Can an alcoholic who has lost interest in sex ever get it back?

I have been with a man for a year now who has told me that he’s lost interest in sex through the years and didn’t even have strong urges even when in his 20s. He’s 43 now. He has no desire to hug, touch, or kiss me, much less get more intimate. I need intimacy and am planning to leave him if there’s no chance that he will ever have the desire to hold me. He told me that he’s always drank, even as a teen and was in rehab at 18 and says that he chooses to drink and likes his beer. He is a great guy, but I really have no interest at this point in my life to make al-anon a part of my life. I’ve only known him a year so it’s not like he’s been in my life forever, but I choose to not make this my life. Intimacy is a human need and I need it. I’m also 43 and have never been around an alcoholic so I’m very naïve in the subject. Can an alcoholic ever gain the desire to want to touch his girlfriend? I do apologize if my question is out of line. I am just beginning my research.


Emotional and sexual intimacy is indeed a basic human need. You are justified in desiring a committed partner with whom you can enjoy that type of intimacy. Your boyfriend’s intimacy issues could be related to alcohol abuse, a sexual disorder, other psychological issues, or some combination of these. It doesn’t appear that he is able to make a commitment to another person in a romantic relationship context. Also, it doesn’t sound like he’s ready to commit to sobriety either.

I cannot answer as to whether or not he will ever have the desire to touch you. However, as long as he chooses to abuse alcohol and refuses to get help for his psychological, emotional, or physiological problems, he will not be able to meet your needs in a romantic relationship. Therefore, it would be best for you to seek a relationship that is fulfilling for you rather than try to change someone who isn’t interested in changing.

As you said, there’s always the option of staying with him and joining Al-Anon, but I’m not sure that’s necessary when you aren’t married and have no reason to stay in the relationship. You are free to pursue someone else. Supporting a recovering alcoholic is hard work and supporting an alcoholic uninterested in recovery is even harder. Take an honest assessment about what you are looking for and what you need. Then, do what makes sense for your situation. I applaud you for taking the time to research the proper information and develop a sensible course of action.

1 Comment. Leave new

  • Sep 07, 2017
    Better answer
    by: Anonymous

    There’s no reason to stay with this guy. If he had sex interest before he started drinking, it’s likely that the alcoholism has completely erased his physical ability to get aroused, and it surely has wiped out any emotional need for intimacy. Unless you really feel that this dude is your soulmate (and I think it’s impossible to know given his alcoholism), move on.

    I would correct one thing in the prior answer. Living with a recovering person who has at least one full year of sobriety (and committed to not relapse) can be wonderful. People who are truly recovering with history can be great partners, assuming they haven’t permanently damaged themselves (brain, liver, et al). But you have no obligation to get him into recovery. And since he’s not interested, it’s a losing fight on your side.


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