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Scooterza
 
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The Sexless Marriage/Relationship

23 July 2014, 14:29

This is a hot topic at the moment what with the recent survey saying SA men get nookie on average 52 times a year (once a week!) and the story of the husband who emailed his wife a list of excuses she gave for not engaging in sex.  


I suspect that this is probably in the top 2 or 3 things that sex counselors deal with - couples where one partner desires more sex than the other.  It is a very big problem.  One partner becomes more and more unhappy and surly.  Due to differences in the way males and females approach sex, in cases where the rejected partner is the man, he may becomes less and less pleasant company which makes his wife less likely to want sex and so it spirals downwards.  Either way, the couple drift apart. 


Having previously been in the position of being in a low sex relationship, I identify with people who are not getting enough.  The truth is that in modern society, when one commits to a relationship, particularly a  marriage, one is committing to be faithful.  This is one of the most important tenets of marriage.  Partners that stray are seen as cheating bastards/whores etc by society in general.  


Low or no sex relationships are often a sign of serious relationship problems.  And there are a myriad reasons why someone may legitimately have reduced desire for their partner from work stress and general fatigue to extreme issues such as domestic violence.  I am not talking about this kind of relationship.  And I am not talking about a partner that says no to sex every so often.  I am talking about a relationship where it is otherwise healthy but one partner would like to have sex way more frequently than the other partner.   


Initially being rejected sexually causes feelings such as hurt, inadequacy, anger and frustration to grow.  Over time, these feelings start to poison the relationship.  The sex starved partner starts to behave in what are often perceived to be increasingly bizarre and often juvenile behaviour.  A case in point is the hitherto referred to story of the husband emailing his wife a  list of her reasons for not wanting sex.  Many would label his actions as destructive and childish.  


If you consider that for some people, sex is a very basic need, we might start to understand this man’s motivation.  Denied sex, the mind starts to dwell on the issue more and more until over time, it seems to consume every waking (and sleeping)  thought.  Men have wet dreams in their 30’s lying next to their partner!  Masturbation is an option but it does nothing for feelings of connectedness and intimacy with your partner.  If you have low libido, it may be hard to fathom these feelings but imagine being denied food for a week.  You will quickly understand how desperate one becomes and it is then not hard to understand that outlandish and childish reactions would follow.  


Being in a marriage where you are regularly denied sex is a lonely place to be. The person being denied suffers greatly whilst the person who denies sex is often relatively unaware of their spouse’s anguish.  Some advocate stepping outside the marriage. Personally, I cannot condone this but struggle to condemn such behaviour automatically either. Certainly it should not be the first option one considers. The sanctity of marriage and the possible impact to your partner (both emotionally and from a health point of view) are important factors that shouldn't be taken lightly.  And furthermore, this does nothing for the intimacy and closeness one feels to your spouse.  But I can 100% identify with the temptation to follow this route.  In fact I very strongly considered precisely this when I was in this position and truth be told, had I been given an easy opportunity, I cannot say for sure I would not have taken the chance.  Long suppressed desire makes one open to temptation like nothing else.  I have read stories of couples who have found an equilibrium where one spouse has an extramarital affair and the relationship works.  Often the other spouse is aware or strongly suspects that something is happening but it is better than divorce or a sulky partner.  


But what’s the answer?  Well, unfortunately it seems there are no easy options.  A relationship that suffers from this issue is likely doomed.  Eventually the strain causes a rift that is too wide and separation follows.  So if you are the partner who has a low libido, my advice is NOT to treat this lightly.  Your partner will NOT get over this, they are VERY unhappy about it and their take on sex is very different to yours.  You need to get on board or face losing your spouse.  Maybe not today, or next year but it will happen.  


For many people, arousal follows desire.  For a percentage of people, it is the other way around.  In other words, if you start getting intimate with your partner even if you aren’t in the mood, fairly soon you will be in the mood.  And as your intimacy improves, the chances are excellent that your overall relationship health will improve too.  Your partner who was frustrated and sulky suddenly becomes loving and happy again.  This allows you to become more open to sex and so the relationship is resurrected by CONSCIOUSLY engaging in sex even without having a strong desire to do so.  


If you cannot bring yourself to do this, and other options such as counselling etc have failed, you need to consider separation or giving your partner permission to engage in an affair.  


To finish off, this Ted Talk video illustrates what I have said very well.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ep2MAx95m20

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