready whil my friend did not want another bad encounter seeing my husband put his shotgun and 30 30 in sadle holsters then buckled himself into the leg braces, My friend knelt and asked how my son would like him around, Then my son kicked my friend in i the shins with his hard welligntons like his father wore. Told him that daddy left because he came, My best friend retired as a LPN came by from her house about 12 miles away and lite into me about letting my sick husband leave for the high range cabin his uncle left him, She had a heilo take her up there the nest week and decided to stay doing tellehealth sessions of the computers and solar and turbine generators my husband ad his uncle installed there befor his uncle died . my husband with vey little help made other changes like making the loft with a shower toilet and three bedrooms found a compressor in a buisness that was going bankrupt with a furnace and a frame to blow air out of a central vent in the high ceiling. It to worked on the abundance of electric power he had installed. I was thinking my friend who had been in love with my husband since he was out of the army and they had dated, I ad married my husband six years after while he had served in his second service the Navys submarine service, She told me after we met that his father and hers both objected to any relationship they might have developed.

      She spent the last nine months of my husbands life as his caretaker, Calling for the delivery of Parkinsons meds Anti clotting and nerve suppression as well as heart meds by over flight drops. She made sure that he did not go out and over do the hunting for extra proteins in turkey, grouse. and prairie hen there was a side of beef delivered butchered on a pallet with a deer my husband shot from the cabin deck. and sent for butchering and summer sausage It was the week after we went up to high range to see my husband and let his son see he still loved him, the look was horible my husband had lost over half his body my friend said he had stopped eating, barely drank any thing and spent most his time in a lounger he had found under the house in storage. My son was up there with his father scaring me to death as my husband showed his son the friend he had made of a golden Eagle with a 6 foot wing span when the bird started screaming and my son came down from the high deck by himself telling my friend and me that daddy fell off his seat and would not get up.

      Rigor had already started by the time we got up there. A army NG medical heilo was in the area and landed to collect my husband for a autopsy and cremation, My husband had already cut a place in the rock he wanted his ashes put over looking the mountains where the cabin was, my LPN friend and a locket containing his mothers ashes, He died very suddenly of a neural interruption to his heart, His funeral was arranged by his sister with four Helios landing outside the cabin three were army and one civilian The army reservs suplied a bugler and the honor firing squad the bought a Navy reserve chaplain and his union sent his locals chaplain that delivered the eulogy more tan a few friends and family of my husbands came up in three flights. The service included his horse Bart lead with backward boots in the saddle and the whole thing was surreal with the Eagle screaming at everyone over the area then flying off.

      I spent the rest of the summer and most of the fall there before going back to the canyon home leaving my LPN friend there because she loved it up there and started my son in nursery school in 2017, I came back to a property my husband owned in the mid west when my son start first grade, He hated the people there as much as my husband did so I went to my sisters property on the east coast in Virginia, where there was sun sand and beachs My son still felt he was in a world of snobs and he went through second grade with straight As so far on a tablet and a laptop, But he wants to go back to cattle, buffalo, and other creatures as well as his fathers two horses, to go where daddy is, so in the fall he’s going back t school in Wyoming hopefully not on a tablet.

      My husband died to better his life and I still can’t believe he felt that going to school with Cheyan indians and military was the best schools, to teach his son opposite the way his father wanted, to his grandson to be in the schools in the community my husband had retired in in the white community.

      My son already has friends out west, one that I worry will be his wife in the future who is a Cheyanne because every time we go back they are joined at the hip and with all the oil rigs and military around he will go to school with every race. and when he goes to college he will not care about his grandfathers ideals.

      I actually grieve for my husband because he wanted to see his son grow into being a man and have a wife that loved him and not the society we lived in more. My husbands fight with the society and his fathers racism was what kept us from having children far before we did and it took him forcing me into sex for that after 30 years married. I was 48 almost 49.

      He died leaving me with is son to raise

    • Carly  July 24, 2021 at 3:02 pm Reply

      Hi Joe, you don’t need another relationship to be happy. Give yourself time to heal. Pray, enjoy nature, exercise hard, eat well. Eventually, you will heal but not until you are ready to. Your heart will tell you when you are ready. Then, you will be able to give unconditionally to something or someone you love regardless of what the future will bring. Hang tough. You aren’t alone. Thinking about you. Carly

    • Diane  May 26, 2022 at 12:29 am Reply

      My bf died tragically just 10 days ago while I was with him. We had been together as a couple for only about 8 months (friends for 10+ years) but our connection was like no other, in and out of the bedroom. We had a very active and fulfilling sex life. We made love the morning of his passing and it was perfect. While Im an emotional mess and don’t want sex with someone else, I need release. Is it normal that even though I feel the need to masturbate, I can’t because I feel like I’m taking away the last time I orgasmed away from him? Grief is so weird.

  16. Dixie Duke  March 6, 2021 at 7:21 pm Reply

    I definitely feel this. I lost my Mother over 40 years ago, and I dont feel like I ever grieved for her as a child. As an adult now, I realize this has affected my sex drive. I dont have a sex drive. I have a sex crawl. My wife is ready to leave me because of it. She just doesn’t understand and spent years thinking it was all about her, when it never was. When we first met, our intimacy was constant. Over the years, I feel my grief has crept in and has pulled me into a depression. Now that I am finally trying to address this, my marriage is falling apart.

  17. Veronica Rodriguez  February 23, 2021 at 10:55 am Reply

    I’m 47yrs old, and lost my husband a yr ago we were together for more than 20yrs , and now I feel lost and lonely sometimes, we have 2 teens they keep me going, but I have no interest at all to find anybody. is that normal?

  18. Gail  February 20, 2021 at 10:40 am Reply

    My husband died as a result of a heart attack. I did CPR. It was the hardest thing I have ever done. He made it to the hospital. The Doctors informed me that he was brain-dead. They as me if I would be willing to donate his organs. I agreed.

    I was re-traumatized by the cruelness/ inhumane treatment given to him as he was dying and the donation model.

    I became an advocate for changing the nursing care in the nursing unit where my husband died. I also advocated for changes to the organ and tissue donation program in this hospital. I was ruthless and I know how to advocate. I advocated for: my husband, myself, and the people coming after us. The trauma drove me. I was a pit bull. The hospital acknowledged the harm to my husband.

    Fast forward a year later, I was encouraged to date after forty years of marriage. I found someone very special and I am in love again with a good man. I do live with ongoing moments of grief and unresolved trauma which I try not to share with my new partner. I do not want to make him feel that I am conflicted because I am not.

    To my question.

    My new partner and I were making love; in a moment during our lovemaking, I had a flash of being with my late husband and then back to my new partner. It was jolting, very real and confusing. I have kept it to myself. I am trying to reconcile what happened.

  19. Louise  December 30, 2020 at 12:26 am Reply

    It’s been nearly 10 years since my husband lost his mother, very suddenly and unexpectedly. I understand that this could have had an impact on his sex drive but I didn’t expect it to last this long. We had a very good sex life but now he has no sex drive at all and i feel guilty and selfish for wanting sex but not just that, I thought we wanted to start a family but doesn’t look like that’s going to happen now so in a way I feel like I’m grieving that loss as well

    • IsabelleS  December 30, 2020 at 3:41 pm Reply

      Louise, I’m very sorry to hear that you’re going through this. You are completely entitled to grieve this loss. Although it’s okay for your husband to grieve in this way, it’s also okay for you to be upset about it. Have you tried gently communicating your needs to your husband? All the best.

  20. Melissa  December 20, 2020 at 3:03 pm Reply

    I’m 58 and lost my husband of nearly 30 years, 3 years ago. Until he became sick (cancer), we had a fabulous sex life. He was my everything. I miss sex, but the thought of being intimate with someone else after all these years is terrifying to me. I have an old high school friend who has reached out to reconnect and a part of me yearns for this, but another part is afraid. I keep playing the “what if” inside my head. How do I ever make this first step of dating without my brain worrying about what sex with someone else will be like? I know I’m getting ahead of myself with these thoughts, but sex was a big part of my marriage. I could never understand how friends would tease me about it. With my husband I had no inhibitions. We had the perfect sex life. I guess that’s my fear. Can I have that freedom with anyone else? I’m afraid to try, but I don’t want to be alone the rest of my life. So I’m stuck. I cling to my grief out of fear of rejection. I cling to the fact that I had the one great love of my life that others never get. I push away chances to have any semblance of that again so I avoid hurt and pain. How do I move forward? It’s easier to post this here with strangers rather than talk with friends. They could never understand. They have their husbands…

    • IsabelleS  December 21, 2020 at 10:59 am Reply

      Melissa, I’m so sorry for your loss. Dating is always complicated, but especially so after having lost a significant other. It sounds like you and your husband had a very special relationship… It’s important to know that dating does not diminish this. I understand being afraid to put yourself out there. You may want to check out this article: https://whatsyourgrief.com/widow-dating-am-i-ready/ If you’re not ready, that’s okay… And if you are ready, that’s also okay! Best of luck.

    • Kathryn  January 2, 2021 at 8:04 pm Reply

      Melissa, your comments could be about my life. It hasn’t quite been 3 years since my husband of 31 years died. I have great friends and family and hobbies but I miss the intimacy. I joined a dating site (during a pandemic when I won’t actually even GO on a date, no less!) but I’m pretty anxious when I think about just going on a DATE yet alone getting intimate with someone else after being with one man for almost my entire life. I don’t have any answers but please know you’re not alone!

    • Erika  January 29, 2021 at 11:47 pm Reply

      Hi there, thank you for for writing this. I lost my husband to cancer recently as well and what you wrote resonated with me. I never want anybody else in my life but this being alone is daunting. To never be held again is also too sad as I am an affectionate person. I want my Colin to hold me, and make me laugh and secude me, like only he could even after 30 years of marriage. I hope I can learn to live with this.

      • Isabelle Siegel  January 31, 2021 at 11:12 am

        Erika, I’m truly so sorry for your loss. My heart goes out to you. I know it seems difficult to imagine, but you will learn to live with this pain. I hope this article and its comments have shown you that you are NOT alone. All the best to you.

    • Cheryllodge8@yahoo.com  March 16, 2022 at 12:20 am Reply

      Melissa, I relate to your story the most. I’m 61 healthy and full of life. My husband passed 7 years ago of cancer, but three years prior the tumor was found. I have not had sex or intimacy In 10 years. We had a great sex life before he had cancer but sex was the first thing that went when he was diagnosed. Now after all of this time a new wonderful man has come into my life. Although he has not spoken that he loves me I know that he does. He to is a widower for over a year now. He is the man I have prayed for and I believe God brought us together. He is ready to move forward. We enjoy each other’s company, we have fun and we have so much in common. He knows I’m struggling, I think. He gives me plenty of space because he knows physically I’m not there yet. Although we have not spoken about this. I feel numb inside and I have for years. When we are not together I can imagine holding his hand, hugging, kissing, etc but when we are together I can’t! What’s wrong with me? I have no one to talk to about this. I want to wake these emotions up inside of me. What can I do? Is it guilt? Is it the fear? Fear of never wanting to feel the pain of loss again? It makes me feel empty. I have never experienced this emptiness before. What can I do to move forward? Can anyone relate?
      Hopeful but confused,

  21. Pat  December 20, 2020 at 10:40 am Reply

    Appreciate the article and the comments. Intimacy is definitely a loss. I miss being close in bed, in the shower, sitting together, touching. Bonnie was my sweetheart for 30 years and I really do not have a desire for any relationship in the future. I had the best soul mate, lover, and waited 30+ years to find her. Sex was good, but there was more that made us happy. Appreciate the comments and advice.

    • IsabelleS  December 21, 2020 at 11:01 am Reply

      Pat, I’m so sorry for your loss. Your relationship with Bonnie sounds so special. You’re right–Intimacy is a major loss that is not talked about enough. It’s so okay if you don’t want a relationship in the future. Whether or not that changes is also okay. All the best.

  22. anon anon  October 26, 2020 at 9:35 am Reply

    Choosing not to share my own name for privacy’s sake. Two weeks after my husband of 26 years died i began having erotic dreams about him. it was like the worst mind fuckery possible as I was so overwrought with grief and had no idea what to do. About a year and a half later I began having sex regularly with a man I had no plans to have a “real” relationship with. Then, another man after him. Both men ultimately became friends since I was always honest about my lack of emotional availability. I can’t believe how much my libido has charged up. It’s a curiosity and the only regret or guilt I feel is that I did not have this much stamina and energy sexually speaking in the last years of my marriage. I still do grief work and am feeling all the difficult emotions that come with such a traumatic loss but the the rush of endorphins i get due to sex is so freeing and cleansing. I actually think my spouse would be delighted to know this is happening.

  23. Gary B  October 25, 2020 at 5:43 pm Reply

    I lost my wife of 38 years 2 years ago and now at 66 I have my sex life well “in hand”. I gave it my all for my wife for 44 years (we were HS sweethearts- who reconnected my senior year in college) and have no desire to get into this messy game. I have no game left to give anyway so Its ok I am all good with it.

  24. Lou  October 25, 2020 at 1:39 pm Reply

    I waited a year after my husband died to choose a new life partner. During my year of grieving, I prepared myself for a new relationship by continuing my hormones and using my vibrator by myself. I was unsure of how my sexuality would be since I am 73 now. I already loved my new boyfriend before we became intimate and the chemistry was and is amazing. Loving someone really adds a lot to ones sex life. He loves me and we are committed to each other and our relationship.

  25. Karen  October 25, 2020 at 1:33 pm Reply

    I, too have struggled with this issue. My husband and I were/are in our mid 60’s. We shared an intensely emotional, physical and satisfying relationship for over 20 years. He has been gone now for just over 9 months. I have found occasional experimentation with self pleasure helps. There is no guilt because there is no other/new partner and I know my husband would approve and be happy I have been able to find this outlet.

  26. Nancy  October 25, 2020 at 9:15 am Reply

    This really resonated with me and my life experiences. I had not really thought about the link between grief and loss and sex, but it is real and painful and sad. For us, our sex life did not come back after multiple losses of my spouse’s family.

  27. douglas  October 25, 2020 at 3:01 am Reply

    Before my wife passed away we used to have great sex in the shower regularly.
    For two weeks after she died I would just be an emotional wreck every time I would step into the shower on my own . I have totally lost my drive and that’s ok. Sex is only one form of showing love to your partner and I have no desire after 3 years to find someone and remarry only to have sex. It is not important to me.

    • Loralea  October 25, 2020 at 12:37 pm Reply

      I have no desire to have sex after I lost my oldest son to suicide. I felt so isolated in my grief right from the start. Seemed like I was the only one in the depths of unrelentless grief. I could see my youngest son experiencing some fairly major grief as he was self destructing a fair bit the first year. Drinking alcohol when he had never drank before. He missed his brother. So I wasnt completely alone. But other than that I didnt witness others struggling in grief like me. Seemed as though everyone just could move past it. My husband (not the biological father of my deceased son) made me feel guilty for not wanting sex. Last thing I needed on top of everything else. I thought to myself Im in the depth of grief and his needs matter? Its important for me to fill his needs? My grief needs were not being met as he was unable to see or care about that as he had never experienced a loss like I was experiencing. Made me feel sick to my stomach how shefish people can be. I have never been shelfish but I have learned to be for my own survival. I am still married. We dont have sex but sleep in the same bed. I take care of my 4 year old grandaughter and she gives me joy but thats it. I live for my grandaughter. Not sure what my future holds. One day at a time right now.

      • Guenevere  December 1, 2020 at 3:53 am

        I so understand and relate to you. Only difference is I have the most amazing supportive partner who has had nothing but patience with me. Has supported me in every single way possible, right down to supporting myself and my children financially. He is 10 years my junior and I love him immensely but I just cannot be intimate anymore and it’s causing extreme guilt within me.


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