The non-sexual marriage #3. Used-to-be-sexual

In the last posts I considered non-sexual marriages which were either asexual (no actual sexual desire – ever) or homosexual (one or both spouses is closeted or unconsciously homosexual).

Today I’ll talk about marriages which once were sexual, but are no longer. Often more psychologically convoluted than the other types, this type has very good prospects for change, i.e. to become sexual again.

First, a visit to relationships which are sexual.

Sex as a psychological weapon
Example 1. He is angry with her and so he ensures that he orgasms early (or, less wilfully, he notices that when he is angry with her he orgasms early).

Example 2. She is angry with him and so decides that – because her orgasm is important to him – she won’t have and orgasm (or she notices that when she’s angry with him she doesn’t reach orgasm).

My point here is that if couples can consciously and unconsciously use sex in their emotional battles, it should be no surprise that they can and do use no-sex in these battles too.

Withholding sex
Most commonly this is to punish the other. It can be flaunted (“You can forget about sex tonight!”). Or it can be passive aggressive (“Not tonight, I’ve got a headache/I’m too tired”).

Sometimes it’s not because the other spouse must be punished but rather a spouse withholds sex because he or she doesn’t deserve it themselves (low self-esteem, poor body-image, guilt…).

Non-initiation of sex
A spouse has had their sexual advances turned down often enough (sometimes once is enough) and is now too hurt/angry to try again for fear of rejection.

A man in this position might resort to:

~passive aggressive game-playing (“Of course you’re happy because you don’t enjoy sex anyway”)
~insults and put-downs (“Who’d want to have sex with you anyway!”)
~pleading (“Can’t we have sex, honey?”)
~threats (“If we don’t have sex soon I’m out of here!”)

In other words he resorts to a boyish solutions – bullying or whining. The problem is that for her these are not sexy! If she is to be sexually re-ignited it needs to be by a man, not a kid.

Non-responsiveness
Of course, it takes two to tango. The spouse who turns down sex must have good faith. He or she must investigate what problem not having sex is ‘solving’. I say ‘solving’ because it’s no solution at all – it’s helping to deaden the marriage.

No healthy person wants to have sex with an unwilling partner – we’re not talking about forcing oneself. But, there is a danger of getting into the habit of turning down sex because of not feeling 100% up for it.

Each spouse must honestly ask themselves whether there isn’t a small, low-burning flame of desire. If there is there’s hope – it can be fanned into life. And the more one does that the more ardent it is.

Embarrassment
If there has been no sex for some time – slackness, laziness, taking the marriage for granted, time apart, etc. – spouses are sometimes too shy to begin again. Everyone carries some shame around sex (that’s the downside; the upside is that if sex wasn’t too some degree naughty, fun, etc. there probably wouldn’t be enough friction to ignite the flame).

The couple has slipped into being more like flatmates, cousins, or friends and suggesting getting down and dirty seems somehow wrong.

Children
One way a gap happens in the sexual relationship is because of having a baby. This is a tricky one. On the one hand there are physical reasons why a woman might not feel like having sex – depression, tiredness, physical effects of the birth.

But again, she must have an honest self-investigation. Sex is far too important to simply omit from a marriage. As soon as it can be recommenced it should be.

Sometimes the wife’s changing from lover to mother freaks the man out (apparently Elvis Pressley couldn’t have sex with his wife once their child was born).

Incidentally, do be careful about the man-must-be-present-at-the-birth ideology. In principle it’s right, and in practice it’s very often a wonderful thing. But now and then a man has been so horrified by seeing his wife’s sexual organs apparently traumatised that he loses his potency. If you have any doubts, mate, don’t.

Myths in the magazines, etc.
Several ideas foat around which are half-truths and lies but which do stick damagingly in married people’s minds.

Myth 1: Sex is down-hill after the honeymoon period.
Truth: Sex isn’t as constantly urgent after the honeymoon period, but that’s just quantity. The quality constantly improves. If not, do something about it. Want it!

Myth 2: It’s boring having sex with the same person.
Truth: Besides the excitement of the one-night stand, there is no way in hell that sex can be better than with one’s spouse. It gets better and better – believe me – and if it doesn’t the couple needs to set about ensuring that it does. And the first thing to do is give up the myth of greener pastures

Common psychological factors
All of the above share the fact that they are the result of emotional and psychological difficulties. Don’t worry, that’s the good news. Every one of these can be resolved.

Simply reading an article like this can be enough to begin a conversation which leads in the right direction – after all talking about desire can begin to feel sexy….

It may be that some sessions of couples-therapy is needed. The therapeutic task isn’t doc-save-our-marriage, it’s we-care-a-lot-for-each-other-we-want-to-get-the-desire-going-again.

Actual sexual difficulties
Example 1: She wants harder, longer intecourse, but he has sexual disfunction
Example 2: He wants oral sex, she doesn’t
And so on.

Again these should be addressed. Physical difficulties can be solved with sex therapy and/or medical treatment. Everyone knows about Viagra. But how many people think to get testosterone prescribed? While Viagra works miracles for erections, testosterone helps generate sexual desire, assertiveness, etc. It is prescribed for women too, by the way (the dosage is much lower). Happy quote: “Now, I know what it’s like for men!”

6 Responses

  1. You didn’t mention some other, very common factors in the sexless marriage.

    -sexual boredom/lack of sexual attraction
    -intimacy disorders/adult attachment disorder
    -depression and/or anxiety
    -compulsive masturbation and/or porn use leading to this being a sexual preference rather than partner sex.
    -extramarital affairs/sexual addiction leading to sexual anorexia with the partner

  2. You said: “If she is to be sexually re-ignited it needs to be by a man, not a kid.”

    Ignoring the typo, I still don’t know what that’s supposed to mean. “…be a man” in what way? Men can’t get aggravated? What am I, supposed to be friendly and understanding and skip through another 12 years of having sex once a month?

  3. why is it the man who has to re-ignite the sexual action.. why can it not be the woman.
    My wife is non-sexual person… she turns off anything that shows a nude body on tv.
    She even told my sons girlfriend that she was waring inapporpriate clothing at our house.. she was totally covered up.
    On top of that she says that I have the problem. Not her..
    ????

  4. I’ve been married for 22 years and I may have missed mention of this serious on-going marital problem in one of your articles, but my spouse who is a very controlling, constant liar, who is verbally, emotionally and has been physically abusive. He’s implied the threat of physical abuse, this has lead to a loveless and sexless marriage with a closet (unconscious) homosexual. Plus, a spouse who admits to, or develops an emotional crush/affair(s) can contribute to this situation. My spouse has verbally, emotionally bullied me, indirectly threatened myself and my family members to me, and has made known to me his emotional affairs, disrespects and hates women, has lingering anger at his dead abusive mother, lies about being bi/gay, while often talking/acting gay.He’s made lustful comment about guys, calling them “studs”,etc. He incessantly talks about sports, manly stuff, etc. He’s made odd, crude gay sex comments, among mixed company, etc. Our friends have noticed and even made comments on his weird (non heterosexual) behavior. When I’ve confronted he won’t admit, or deny it. But admitted he was angry that I knew. I think his pride was hurt that I outed him and knew the truth! FYI…I have a close relationship with my gay brother. I don’t hate gays, just didn’t realize I married one!

    • Absolutely right – both parties need to ‘switch on’.

  5. It’s not hard to figure out when you come across a girl/woman who is not heterosexual. In particular, it‘ll be very easy if she happens to be your wife.
    You can notice, she has no sexual instincts. Here comes the distinction, She could be defunct sexually. What it means is that she is neither here nor there. She marries a person of opposite sex just to prove to the parents and the rest of the world that she is just a normal woman. But how sad is this. She ends up ruining a lot of lives. Not Just the husband, but the kids as well.
    The traits of non-heterosexual wife are very easy to figure out. And I’m sure, there must be more than one out there. This is a worldwide phenomenon based on my experience, The problem will run into the entire family. There may be your wife’s sister who get divorced in a short time period after marriage or another sister who decides not to marry. These are the indications that your wife is non-heterosexual. In my case, it’s a genetic problem with her and her sisters..
    The more startling facts come now.

    Non-heterosexual wife will make it a point not to eat together, go to bed together or even take a walk together. She’ll never hold your hand or tap on your shoulder.
    The most scary part of all this that you don’t know if your kids are going to be heterosexual or not.
    It took me almost 20 years to realize for sure that my wife is non heterosexual. I kept hoping that she will eventually be different. but that never happened.

    It’s amazing that there is nothing much about non-heterosexual women on the web. It’ll be beneficial for the world if everyone came forward and disclosed about their experiences related to this problem.

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