One bold step can heal a relationship

Saturday December 8 2018

James kept booking appointments with me, and then cancelling and apologising.  PHOTO| FILE| NATION MEDIA GROUP

James kept booking appointments with me, and then cancelling and apologising. PHOTO| FILE| NATION MEDIA GROUP 

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James kept booking appointments with me, and then cancelling and apologising. When he booked his fifth appointment in a span of three weeks it hit me that he could be a joker and I was tempted to deny him the appointment.

But then he apologised profusely and promised to honour it. And he showed up!

“So why have you been procrastinating if the problem is that serious?” I asked him. He told me that his wife was on the verge of divorcing him because his libido was totally gone and they had not had sex for close to eight months.

“The few times we try, my erections are rather disappointing and I have premature ejaculation. My life is just in a mess,” he sighed.

James was 47 years old. He was a sales manager at a software company. His wife, Rachel, was a 42-year-old interior designer. The couple had been married for 12 years and had two children.


I took a detailed medical history and did tests to get a diagnosis. The big finding was that James was stressed. As a sales manager, his profession hinged on meeting targets. The more targets he met, the more the company gave him. He slept only three to four hours a night.

He carried work home. He travelled a lot. “The reason why I kept missing appointments was because I have no time in my hands to do anything apart from meeting company targets,” he explained.

James was like the majority of patients coming to the sexology clinic because their lifestyles do not support quality of life. Sleep deprivation, for example, is prevalent.

The body regenerates when we have adequate sleep. If you are sleeping for less than six hours a day, your body is unable to regenerate enough to cope with demands for sex.

Stress at work deprives us of the peace and tranquility needed to focus on building intimacy with our partners. Stressed people are irritable and communicate poorly. Worse still, they have no time and so do not pay attention to their partners’ needs and concerns.

The end result is a deterioration in the relationship characterised by loss of emotional and physical connection. It becomes impossible to have satisfactory sex under such circumstances.

James remained quiet as I explained it to him. He chewed his lip as he nodded in understanding. He seemed deeply troubled. When I concluded my long lecture, he stood up to leave without uttering a word.

“Did I offend you?” I asked.

“I will be back tomorrow, I need time to think about my life,” he said and rushed out of the consultation room as if he was being chased away.

James was back the next day. I did not know how to restart the conversation. “Sorry I did not give you any medicine yesterday because I do not feel that it will help resolve the lifestyle issue you are going through,” I said, hoping to create a rapport with him.


He scrolled on his phone for a few minutes then handed it over to me. On the screen was a resignation letter that he had sent his boss that morning. “You made me ask myself what the meaning of life is,” he said. “I concluded that it is not just about making money, I need to care for my wife and children.” I reclined in my seat. This was rather drastic. I asked him how he intended to meet his financial obligations and whether he had had a chance to discuss with his wife.

“Things are under control doctor, all that is done and the family is happy with my decision,” he said.

I saw James two more times thereafter and gave him more tips on family and sexual life then we lost touch for close to two years… until he and his wife passed by the clinic last week. “I personally want to express my gratitude to you,” Rachel said. “Our lives were going to the dogs until James came here and decided to resign from his job. Life now has meaning and we are all happy.”

The couple left me wondering how many more people in the world are chasing after vanity and whether they would take the bold step to change their lifestyles.