I have a friend who is in an *almost sexless marriage. Even though he doesn't believe in the church anymore his wife still does, but I understand their problems started on the day they walked out of the temple, long before he stopped believing, any advice?

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Wow.  Just a tiny problem, no?

 

I hate to self promote, but I can relate and so I am going to throw a link in here because sex and mormonism is a huge issue for me that I have recently blogged about.  

 

http://notveryusefultruths.blogspot.com/2011/01/poisoning-sexuality...

 

Also, this is a fairly faith promoting site but they had a decent posting this morning as well that might be of relative interest.

 

http://www.dovesandserpents.org/wp/2011/03/laying-it-on-thick/

 

For me, personally, sex in the marriage has been such a problem from the day we walked out of the temple that I am shocked at times to know we have made it 17 years.  I can't say that our marriage is sexless, thanks to a DW who tries VERY hard to make it work - but the root problems of my marriage and your friends marriage are - I would dare say, the same.  But to really answer your question there would have to be a deeper understanding of what their problems really are.  

This helps a lot! You're very insightful, that was a great post.

My first comment might have had a little hyperbole, but wouldn't you say going 3 months in a comitted monogomous relationship without any sexual contact sexless?

I think, from a clinical perspective, that it is considered sexless if a sex occurs less than once per month.
I empathise, having been there myself. I won't go into detail as to how I came to terms with resolving the problem, but looking back over many, many years, I found light at the end of the tunnel. That came to pass, once I had shaken the yoke of Mormonism off my shoulders. Hope James and others on this site can offer some useful help.

The sexless marriage problem... just want to throw out a couple other questions/comments here and see if I can elicit more conversation on this thread.

 

Keep in mind, I am a guy - so I have macho-brain-retardation-syndrome.  I think like a dude and have limited capacities.  :0

 

* My first comment, however, is along the lines of my macho-brain-retardation-syndrome.  I wonder how many other guys are completely frustrated by the "guys just need to get off" mentality that seems to be used to describe us when it comes to making love.  I find it a bit offensive when I am seen as merely a machine that needs a physical release and not a person looking for as much intimacy, connection, affection, and love from the act of sex as my partner.  Have any other guys out there turned down sex when it was clear your partner was simply there out of some sense of duty?

 

* There are a number of factors that can influence sexual desire, right?  Religious indoctrination being just one of them.  Men and women both go through phases where sexual interest varies.   Childbirth, for example, just throws everything into chaos for many women.  My own wife went through body changes, hormone issues, post-partum issues, body-confidence issues, sheer exhaustion - the list goes on... all related to pregnancy/birth/parenting.  It's hard, hard, hard stuff - especially for women.  I can't blame her in the least for not feeling super sexual during those times.  A wrinkle that I detest, however, is when one partner is not feeling sexual and the other partner feels left out, unappreciated.  Are there times that other forms of affection and love can be expressed without them being strictly sexual?  And getting back to the base-male-needs factor, how damaging is it to consider masturbation a horrific and sinful act?  If your spouse is not up to the task and your church won't let you take matters into your own hands, are you not setting the stage for some serious angst and frustration for everyone involved?

 

* I would like to know how many men cheat on their partners for sheer sexual gratification as opposed to how many cheat because they are looking for attention, affection, and emotional connection?  My own theory on this, albeit entirely based on anecdotal evidences, is that as many men are looking for an emotional connection as a sexual one.  

 

I agree with you James.  Cheating comes from a real need to connect with another, and not just sexual either.  I would think far more often an emotional connection begins when that connection is lacking with your SO, and then leads to cheating sexually too, since sex is just a natural progression from being connected emotionally and mentally in most relationships.  I think the policy of prohibiting masturbation and porn just leads to more cheating and should actually be accepted as a coping tool for when one partner is not able to fulfill those real needs or when you just need to jack off for a quicky etc.

So I commented on your blog so you may already know a little background on my situation.  I just wanted to add that from the time I was a little girl I was taught that all men want is sex.  This came from my Dad who I am sure had the best of intension. But nonetheless the message stuck.  Many of my male friends echoed the same thoughts when I was single for a time. So you men out there aren't helping yourselves, because after hearing this over and over again we truly believe it.  I am at the point in my life now, that I know that this is not true.  But I still find myself thinking it at times. I do know that sex is not optional it is actually a physical need. Google Maslows Hierarchy of needs.. Its listed under physiological needs which is the bottom foundation of the pyramid to self actualization.  So once you know that its not optional and it is a physical need that can literally pose psychological damage after a significant amount of time, then you will look at this whole thing different.  I am not saying to try and guilt your wife into anything as she has her own issues she will need to work through.  But I would not consider masterbation as "sin". Especially, if that is what keeps you commited to the relationship until you all can work out this issue.  For me the only issue with masterbation is when it becomes an addiction that would take the place of the desire to actually have sex with your spouse. 

 

As a wife and mother of three I can also say your list of why I might not want to have sex or feel sexual is spot on.  However, I do know when I feel ugly and unattractive is when my huband and our sex life suffers most.  Its not until I have invested in myself through good nutritioun and exercise that my libido comes back to full force.  That plus something sexy to wear and my husband who is willing to follow my lead and everything seems better.  Not sure if any of this helped but just wanted to share.

I agree. People that have affairs are not generally looking for a sexual relationship. Before my ex husband and I were divorced I had a very close relationship with a gentleman. It was that relationship assisted me to realize how dysfunctional my marriage was. There was no sexual relations between us at that time, fact I never met him in person till we had decided to separate. In hindsight I'm not sure that I would choose that again, but it's not like I was looking for anything when this gentleman and I became friends. Not my proudest moment, but I thought it was worth sharing.
Thanks for sharing.  Sexual dysfunction or sexual needs are often a symptom of bigger problems that may or may not have anything to do with actual intimacy issues in a marriage.  Getting close, but not physical/intimate, to another person often provides the contrast needed to view your own marriage in a different perspective.

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