Sexless marriages: On what else keeps us togetherMonday, October 25, 2021
THEY'VE been married for just two years, but this couple, whose real life doesn't reflect what's posted of their activities on Instagram , hasn't slept together in months. Browsing their social media feed you'll see numerous hotel visits, overseas excursions, family church visits, and quotes about love, relationships and finding the one, but both have a different take on where their marriage is now, why, and how it came to be that way.
“It started as a fight that we had one night over something that I can't even remember right now, and he said I was nagging and annoying and he hated talking to me, and I said fine, don't ever talk to me again,” the wife shared with All Woman.
“And both of us being stubborn, we didn't talk for a couple weeks, and he slowly started to open up, but at night I couldn't bear the thought of him touching me, as I kept remembering what he'd said.
“Also, it's not that he was sorry for what he'd said, as he didn't actually say sorry, I think he just wanted intimacy and so that's why he came back.”
For the husband, his wife's “hot and cold moods” drive him crazy, but while he was glad for the reprieve “from her nagging”, he realised after a while that she was more stubborn than he was, and she was fine with no contact.
“And so it was up to me to be the bigger person and do something, so I bought her flowers and we started talking, not about us or anything, but about the kids and the house, but that night she didn't even shower and I knew that was a sign to me that I wouldn't be getting any.”
He said the following nights after that she allowed their toddler to sleep in the bed with them, between them, and then alternated by not showering, or squeezing herself into a corner, cringing at his touch.
“If she didn't want me I wasn't going to force myself on her,” he said. “But it's been about 10 weeks now, and it doesn't look like we're getting back to the way we were, as she bought a toy, I guess to show me that she doesn't need me to satisfy her.
“She was never like this in the years we lived together and even had kids, but she totally transformed since I put the ring on.”
The couple isn't planning to separate or take any other drastic step, and there is no consideration by either party to introduce anyone else into the union.
They are essentially in a sexless marriage, defined as a situation where there's little to no sexual activity occurring between a couple.
“It happens more than we think, and there are varying degrees to the issue,” said counsellor David Anderson.
“Many times things taper off when the couple gets older, and some resort to having separate rooms and separate lives, but more and more we're seeing it in younger couples who just aren't intimate with each other for various reasons.”
What else keeps us together…
“I used to try hard to get his attention, but then I just stopped when I met someone else when I was travelling,” another wife shared. “Before that I was in the loneliest situation — we had been married for 13 years and he would be flirting with other women and coming in late instead of spending time with me. We even sought counselling when I was at the point of deciding that I wanted out, and he promised to change but didn't. I spent a lot of time being down, but when I found love, I just moved on.”
The couple still lives in the same house, but has separate bedrooms, and life separate personal lives.
“I don't know if he knows that I have a man, but he has his women, and we parent our kids well and there's no conflict at all,” she said.
For our third couple, who reside outside of Jamaica, the expectations of the groom surpassed what the bride was willing to deliver, and so they've reached a truce of sorts, after being married for only a year.
The wife, a Jamaican, and the husband, an Eastern islander, reside and work together on permits in another Caribbean island, and life is good enough, without rocking the boat. Plus separating would lead to more logistical problems than living together, “like we're room-mates”.
“Let's just say that what he wants, no way will I go there,” the wife said. “He wants to violate, and I'm not into those things, because he's not really interested in regular sex.”
She said because they both have good jobs and families back home to support, separating was never an option.
“We're happy otherwise, apart from the fact that I won't give him what he desires, but he's in the Church so that takes up a lot of his time, so I don't think it affects him a lot,” she said of the lack of intimacy between them.
Dr Douglas Weiss, licensed professional counsellor and the executive director of Heart to Heart Counseling Centers in Colorado Springs, Colorado, in a preview for his DVD titled Sexless and Married, which gives couples solutions to the issue of sexlessness in marriage, says people in these situations often feel alone and unloved.
He's been working with clients for over 30 years, and said each couple he's worked with has found a way back to reconnect and move forward and have a happily ever after.
But, he said, “There are some people who are genuinely committed to sexlessness; they are married to themselves, they are not married to their spouse, their sexuality is for them only and they're not giving it up. That person will not get help because they don't want help.”
He also said there are several different reasons why sexlessness in marriage occur, and it's not a one-size-fits-all problem or solution.
“There are solutions but you've got to know what the problem is, you've got to know what you're dealing with,” he said.