Marriage-Divorce Coaching


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Due to health reasons, the Divorce Support Plus website was closed several years ago, but Sharon Shenker is returning to her passion of helping others through family reconstruction, or even better, saving families by reconstructing the relationship(s).

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Thursday, July 22, 2010

What if your relationship went sexless?

Whether a relationship begins with two people as high-school sweethearts, two adults who meet at work,  through mutual friends, family members or even at their church or synagogue, there is no guarantee that the glorious stage of infatuation and/or lust, will last.

A lot of couples would be thrilled if just the fun of regular dates, the desire to impress each other by attentively listening to all the stories and regular signs of appreciation or even mild interest were still around, but they are still having sexual relations. Do you think it's because they still love each other and the couples that no longer have sex, no longer love each other? I don't. I know for a fact that a lot of people who have no love, lust, or even like for their partner will still have sex with them and stay in the relationship.  And, a lot of couples who still love each other aren't having much sex, if any.

Quite often by the time a couple is together a few years, long enough for the infatuation stage to end, they are either living together, married and/or have a child... and, their sex life has fallen to the wayside due to work and family responsibilities, fatigue or brewing problems. 

It isn't uncommon for both members of a couple to lose interest in sex because there just isn't enough energy left by the end of the day. Routine sex, rather than passionate nights, make it less exciting and no big a deal to do without. Snoring has the couple sleeping in separate bedrooms. Different bed time schedules make it impossible, or kids falling asleep in mom and dad's bed result in pajamas and separate sides of the bed.

There are lots of reasons that a couple can describe their relationship as "sexless." And, I have witnessed a lot of times in couple's coaching that prove the term to be very subjective. By that I mean that it can be explained as, "we haven't had sex in over a year, actually maybe two years", or "s/he only agreed to sex once a month if I practically begged for it before I got fed up and began looking elsewhere."

It isn't just men or women as gender specific, but specific men and women who can very clearly have different needs. Sometimes a couple might be in turmoil because one partner expects to have relations every day, or a few times a day, and the other is pleased to only be intimate once a month. They might even have discovered this when they were dating, other times after the children came along, but they may love each other and decide to stay together and work it out.

What if your sex life was/is not satisfying and you are not sure why?

A lovely couple came to see me a few years back, with both of them upset about how their relationship was and neither of them understanding why. It turned out that the wife had been raped years before they even met, by a man who had approached her from behind. And, sure enough, her husband often showed his affection to her with a hug from behind while she was cooking, doing her hair, brushing her teeth, etc. Although she had never told him about the rape because she thought she was over it, his surprise shows of affection had brought back the memory, and the fear.Once they talked it over, and he agreed to speak up before grabbing, their intimacy and passion returned.

I once worked with a sexless couple that was not partaking because she had gained about fifty pounds and was no longer attractive to her man... so he went to peep shows and watched online porn when she was not aware. The solution was easy. He seriously joined her weight loss efforts by going with her for daily walks, taking up tennis together, no longer bringing junk food home for easy meals, (he learned how to cook!) and taking over with the kids so she had time to go to the gym. Last I heard they were trying, quite regularly, for another child.

Would you stay in a sexless relationship? If you did would you actually abstain?

An older female client told me about a younger married man who kept contacting her online, trying to get her to agree to meeting for some fun on the side since his relationship was so bad that they weren't having relations and he felt attracted to her from a picture he saw of her full figure. With a little self-esteem and personal growth work, she chose to keep her self-respect and turned him away... and she wondered if his wife knew what he was up to.

So, what if you discovered that your partner, whom you adored, was having relations while he was out of town for work? Infidelity can happen in any relationship, obviously. The couple that comes to mind, came to me because the wife had recently found out that her husband had a girlfriend where he worked most of the year, in China. As communication opened up, things only got worse, as she found out that the weekly massages he had been getting for years because he was 'stressed and missed being touched' actually included manual stimulation, or, a hand-job... and dancing later! Which was how he met his pregnant girlfriend. They got divorced after he refused to change his lifestyle.

What do you expect in your relationship, and what would you put up with?

Sharon Shenker
Founder, Divorce Support Plus
Phone: 514.804.3585