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What is Normal Sexuality in Marriage?

What Is Normal Sexuality in Marriage?

Everyone wonders about this. Do our friends "do it" more often than we do? Does anyone else have this problem in which one partner has high desire, and the other one has little to none? We must be really weird. Everyone wants sex, don't they?

The answer is no. Not really. More than 40 million Americans feel stuck in low-sex or no sex marriages. Research studies tell us that 1 in 3 women and 1 in 7 men reported little to no sexual desire. Sometime in a marriage more than 50% of couples experience one or both partners with little to no sexual desire.

Desire problems are the most frequent complaint of couples entering sex therapy. They are also often the unspoken complaint of couples entering relationship therapy.

In our sex saturated culture, this particular difficulty has a stigma, doesn't it? It's ok to admit to having a drug problem or mood disorder. But a sexual problem? No way! We're all supposed to be sexual superstars in our intimate relationships, aren't we?

Actually, sexual anxieties, inhibitions, and problems are the norm. We're afraid of not doing it "right", like in movies and books. "Right" would be intercourse, with both parties craving each other all the time and having simultaneous orgasms every time they're intimate.

Wrong! Healthy sexuality means giving and receiving touching that is pleasurable. It is not goal oriented, but process oriented. (The journey, not the destination.) It allows both partners to enjoy pleasure. It varies. Sometimes one or both has an orgasm. Sometimes not. And that's ok. What's not ok is not caring about yours or your partner's needs.

There are many possible reasons for a discrepancy in desire between partners. The first is biological. As I mentioned in the statistics above, more than twice as many women than men have problems with sexual desire. This is because after the infatuation phase of the relationship, when hormones are running rampant, things settle down to natural biological rhythms. And biologically speaking, whoever has the most testosterone has the most desire.

Hmmm'. I wonder which gender that is!

Other reasons relevant to both genders are performance anxiety, emotional pain in the relationship, coerced intimacy, sex used as a bartering tool, lack of time, lack of energy, and fear of intimacy to name a few. These can be helped with an understanding therapist.

What you should do: first get complete medical exams to rule out any type of disease or medication causing the problem.

What you can do: see a relationship expert or sex therapist who can help you experience the pleasure and joy of intimate connection. You deserve no less.

Maggie Vlazny, MSW, LCSW copyright 2005

About the Author

Maggie is an Imago Relationship Therapist and RCI Singles Coach. Services offered by phone, online, or in person at her Fairfield County, CT office. For more information please seee or contact


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