The control drama

Why do some men use "sex and intimacy" to show their wife down?

Q: After a couple fights, the husband often shows his ego by not agreeing to have sex. He agrees only after the wife surrenders. Is it that only the woman feels the urge and craves for love?

— Darshna Rakesh Shah

A: Withholding sex, or any other form of demonstration of love, affection and intimacy, and remaining aloof, is commonly used as a ‘control drama’ by both men and women to make a point. Nature has given sexual urges to both and, as human beings, both need loving relationships. However, a control drama often overrides other needs, and is indicative of a power struggle in the relationship. This means that the relationship is not viewed as one among ‘equals’ with mutual love and respect. Instead, it is a relationship where one of the partners must be subservient to and/or conform to the dictates of another. All control dramas result in a win-lose scenario leaving the one who loses feeling hurt and powerless. The person who is ‘hurt’ now engages in his/her own control drama to regain power at the cost of the other, making him feel powerless again. Such power struggles contaminate relationships and create a distance between partners. If this is happening in your relationship, it’s important that an honest, heart to heart dialogue be facilitated by a relationship counsellor. In such a dialogue, both are urged to be vulnerable and to negotiate a win-win solution in all outstanding issues so that intimacy is not affected.

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