Jan 232013

Real Relationship Advice

sexless marriage A Question About Sexless Marriage

We recently wrote about a sexless marriage and received this question:

What if you’re in a sexless marriage simply because your husband won’t have sex with you?? There’s no desire of libido issues on either part, he just would rather masturbate then make love to you??!!

I chose to answer this in this forum because the question sparks so many questions of my own. Notably:

  1. How long has this been going on?
  2. Does he say that he loves you still?
  3. How was your sex life before this?
  4. Is it possible for the two of you to have time to have sex?

I have said this a million times before; sex is an important part of a marriage but will not necessarily kill it if you cannot do it anymore. However, the choice to not have sex must be mutual and mostly due to physical reasons. Also, the intimacy must be ramped up in other arenas such as more talking, affection, cuddling, etc. Sex in marriage is less about sharing the intimacy which is better served in different areas of a couple’s life. Sex is about fun, passion, desire, being wanted, feeling sexy and making your partner, and yourself, feel good. When we take that out of the marriage, it leaves a void. That void holds your self-esteem and much of your power.

When your spouse chooses to not have sex with you, it isn’t just a hit to the marriage but a devastating blow to your sense of self. Sex is really one of the only places in life where you feel wanted and desired. That feeling is better than twenty jumping jacks or even finishing a marathon. When someone wants you sexually (that is, someone who you care about and not some letch off the street) you feel empowered. This is the reasoning behind both members of a couple needing to seduce the other and or initiate sex on occasion. Feeling that someone finds you desirable does wonders for your self-confidence!

This is really a question of how you want to live. If you are fine with your husband preferring masturbation over you then there is nothing more to say or do here. I doubt it since you are asking the question. My concern is that my recommendations are too scary for you. You know I will recommend that you ask him if he still loves you. You know I will recommend that you ask him if he still finds you desirable. You know I will recommend that you have a frank discussion about what you both want in a marriage and that includes sex and all other intimacy.

As always, this depends on what you want. My guess is that you want more.

Thank you for your question. We are always available to answer questions publicly or privately.

Aug 162012

Real Relationship Advice

clint eastwood jumping into bed 300x203 Get To Boinking

We warned you at the beginning of the week that this was a tough topic and that we were going to be honest and ‘in your face’. Today is no different. There are going to be a lot of people that are not going to like what we have to say. You see, today we are going to tell you that if you are in a sexless marriage then you are probably not in love.  We told you that some people would not like this but please keep reading. We are not trying to be mean. We just want to help.

Since you have chosen to keep reading, let’s talk about love. There is such a thing as love and it has been studied and defined. One theory, the Triangular Model of Love, talks about all types of love from lust to platonic friendships. It also defines consummate love, the kind that the ‘perfect couples’ have, as having three components: Intimacy, passion, and commitment. Notice that intimacy and passion are two different components.

We are talking about passion here. We are talking about lust. We are talking about a good solid grope in an inappropriate time. For all of those defenders of sexless marriage, we know that there are reasons that sex, as defined by penetration, might not happen. Maybe the antidepressants are cranked up too high. Maybe he lost his willy after throwing himself on a grenade. Maybe they do not offer conjugal visits at your prison. We get the extreme reasons for not being able to poke.

When we wrote and said not to give up on sex, we really meant not to give up on passion. Don’t give up on lust because lust is part of love. If you do not have lust in your marriage then you have downgraded your love from consummate to compassionate. Now this is nice but it isn’t going to get a movie written about your undying love. This is the love that really good friends have. BFF. In Harry Met Sally, this is the part of the movie where she calls him crying and they talk a lot. Nice but not the true love that we all want at the end of the movie.

If you give up on passion then you are giving up on the happy ending of the movie. You give up on love with a capital L. We don’t know about you but that does not work for us. Generally when people fall out of love, it starts with losing passion then intimacy then commitment. If you are not willing to fight for passion, why fight for intimacy?

If you are in a sexless marriage or if your marriage is moving in that direction then take a stand and fight for your love. This is the part where people are not going to like what we say because mustering passion is scary. Saying the words, “I want you” and “I want to be wanted” is very scary. The thought that those words might not be true is the scariest of all.

Now stop reading and digest this. Go be intimate. Go be committed. Then go boink. CoupleDumb says it’s ok.

Aug 152012

Real Relationship Advice

MH900386366 300x300 Do Not Give Up On Sex

One of the saddest things we hear from couples is the phrase ‘giving up’. It is up there with ‘passed away’ and ‘no more pie’. Giving up is not just a couple of words but an attitude. Giving up is allowing something to die. Giving up is an action of inaction. Giving up is the antithesis of commitment.

As we mentioned yesterday, marriage is a commitment. A commitment is an investment not only of your life but it is also a responsibility to your partner. When we choose to give up on our marriage we are essentially voiding our commitment. Many couples mention that after so many years of matrimony, kids and life stresses, a couple eventually just become partners. Sex is no longer a part of their relationship. They say this as if this was a rational adult decision but in reality it is cowardly. Yes, we used the word ‘cowardly’ to describe a sexless marriage; a marriage where the individuals have decided that putting in the effort is not worth it.

If you are one of these individuals and you are reading this, how does this reinterpretation of your life make you feel? If you are angry, realize that you are not angry at us. Rationalizing a bad decision is extremely normal. Rationalization is what gets us up in the morning when we are exhausted. Rationalization allows us to get into a car and drive fast constantly thinking we are excellent drivers. Rationalization tells us to get married knowing that over half of all marriages end in divorce. Rationalization tells us that our children will be safe. If we allowed statistics, reality and the harsh truths of life to invade our thoughts constantly we would be hermits; very lonely recluses.

It is sad when we give up on our partner/spouse but even sadder is when we give up on our own needs. Regardless of whether you have the libido of a teenage boy or an asexual monk, when we give up on our marriages we are also giving up intimacy and sexual satisfaction. A healthy adult requires both to have fulfilled lives. Being married or in a committed relationship allows us to fulfill these needs. Being loved, being wanted, being needed and being part of something gives us a sense of belonging, importance and safety. Being alone is difficult but being alone within a relationship is agony.

We were asked whether living in a sexless marriage was better than getting a divorce and our response is simple: Do you and your needs matter? A divorce is not a death sentence. The marriage died long before the divorce if you gave up at some point. A divorce is an opportunity to open up the possibility to finding love again; a chance for fulfillment. However, before you ever get to that point, why not try again? Why does it have to be one or the other? Why can’t you recommit?

As we have mentioned, countless times, we have been married 23 years and have 3 kids. We do not live on a cloud and survive on euphemisms and optimism. We live in the same real world as everyone else with the same stressors. In our 23 years we have had our highs and very lows, good and bad times. One thing that has helped us through these times is our commitment. We recommit to our marriage every chance we get. We choose to love when it would be easier to give up. We choose to love when it would be easier to roll over and get some sleep. We choose to love every day of every hour. Giving up is not in our vocabulary.

We are committed to happiness and sharing that knowledge with others. So our suggestion to those who have given up on their marriage is to choose to love. Take a risk and put it out there: I DESERVE TO BE LOVED. You may find that your partner agrees or perhaps not. Regardless, live your life with the belief that love and commitment is for the brave and you are a lion.

Aug 142012

Real Relationship Advice

Couples 1 300x214 Sexless Marriage

This week will focus on marriages. Specifically, we will be focusing on marriages that for some reason have decided to forego sex and/or intimacy. There is never a good excuse give up on sex and intimacy. When we stop doing that, we are really giving up on our partners and marriage. This week will be uncomfortable for some and a revelation for others. We promise, as always, to treat the subject with respect and maintain our commitment to the truth for the purpose of assisting our readers to create happy, fulfilled lives.

Recently I found myself in a discussion on whether a marriage can survive without sex. Sexless marriages are not a new idea. Many of our grandparents lived passionless life where the thought of identifying themselves as sexual beings was an anathema to their existence. Our understanding of the secondary effects of sex, baby making notwithstanding, was very limited before. In addition to the nonsensical theories of female sexuality, it is only recently that Psychology has acknowledged that sex has a vital role in adult lives other than procreation.

Sex is wonderful. The health and well-being benefits of sex are well documented. Merely having a partner that finds you sexy is a boost to our self-esteem. Having the ‘power’ to sexually satisfy your spouse is a source of pride. Being desired by someone you love makes you feel wanted and part of something bigger than yourself. These and many other reasons are why sex is an important part of any marriage.

When we get married it is with the express purpose of committing ourselves to our partners.  For some of us, this commitment includes the possibility of creating a family. For others, the commitment is solely a public demonstration that they are joined together. They are a team. Regardless of how or why you made that commitment, most marriages start out with a certain level of lust. We marry someone that we desire sexually and take advantage of the commitment to enjoy carnal pleasures with our spouses. Statistically, newlyweds tend to have more sex than couples married for 5 or more years.

Due to life, illness, pregnancy or other interferences, we tend to wane in our desire. Biology has a lot to do with it. Men lose testosterone as they get older and women, who require a certain amount of concentration to enjoy sex, find it much more difficult to muster the desire or mentality to have intercourse. Our sex life diminishes with time. Without our constant vigilance, a week becomes a month, a month becomes a year and one day we wake to find we are in a sexless marriage.

CoupleDumb speaks on this subject not only as relationship experts with over 20 years of experience working with couples but also as a married couple with over 23 years of marriage. Having a sexless marriage is a choice. Having a sexless marriage requires that the couple has decided that sex of any kind is out of the question. Having a sexless marriage is a decision to move from a marriage to being roommates who share a family and bank account.

Now, there are times when the libido is compromised whether through illness, stress or medications. This does not mean that sex is off the table. The compromised partner can still provide sexual stimulation to their spouse and believing that you cannot perform because you do not want to is tantamount to saying that you do not care about your partner’s needs. And, for those who offer the side effects of anti-depressants as an excuse for a sexless marriage, if you actually cared about your marriage you would ask your psychiatrist to reevaluate your meds and possibly even add talk therapy to your treatment. Depression creates a certain selfishness because you turn inward and focus solely on your own misery. This must be combatted with looking to extrinsic stimuli to pull you out of your ruminating funk. In other words, concentrating on being a good spouse and parent would help alleviate the harsh symptoms of depression.

So, if you hear someone ask if a marriage can survive without sex you can answer, sure but why would you ever want to.