Whatever the specifics of your love life may be — a non-existent sex life, a porn-addicted spouse, an affair — when it comes down to intimacy (i.e. sex), the last thing you get from it is pleasure. Sexlessness in marriage is a painfully real thing; both men and women are withholding sex and it is taking a toll on the sanctity of marriage. Why do couples struggle with sex?
Responses from men have included… “Well, I ended up in an affair and caught, too. Unfortunately it seems this is headed to divorce. Even though I want to fix the mess. All I wanted was to give my [loving] to MY WIFE,” said one man, “Sad in PA,” to Psychology Today.
Living a lie. “[Anyone] who knows both of us thinks we’re a normal married couple because this is something that you hide from people like you are living a lie. Basically my life for the last 20 years is a lie. I might be married on paper but not in reality,” another man wrote.
Women feel spurned by their husbands as well. “I’m 33 and my husband is 32. We haven’t had sex in over a year. I’m desperate for human contact. I initiate it all the time and am turned down. Otherwise we have a great relationship. Kiss, hug, laugh. I’ve told him many times I want sex he says, ‘[yeah], we need to work in that,’ but it never goes anywhere. Now I’m fantasizing about our male friends. So horrible,” one wife wrote on Psychology Today.
A slap in the face. Another woman wrote: “It is awful. You go through a daily barrage of emotions that you feel are strangling the life out of you. You feel neglected, ignored, dismissed, alone, frustrated, tempted, beaten down emotionally, you feel like roommates instead of spouses. Then you see their wandering eye. Another slap in the face.”
If marriage doesn’t fulfill us, why marry? In today’s world, we don’t need to marry — or even date. Technology and many of our actions provide us with so much more happiness and fulfillment than ever before. Is marriage outdated?
Is monogamy still a thing? Cheating occurs far more frequently in relationships where couples withhold sex from one another. “Love” has only been the purpose of marriage for the last one hundred years. Prior to that, we only married to procreate and fulfill financial and social expectations. What’s normal for us?
Happy people cheat, too. Esther Perel, noted therapist offered an important observation to Psychology Today, “Romantic ideals make us rely on our partner’s fidelity with unique fervor but we are never more inclined to stray because we are more entitled than ever to be happy.” Monogamy and love don’t necessarily have anything to do with each other. Also, it’s not always unhappily married people who cheat — happy people cheat, too. Infidelity is especially painful because is threatens our sense of self.
Monogamy used to mean one person for life. Today it means “one person for right now.” Instead of pretending that every couple is the same, we should stop making blanket rules. What makes one pair happy can be detrimental to another. However, couples should be open to these conversations. If you can’t be fully honest with your spouse, who can you be honest with?
What is natural for us? And how can we know if relationships keep changing? “Like most challenges we face in life, avoiding the topic or wishing things could be different doesn’t make problems go away,” Susan Pease Gadoua notes in her article on Psychology Today.
Reddit users weigh-in. User Riotsquad9000 said, “I think that humans are designed to mate, and some of them choose to do that through monogamous relationships and some of them choose to do that through promiscuity. I don’t think there’s a set function for humans to pursue one or the other. I think it’s much more difficult for some humans to have monogamous relationships, and for them – I don’t think they should try to commit to one.”
We’re animals… “Eons ago, I think people stayed together for mutually beneficial reasons. Protection, providing food, sharing a nice warm cave. But as far as sexual monogamy, I believe the groin ruled the roost. Guys may have still stayed around for a hot meal and companionship, but would take advantage of hot sex whenever it presented itself. I am sure women were also driven to mate with anyone who was available if their dreamboat was not up for the task or was away from the cave on a hunting trip. I think it was a ‘fulfill the need first’ kind of thing and worry about the details later. I am sure society developed ideals and desirable aspects to monogamy later on, but initially, we were animals. And in some cases yet today, we still are,” explains Reddit user mtman12.