For the sake
of simplicity, I include all long-term and de facto relationships
in with the umbrella term 'marriage'. Why is sex in marriage
different from casual sex or any other kind?
The first and most obvious
difference is that, in marriage, there is a stated and established
relationship behind the sex act. Therefore, one assumes that
sex is taking place as much for the expression of love as for physical
pleasure. Procreation is also a major factor, which is not
usually the case outside marriage, except by accident or if single
women choose to have babies on their own.
Unfortunately, sex in
marriage is also used to express a lot of emotions other than love
hate, frustration, fear, jealousy, insecurity, boredom, power,
lust, spite, anger the list is endless. These feelings
also run very deep, compared with their counterparts in casual relationships.
For example, if you're bored with someone you're dating, you either
stop seeing that person or change what's happening. It's never
that simple in a marriage because marriage itself is complex.
Two separate individuals, almost strangers, join their lives, live
together day in and day out, share everything, have problems, and
yet are supposed to find each other sexy at the end of the day!
A bit of a tall order.
Married couples don't
go to bed alone they take with them the bills, the kids,
the fights, the worries, the house, their jobs, yesterday and tomorrow.
That's why keeping sex good is such a challenge and one I
believe married couples need to take seriously.
The bottom line is why
you got married in the first place because you loved each
other. So why let the mortgage and the dishes and the in-laws
get in the way of that? The most successful couples are those
who never forget that they are a couple first and everything else
So many men complain
to me that their wives change after the birth of the first child.
The women become 'mothers' and appear to lose interest in
their husbands. Men feel pushed out and redundant, like the
spider's mate that's eaten after he's done the deed.
Women, on the other hand,
tell me of feeling unsexy after childbirth, losing all interest
sometimes, having no energy and wanting just to be left alone.
This is a crisis point in many marriages. The partners drift
apart and somehow never get close again. Forewarned is forearmed,
and if new parents realise what's happening, they can seek professional
help or at least ride out the storm until the baby is a few months
old and they have time to renew their sex lives and their commitment
to each other. Operating together is the key. Marriage
is a team effort, and as such requires a tandem commitment and vision.
If people are going to get married just to keep doing their own
thing, they may just as well remain single. The best marriages
are those between individuals who have chosen to merge into one
partnership. The marriage is, in itself, a separate entity with
its own requirements and needs. Like a flower bed that's never
watered, a marriage dies without care.
If this is true of marriage,
how does it reflect in the bedroom? Well, the bedroom is where
marital flaws first show up. Sex is a direct monitor of the
health of the relationship. When sex has its rightful place,
it creates little or no conflict. When there's too much or
too little, if one partner or both are dissatisfied, if they're
not evenly matched in libido, then the cracks begin to show. Sexual
rejection is one of the most hurtful things that we have to endure
emotionally and it happens for a number of reasons.
Studies show that when
people go off sex, it's for one of the following reasons (discounting
poor health, stress, fatigue, or loss of libido on medical grounds)
boredom, anger, or spite.
Boredom we can all understand,
especially in long-term relationships where one or both partners
are reluctant to be creative and experimental. Anger is also
very direct. When people fight, they may use sex to make up,
but they may also close off sexually, especially if one partner
feels deeply hurt or offended. Spite, however, is the most
insidious and destructive cause of marital discord as it's often
hidden and unspoken. It may lie between the two people for
years, like a slow poison that eats away at its victim until, one
day, the death of the relationship is close and there's not even
If you and your partner
are not making love and you don't know why ask! Don't
let the problem fester. Communication is the single most important
ingredient in relationships. I have never seen a couple for
counselling who openly shared and talked things over in a positive
What of people who seem
to dislike sex altogether? Putting aside those who choose
celibacy, or belong to a religious order, or remain single, there
are still many others who need and want love but don't enjoy lovemaking.
This is a far more extreme
problem because it can be emotionally crippling and potentially
destructive to a marriage. Sometimes, it doesn't show up beforehand,
or the other party thinks it can be overcome with enough love and
patience. Unfortunately, if the reason for asexuality is deep-seated,
it may be impossible to shift and certainly requires professional
The main causes are sexual
abuse in the past, poor sex attitudes, or some other psychological
block. The cause is very rarely physical, which says a lot
in itself about the nature of sexuality.