Problems in the bedroom can destroy a marriage if they aren’t addressed and resolved. Sexual difficulties are an early sign of marital trouble. Physical problems such as circulatory difficulties, diabetes, neurological damage, hormonal deficiencies, surgery, and chronic diseases can cause sexual difficulties. In addition, emotional issues such as fear, anger, depression, or prior sexual trauma may cause sexual problems. Sexual issues caused by medical issues can sometimes be helped by treatment and sexual problems caused by emotional issues may be resolved by counseling. Being aware of sexual problems and doing something to fix them may save your marriage.
1. A Sexless Marriage.
A marriage without sex is like a day without sunshine–dark and depressing. It’s estimated that about 15 percent of married couples have sexless marriages. Some couples decide to stay together because of children, money, or health issues even if they no longer have sex. A sexless marriage is a serious problem if one spouse is unhappy with the arrangement. In those cases, the marriage is usually headed for a divorce unless the couple seeks professional help.
2. Withholding Sex for Control.
The average American couple has sex approximately eight times a month, but the frequency of sexual activities varies widely. Frequency of sex is less important than whether each partner be happy with his or her sex life and has some control over the frequency and type of sex the couple enjoys. If one spouse controls sex in the marriage, that’s likely to produce anger and resentment. Withholding sex to punish a partner is a recipe for disaster. If sexual withholding is caused by an unresolved emotional issue, the couple should deal with the underlying dispute by discussing the issue or seeing a marital counselor. Sexual rejection is toxic and will trigger strong resentment. When a spouse withholds sex, it makes his or her partner feel unloved and rejected.
3. Too Busy for Sex.
If work and children get in the way of a satisfactory sex life, the couple’s priorities are distorted and their marriage may be headed for trouble. If a married couple is too tired at the end of a day to want sex, that’s a serious problem. The solution is to balance work, family, and sexual priorities and plan regular dates when a couple takes time from work, hires a babysitter, and enjoys time together for drinks, dinner, and sex. Don’t rigidly schedule sexual activity, but do balance work, family life, and sex. Discuss what is a satisfactory amount of sex with your spouse and try to be spontaneous.
Watching pornography can be a problem if one spouse doesn’t want his or her partner viewing others having sex. This is especially true if pornography becomes a substitute for shared sexual activity with a partner. If pornography becomes an addiction, there’s an emotional disconnect between the couple that needs to be fixed. The best solution is to discuss the issue openly and seek counseling from a sex therapist if necessary.
5. No Interest in Sex.
If you or your partner have lost interest in sex, that’s a serious sign of marital problems. Often the couple has drifted apart or one partner is angry at his or her spouse and doesn’t feel like being close. To fix this problem the couple needs to communicate with each other about their sexual interests and wishes. If the lack of sexual interest is caused by repressed anger, the couple should see a marriage counselor to deal with their communication problems.
6. Cheating on Your Spouse.
Adultery can end a marriage because the pain and distrust are often difficult to resolve. In a few cases, infidelity can save a floundering marriage, although it’s a dangerous and difficult way to fix a dysfunctional marriage. Most of the time, adultery signals the end of a marriage.
If you see any of these signs of sexual dysfunction in your marriage, such as no sex, one spouse controlling sex, being too busy for sex, disagreeing about pornography, not being interested in sex, or cheating on your spouse, you should take steps to fix the problem or your marriage may be heading for trouble. Talk with your spouse about sex. Focus on what each of you wants and find out if there are specific emotional issues that need to be resolved. Schedule date nights, and share sexual information. If you see some of these signs in your marriage, do something to fix them or you may be headed for a divorce.