Alert! Your sex life could make or break your marriage

You need to give attention to your sexuality.

What you need to know:

  • Daniel came on Monday because he had disagreed with his wife on sex regularity and they were in the process of separating.
  • Agnes came to the Sexology Clinic to convince me to tell her husband to get into an extramarital affair for his sexual needs.

This week has been a special one at the Sexology Clinic. Normally, people come to the clinic because they want to have fulfilling sexual experiences. Rarely do they come to be helped to avoid or evade sex. But this week I encountered two married patients whose main request was to be helped to avoid sex.

Daniel came on Monday because he had disagreed with his wife on this matter and they were in the process of separating. The disagreement came about because Daniel believes that sex is for bearing children while his wife believes that there is more to sex.

Daniel and Regina have been having sex once a month on average. They are both in their 40s and are busy professionals. Trouble started when Regina complained that they were drawing apart because they rarely had sex.

“I reminded her that we already have three children and that we should now concentrate on our professions,” Daniel explained. “I do not think that we should spend our energies arguing whether we should have sex or not, sex is for bearing children and that business is done.”

One argument led to another and Regina concluded that Daniel was getting sexual satisfaction from elsewhere because she could not understand how he was able to survive without sex.

Her perspective was that intimacy and emotional connection were the major reasons for having sex and that if Daniel was unable to comply she would divorce him.

“As we talk now she has decided to move out of the house and is staying with her brother in another estate,” Daniel said. “She is insisting that I go to her rural home and meet her people or she quits the marriage.”

The second case was Agnes, 32, and married to a 35-year-old man. They had been married for six years and had one child. She came to the Sexology Clinic to convince me to tell her husband to get into an extramarital affair for his sexual needs.

“I do not think sex is important, I do not enjoy it and I am tired of pretending,” she said. “We do not have to divorce, we can just have two beds in the bedroom and he can have sex with another woman.”

She found it hard to share a bed with her husband because it increased the possibility of sex happening. Many times she pushed him away whenever he made sexual advances. Her problem was that she felt nothing during sex. She had sex as a duty to keep the marriage going.

“One can however only go so far with pretense. I am tired, I do not want it anymore,” she said throwing her hands in the air.

These two cases raise the question of the role of sex in marriage. It is a subject that has been studied widely. For one, the way people experience sex is quite varied. Many enjoy the experience.

Others do not mind it while some actually do not enjoy it at all. In fact, some people feel anxious and want to escape at the slightest opportunity to free themselves from a sexual situation.

Whatever your experience may be, research shows that sex is the glue that keeps a marriage going. This is irrespective of the reason you may be having for engaging in it – be it for reproduction, pleasure, or to meet social obligations.

Good sexual experience is known to make the marriage happy at the time it happens, but it is also a predictor of future satisfaction with the relationship.

In other words, if your sexual experience is not satisfactory now, we can predict that you will have relationship problems in future.

Therefore, the two things to remember are: Having sex in marriage is good but having satisfactory sex secures the future of the marriage.

What this means is that you need to give attention to your sexuality as a married person. Get interested in making it work. Explore ways of improving it. Discuss it with your spouse. If it is still not satisfying, seek professional help.

Remember that there are many negative sexual messages passed to us in childhood. Some of these stick in our subconscious. As such you may see sex as dirty, risky or immoral. This causes psychological distress whenever you have sex.

Some people have been abused sexually. As such they either abhor sex or just feel nothing sexually.

Others have grown up in dysfunctional families. This could have affected their ability to fully connect to their partners at an emotional level. Without the ability to connect emotionally, sex cannot be satisfactory.

“So, what you mean is that I am who I am because of my socialisation and life experiences, in other words, it is not my mistake if I do not want sex,” Agnes said in response to my explanation.

It is certainly not your mistake. You however have an opportunity to change your destiny by seeking help. Sex therapy resolves most of these problems.