Thinking back to the things that contributed to my divorces, both share one common denominator, sex! Don’t get me wrong, there were a plethora of other reasons why my past two marriages failed, but sex or lack-thereof was a huge factor. As a matter of fact, if my ex-husbands could go back in time to pinpoint when my feelings had changed towards them, I’m fairly certain that it would coincide with when our sex life went downhill.
It is common knowledge that sex is different for men and women. Men tend to approach sex as a means to an end. Want sex, have sex, achieve orgasm. I mean, it must be nice to get turned on by the drop of a hat or the drop of a dress…whatever floats your boat, but for women it isn’t that easy. Our sexual arousal is in constant competition with our emotions and thoughts. We could be in the middle of the most fantastic sex of our lives and then suddenly we remember the sad movie we watched last night and it’s all over, our sex drive plummets and we dry up like the Sahara desert. So, what does this all have to do with the good sex = good marriage correlation? EVERYTHING!
My first marriage was intense. We met when I was 17 and he was 23. He was my first love and we fell passionately in love very quickly. Shortly after my 20th birthday, we married and suddenly all of the flaws of our messy relationship floated to the surface. I’m not sure why it took getting married for me to realize that fighting on a daily basis was not healthy nor endurable, but that is how it happened.
My first husband was a very controlling, emotionally abusive man. Eventually the regular insults and manipulations began to wear on my self-esteem and my sex drive. Instead of feeling passion and love while having sex, I started going through the motions in the bedroom. It became something that I dreaded. I was disgusted by our intimate moments, as I no longer had respect or loving feelings towards him. It was impossible for me to enjoy sex once my emotions took over. When my love and admiration died, so did our sex life. After almost six years of marriage, my ex finally filed for divorce; by that time, it had been 3 months since the last time we engaged in any sort of sexual activity.
Similarly, with my second marriage divorce was imminent once sex was no longer on the table. With that marriage, I unfortunately moved too quickly after divorce and ended up in a rebound relationship. He was the complete opposite of my previous husband. He allowed me to be who I was, didn’t try to control me, and praised me constantly. My friends would often tease me that he was obsessed with me but in truth, I think he actually was. In the beginning, I found his clingy, attentive love to be endearing. I overlooked the fact that he drank a lot and that I didn’t feel as passionate about our relationship as I had with my last one, because I honestly thought that it was only possible to experience falling in love once.
This being said, once we were married it was like the fog I had been living in suddenly fell away and I realized that I had made a giant mistake. Him being clingy became annoying, the obsessive behavior felt creepy, and his constant drinking no longer seemed fun. I was extremely unhappy and our sex life was dramatically influenced by that. I lost all desire and excitement towards having sex and once again, went through the motions, eventually closing that part of myself off from him completely. I knew the signs from the last time that this had happened and decided that it was best for both of us for me to leave so we could each find true happiness. It took a few unacceptable incidents to occur before I actually filed but I did file and divorced him after only one year of marriage.
Is your marriage struggling? Do you also see a parallel between the happiness you feel with your marriage and your sex life? I truly believe that sex in marriage is crucial. It is the way we emotionally connect with each other and show each other our love. It is in those moments that we can fully relax and breathe and feel safe in our relationship. Maybe your marriage is abusive or was wrong from the start and your emotions won’t allow you to give yourself away in that way anymore and you are coming to terms with wanting a divorce. Or maybe you have hit a slump and you don’t feel emotionally close with your spouse anymore, so intercourse has become like a chore. Whatever the reason for the decline in your sex drive, chances are that your emotions are playing a huge role in that.
Does a lack of sex mean that divorce is definitely on the horizon? Of course not! If you are being abused in any way or definitely know that you aren’t meant to be with your spouse then I highly suggest you file for divorce, otherwise all is not lost. You can rehabilitate your sex life. It won’t be easy but nothing worth having is. Instead of forcing yourself to engage in sex when you feel closed off, try rebuilding the things in your relationship that made you want to have sex in the first place. Date your husband or wife! Get dressed up and feel sexy again. Go out without the kids, leave your work problems at work, and just try to enjoy each other’s company. Pursue your spouse like you did when you first met. Let the romance happen organically and reconnect with your spouse on that deep, emotional level that you know is possible. Once you are feeling more emotionally connected again it won’t feel like a chore to have sex. You may actually remember that sex is supposed to feel good and bring you closer to the person you married. Just because your sex life isn’t booming right now, doesn’t mean that it can’t ever again. Emotional connection + sex = happy marriage. Get to work!