My husband won’t go to the doctor.

My husband has been having some issues in the bedroom, if you will, for the last year or so. I begged him to go to the doctor but he refused. I am afraid he has prostate cancer because his father had it. So today he had his yearly physical and when he came home, told me the doctor said he is too young for a prostate exam and that he didn’t bring up the other problem. I am so mad at him I could scream! How can I get him to take this seriously and talk to a doctor about it? I worry about his health and I am sad that our sex life is terrible. He doesn’t seem to care enough to take care of the issue.

Your husband is worried that his penis is going to fall off, and that he’ll never be able to have sex again, and that you’re going to get sick of it and leave him for another man who has a working penis, and then he’s going to die alone with a broken penis and fourteen different kinds of cancer. Because it’s easier to suspect that your life, or your sex life, is over than it is to actually confirm this fact. I guarantee you, his imagination has run completely amok.

I have a chronic disease which is totally manageable; once I start feeling sick, I call my doctor and he gives me medicine to take care of it. It will never go away, but it’s completely controllable. I know this. I just told you this, so inside my brain, I know it for a fact. But do I call the doctor when I start feeling sick? No! I don’t! I’m insane! I lie in bed at three in the morning thinking about how this time, it’s not that disease, and it’s actually cancer, and I’m going to die and my husband is going to marry someone named Missy who’s going to make my sons wear t-shirts with double-entendre baby humor on them (Boob Man, anyone?). I bet your husband is fine; I just took one for the team and Googled “erectile dysfunction,” and holy shit are there a lot of Web sites about that! Ack. My eyes are burning. But clearly it’s not an uncommon issue.

I don’t know your husband, so I don’t know the best way to get through to him. When I’m putting off a call to the doctor, I finally get sick of not feeling well; your husband could get to this point eventually. Will he respond to persistent, annoying daily nagging? Will he respond to bribery, like a guys’ trip to Las Vegas (hey, you know he won’t get drunk and sleep with a hooker, right?)? Will he respond to a sincere heart-to-heart about how worried you are, and how you wish you could be close to him again? Will he respond to threats, like you won’t do his laundry anymore or you’ll call his mother and tell on him and then get her to nag him? Pick one, and try it, and if it doesn’t work, try another.

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