Recently I was asked to speak on a panel concerning the lack of a sexual relationship in as many as 40 million couples in the United States. While many people believe that sex is natural and normal and vital for a relationship to survive, there are those do not. I guess if you are one of the ones experiencing a healthy sexual connection with your partner then you might find this notion to be untenable. Even though I am one of those in healthy sexual relationship, I could easily imagine those that are not. As I reflected on what might steer one away from a sexual union with another, it was not difficult to start listing what makes such a relationship unattractive.
I previously mentioned Zibergeld’s – The New Male Sexuality in another Blog and liked what he had to say about how our culture is dominated by a “Fantasy Model of Sexuality”. It was one that was based on performance, orgasm, passion and flawless forms as portrayed by the media, movies and the like. However, I find it interesting to note that “sex” as a human interaction is typically portrayed and experienced by many as purely physical, even though if you really think about it – sex starts and ends in the mind. After all, to begin one has to get in the “mood” by “feeling” erotically motivated and to finish one usually experiences a wave or waves of pleasure that equates to “feeling”. So for something we exponentially promote as physical – sex is really about feelings – a word that typically and unfortunately holds little value in our culture and society. If Zilbergeld was correct in his assumption about the “Fantasy Model”, then it seems apparent why many would choose not to play along.
Of course there are many other reasons as to why many would not find a sexual relationship appealing. For many their decision was based on unwanted sexual experiences in their life. For others, sex was just not that exciting, rewarding or gratifying. Many people have told me that sex is too much like work and not worth the effort. Others have stated that doing without eliminates any and all the anxieties they had previously experienced and were happy to be free of the constraints. Does it have to be that way? Of course not, but until we do something about changing what sex “looks like” and means in our society then many will choose not to engage.