Last weekend, Chama members were at it again! In these difficult political times, I did not imagine that they would be thinking about sex. But as fate would have it, they ordered me to attend their monthly meeting.
“We have noted with concern a trend that we feel is dangerous for our marriages, and for which we need your professional view and advice,” said the chairperson of the group. “We rarely have sex in our marriages these days and the trend seems to be worsening. Is this normal, and how can we solve it?”
Not being sure of the origins of this concern, I asked a number of questions to authenticate the worries. It turned out that nearly half of Chama members, living with their husbands in the same house, had a frequency of sexual contact of less than three times a month. They reported that the deterioration had been progressive over the years and feared that sooner or later, there would be no sex in their marriages. It appeared that the older a marriage, the less sexual it became.
“Do you think these men are having extramarital affairs?” Interjected a member, “Is it normal for a man to have no sexual feelings towards his wife?”
“Maybe we should claim our conjugal rights in courts, we are too young to have mediocre sex partners,” said another member amid laughter. The members were asking a very important question that has dogged marriages over the ages. The assumption has been that human sexuality thrives in stable long term relationships but that may be far from reality. From a sexological point of view, fulfilling sexual relationships thrive in playful relationships that are not value-laden; this is what I mean, a sexy relationship is one without rules of how to behave in order to remain dignified. It is a relationship where vulnerability has no consequences and so one can express their weird sexual behaviours without fear. “Reminds me of when we were dating, we would spend hours on end chatting and laughing, the same man now rarely talks to me, not even in bed,” said another member.
A fulfilling sexual relationship is where couples do not mind to be out of control in the confines of their bedrooms; where being out of control is actually fulfilling .
This is not, however, what happens as marriages mature. Couples suddenly have serious issues to discuss; work stresses, relatives, investment, childcare, house management among others. These issues are given more priority than the emotional needs of a spouse. The situation is such that play and jest are out of question. Even during sex, you both put on a stone face, no smiles, it is serious business. Under these circumstances, satisfactory sex becomes a rarity.
With the arrival of children, you start calling your husband daddy and he calls you mummy. Have you ever stopped to reflect why your honey, sweetheart, darling… suddenly took over the title of your parent?
Sigmund Freud, a psychologist, concludes that people learn about true love from their parents. According to Sigmund, this love learnt from parent- child relationships came with a caveat, no sex! Hence, sex was not part of what we learnt as true love.
As we start new love relationships later in life, we are subconsciously reminded of and try to find an equivalent of the true love that we learnt from our parents. The only difference this time is that the love comes with sex. Sometimes this brings a subconscious conflict within us, making us question how sex can be part of true love. The conflict gets more pronounced when children come into the relationship and we take up parental duties.
“Oops, that is so true,, what are we supposed to do?” Posed a member.
Well, couples need to be conscious of these relationship dynamics and come up with new ways of sustaining romance. Create time to be together away from the hustle and bustle of routine family and work life. It does not have to be an expensive holiday. No. Watching a movie together at home, playing a game, exercising together, window shopping and attending a wedding could just bring back the bond. Of course, if you can spare some coins to go on a holiday once or twice a year, it would be even great. Further, there are videos that you can watch together to increase your intimacy. If there are couple enrichment seminars, create time to attend them. One fact that has been proven over the ages is that couples that are committed to work at enhancing their romance succeed in doing it. Remember, if you invest in your relationship, the fire of the first love lives on. If you leave it to take a natural course, expect problems.
Members suddenly went into a wild cheer.