What you need to know:
- Turning down sexual advances from your spouse seriously damages their self-esteem
- You begin to wonder whether you are no longer attractive to them
- You start to imagine that you are not important to them anymore
- You get hurt and bitterness brews as your advances are repulsed
Jane is one of the most unique women I have met in the recent past. She came to the Sexology clinic with what she called evidence of the denial of her conjugal rights.
"I have been tracking the number of times I have asked my husband for sex and the number of times he refused," she explained, "For the last 90 days he rejected me 28 times!"
I wondered why Jane would go to the extent of keeping a record of such intimate events. She explained that she needed evidence that things were not working in her marriage. She would then present the evidence to her family, pastor, and sexologist to help. She said her previous attempt to discuss this sex rejection with her husband was met with harsh reactions and defensiveness. At some point, she decided to keep off making sexual advances but this only worsened the situation.
In her list of rejected attempts, she indicated reasons her husband gave for refusing sex. The most common reason was fatigue—he had a difficult day or was expecting a taxing next day— which required adequate rest. Jane saw them as lame excuses.
"All over sudden his job is now stressful that he cannot spend energy on our marriage?" she lamented.
The next common reason for rejection was a lack of interest.
"He just says he is not in the mood and that he is not psychologically in a state to have sex," Jane explained. To her, this was the height of meanness and lack of care. Even if one is not in the mood, Jane's view was that they could make sacrifices for the sake of someone they love.
"Is it possible that this man could be having an affair?" she asked rhetorically.
A recurring reason was that her husband was busy watching his favourite TV program. Jane explained that if it was not a news documentary, it would be football or a political debate.
"He keeps off the bedroom till I fall asleep then comes and sleeps quietly" she explained.
Sexual rejection can be damaging and I understood her concerns. She was undergoing serious psychological torture due to the re-buffs. Turning down sexual advances from your spouse seriously damages their self-esteem. You begin to wonder whether you are no longer attractive to them. You start to imagine that you are not important to them anymore. You get hurt and bitterness brews as your advances are repulsed. You begin to act harshly towards the person you once loved, feel betrayed, and look for ways to hurt them in return.
"Already by asking I feel vulnerable, then when he rejects me I am deeply hurt," Jane says. "What follows is I stop talking to him for some days which is making our marriage quite fragile."
The first thing to do if you feel rejected is to have a candid discussion with your man. Having such a conversation is difficult though. Put your point neutrally and not in an accusatory manner. It could be something like: "you know I get hurt and frustrated every time I make sexual advances as a way of expressing my love for you and things do not work out." Ask him what you can do to get him interested.
During this delicate conversation, listen to what your partner has to say. Remember that sexual satisfaction between couples is contributed to 50/50 by each party. Sometimes, your partner keeps off sex because of difficulties that you could be part of. You will need to work together to correct what the problem is. Avoid the temptation to point an accusing finger and aim to support your spouse with his difficulties. Hopefully, he reciprocates.
If this fails seek help. Sometimes loss of sexual interest may be caused by an illness and sometimes it is due to relationship problems. An expert may need help with treatment or relationship counseling.
"That is why I am here, tell me how we are going to sort this thing, I am quite stressed," Jane explained.
The first step was to rope in Jane's husband. After a thorough assessment, it turned out that the couple had deep-seated relationship problems. They went through relationship counseling and for six months none could compromise their demands.
"We have decided to call it quits, our differences are too huge to be resolved," Jane called one morning, her voice shaky with emotion. This was truly sad but of course, people make their choices.