Don’t let sex rule your marriage

There is lot more to a relationship than just the bedroom. Sex is just one of the many ways of expressing love, care and intimacy

happy coupleVery often the sexual relationship of a couple loses its charm as years pass by. Some people blame it on their partners—uncared for looks, mismatching natures, demanding and callous attitude. While others take the blame on themselves—I am not attractive, I lack stamina, or I can’t control my temper.

This blame game neither helps them nor their sexual relationship. While these could very well be contributing factors to their drifting apart, more often than not, the real cause is the lack of correct and adequate knowledge about sexuality.

Know your partner’s needs

Couples are simply unaware of their partners’ and even their own sexual needs, likes and dislikes, preferences and put-offs. Often couples know probably only the physical aspect of a sexual relationship, and that too either inadequately or incorrectly. In majority of the cases, they are completely oblivious to the psychological, emotional, behavioural and relational aspects of a sexual relationship. It is the lack of understanding of these finer aspects of sex that are mainly responsible for the gradual or sudden loss of sexual interest in each other in an otherwise healthy couple.

As time passes, out of an utter sense of resignation, couples start accepting their declining and vanishing sex life. Sexual excitement is a natural reaction to certain conditions and when these are absent or inhibited, so is your sexual response.

Here are some common reasons why bad sex happens to good couples and their solutions.

Tune the timing a little

My answer surprised them. I said, “You seem to be conditioned to think that sex is to be done only at bed time. In fact, after a whole day’s work one may want to only retire and sleep. So what is happening with both of you is natural and physiological.

The best time in your case would be to have sex early in the morning. After a good night’s sleep, when your body-mind has rested well and you are rejuvenated, you can enter into the sexual act with great vigour and passion.”

Vatsayana in Kamasutra strongly recommends early morning hours as the best time to have sex. Even modern medicine confirms this, as the hormone testosterone, responsible for sexual desire in men and women, is highest in the body during early morning hours.

Take time-offs together

We further emphasised that time-off from office needs to be planned actively by both to co-ordinate a day or half-a-day together doing fun things. A weekend getaway could be planned once in a while to bring back the togetherness.

Understand your partner’s libido

Another common problem equally reported by married men as well as women in metropolitan cities is about a discrepancy between their sexual drives. Most often people complain, “My spouse feels more sexual than me and wishes to have intercourse more often than me. I do not want to disappoint him/her, but I also feel like protecting my reservation sometimes.”

This situation is known as discrepant libidos and is a common cause for sexual dissatisfaction in a relationship. If there is no proper communication, it inevitably turns into a lose-lose situation. The partner who has the higher sex drive is very likely to feel rejected and hurt when sex does not happen, and the partner with a lower drive feels pressured and resentful at having to perform even when s/he doesn’t feel up to it.

In such situations, both partners should adjust. Finding ways to seduce the partner and bring him/her to a state where s/he could be aroused could be helpful to bridge the gap. The partner with the lower drive needs to understand that the other is not trying to pressurise. If there is a large discrepancy, for example, one partner wants sex every night of the week and the other only once a week, they could agree to engage in sex twice or three times a week. Often this requires more of an attitudinal change than a physical one.

Be open

One of the serious mistakes most people make in their relationships is attempting to isolate a part of the relationship, like sex, from the whole, thinking that when that one part is fixed, the whole relationship will get better. This is the cover-up approach to dealing with problems.

If you feel you have sexual problems in your relationship, and your sexual functions were normal, healthy and exciting in the beginning of your relationship, then your problems most likely have little or nothing to do with sex.

They are symptoms of something deeper in the relationship, such as unexpressed anger or disappointment, unresolved conflicts, lack of trust or fear of failure. By discovering the real problem and working together with your partner to heal them, you will see your sexual problems diminish and eventually disappear. Clear, caring, complete and continuous communication about your sexual as well as non-sexual needs is the key.

Most sexual problems are just symptoms of problems in other areas of the relationship. The real problem always lies in the relationship, and not in the bed.

If you try to hide or suppress the problems or weaknesses in your relationship, they will emerge in bed. However, if you are in a sincere and committed relationship based on love, care and mutual respect, then sex is just one of the many ways of expressing such love, and sharing intimacy. Such relationships are truly meaningful and fulfilling, and last forever.

Minnu Bhonsle
Dr Minnu R Bhonsle, PhD, is a Mumbai-based consulting psychotherapist and counsellor. She conducts training programmes in Personal Counselling [Client-centred Therapy] and Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy, and also workshops in Stress Management, Art of Listening, Couple Therapy, and Communication Skills. Minnu has co-authored the book, The Ultimate Sex Education Guide along with Dr Rajan Bhonsle.
Rajan Bhonsle
Dr Rajan Bhonsle, MD, is a consultant in sexual medicine and counsellor. Along with his wife Minnu R Bhonsle, PhD, who is a consulting psychotherapist and counsellor, he runs a unique therapy centre


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