Q: I caught my wife recently cheating on me with a gigolo on the home CCTV footage. I was shocked. When confronted she says she was unfulfilled sexually with me and said that I have not ‘given’ her ‘good sex’. I have always asked my wife what she likes and doesn’t like in bed, but she has not been very communicative. Therefore, I assumed she was okay with everything we did. Moreover, I had heard that women know how to reach their own climax in bed and need to be active for the same. She is shifting the responsibility for her actions to me. Am I responsible for not ‘giving her good sex’, and am I the cause of her actions? I feel utterly confused and devastated. What should I do?
A: ‘Giving good sex’ isn’t the sole responsibility of one partner. It is not like giving out candy. Sex isn’t an object to be given or taken. ‘Good sex’ is a shared responsibility of the couple and it comes from a deep understanding each of other’s needs inside and outside the bedroom. This takes time. This takes commitment. This also takes a lifetime of communication and constant negotiation and more importantly a will to grow and invest in the relationship.
Your wife’s non-communicative behaviour could be a result of her basic personality, general hesitation to approach such topics, her ‘learnt behaviour while growing up’ or she needs to ‘try something different for herself’ or simply not trust you enough with this information. Trust, respect and communication are the foundations of strong relationships.
Couplehood is as much a personal decision as it is a socio-relational decision. Couplehood is the basic unit of the family structure that we have come to know in our lives. Getting a relationship to work through the construct of ‘the couple experience paradigm’ is, therefore, a shared emotional, logistical, physical and biological response. This responsibility culminates in the consensual participation in the parenting role that is meant to existentially further the human race.
Distressing as this time may be for you, you need to also understand that if you assume that women know how to reach their own climax, then that presupposes her ability to ‘help herself’ when I’ve shared that ‘good sex’ is very much a shared responsibility. To oversimplify the situation of ‘her infidelity’ versus ‘your alleged poor performance in bed’ would only lead to a finger pointing game that could transition into a harrowing ‘culprit shaming’ endeavour.
Passions are high in situations like this. A dynamic state is experienced that could lead to painful consequences. As hard as this must be for you, try to keep your communication ‘situation based’ with a view to solving problems (if that is what you want). Furthermore, if you find yourself out of your depth with this situation, it would probably be a good idea to engage the services of a marriage counsellor. If an impasse is reached, the services of a divorce lawyer may also be warranted based on how strongly you’ll feel about either fixing or terminating this relationship.
(Aman R Bhonsle is a qualified Psychosocial Analyst and a Professional Youth Mentor with specialisation in Transactional Analysis and REBT. He is available for consultation at the Heart To Heart Counselling Centre.)