Ann Wairimu @ann_wairimo
“When we were dating, I looked forward to be intimate with my boyfriend. We would find an excuse of being together at least thrice a week. It is like we never had enough of one another,” says Mary Mwende.
So, she couldn’t wait to get married. Three years later, they live together, eat together and support each other in life, but when it comes to sex—well, that’s the elephant in the room. The last time they had it was three months ago. And even then, it wasn’t what she would call quality sex. “I’m not sure when excitement left our bedroom, but sex became routine, then rare,” she says.
And the lack of sex in marriage is on the rise. Spouses constantly whine about ‘headaches’ and not being in the mood. However, the irony of it is that there seems to be sex everywhere except on marital beds if sex scandals that bombard us are anything to go by.
Talk of married men ‘sponsors’ having affairs with university girls and married women have Ben 10s saturate mainstream and social media platforms. Even clerics are not spared the orgy. Could the kick be because stolen water is sweet, as they say. But the jury is still out there on the rising phenomena of sexless marriages.
According to experts, a sexless marriage is defined as sexual contact of less than 15 times in a year in a couple that is in good health and living together. Relationship expert Beatrice Nderitu says there are endless reasons to explain this.
Some people are just wired that way, and have low sexual drive through out their lives. But it can peak around the time of dating and marriage and then gradually decline again. “The key is to understand the cause of reduced libido,” she says.
Most of the time, couples may end up in a boring, routine and predictable sex life. Another factor married couples face is letting anger turn into resentment. “When you pair resentment with a busy schedule, both people are exhausted, upset and drained, and sex is the last thing on their minds,” she says.
Some couples focus too much on intercourse. According to Nderitu, many people, especially women, are not ready when intercourse starts; they aren’t aroused enough, which can make sex painful. “After it happens a few times, the likelihood of having sex decreases,” Nderitu explains.
Additionally, as couples get older, their sexual encounters can become few and far between, as menopause and erectile dysfunction may become more common. Technology has also affected how couples bond. “If you want to have more sex, put down the phone.
We’ve become out of touch with our bodies and ourselves because of technology and because we live in an “overprogrammed” society in which we spend a lot of time with our devices instead of bonding with our partners. As a result, our sex lives suffer,” Nderitu says.
Even the Holy Book demands married people to meet each other sexual needs. The Bible in 1Corinthians 7 says, “…The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband…”
Marriage counsellor Barnabas Achoki says the Bible only prohibits sex before marriage otherwise known as fornication. “Unfortunately many Christians or rather the traditional Church has preached so much against sex and demonised it that often times when people get married, their mind is still stuck on sex being bad.
This could lead to some married couples not fully engaging in sex. With time, this becomes a normal thing and the two people live like room mates,” he says.
Hygiene is also an important factor. Some people do not groom themselves properly. Others have bad breath or body odour that puts off their partner. “Fearing to offend their partner, the other partner suffers in silence and will use every excuse not to engage in sex,” Achoki adds.
Being crammed in a small house is also inhibitive. “A woman, in particular will not be free to engage in sex if she feels “crowded”. Women are more conscious of their surrounding and because of that may not fully engage in sex,” he notes.
Past experience can also have a negative effect on the sex life of a couple. If for example someone was raped or molested as a child she/he may find it hard to engage in sex even after marriage if she/he didn’t go through proper counseling
If one feels lonely, abandoned or unable to open up sexually, the situation can be a prime cause of infidelity and its negative consequences.If you and your partner do not have a good sex life, it’s important to fix it. If the cause is boredom, discuss how to put the spark back into the relationship. Address intimacy issues and other causes of the problem.
See a medical professional in case of pain, erectile dysfunction, among other medical issues. Discuss solutions for personal problems like incompatible schedules. Seek couples therapy if unable to address the matter.
“The thing is don’t be stuck in a rut. Talk, talk. Develop the habit if you never had it. Redevelop it if you’ve let it slip. Talk about what you need, what you’d like to try, how you can please each other more,” Nderitu advises.