How to Pick a Lover

Posts tagged ‘sexual boredom’

A Deal Breaker: The Sexless Marriage

Living with impotence is like sleeping in a shroud.
—Jadah Vaughn

In discussing why husbands stray, it is common to observe that they are looking for something they need which they do not get at home. One hears homilies such as “nobody encourages adultery more than a wife who consistently refuses her own husband’s advances.” While this may well be true, it is only one side of the coin. Worse than a husband who is sexually incompetent or sexually apathetic is one who has become impotent.

A great deal of impotence, perhaps most of it, is psychogenic in nature. That is, it does not occur because of illness or hormone deficiency but because of depression or some other negative state of mind. It may relate to a loss of self-esteem due to business failure or to the aging process or to a midlife crisis. Fortunately, most impotence that is psychogenic can now be easily overcome with Viagra or Cialis.

Marlboro warning impotence

Marlboro warning impotence (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Often, however, impotence relates directly to unsatisfactory and unresolved dynamics between the husband and wife. In these circumstances, it is not very useful to tell the wife not to take it personally. It is personal. A sexless marriage may be especially galling to the wife whose husband is impotent with her but who, under her suspicious and watchful eye, appears to be quite potent with other women, which may very well be the case. Impotence may be only an occasional occurrence; even when it happens frequently, it is not usually a permanent condition. In the meantime, however, the disruptive effects for a particular couple may be pervasive enough to permanently affect their relationship.

Almost all couples fight, and some fights are worse than others. After apparently irretrievable things have been said and done, being able to have sex (which under those circumstances can hardly be called making love) does not mean that everything is restored to where it was: it only means that restoration may still be possible. The erotic communication does not solve the problem; but it does keep open, at least, some avenue of communication. If the sexuality itself can be gratifying, the bond of emotional rapport is strengthened, and the reassurance of your own attractiveness is maintained. But when a couple can no longer depend on or use sexuality as a palliative to their conflicts, then the marriage is indeed in big trouble.

Impotence breeds bitterness and insecurity. The wife may need reassurance that she is in fact still attractive and feels quite justified in seeking sex elsewhere. The rejecting and frigid wife triggers much the same reaction in her husband. If neither husband nor wife is particularly sexually oriented, then perhaps the two of them can disregard their impasse and settle for mutual apathy. Refusal to make love is something else. The wife who is bored stiff ends with a husband who is bored limp.

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The Apathetic Husband

Never mind “Is there life after death?” That is too abstract. What I really want to Know is: “Is there sex after marriage?”
—Jadah Vaughn

One of George Bernard Shaw’s often quoted sayings observes that marriage remains popular because it combines “the maximum of temptation with the maximum of opportunity.” Usually, Shaw’s epigrams are quite pithy; but in this instance, he is mistaken. A honeymoon might well combine temptation with opportunity, but cohabitation does not, especially if the marriage is of long duration. Familiarity need not breed contempt, but it very often does breed sexual apathy.

My Cheating Heart

My Cheating Heart (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What was passion in a marriage can become so vitiated, so watered-down, and so dissipated that it is hardly worthy of the name. In some marriages, perhaps in many, the act of love becomes an act of sex and an infrequent one at that. When you have reached the stage where you make love on Saturday nights, and Saturday nights only; when you have reached the stage where you have sex rather than making love, only late on Saturday nights in the dark; and when you have reached the stage when you have sex on Saturday nights only, late at night in the dark and quickly, without words, then you have reached the stage where you owe it to yourself to take a lover. You owe it to yourself, not only for the desolation you experience now, but also for the desolation you will feel when you are old and look back on thirty years of such encounters—one thousand and forty consecutive Saturday nights of minimal fulfillment.

You owe it to the old lady you will become to give her something better than those passionless encounters to reminisce about and then either exaggerate or deny, depending on your perspective.

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