Sex and the City: A wife’s woes

I married my best friend. He loved me dearly and I felt safe with him. However, there is no passion in our relationship and he avoids sex with me. He is very caring and does everything to ensure my comfort otherwise. He procrastinates endlessly when I talk of seeking help to establish a healthy sexual relationship. I am in a sexless marriage. This upsets me very much. I feel anxious with the thought of living this way forever, and I also feel anxious with the thought of ending it with him as I am so comfortable otherwise. I don’t know what to do. Please help.

If you call him your best friend, surely you can be candid with him about the extent to which the ‘sexless marriage’ you will share - has affected you emotionally.

There is nothing to be ashamed of. Couples are not expected to read each other’s minds even if popular fiction would have us believe that the ideal couple completes each other’s sentences. Cute plot devices are far from the truth. Speak with conciseness and compassion and you will be surprised at how far that can get you.

To feel stuck and sexually unsatisfied due to his choice to not engage in sex is an extremely valid concern but does he know how much this is worrying you? If it’s worrying you enough to write about it, then that would also mean that you have been struggling with this situation for as long as it took you to reach this point.

It’s ill advised to downplay such matters or else their gravity remains under-reported or unappreciated. Euphemisms and gentle hints tend to get lost in translation so those are not an option either. You have told him that you feel that help is required. This is good. However, have you told him that you feel stuck and lost in the relationship that you will share - when he refuses to acknowledge your need for help with the situation?

Speak to him about how relationships can get eroded over time if troubleshooting and re-negotiating the terms of the relationship doesn’t take place with a certain degree of regularity.

One could even choose to call it ‘updating your relationship software’. These concerns and the challenges you face need to be communicated to him for him to fully appreciate the direness of the situation as opposed to seeing it as ‘just another couple-concern’.

To be classified as best friends, there should ideally be a degree openness and honesty that underpins the relationship you will have chosen to share. Everything shared between both of you has been based on choices. These are choices that you will learn to make for yourselves (as individuals) and also for the relationship (as a couple).

There will always be an individual goal and a shared goal. Perhaps, you could open the discussion by telling him how the current situation considerably deviates from what you had envisioned for yourself as a woman and how you wish to re-ignite the spark with him.

Also...make sure to acknowledge all the efforts that he has taken to make you feel safe and comfortable. This will make him feel validated, accepted and loved. It’s important for him to know how you feel. If the honest and empathy building approach doesn’t work, I suggest you bring him to a qualified expert so that he can candidly speak about his lack of a desire to have sex with a sex therapist or relationship counsellor.

His mindset must be understood to fully figure out if he is having an issue with his libido or is there something deeply disturbing that is gnawing at his peace. His procrastinating the situation may be seen as a sign of him wanting to dodge what makes for a very uncomfortable discussion.

People don’t duck situations and conversations unless there is something they find unappealing about it. What’s worrying him. That requires deciphering.

When people lose interest in having sex or wish to abstain from it, there are several reasons that we commonly observe that causes such a situation – such as - penetration phobia, performance anxiety, emotional scarring due to sexual abuse or guilt about certain specific types of sexual experiments, body image issues, moral and religious guilt and even many anxieties about private parts.

To use the word forever is to take one’s own longevity and the existence of the universe for granted. You will live with only what you choose to live with so make every choice count in your life. Problems don’t solve themselves.

They require careful examination and sometimes re-examination before a sustainable way to tackle the problem is identified and thereby executed. Be patient with this and think deeply on what I have shared with you.