Sexless Marriages India: Recently a friend of mine confided in me about the status of her marital life. Her’s was a love marriage she and her husband were office colleagues who loved each other and decided to marry three years back.
A year back she delivered twins. It seemed to be a perfect setting for her, everything was in place and life was blissful or so she thought. For a year after the birth of their twins they did not make an effort to indulge in sexual intimacy as they were hands-on parents and were sleep deprived and tried all the time.
But after the twins turned a year old, she noticed that she and her husband did not have sex for a year now. She tried talking to him, but he refused to say anything. There was nothing wrong in their day-to-day interactions, in fact their home worked like a well-oiled machine. The only thing missing was sex.
She was panicking because she knew that regular sex keeps the relationship of a couple cemented (not kids) and young. She started wondering if their marriage was falling apart. There was no other way than to confront her husband.
One day she finally asked him point blank. He said he could not think of having sex with her, she who gave birth to his children. She was stumped. Since then they have taken recourse to online counselling. Surprisingly her husband cooperated and are working on their sex life.
This is but one such reason for a sexless marriage and that to the couple realised it very early in their marriage. There have been cases where couples go without having sex for as much as six months to two to three years or more. A survey had found that only 20 percent of Indian couples had sex more than once a week, down from 37 percent a decade ago. Well, you might well ask if many Indians are in a sexless marriage how come the country is counted among the most populous in the world.
Having sex for pleasure and procreation are two different things. You might come across many people especially women who think having sex is just a necessity for having babies. That’s one of the many reasons behind sexless marriages in India.
The underlying reasons
1. Health and medical issues: A woman’s or a man’s overall physical and mental health can have a major impact on their libido and desire for physical intimacy. This issue can also disrupt the physiological process of arousal in both sexes. If either of the couple is on medication then know that many medications have sexual side effects. Some drugs that can cause sexual dysfunction. These maybe over-the-counter decongestants, some antihistamines, antidepressants, and high blood pressure medications.
2. Different levels of libidos: Yes, this can be one of the reasons. Not all men and women desire the same amount of sex. So, what is enough for one may not be so for the other.
3. Abuse: If either of the partner has undergone sexual abuse then know that it leaves behind far-reaching consequences and can affect present and future relationships. The feeling of fear, shame and post-traumatic stress can affect sexual desire.
4. Stress and anxiety: When a partner is stressing over something or is anxious for a reason sex will be the last thing on their mind. Job related, finance or family issues affect a person’s need for sexual desire.
5. Having children: As mentioned above, childbirth changes the equation in a couple’s life. Kids become the centre of attention. Also, women are usually advised by their doctor to keep-off sex for at least six to eight weeks after giving birth. The added stress of caring for an infant, body changes, tiredness, and hormonal factors can also affect a woman’s libido after having a child. Sometimes kids sleeping with their parents also cause the couple to put-off physical intimacy.
6. Lack of communication: Everyone knows the saying that couples should address their conflicts before going to bed. If a couple has been fighting over something and it’s not resolved soon, then couples tend to punish each other by not getting physical.
7. Erectile Dysfunction: Nothing affects a man’s confidence more than ED. Surprisingly many men have it but will not try to accept it. Men who have the symptoms should always talk to their doctor, as it may be a sign of an underlying health condition.
8. Low sex drive: It is also called Hypo-Sexual Desire Disorder and is faced by both men and women. In women, a number of factors may contribute which may include menstrual cycles, the use of hormonal contraceptives, childbirth, breastfeeding, hysterectomy and menopause.
9. Mental well-being: If either of partner is facing mental health issues like depression and withdrawal from society or company will effect on a person's desire for sex and physical intimacy.
10. Life issues: Factors like grieving, boredom of routine, body image issues, job loss, ageing all can cause lack of interest in sex.
What can be done?
First of all know that if you’re experiencing a lack of sex in your marriage, you are not alone. Your next step should be to recognise the signs of a low-sex marriage and then decide whether a lack of sex is a problem in your marriage. It will be better to first understand whether you consider a low-sex or no-sex marriage a problem and know that it is entirely up to you and your partner. If you are both okay with then there is no cause for concern, many marriages continue successfully without sex. However, please do try to understand if your partner is also okay, sometimes one of the partners might have a hidden grudge due to lack of sex in the marriage.
The worst that a couple can do is comparing themselves with others because every relationship is unique. There is no right amount of sex for different sets of couples.
If you have decided to give sex a try in your marriage then go all out for it. Scheduling a time and place is not a bad way to start. Before going in for sexual intimacy it makes sense to ignite the spark that brought you close in the first place. Start with doing things together like watching television, giving each other back rubs or massages, going out on couple dates or vacay to a place that you both love. The underlining point is to give attention to your partner.
Finally, if nothing works and you do feel you have a problem at hand please think of opting for couple counselling to understand the issue.
The views expressed are the author’s own.