Q: I am a sexually-active woman who is liberated enough to initiate intimacy with my husband. However, over the years his interest has lessened, he gets annoyed when I initiate intimacy and denies it. When I raise the issue, he ridicules me calling me ‘sex obsessed’, and whenever he initiates, he will be all nice about it. I feel humiliated and angry. Neither do I want to seek sex elsewhere nor I want to end the marriage, but do not know how to ensure a healthy and mutually respectful relationship. Please advise.
Ans. For living beings, sex is a primal, self-preservatory urge. And for humans, sex is not something that is given or taken... it is shared as the intimate culmination of love, trust and vulnerability expressed physically and emotionally between a couple. When sex is passionately shared, it binds a relationship firmly as it is the ultimate show and tell of that crucial decision to explore life together and stay the course even when the ride gets bumpy.
Your husband’s waning interest could be caused by a drop in his libido or perhaps his emotional and physical expectations from you aren’t being met in some manner.
In my practice, I often meet husbands and wives who are no longer physically attracted to their spouses and who feel like their spouses have stopped exciting them. This draws in the need to perhaps introduce some novelty and innovation in your relationship.
The essence or core of a human being may never change, but that doesn’t mean one ignores the concerted efforts to add some vitality to the daily proceedings. Why do couples plan getaways, date nights or why do human beings feel the need to celebrate special occasions? Our need to break free from the mundane logistics of daily living is as pronounced a need as several other life pursuits such as being productive, being creatively fulfilled and seeking companionship.
So many hours and weeks may be spent droning forward in a conformist manner so as to cause the least disruptions possible along the way. It can all begin to feel a little jaded. This is why it is important for couples to invest deeply in building a friendship that will help them hold fort during the many turbulent storms of life. What kind of friendship do you share with you husband? Are both of you comfortable discussing matters with each other?
You are well within your right to raise the issue about wanting to have more sex with him. As a counsellor, I still see unfortunate remnants of patriarchal generational mindsets when men talk about the women in their lives. Several men believe it is their birth right to control the narrative of a woman’s life and the various milestones in her life (marriage, pregnancy, enjoyment, etc.) They believe that they must decide ‘what she gets’ and ‘how much of it she gets’.
This influence over her choices and desires by the men in her life may subtly get expressed in absolute terms of what is ‘allowed’ or ‘disallowed’. Could it be that ‘sex’ is something your husband wishes to permit you to partake in? Does he treat you as an ‘equal’ or as someone he must ‘direct’? There are no definite conclusions to be drawn yet, but couple’s therapy will help open up the discourse.
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