Sex is one of the most contentious issues in marriage today, second only to finances. Many married couples have not had sex for months, even years, and that’s OK as long as they are OK with it and happily married.
The problem arises when one person in the relationship wants sex, and the other doesn’t. According to a national newspaper survey of approximately 10,000 respondents – mostly married men – 75% were satisfied in their relationship, but more than 50% were dissatisfied with their sex lives. We are just having sex at the wrong time and with the wrong people. We are having sex before we get married, ten years on average, so we are effectively in a long-term relationship and potentially, quite sexually bored before we even mess up the marital bed. And that has its consequences. Most brides today do not have sex on their wedding nights, and 50% of men would not have married their spouse had they known their marriage was going to be sexless. So, everybody wants to know just how much sex is married people having whether they are in heterosexual relationships or same-sex unions.
Only about 7% of married couples set the sheets ablaze. Most married couples have sex a little bit more than once a week for the first decade of their marriage. It decreases after that. So they have sex about 58 times a year. And 20% of marriages meet the criteria as a sexless marriage, and that, defined by the experts, is sex less than ten times a year. So why aren’t we having sex in our marriages? There’s a little-known chemical in the brain conveniently called PEA or ‘PEA, ‘ and it’s responsible for the elation, the excitement, and the euphoria that you feel when you meet somebody that you are sexually interested in. It’s a fantastic feeling. This chemical is gorging through your blood vessels. You are so happy; that’s how powerful this little chemical is. But what happens after two years is that chemical diminishes as does the sexual frequency. That’s just about the time you might get married or may have conflict in your relationship, and that is why communication is key to great sex.
There is another reason we are not having sex in our relationship, and that has to do with the sex education that we provide. We teach girls and women that sex is dirty, and sex is bad, or it’s overrated. We say, “You’re just going to get a sexual-transmitted infection anyway,” or, “You may get pregnant!” This whole fear-based thing frightens women from enjoying sex, and we never talk about pleasure or orgasm with girls and women. And in fact, some women say, “Orgasm’s not important,” and that the journey is just as good as the destination. It’s like getting on a train with your lover, and you are going to the most pleasurable place on the planet. You are so excited. You are getting lubed up with all the free drinks they are giving you. This is amazing! And just before you reach your destination, he gets off, and you don’t.
Actually the sex education we have for boys and men: that’s entirely different. It’s a global program, it’s free, it’s accessible to everybody, and it’s known as internet pornography. Fantastic! And it does nothing to teach men and boys about intimacy which is important to men and boys, or how to make love to anybody. Also, we have a paucity of information about sexual health for the LGBTQI community, and we need to add to that. Marriage can rapidly go from holy matrimony to holy hell with the finances, the kids, the houses, the illness. Most women today are working inside and outside of the home. They are doing the lion’s share of the housework because according to research, men don’t feel they are that good at it. And this is bridging the gap between growing children and aging parents. She is exhausted doing it all and never doing it. And when they are doing it, they are checking our smartphones. 10% of people check their smartphones during sex 35% immediately afterward. Because we are connected to the Internet and disconnected from our would-be lovers. Maybe this is the reason that the most common sex position for married couples is doggy style. It’s not what you’re thinking. Get your minds out of the gutter. This is the one where he is on all his fours and begs, and she plays dead. Most men complain that women never initiate sex. The reason for this is because, once again, the sex education we provide to women. Women falsely believe that female sexual interest, desire, precedes sexual activity when in actuality, it is sexual activity that prompts sexual interest and desire.
Sexual arousal emerges as a result of sexual activity. You want to come home, and you want to make love to your wife if you are in a heterosexual relationship. So after a long and quite possibly very hard day, you come home to a bit of chaos, perhaps, but you’ve just got sex on the mind, and she says, “Did you remember the milk?” And you are like, “Darn! The milk! I forgot the milk!” Don’t beat yourselves up about it; if not for the milk, we have Facebook, hormones, “I am feeling a little tired tonight,” “My stomach is sticking out, I am feeling kind of fat, can’t do it tonight,” “Didn’t we have sex last month?” And you are like, “That was last year!” You don’t get it.
Erectile dysfunction is the canary in the coal mine, and it may signify cardiovascular disease. It may also indicate diabetes. So, these two medical conditions, in addition to low testosterone, stress, substance use, and abuse, excessive alcohol consumption, unresolved conflict, financial issues, all of those may contribute to low sexual desire, and you may end up in a sexless marriage. And one more thing is sex is technology. which has made cheating accessible for everybody: from the politician to the stay-at-home parent. That quick swipe right can lead to an online passionate love affair; from texting to sexting, to secret phone conversations. The more two people communicate online, the more likely an in-person encounter will occur. But you can always blame your genes. The gene DRD4 has been isolated in cheaters. And the sexless marriage’s just the environment to turn on that gene. It’s based on a system of pleasure and reward. The stakes are high, the rewards, substantial. It is the perfect cocktail to turn that love drug back on, PEA, and the cycle begins again.
Historically, marriage was not based on mutual love But rather it was an institution to acquire, of all things, in-laws, property, and physical labor. But at the turn of the 20th century, in America, egalitarian ideals and the emerging Hollywood movie industry burdened marriages with promising romantic love forever. Sex is good for you. Sex is healthy. Yet, sex is shrouded in shame. In the ancient aristocracies, the wealthy men had courtesans for pleasure and concubines for quick sex. In the way we are going, computers will be our concubines; internet pornography, our mistress of the day. Technology is fast replacing human connection at high speed. So, how do you rev up the sexless marriage? Sex is about blood flow, it’s exercise.
Every day, you want to have a daily workout. It increases your agility, your stamina. Women will experience more sexual sensation when blood is flowing to the genitalia. It also helps to treat erectile dysfunction. Also, get help for any of the sexual dysfunctions you may have. Vaginal dryness is an issue that happens to women who are on the oral contraceptive pill, who are breastfeeding, perimenopausal, postmenopausal, and there are treatments for you.
Pay more attention to your spouse than you do to your smartphone. Spend more time in your bedrooms than you do in your boardrooms. Deal with your marital issues. Go to sleep in the same bed, at the same time, and don’t bring anything or anyone into your marriage, except for a great sex toy and a darn good sex therapist. You must establish guidelines that govern those moments when you are struck by someone’s attractiveness outside of your marriage. But don’t think for a second that you have to have sex with the same person for the rest of your life.