Are you or someone you know in a sexless marriage?
I have had a lot of emails in the last few months that are all essentially asking how to fix sexless marriage. Some of the emails goes like this: “I’ve been married for years and for the last (awfully long time).
I’ve had a problem with my (husband or wife) and the (huge intolerable relationship breaking problem) and they refuse to do anything about it. I’ve tried all manner of things to try and get them to change the huge intolerable relationship breaking problem but they still refuse to do anything about it. How do I fix this?”
Usually, the huge intolerable relationship breaking problem that people write to me about is a lack of sex. I’m getting emails from both men and women as many as five years into a sexless marriage and they are heartbreaking to read.
My view point on sexless marriages is that this is just as serious as having a full blown affair in terms of its insult to the partner wanting sex but not getting it. I’ve had two recent emails where women have said it’s to the point where they just want to hear that their husband is gay because that would explain things better and soften the blow to their ego.
Marriage is at its heart a sexual relationship. Without the sex it’s just a legal friendship, which is to say a needlessly complicated way of having a friend. The basic agreement of being married is to meet each others sexual needs and not to run about getting them met anywhere else. Both affairs and no sex marriages break that agreement.
The main difference between discovering that your partner is having an affair and the sex just being turned off on you is how the injured party reacts. If you discover you’re being cheated on the shit typically hits the fan, there’s yelling and shouting, crying, threats, angry squealing of tires in the driveway as people “take space.” Threats of divorce and other drama. It all comes to a head very quickly. But most times when a spouse cuts the other off sexually, the other spouse just takes it quietly and suffers, save for the pleading for sex or requests to visit a doctor to see if anything medical is going on. Then they wait and hope that magically the sex returns, and when it doesn’t years can pass by.
I think that when you are cut off from sex by your spouse, the marriage is in critical condition as one spouse has started actively working against the marriage. (You DO need to rule out medical issues first as soon as possible). There are only three possible outcomes to the sexless marriage story. First option is that the ignored spouse just continues on and suffers for the rest of the marriage. This is the default ending that most people live though for a while. The second option is that the spouse leaves the marriage seeking new love. The third is that the spouse stays in the marriage, but pursues other relationships for sex. I don’t advance any of these options as being superior to the other, I’m just saying that these are the natural consequences of one spouse cutting the other off sexually.
When it comes to sex in marriage, it should be spouse before self. It is like two hands washing each other. The left hand is concerned about washing the right hand while the right hand is concerned about washing the left hand. In that selfless process, they both becomes very clean.
Sex is a two-way thing. Once it is made a one-way affair, it becomes rape or masturbation. A married person should be concerned more about satisfying the spouse than oneself. When a partner thinks of only self, it leads to frustration and anger. It creates a gulf. Also, when sex is used as a negotiating tool in marriage, it becomes a brothel relationship, which also suffocates marriage.