I sometimes get some quite strange feedback about this column, especially as regards sex in a marriage.
One husband once complained: “My wife must have something seriously wrong with her; which woman shows zero jealousy when her husband has openly started an affair? Yet on top of all that, she still comes willingly to our bed for sex, but increasingly it feels like she is simply fulfilling an obligation.”
He wanted to know if any of the books I use for my research talk about how to make the sex in his kind of union better. Okaaay…how about calling off that affair for starters?
I don’t remember giving him an appropriate response, though; oftentimes it is easier to make myself a cup of coffee. But even without going to the books, I think common logic and nature dictate that some factors had better be constant, or on the way to being made constant again, before you cry about the bad sex in your marriage.
So, how many constants can your marriage check off before you dash with your file to a therapist? For example, you cannot complain about a bad, sexless marriage when you insist on keeping your ‘panadol’ on the side.
The married women in this city call their ‘side dishes’ panadol, because they reportedly soothe the aches that often come with a bad marriage.
So, don’t whine about the sex being mediocre in your marriage when you know you are keeping some energy and antics on reserve for the rendezvous with your ‘panadol’ later.
Don’t complain that your wife is lately bringing her Q-game to the marital bed, when you are aware she is fielding abusive phone calls from your overzealous ‘side dish(es)’. The main course just cannot taste the same.
Then, since you refuse to honour your conjugal obligations, why are you running to a marriage counselor or sex therapist for tips on how to improve your marriage’s sex life? Which sex life, to start with?
Wives, more than husbands it seems, come up with excuses to postpone sex – sometimes indefinitely – but still expect 100 per cent fidelity from their young, healthy and virile husbands. Hmmm…
Others neglect the basics: your bedroom’s sanctity and ambiance, wardrobe, hygiene, etc, but still expect your spouse to find you dangerously irresistible. How? Go take a shower, already!
Don’t come home with a reeking beer gut night-in, night-out, and simply expect your spouse to drool at the sight of you. And make sure all stakeholder body parts are well groomed; haven’t you ever caught the smell coming out of some married men’s armpits (and possibly leg pits) and said a prayer for mercy for their enduring wives?
Haven’t you been blessed with a whisper from someone’s wife and involuntarily thought about toothpaste brands?
Take care of these things first. Some are really big and complicated, others are small, but just as complicated. For example, the truth about ‘panadols’ and concubines is that they are never a straight-forward lapse in judgment that will go away. They do come with a price.
Your marriage will hurt, because once trust levels drop, so will that formerly-genuine sexual response you were used to from your spouse. And because it is a competition – whether you, the perpetrator, are aware of it or not – you will open your spouse up to ridicule, insults and new insecurities, all of which inevitably hurt the sex in your marriage.
So, are you sure the factors are constant before you start any troubleshooting?
Maybe what you need is to format the whole system and start afresh with your marriage’s factory settings… Then download programmes and apps more carefully, this time. The ones that just eat up space, MBs and come with viruses, can be done without, altogether.