Relationship Problems
Resources
Basic InformationMore InformationLatest NewsQuestions and AnswersLinksBook Reviews
Related Topics

Family & Relationship Issues
Homosexuality & Bisexuality

Of Marriage, Communication and Sex

Allan Schwartz, LCSW, Ph.D.

woman with arms around manE. Mail One, Solution:

What is actually wrong with me?... Maybe just maybe we are not in love with our husbands anymore. I would not say no some men I see on the street sometimes but my husband seems not enough anymore. He cares less, he is not romantic at all, sex for him is like a duty... Maybe he was like that when I first met him, maybe I was too much in love to recognize this part of his personalty, maybe I thought I could deal with it. Well I cannot...Could the reason I don't want to have sex with him be that, actually, I don't want him at all??? Do you ask yourself this question?? Do you have the courage to do so?? I woke up after 6 years and one child and don,t know what to do or feel...

E. Mail Two: Do years of relationship kill the sex?

I am in my early 20s. I have lived with my boyfriend for three years now, and, at the beginning of our relationship the sex was great. After two years, though, everything changed. I must say that the first year I was just working, and then I went back to school. So now I am working, going to school, and trying to keep the house in a good shape. I am not trying to blame my boyfriend because he didn't change at all. He does the same things that I used to like and I was the one who wanted more and more sex. But now it's been two months and we had sex just twice, and it was horrible because I did not enjoy it at all. I see he cares about me because, when he realizes that I don't feel good, he is stops right away. I am trying to figure out why I just don't feel the need to have sex anymore. I love him, and we are thinking about getting married, but, when I see this problem I am really scared. He doesn't ask me why I don't want sex but I see he is unhappy. Still, I can't have sex if I don't feel like having sex. This problem is eating up on me and I am trying to find a solution but it's harder and harder. I feel stressed with school, with work, but I know when we are together I should forget about all of this and enjoy my time with him. Why I can't do it? This is so frustrating....

E. Mail three: Feels like I am begging for sex!

I've been married for 5 years and I can't figure out my husband. We started with this problem since we were eight  months married. I try to talk to him. I try several things to try to provoke him into having sex but nothing seems to work.  After all of this trying to have sex with him more often, I simply gave up. All this has led me to feel ugly, lonely and even depressed. In one of our few encounters I got pregnant and we had our first baby.  My baby is a gift of God, but now my husband pays more attention to our baby than me. He has gotten to the point where our baby sleeps with us in the bed. Because this there is hardly any sex.   I feel so alone that sometimes I don,t know what to do. When ever I do have sex with him, I do not feel happy. Instead,I feel angry at him.  He tells me he is going to try to have sex with me more often but it never happens and as time passes by I feel more and more angry at him.

__________________________________________________________

These three E. Mails are very real and are examples of the many types of comments we receive at Mental Help.Net. There are a number of things that are particularly interesting about these comments.

Important Note:

The comments that will be read are vast generalizations and, therefore, in no way represent "all men or all women."

One of the interesting items is that these women tried discussing sex with their partners but were unsuccessful. Seemingly, the men either refused to discuss it or simply ignored what was said. Why should this happen?

Men and women are socialized very differently while they are going through childhood and adolescence. While females learn that expressing emotions is a positive thing to do, boys are taught that the definition of masculinity is to withhold feelings. For a great many men, talking about feelings represents weakness and they must avoid this in every way possible. Of course, the net result is that women tend to be better prepared for marriage than are men.

In addition, many people find it extremely difficult to discuss sex with one another. This is something that, as a therapist who worked with countless numbers of couples of all ages, the most intimate of human acts that they engage in with each other is something many of them cannot discuss.

Even today, in what is supposed to be our era of sexual sophistication, many people remain unable to discuss sex with their partner. It is either too embarrassing, falls too much into an area that is taboo or is a subject too fraught with emotion and defensiveness to be discussed without conflict.

In working with many couples it has been revealing and educational to learn how sensitive and fragile many people are with regard to this topic, particularly men. I am not implying that women are not sensitive as well. They are. But, many men consider sexual performance part of their proud armor of masculinity. As a result, they cannot tolerate any discussion, either with their wives or their therapists, of how they might improve their performance.

I have met with countless numbers of women who complain that when they attempt to talk with their partner about something they do not like and something they would prefer instead, they are met with anger. The attempted discussion is perceived by the man as a criticism and attack on their masculine skills and abilities.

I want to direct the reader's attention to a new article written for Mental Health.Net by a family therapist named
Pat LaDouceur, Ph.D. Her article can be found at this URL:

http://www.mentalhelp.net/poc/view_doc.php?type=doc&id=31348&cn=289

In the article, Pat lists some of the important relationship behaviors couples need to engage in if their relationships are to remain vigorous and alive. One of the behaviors in the list has to do with the importance of communication. Let me explain why communication is so very important.

Couples who experience sexual difficulties, as exemplified by the three E. Mails above, are also experiencing difficulties in other areas of their relationship. The failure to be open about love making and sex also shows up in attempting to deal with such things as money, household chores, remembering birthdays, anniversaries and many other things.

The worst thing that can happen in a relationship is for people to take each other for granted. The failure to show affection, courtesy, thoughtfulness and kindness, result in one or both partners becoming alienated and angry.

It is not that sex becomes boring after five years of marriage or relating but that people find themselves feeling distant and lonely.

Relating intimately takes a lot of work. By work is meant that it is vitally important for people to find time discuss everything no matter how boring or mundane. It is equally important to remember to give a warm and fond embrace when leaving the house to go to work and when returning home.

Couples, no matter how hard they are working at school and at their careers, need to go out to dinner with one another and be romantic. While child care is an enormous and challenging responsibility, Mom and Dad need to nurture one another as well as the child.

In other words, sex is just one of the many things that couples need to talk about and, when there are problems, find solutions to.

People are very quick to become anxious when things are not going well in bed. Left undiscussed the things not going well and left hidden, corrode sexual energy and enthusiasm. Yet, all that needs to be done is for the lovers to talk it over, make adjustments and adaptations in order for things to move forward.

Marriage and family therapy do work in helping couples find their way back to one another so that they can return to enduring and strong marital relationships.

Your comments, questions and experiences are welcome and strongly encouraged.

Allan N. Schwartz, PhD.