Agnes and Richard came to the sexology clinic for the first time two years ago.
Agnes was 30 years old then while James was 35. They had been married for seven years and had two children but were in a sexless marriage.
A sexless marriage is one in which sex happens less than 15 times in a year in a couple living together. This couple was having sex averagely twice in three months.
"I have told him that we are possibly better apart than married," Agnes said. "I feel wasted in my active years as a woman because I cannot look for sex elsewhere."
Richard was quite embarrassed as to the direction the discussion had taken. "Well, sex happens between two people and both contribute to its failure," I said.
I then went ahead to explore the reasons why sex was not happening as frequently as it should be in this marriage. "We are just busy, that's it!" Richard said with finality.
Richard was a statistician working for a marketing company. His work involved compiling and analysing sales data and producing reports to guide the company in their marketing strategy.
"Many times I leave the office at 8pm and report at 7am," he said. He always arrived home after 9pm worn out and with no energy to spend on sex.
He woke up at 5am to prepare and reach the office early and there was no possibility of sex happening in the morning.
Agnes, on the other hand, did health consultancies that were flexible most times. "I could do with sex twice a week," she said. "Is that asking for too much in a marriage doctor?"
I did a medical evaluation on the couple and did not detect any medical issues in either of them. No diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol or hormone problems that kill vitality.
I concluded that the sexless marriage was a result of low libido from a hectic lifestyle compounded by discontent in the relationship due to poor performance. I booked the couple for sex therapy.
The couple however failed to come for their next appointment. They went quiet for two years till last week when they reappeared in the clinic.
"We just wanted to learn how best to have sex in pregnancy because my wife is expectant," Richard said as he took his seat in the consultation room.
"But you defaulted on your appointments," I said as I read through their file, memories of our meeting two years ago rushing back to my mind.
"You know what, Richard resigned from his job after we visited you and we relocated back to our village to do farming, and our sex lives just normalised," Agnes said, "Actually, Richard now wants sex every day and I cannot cope."
That was a bold move and it bore fruit. A hectic lifestyle is a killer of your sex life!
If you sleep for less than six hours for example, your body wears out and you go into sleep deprivation syndrome where your mood is always bad; you feel tired all the time and you lack the vitality for sex.
Furthermore, the number of hours worked each day also heavily impacts sex.
Spending over eight hours each day doing mind or physically taxing jobs leaves you with no energy for sex.
It has been found that men with two or more formal or informal jobs that require long hours of work are unable to build the right levels of testosterone in their bodies needed for sex to happen.
But stress is the worst killer of all. Stress can arise from anywhere – in the road while driving due to traffic jams including unfriendly road users hurling insults at you; from a boss who wouldn't just give you peace, from working and studying at the same time, from demanding relatives, or from your spouse.
Whatever the source of your stress, expect your sex life to bear the brunt because the quality of your sex life in many cases is a reflection of the quality of your life overall.
"Just guide us now on how to have sex during pregnancy without harming our baby."
I booked the couple for sex coaching to attend to their current need while reminding them of the need to always honour medical appointments.
It would be unfortunate if they vanished for another two years; the baby will have been born anyway and this appointment would be redundant.