Fancy a Roll in ze Hay? Sex and Marriage

What is a sexless marriage?

The US National Health and Social Life Survey in 1994 (Laumann et al. 1994) found that 2 percent of the married respondents reported no sexual intimacy in the past year. The definition of a nonsexual marriage is often broadened to include those where sexual intimacy occurs less than ten times per year

Is sex that important?  Can a marriage be healthy without it?

Well, I’m not an expert about marriage…or sex…  But I am married and I love sex…( and besides, this is my blog, so I can talk about it if I wanna, so, Nyah.)   I’ve been with my husband for over eight years, and we’ve been married for a little over three.  We have a two year old daughter who is the major love of both of our lives, and we’re both totally cool with that.  We’ve had our share of difficulties– financial, family-related, and personal.  I think we have a very strong marriage.  We can talk about most anything.  I have a deep love for my husband and he is my best friend.

And I am still, um… a big hornball.  One of the things I like about my husband is how secure and laid-back he is; like how we can laugh about my obsession with Maynard or Noomi.  And there is some joking about how I am the man in our relationship because I am always dropping him not-too-subtle hints about sex and he often just laughs at my “crass” and unromantic overtures.

I happened on this article the other day about sexless marriages.  We’re definitely not in a “sexless” marriage.  Still, we’re older, busier, tired more often…  so we’re not doing it three times a day like when we first met.  The whole thing got me thinking a bit.  How many people do I know might be secretly dissatisfied with the amount of sex they’re having?  So I did a little bit of digging on the ever-handy InterWebz this morning, with my mind on a possible blog post.

It’s natural and completely normal for the animal sex of a new relationship to drop off. “The initial passion of any relationship changes after 18 months,” says Sallie Foley, MSW, director of the Center for Sexual Health at the University of Michigan (author of Modern Love and Sex and Love for Grownups.)

“It moves from the romantic and exciting to an attachment kind of loving, fondness.  That gotta have it, gotta have it feeling is gone.”

Even though some amount of drop off in sexual frequency can be expected, that doesn’t mean we don’t mourn it sometimes.  And there are instances where a “drop-off” turns into a “shut-out.”  There may be emotional or physical reasons behind why a marriage becomes “sexless.”

Some people feel that sex isn’t that big a deal, and that if you really love your partner, you can deal with having less sex than you may want.  In my opinion, this would depend on the situation– basically, the reasons for the lack of intimacy.

Because to me, intimacy is a super-important part of a marriage, and for me sex affords a very specific type of intimacy.  If it goes for more than a week or two, my dreams start to get markedly kinkier.  I get anxious and sometimes even cranky if I go for too long without sex with my husband.  Apparently I am not unusual in this regard.

“It’s a very healthy thing for a partnership, there’s no question about that…People who have sex tend to feel closer, more intimate.”

Does your sex life look like this?

Does your sex life look like this?

Or this...?

Or this…?

A relationship stripped of the intimacy and physical closeness which sex provides feels hollow: the person who is supposed to find you attractive, sexy and desirable doesn’t.

Let me reiterate that there are many reasons a marriage can become sexless, and it’s something you should discuss to see if it’s within your power as a couple to change the dynamic of your sexual relationship.  There are many avenues open to you, including but not limited to therapy.  But one simple piece of advice I’ve seen in more than one place is this:

“…There’s definitely a use it or lose it aspect to sex…You have to be committed to intimate time together. That doesn’t mean every single time you take off your clothes and have sex. But set aside time just for the two of you.”

Basically, having sex makes you want sex more.

I’ll leave you with this last thought.  Some people have the attitude of “what’s the big deal?”  Like if your spouse is a good  spouse in all other respects, who cares if there’s no sex?

If you communicate to your partner that you are unhappy and they seem ambivalent, that’s a problem.

There’s something very wrong with the picture if your partner is saying ‘I know you’re desperately unhappy but I don’t plan on doing anything about it and still expect you to be faithful’

sources:

http://www.webmd.com/sex-relationships/features/are-you-spouses-or-just-roommates

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sexless_marriage

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2251074/The-sexless-marriage-Should-leave-arent-getting-asks-FEMAIL-Sexpert-Tracey-Cox.html

Fight Fair: When the Love is Gone

When the Love is Gone…

Healing-a-broken-heart2

What’s Left?

Most of us have been there– a relationship that just didn’t work out.  Not just someone you dated once or twice, but a relationship that actually took off, but then for some reason, began to lose steam.  Or worse– crash and burn in a fiery conflagration of suspicion and hostility after some transgression or betrayal on the part of one or both parties.

And then what’s left?  Broken hearts, bitterness, tears… and an apparent disregard for the feelings of someone we once claimed to love.

When I went through this myself, back at then end of high school, beginning of college, I simply couldn’t fathom why I was being treated so badly.  The answer soon became apparent;  the lying, the flagrant disrespect for me, disregard for my feelings, and blatant hostility, even in the face of my tears.    This was the “man” who had once begged me in tears to come back to him.  Now he was threatening to cut his wrists in front of me.  The narcissism.  The manipulation.  The threats and name-calling.  I’m pretty sure my ex had sociopathic tendencies…

Obviously, not all exes are “psychos” (incidentally one of his favorite insults to hurl at me,) however, even perfectly normal people have the capacity to be emotionally brutal to their partners.  Something I used to say often, and which I believe is true for a great many people (but at least I was upfront about it) is that when I get hurt, I get angry.

It’s a defense mechanism.  However, often, the person on the receiving end of  verbal darts carelessly slung around in an argument are often innocent (subjectively speaking) of any wrong-doing—  at least, the type of wrong doing that would warrant such emotional warfare.

You’re such a psycho…

No one will ever put up with you…

Where has [it] gotten you? You have nothing going for you…

I understand striking out when you’re hurt.  I’ve even been known to throw a punch or two, back in my younger days.  But I learned a lot from my ex.  I hate to say it, but it’s true.

I learned how I never wanted to be treated again.  I learned what I wouldn’t put up with from someone.  I learned not to fight back using name-calling or worse…giving a liar a black eye.  I also learned that I didn’t like the person I had become as a result of being with my ex…  Insecure, and abusive in my own right.couples-fighting

But this post isn’t really about me or my ex.  It’s about how people treat one another.  Relationships are complicated, and blame goes both ways.  Maybe your partner has hurt you.  Maybe you are in the midst of a break-up, with no foreseeable hope of reconciliation.  But do you really want to hurt this person you once loved, or maybe even still love?  Silence can be a very damaging and passive-aggressive form of fighting…

But sometimes silence is your friend.  If you are losing control, and you know you might say something you can’t take back, keep your mouth shut.  Don’t just walk away, but tell your partner you need a few minutes to yourself and then walk away.  And if your partner tells you they need a moment, let them walk away.  You can save yourself and your partner a lot of hurt.  Even if you see no future with them, do you really need the stress of fighting with them?

Sometimes the problem is even more basic.  Some people just don’t care if they hurt someone else’s feelings.

I can’t stress it enough– when this is a repeated pattern, especially if it’s not in the heat of the moment (and thus not an issue of self control) this is a very clear sign.  I learned it myself, after too long being mistreated, waiting for apologies that never came.  When your partner no longer cares if they hurt you, it’s time to move on.

To everyone else…   fight fair.  If not for your partner’s sake, for your own.  Being nasty to your partner is not conducive to mending a relationship.  Don’t take the bait and give into trading insults.  Even if  things don’t work out, you will know you did the best you could and stood on higher ground.  Not to be better than them, but to be a better you.