I have been married for six years but we seem to have a problem in our marriage. My husband is 38 and I am 33 but our sex life is almost dead. We don’t seem to understand each other anymore. For instance, whenever I want sex, he usually doesn’t feel like it and vice versa, although he forces himself on me anyway. We have sex like once a month and when we do, it is usually over as soon as it begins. Other couples within our age bracket seem to be doing well at sex so I don’t understand what is happening to us. Please advise me because I want to be sexually satisfied by him and I also want to satisfy all his needs.
What the readers say:
Peris, you've mentioned that you "don't seem to understand each other." It's your idea, does he think the same? How is your trust? Does he seem to be cheating? When the success of a bodily function is dependent on two very different human beings, it is unrealistic to expect 100 percent performance. Premature ejaculation is brought by anxiety. Then, on the issue of not wanting to be intimate, revisit the genesis of your relationship and rekindle the lost romance.
Peris, remember that sexual desire often begins outside the bedroom. Sexually turning off your partner or making minimal effort to turn your partner on is a step in the direction of a "sexless marriage". Don't let these turn-offs interfere with such a critical part of your relationship. Ask your partner if he is happy with how things are. If he could change something, what would it be? Make time to connect with each other, have fun, bond, flirt, try new things, tease, complement and set new goals. All the best.
If in the past your sex life was better, then one of you has changed. Begin by interrogating yourself on your physical, social and emotional changes. When that is done, he should be able to share with you what has caused the sudden change, should both of you be sincere with yourselves. Do what you used to do when your experience was at its best. If all these fail to work then go the 'professional' way.
Peris, what was your sex life like when you two people got married? If it was OK then there is a concern, but if it was cold even from the start then you did not draw a line right from the beginning and it is, therefore, the right time to draw it. I would say you people should be sexually active, going by your age and duration of the marriage. Stop comparing your marriage with other marriages. Each marriage has its own story. Just water your marriage so that it may grow into what you want.
To me, sex is in your minds. Sex is the food of thought and thinking. You need to be sober and relaxed before initiating sex. One or both of you is not settled. Tell your husband your needs and wants. Stop nagging him, give him good and nutritious food, be welcoming to him, ask him his problem, be caring and tell him you love him and show your love to him. If this fails, seek the help of a professional counselor. But be gentle with your husband, show love and give him love you will see wonders.
Dear Peris, there is more to a marriage than having sex for he can as well get sex from a prostitute. I believe you married him after considering his other good qualities. Focus on his good qualities and rejoice for you have a husband other than opting for divorce which is rather painful just because of lack of sex.
Dear Peris, lack of intimacy in marriage is symptomatic, it is a sign of other underlying factors. One of the reasons a couple would lose interest in intimacy is disappointment over expectations that were not met in marriage. People get into marriage with certain expectations, real or unrealistic. This includes what they want and do not want, what they can promise and what they cannot promise.
When these expectations are not met, a form of resentment tends to brew within the individuals. It even gets worse when the couple lacks effective communication.
Secondly, there is a high possibility that both of you could be holding on to unresolved conflicts. Resolving conflict is not as easy as many of us tend to think. This is because factors such as one's upbringing, personality, temperaments among others determine how conflict is handled and managed. In most cases, the spouses have different ways of dealing with conflict.
Just like the unmet expectations, unresolved conflict breeds disillusionment that leads to resentment. Emotional disconnection and lack of interest for each other sets in. With time, intimacy fades away and interaction becomes mechanical. That is the level that you are at.
I wish I could just tell you to start to communicate, change your look to a more appealing one. This may not work in your case now.
Both of you need to see a marriage counselor who will walk with you through this. A professional is better placed to help you trace the root of this and work with you to remedy the situation. It is not too late to get yourselves back.
(Hilda Boke Mahare has a background in Counselling Psychology)
This is something many couples go through. Sex is like pie; fresh strawberry pie looks, smells and tastes great but when you eat it for six years, it becomes boring, stale and almost intolerable. Most couples that have this problem and come looking for a solution think that the man has a health problem or has issues with his libido. You have been eating the same pie for six years and, as a result, you are both tired of it. I advise such couples to get new pie.
Now, don't get me wrong; I don't mean get new people to have sex with rather you both find new ways of eating the old pie. If you set out on this path, you will both discover new and exciting things about sex that could lead both of you to greater levels of sexual satisfaction. To succeed in this, you both have to agree (together) that there is a problem with your sex life. Agree to find a solution and actually change your perceptions about sex. This is often the most difficult task.
To find new ways, you have to unlearn everything you know about sex and start afresh. This may include getting learning materials on intimacy and learning and trying out new things. For instance, for most couples, sex begins when they realize they are stuck in a bed in the darkness and behind a closed door.
Sex can and should even start days before or early in the morning then it should actualize much later having built the required anticipation and desire. Try different things. Change location. Take it out of the bed or bedroom, go camping, visit some friends who have a guest wing (not an extra bedroom - you may traumatize their children) or a nice and comfortable hotel room.
It is important to understand the sexual desires and fantasies of your partner. The focus should be on pleasing each other not on the duration and ideally, you cannot please anyone if you don't take time to understand desires and needs as well as what fascinates them. This would actually set both of you on the path to finding ultimate satisfaction in each other.
(Simon Anyona is a relationships counselor)