Q&A: bringing sexy back with your FIFO husband, despite a major illness

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By psychologist Angie Willcocks

Q: My husband has just started working away from home and I want to ensure he doesn't stray from our marriage. He has never been unfaithful and is a wonderful husband and father. I guess I'm concerned because I've had an operation and let's just say that our sex life isn't what it used to be. The sexy me with painted nails, shaved legs and naughty nighties has left because I am terrified of ruining the romance with the consequences of my illness. The doctor did say it would take 12 months to reach some sort of normality, so there is hope in the future but right now I need to keep my man happy. Any tips and suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

A: Hi and thanks for your email. I’m sorry to hear about your illness. I hope that things are all clear for you now. It’s very normal for women to feel less sexy after an ordeal like that, and the ongoing effects of the treatment. It sounds like your husband is lovely, and not likely to stray anyway, but I will answer your question as best as I can!

Firstly, please know that men are not all sex-starved creatures that will stray as soon as they’re not getting loads of sex at home. Men, just like women, enjoy sex most when it is with someone they love and feel loved by.

Your husband knows why your sex life has changed, and it’s for a pretty good reason! Have the two of you talked about how tough the treatment has been on your sex life? If not, it’s worthwhile letting him know that you know that your sex life isn’t what it was, and that you miss it too. Even knowing that you’re concerned about it can help keep the intimacy alive. Let him know that you’re hoping that things get back on track when you’re feeling better.

Of course, work on showing your love and affection in other ways like cuddling, hand holding, massage and spending time together on shared interests. You could also try some phone or text ‘sex’ if it’s something that takes your (and his) fancy.

Secondly, please go easy on yourself. Your illness was only recent so of course things are still tough in and out of the bedroom. I’m sure that the sexy you will find her way back if you invite her back into your life little by little and don’t expect too much of her. It’s important for you to feel good about yourself, so don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater so to speak. You can still paint your nails and shave your legs and give hubby a passionate kiss, even if you’re not quite at the sexy nightie stage yet! Keep thinking about the sexy you and you’ll find that she hasn’t disappeared altogether.

It might also help to have a chat with other women who have been through what you’re going through, so ask your doctor if they know of any support networks in your area. I know that sometimes they can put you in touch with a group, or an individual or two who have been through a similar experience.

All the very best.



To read other columns written by Angie Willcocks during her six years with Mining Family Matters, please click here. And remember that we offer a free email Q&A service with our psychologists, so just click here to ask a question about relationships, parenting or your career. All advice on Mining Family Matters is for general information only and should never be regarded as a substitute for professional health services or crisis services. To talk with a trained volunteer telephone counsellor at any time of the day or night, call Lifeline on 13 11 14. To contact the info line at beyondblue: national depression initiative, phone 1300 22 4636.

Angie Willcocks is a registered psychologist with a private practice in Adelaide – for details about Skype consultations please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. She’s an expert in tackling issues such as depression, anxiety, postnatal depression, child sleep routines and relationship difficulties. She has a Bachelor of Health Sciences in Psychology and a Masters of Counselling Psychology. She is also the co-author of The Sensible Sleep Solution: a guide to sleep in your baby’s first year, which can be ordered from her website www.angiewillcocks.com.