• There are people grumbling about being sexually starved at home by their spouses
• Rev Richard Kiilu says it needs deliberate and intentional effort to keep spark alive
A few months back, a male friend of mine confided in me about the sexless situation in his marriage. John* (not his real name), in his mid-30s, could not understand why his wife denied him sex.
"She always complains that I like sex too much," lamented John. This conversation took me back to a couple of years back, when a former colleague complained of similar starvation. "If it were not for my commitment to God, I would have gotten a replacement for my wife a long time ago," he confessed.
But why would a wife deny her husband sex or vice versa? Rev Richard Kiilu, a preacher of the gospel and a marriage counsellor, says sex is a big deal in marriage. "It is the glue that holds the companionship together," he says. "Where does the partner who denies the other party expect them to get sex from?" he asks. Rev Kiilu says that most people know there is a problem but do not have the courage to deal with it.
In most cases, when a couple is newly married, they hardly keep their hands off each other. So what causes that once-loving couple to go for days, weeks or even months without making love? "One of the main reasons that results in a sexless union is lack of respect, which leads to no motivation for intimacy," explains Rev Kiilu. "Sex is a 'thank you' for being a nice human being. When your partner is thoughtful, kind, loving, caring and all things nice, it becomes easier to be appreciated. And there's no bigger appreciation than good sex," he says, adding that sex is an integral part of a marriage.
Most of the men we talked to agree with him and say they find sex significant in a relationship, and being denied sex has led many to seeking it elsewhere. They felt that sex is a very important expression of love between two committed people.
Rev Killu shares a few reasons why couples end up in sexless unions.
1. Lack of respect: This cannot be overemphasised. Respect in a relationship is paramount and it goes for both sexes. Don't demean your partner or disrespect them in front of people and expect them to be waiting for you with open legs at home.
2. Constant arguments: Bad vibes will kill your relationship faster than semen dries on thighs. Resolve any unresolved issues to avoid them interfering with your sex life.
3. Responsibilities of life: Work-related stress or family demands like rent, fees and other expectations can leave sex taking a backseat. If one is not emotionally stable, you can be thrown off balance by life's demands.
4. 'Not measuring up': This is especially common with men after loss of income or sexual malfunctions like erectile dysfunction (ED). If a man is no longer earning or cannot rise to the occasion, his partner could tear him down, which will eventually turn him off in bed. If there is a problem that needs to be addressed by a doctor, it would be prudent to see one.
5. Poor hygiene: You cannot go to bed smelling of three days' sweat and expect your partner to be turned on.
6. Excessive drinking: Jumping into bed reeking of alcohol is a turn-off. Moderate your drinking. If you have to drink, brush your teeth and shower before hoping into bed. Too much alcohol can also mess up your libido.
7. Poor body image: Some people are not comfortable with their bodies and shy away from sex. Learn to love yourself. Besides, your partner is too busy making love to you to notice what you see as flaws.
Rev Kiilu said counselling comes in handy when dealing with sexless unions. "We equip them with solutions to face their demons as it cannot be wished away. For those willing to fix their issues, they can revive their sex lives," he said. He also emphasised on couples getting a better understanding of their bodies so as to enjoy the full benefits of sex.
"Get to know your errogenous zones and what makes you tick. Explore your sexuality to the fullest and gently guide your partner accordingly," he advises.
"Remember, we all respond differently to the same stimuli. Don't assume what worked for your partners in the past will work with your current partner.
"Talk openly and express exactly how you would want to be satisfied sexually. If your partner isn't satisfying you, let them know in a gentle manner. Don't be bitter and frustrated in silence. Speak out."
In conclusion, he says, "Great sex will not fall from the sky. Be deliberate and intentional about it."
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