My husband of 12 years and I are mid-40s with two kids. Our sex life has always been great. A couple of years ago, I was diagnosed with a disease that is not immediately life-threatening but causes me significant pain and fatigue. He has had to take over a lot of the household duties so I can continue to work full time. He is very supportive and I could not ask for a better husband, except . . . our sex life is nonexistent now. He says he is afraid to hurt me.

I am fine with initiating, but he hasn’t responded well. We’ve discussed counseling but he has not taken any action, and I am not sure trying to drag him would be helpful. I am now at the point of going outside of my marriage, as sex is very important to me and I am convinced it will help me heal and feel better.

I am friends with a man at work who would be willing. How long is too long to wait for your husband? I don’t want to hurt him, as I am in love with him and know it has been a difficult time for him too, but I NEED to have sex. Is it unrealistic to think a man could deal with his wife having no-strings sex with another man, if it serves a purpose for both parties?