CAMPUS MAGAZINE: What if the SEX is not Good?
Date posted: November 1, 2008
Male voice: Hello, is that Marwa Rakha?
Me: Yes! Who is that?
Male voice: A … I have a problem.
Me: Sure, how can I help?
A: I have been married for six months and I hate my wife. I hate how she walks and talks. I made a mistake and I want to get a divorce.
Me: Ok … slow down and start from the start.
A: I am 25 and she is 22. I met her through friends. She was a nice polite girl. We dated for a few months. I proposed. We got married. We live with my mother.
Me: Why do you hate her?
A: She is SLOW … too damn slow!
Me: What do you mean by "slow"? (That was a first for me)
A: She wakes me up every morning to go to work. I sit in bed and watch how slow she is preparing my breakfast, ironing my shirt, fetching my bag, and giving me my lunch basket.
Me: Go on! (I hated the guy … but I held my peace)
A: I come home from work and I watch how slow she is preparing lunch or dinner. I even told her to learn from my mom but she is still not good at anything. She takes forever to bring me something. It is like having a useless turtle at home.
Me: Did you tell her how you felt about her?
A: Yes … I even told her that when I go out with my friends I flirt and I am willing to have a relationship.
Me: How is the sex?
A: Excuse me?!
Me: How is the sex?
A: This is embarrassing!
Me: I need to know the answer.
Me: Are you satisfied?
A: Of course not!
Me: Is she satisfied?
A: Of course!
Me: How do you know?
A: I know … I am a man. Can you stop the questions and tell me what to do?!
This is just one example of the problems that I deal with almost on daily basis. I know that sex and any sex-related topics are very sensitive issues and I also know that there are people out there waiting for me to make a mistake and declare that I am pro pre-marital sex. Tough luck! I will not!
Let me start by first analyzing what I saw in A's problem. It is obvious that he resents his wife; he resents her to the extent of not appreciating the things she does for him. I have not heard of a woman of our current time who is so devoted to her husband yet A is already hunting for a new relationship. It is also clear that A is frustrated; he is not just sexually frustrated, he is frustrated with marriage as a concept altogether. To add insult to injury, A clearly stated that he is not satisfied with his intimate relationship with his wife, that she is satisfied, that he expressed his dissatisfaction openly, and that he assumed that she was satisfied because he is a man – who would not have it any other way.
A is not one of a kind. There are so many men who share A's frustrations and express their resentment in a myriad of ways. There are also many wives who are like his wife; silent, passive, submissive, resigned, and defeated. There are many couples who fell in love, got married, and grew to hate their lives together once their bodies touched. There are three ways to go about that; stay quiet and live like the "others", hunt and have extramarital affairs, or get a divorce because you are super and your partner is horrible. Very few people know that there is a fourth option – very few people believe in communication. Yes! This is what I just said. How many men ask their wives about where, when, what, how, how long, and how often to touch and please them? How many wives reply honestly? How many men understand? How many of those do what was asked of them? How many women ask their men similar questions? How many couples talk openly and honestly about their sex life?
Our society and our culture – not heavenly religions – associate sex and intimacy with shame. Talking about genitals is only related to reproduction. Sex means mating. Anything else is a taboo. We have generations of men and women – regardless of their age – who know nothing about their bodies and how to deal with them in "that way". I can think of at least 100 people I know who got married just to have legitimate sex. I can also list 70 out of those 100 whose expectations of sex and marriage went down the drain. I can tell you that out of every 100 emails that I receive, 30 talk directly about bad sex, 40 talk about lack of understanding and I have to read "sexual frustration" into them, 20 talk about one-sided love, and 10 talk about problems with the parents.
It got worse after women learnt how to read and write, got to work, and began mingling with men. In the old days women knew nothing but what their husbands taught them. Nowadays women know very well how to use the internet and do their own research on orgasms, positions, and foreplay. They just do not talk about it to their men; women prefer to live in their fantasies and dreams to talking to their partners and risk being accused of being loose. Men on the other hand, still believe that they know it all; most of them do not talk and the majority refuses to listen. Like A, they assume that the woman is happy because they were born kama sutra gurus!
Two things are wrong with this scenario; expectations and assumptions. Yes! Expectations that are not shared and are unspoken are the worst threat to intimacy. Whether the couple has no prior experience, one of them has explored with the other gender, or both of them have engaged in various sexual activities – expectations exist. They either expect certain things based on fantasies of their own creation, things they read about or heard of from others, or previous partners and what they shared. After marriage those expectations are met, ignored, or exceeded. Not talking about your expectations increases the chances of turning them into frustrations and not talking about the frustrations leads us to the second worst scenario which is assumptions.
Let's agree that the verb ASSUME clearly warns us that when you assume you make an ASS out of U and ME. Assumptions have no grounds and are at best misleading. In A's case, he assumed that the wife is happy, he assumed that she is slow because she is a turtle, he assumed many things because his expectations were not met. I did not get a chance to speak to the wife … I wonder how much worse her side of the story would be! I have more bad news: when you assume, you believe your assumptions and you act accordingly. Instead of dealing with facts, you deal with your own beliefs of what reality is … how misleading could a relationship get?! So what is the answer? What if the sex is not good?
Reading the horror stories that people email me, listening to my female friends talk about how they hate getting intimate with their husbands, and hearing my male friends complain about how frigid their wives are was enough to trigger a chain of sleepless nights, nightmares, and phobias. Regardless of my personal beliefs, I cannot possibly tell people to test drive "the partner" before marriage. Is there a way to know before you tie the knot if the sex will be good or bad? Yes! I found it! Yes! It was in front of me all the time. Have patience and bear with me.
First of all why are we separating the sexual relationship from the rest of the relationship? Do you ever wonder if the food will be good, the house will be clean, the wife will be kind, or the husband will be a good father? Those are issues that are important but because sex is such a taboo we chose to lock the whole issue in a box of steel and throw it into oblivion until we are legally husband or wife. What if you get married to a woman who does not know how to cook? Simple: you will tell her, help her, teach her, and work on it. What if you get married to a man who does not help you with the baby? Simple: you will tell him, help him, teach him, and work on it. This very same simple answer applies to all the above questions – including the sex question.
Whether you are the man or the woman, you have the right to talk to your partner about anything and everything. In other words, it is all about communication. If you can talk about food, clothes, friends, outings, perfume, families, kids, hobbies, furniture, previous experiences, and money then you can definitely talk about sex – if you have issues talking about any of the above listed topics then you should not be talking about marriage! The base of any successful relationship is communication and if you have a flawed communication channel then you will have a blocked relationship. This is the first step … you have to talk, encourage your partner to talk, and you have to listen.
Basically, like any other problem that arises when two people come together, sex is something that you need to discuss honestly. And like all the other issues, criticism, aggression, attacks, insults, and accusations will get you nowhere. Start by talking about how you feel, what you expect, and what you want to feel. Go into details about why, when, where, how, how long, and how often. Listen to your partner and encourage him or her to talk. Be empathetic and try to see where they come from. Do not judge. Keep an open mind. Know that sex is one of the main pillars of marriage and if it is not good, the marriage will suffer.
The second step will determine if the sex will be good or bad. I know you have waited a whole article for this part. Here it is: good or bad depends on how your partner reacts to you when you talk about IT. See? I told you it is simple. If you talk and your partner is not comfortable, then the sex life will need some ironing. If you talk and you feel uncomfortable, then slow down the whole relationship until the two of you can communicate better. If you talk and your partner does not respond, then you will have a one way sex life. If you talk and your partner accuses you of being a slut, then you need a new partner who is more open-minded. If you cannot talk or if your partner refuses to listen then your sex life – and marriage – will be disastrous.