The crucial importance of sex in marriage cannot be overemphasised.
Apart from its procreative benefits, sex provides a great deal of pleasure and emotional relief.
Studies have shown that active sexual life of couples takes up to 66 per cent of marital conflicts and improves all areas of personal and marital life.
Sex is what makes marriage a reality.
This explains why partners must consummate a marriage.
However, it is not all couples who have an active sexual life.
Research shows that between 15 to 20 per cent of all marriages are sexless.
In such marriages, the sexual activity never occurs or where it occurs, it is not more than 10 times a year.
Why sexless marriages?
• Pressure of work: Today, most couples have put their careers and personal interests above marriage.
They work long and hard hours because they have almost unachievable targets.
They get home tired, stressed up and fatigued to make time for sex.
Stress and depression reduces self-esteem and make one unhappy. This is a big roadblock to sex.
• Loss of attraction: Sometimes partners don’t find each other attractive.
Some women don’t take good care of themselves.
The woman who was slim and smart has become “obolo” and may not observe basic feminine hygiene.
Some men complain of “going off” on seeing their wife’s endowment “fili, fili” (naked body). Some men complain that they can’t “rise up” at home but perform well outside.
Some men also change drastically.
The slim and athletic man now has a potbelly and can hardly lift his foot. Loss of attraction kills sexual response before sexual act begins.
• Unhealthy lifestyles: Substance abuse such as smoking may block the arteries and make it difficult for men to have an erection, while larger amounts of alcohol reduce sexual arousal in men and women.
It reduces testosterone levels and also reduces the sensitivity of the nerves of the penis.
These may cause impotency.
In women, alcohol reduces vaginal lubrication, causing the body to send less blood to the genital area and making orgasm difficult in women.
Age and diseases: Both partners may be old or their sexual organs slow down with age like the rest of their body.
During illness, the one providing care may get tired and disinterested in sex.
Studies in Ghana show that half of Ghanaian men between ages 40 and 70 are impotent.
It is also known that some diseases such as high blood pressure predispose men to impotence.
• Failing marriages: Some couples out of greed, hurt, bitterness, anger or other reasons use sex as a weapon by withholding sex.
A man is very vulnerable to sex.
If a woman damages her husband’s masculinity, she destroys his self-esteem.
He may avoid further advances. He could even become impotent.
• Ignorance: We suffer for lack of knowledge.
In Ghana, due to cultural practices, discussions of sex is a taboo.
It is even indecent to mention names of sexual organs. Many couples never talk about sex and suffer in silence.
The more a man thinks of impotence, the more impotent he becomes.
How to handle sexless marriage
Watch your lifestyle: If you want to love your spouse and be happy in bed, first take good care of yourself.
A healthy lifestyle requires the holistic care of the mind, body and spirit.
Eat right, drink an adequate amount of clean water, have regular exercise and adequate sleep.
Talk positively about yourself and your marriage: Keep away fear and keep reminding yourself of God’s promises that He will supply all your needs and will never leave you or forsake you.
Find quality time for your spouse: Let go of past hurts, sadness and rejection.
Your mind is the most important sexual organ.
You must, therefore, be happy and meet each other’s emotional needs.
A man’s topmost needs include respect, sex, attractive wife and domestic care.
A woman’s topmost needs include affection, companionship, commitment and financial security.
Let go of unrealistic and excessive materialism: Out of inner contentment and self-awareness will flow springs of true love.
It is only in that mood that partners can enjoy the good qualities of their lovers as they bring sensual memories to their lives.
Seek help: Happily, studies show 80 per cent of sexual problems can be solved because they are caused by poor lifestyles and negative attitude.
Partners must, therefore, see professional counsellors and medicinal experts to repossess their precious possessions. And please avoid unorthodox medicine and ‘bitters’. Most of them are toxic and may worsen your condition.
Are you in sexless marriage?
An active sexual life is good for your marriage at all times because the best expression of two people becoming one flesh is in sexual activity.
Sex is the deepest form of communication and the strongest of ties that bind husbands and wife.
It improves every area of marital life.
Couples must, therefore, develop good and exciting sexual innovation to create adventure, exploration and pleasure.
Sex at an old age can be good or better if couples stay interested in sex and care for each other. Men over 100 years are known to have fathered children.
Therefore, make every effort to be sexually active in your marriage.
If, however, your problem can’t be solved, come to terms with it.
Contrary to what many think, life without sex isn’t lifeless and empty.
A marriage psychologist, Thomas Schmidt, says it is only an aberration of our sorry generation that makes us think sexual abstinence denies us of joy and holistic personal development.
This is because many physicians of great repute maintain that sexual abstinence does not harm the equilibrium and the physical and psychical development of human beings, provided that it is freely and wholly accepted and that it is integrated into the totality of the person.
The inability to have sex doesn’t mean you have fallen out of sex.
Love after all is a verb.
Love is not the same as sex.
Loving someone, therefore, does not narrow it down to sex but whatever you do to make him better.
Serve your maker through the services you give to your lover. You may fall out of sex but choose never to fall out of love.