I love my husband and we have a good marriage of 8 years. Our only problem is sex. I can’t be bothered with it and I haven’t got the time. There is always so much else to be done. My girlfriends tell me they feel the same. Where has our sex drive gone?
Don’t worry. You are not alone. We have dozens of couples with this problem and we are sure other therapists do too. Despite all the so-called “openness” in our society, there is probably more confusion about sex than any other issue.
Sex is valued as a commodity in our culture. Look at advertisements, for example. Sex is used to sell just about anything and women are constantly objectified in this cause. Sex is not treated as sacred; it is treated as currency.
You and your husband are acting out this view of sex as currency. You used sex to win him in the beginning. Now when he wants sex, you feel sullied and find a dozen excuses why you can’t have it. Sex becomes a bone of contention between you.
Step back and consider for a moment how crazy this really is.
Sex is the coming together of two bodies, two energies, in an act of loving creation.
Sure sex can be used negatively. But it doesn’t have to be. Like a knife that can be used to murder or to nourish, sex in itself is neutral. You decide how you use it. But it makes no sense to use it destructively in a loving relationship.
So what is going wrong?
There is a power struggle taking place between your husband and you in your relationship. Whether you are aware of it or not, you are resentful.
Growing up, you were conditioned to believe your “prince” would come and make your dreams of romantic love true. When he arrived sex was great. It is easy to desire the person who is going to fulfil your dreams. Over time, disillusionment set in. Your expectations were not met. Real life got in the way. But you couldn’t admit that to yourself—it would be too painful. Instead you told yourself to grow up and compromise. Your feelings of disappointment were then repressed. Repressed feelings don’t go away, they turn into resentment. Resentment kills sexual desire. Soon, you found yourself avoiding sex.
Then another disappointment. You thought he loved you just for yourself, not for sex. Now when he hassles you for sex, you think he is doing what you’ve been told men will do—objectify you. You feel used and disappointed. The resentment builds and your desire for sex wanes even more.
Marriages rarely work without sex. You are right to be concerned. You need to change your attitude to sex.
Sex is a wonderful expression of love. It is as natural and normal as eating and breathing. When your partner makes love to you, he is loving you for yourself. Love your body and your sexual organs. Feel gratitude for the pleasure they can give you.
If you feel any objection to the above statements, you have an unhealthy attitude to sex. This isn’t surprising with all the confusing sexual messages you have encountered in your life.Find a quiet place and say theses statements to yourself:
- Sex is a wonderful expression of love.
- It is as natural and normal as eating and breathing.
- Making love means my partner loves me for myself.
- I love my body and my sexual organs.
- I feel gratitude for the pleasure they can give me.
Check if you believe them. Notice any objections or discomfort. Breathe through the uncomfortable feelings as you continue to say the statements. You will probably find that you remember experiences, thoughts and messages from the past. Be creative as you change your interpretation of these from negative to positive.
Revisit the dreams and expectations you originally had for the relationship. Let the unfulfilled ones go and fully feel your disappointment until you reach the peace of true acceptance.
If you find the dysfunctional attitudes to sex are really entrenched, seek help from a qualified therapist.