by Leina Ussin
We often hear jokes going around about couples getting married and their sex life coming to an end. Work schedules are conflicting, new babies may be tiring them out or one person just overall is not in the mood. Some couples accept this as part of the norm, while others may start to feel a strain in their marriage.
I had the opportunity to have a healthy conversation with the owner and CEO of The Fantasy Box, Juliana Ratliff, the other day after she posted a comment on her Instagram, “If your spouse begs for sex, and is constantly rejected, who’s to blame if they cheat?”
As a newlywed, I was the first to blame the spouse who cheated! My exact thought was, “There’s nothing in my vows that says I have to sleep with you all the time, and if I don’t you get to cheat!” And I am sure most married couples will agree! Now, I pride myself on being an open-minded person, and much to my surprise, found myself seeing things from a different perspective.
“Intimacy is a necessity,” Juliana says. “It’s one of the many ways we express how we feel about our partners, and if there is a reason for rejection, it must be verbalised and worked through!”
Verbalisation. Communication! Something we were both able to agree on. We realised, through our conversation, as common as lack of sex tends to be within a marriage, it’s not so common for couples to talk about it. Or seek help! Yes, seek help! If for whatever reason, you or spouse doesn’t have the sexual desire they use to, then speaking to a doctor should be something to consider.
Now, when I am referring to lack of sex, I am not referring to a week or two, I am referring to couples who seem to go months without sex. It’s ok if both partners are satisfied with no sex because the reality of it is, there are other ways to physically show someone you love. However, if one person isn’t satisfied, and consistently being told no, then something needs to be done!
So, of course, I had to take this question to my social media to get feedback from other married couples to see what their thoughts were on this topic. Now, it’s a no brainer that the majority of the couples said the cheater is to blame. There’s no excuse for cheating, period! But, there were a few who tried to see this issue for what it really was and be open-minded about it.
Elisabeth Ortega married first for 21 years, and currently married going on 2 years, states, “Cheating is not in any way, shape, or form acceptable or excused by the lack of intimacy in your relationship.” However, she took a different approach to this question which very much surprised me. “If your partner is just not that into sex, then the problem is the one who, for lack of a better term, is insatiable. However, if your partner is asking for a reasonable amount of sexual contact then the problem is the one not wanting it.”
It happens quite often, where one person within a marriage, or even a relationship, has a higher sex drive than the other. In situations like this, communication, compromise, and understanding are very important if this marriage is going to last.
Antrell Amacker, currently engaged, pointed out that, “Withholding sex from your partner is a choice that can make a person feel neglected and lonely at times. I’m not saying I agree with cheating, but it happens, and in this case, if you go a long period of time neglecting your partner, what do you expect?”
It was a perspective I hadn’t considered, but definitely one that needed to be addressed. Often, within marriages, the spouse who lacks sexual desire feels like when they’re saying, “No,” they’re simply declining a physical act. But what they fail to realize is how that no is really being perceived.
Rejection in any form is hurtful, and within a marriage can seriously damage one’s self-esteem. The spouse that is constantly being denied can begin to feel like they’re unattractive, not wanted, or worse, can begin to assume that they’re the ones being cheated on! Let’s not act like we’ve never heard the phrase, “If they’re not sleeping with me, they must be sleeping with someone else!”
And though this genuinely may not be the case, it won’t stop someone from assuming otherwise.
So, after reading responses, pondering the question over, and speaking with my own spouse about the topic, I came to a final conclusion for this question.
Who is to blame?
In all honesty, both parties! When you enter into a marriage, it’s for better or for worse; the good times and the bad. And yes, if you’re spouse isn’t in the mood all the time, that feels like the worst of times. And even though it may leave you feeling less of a person constantly being rejected, it doesn’t give you the right to step out on your marriage!
However, if you’re the spouse who is not in the mood, you need to express why. And yes, there’s always a reason why! You can be tired, you cannot feel good, you can legit not be in the mood. Often we feel less desirable about ourselves and don’t want to have sex because we’re uncomfortable. This can happen! But you need to express this to your significant other so they aren’t feeling like it’s something they are doing wrong!
As I mentioned before, seek help if it is needed! It’s not uncommon for people to lose their sex drive do to medical conditions, and there are ways around it. But remaining silent because you’re embarrassed or feel like your spouse should just get it, isn’t the best way to handle this situation.
The main focus is communication, and that’s with any issue. Being neglected doesn’t feel good, nor does the feeling of constantly being hounded for sex. But as Juliana worded it, “Cheating is not the answer to lack of intimacy, its either talk about it or walk away. . . talk or walk!”