A couple is at a counsellor to solve their intimacy issues. Anant complains that Neha isn’t interested in sex. Neha doesn’t see what the big deal is. To her, sex isn’t as important as it is for her husband. Anant loves his wife, but the sexual frustration is getting to him. But he wants to work on the relationship because he loves her. Neha can’t stand her husband’s pain either. And she wants to try and work on it.
Counsellor – Neha, what do you feel when Anant tries to initiate sexual intimacy with you?
Neha – He usually brings it up when I’m tired. I don’t feel up to having sex and I really don’t need it to feel close to him. Besides I think it’s not that big a deal.
Counsellor – And Anant, how does that make you feel?
Anant – *Looks at Neha through brimmed eyes* When Neha rejects my advances, I don’t force either. But, that is the loneliest moment of my life. At that moment, I’m asking myself if you even find me attractive. Are you happy with me? I feel terrible.
Neha feels a tear run down her face too. She doesn’t know how to react.
In Anant and Neha’s case, they’re a couple who want to work on this problem. But the sex starved marriage is a reality and more and more couples of this generation are facing it. A marriage is considered sex starved when one partner has higher sexual needs while the other doesn’t find the need for it.
When both partners don’t have high libido, and both don’t have high sexual needs, it’s not a sex starved marriage. It’s sexless and partners in sexless marriages are perfectly fine. The problem arises when one wants it and the other doesn’t.
There are many external and internal factors that can lead to a sexless marriage. Many Indian couples complain about a lack of privacy and hence a lack of private time. This can be easily overcome with a change of circumstances. It’s the internal factors that make it really difficult to handle.
The main causes is a lack of motivation. This loss in libido usually happens for a multitude of reasons – generally low libido, psychological trauma associated with sex, no initiative taken by either partner to initiate sexual intimacy etc. This needs psychological help to overcome.
Combating a sexless marriage
While sex is a key driver of intimacy, mental intimacy spans much more than physical passion. A large part of being intimate is being able to be honest with your partner and to be able to share your deepest vulnerabilities with them. Unfortunately, many couples don’t achieve this level of intimacy, and this is detrimental in a sexless marriage.
Most partners try to maintain a status-quo and not bring it up with each other. The partner who needs sex finds alternatives to satisfy himself and hides it for as long as they can. Often, this leads to guilt in the partner and it leads to the path of depression. In many instances, adultery is one of the alternatives and that often leads to an ugly divorce.
In all cases, you cannot combat a sexless relationship without a high level of mental intimacy.
Like Neha and Anant, it’s most important to accept that there’s a problem and there must be a willingness to want to find a solution. For the one who is deprived, it’s important to bring the topic up carefully and for the one who doesn’t need it as much, it’s important to be sensitive.
After that, seeking psychological help is imperative. There are certified sexual therapists who specialize in treating sexless marriages. Alternatively, some couples are happy finding a compromise between themselves.
No matter what solution works, it is impossible to treat a sexless marriage without being honest with each other.
Have questions related to relationships? Going through a rough path in your marriage? Get personalised guidance from the Experts at YourDOST.