Curing the Sexless Marriage
Too many couples watch as days, weeks, months and years pass without having connected sexually. Slowly lovemaking becomes a thing of distant memories. Each partner knows it’s not ok, but somehow it is just easier not to discuss it. Not a problem you say? Perhaps so, and if two consenting adult partners agree not to have sex, it should be ok. But the lack of sex in a marriage is usually a sign that something is wrong.
When cooking, there are certain foods that after being cooked, are best left to sit for a time before being re-heated and then eaten. In my house, we say, “The ingredients must marry overnight.” This means that the food’s ingredients must merge, mingle and join to make the food fully delightful. People, too, must “marry” in this way. For a marriage to be a good one the partners must emotionally merge. A healthy sex life is the outward expression that this merging has taken place, but sex is also an activity that promotes this merging…and is a symbolic merging on a physical level.
It is a signal when two people are married, or in a long-term love relationship and are not actively sexual for weeks and months. These people are not merging. Missing is an essential part and purpose of being in a relationship. As time passes without the bonding that sex provides, partners grow disconnected; they suffer. Their relationship becomes increasingly vulnerable to troubles, such as bitterness, conflict, affairs and divorce.
If a love relationship has deteriorated to the point where it is sexless, then one or both partners need to grow emotionally. Emotions are experienced in the present, but are a sum of our past. They powerfully influence our choices, our current experience and our behaviors. Negative emotions pull at us to be less than the best we can be. The weaker emotionally we are the more we give in to negative emotions, which cause us to choose actions which are often not in our best interest. On the contrary, the stronger emotionally we are the more we choose to act in ways that are loving to others and to our self.
Differences between partners are a source of friction. Developing the strength to negotiatedifferences in a loving way allows us to remain open to our partner in spite of the differences and the rigors of negotiating them. It is love that cures so many relationship problems, including sexlessness. Love is a choice, which when present, creates many new possibilities, including a satisfying sex life. It all starts at home, by loving our self. Those who grow emotionally stronger, will increase their capacity to love, and will experience a resurrection of what is hopefully, a sweet and pleasure-filled sex life. Andrew Aaron, LICSW