Sexual Health and Consent: Sex Toys, Libido and Alcoholism

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Sexual Health and Consent: Sex Toys, Libido and Alcoholism

Last week, we had a WhatsApp flash chat in which Jane answered various questions on sexual health and consent. Jane is a family therapist as well as a clinical counsellor who supports people and families in building and nurturing relationships, marriages and families. In this article, we look at sex, sex drive, and effects of alcoholism on sex, which are questions asked in the group.

My husband has completely refused to sleep with me. Its been 4 years now. I have two children and since the last born was born, I had to beg for sex from him. I even tried dressing in front of but it bore no fruits. Now I have moved to another bedroom because he doesn’t want to sleep with me. Can you call that sexual violence?

When did this start?

How was your sex life before the 4 yr hunger start? 

Are there other relationship issues going on? 

Any medication he is taking? Weight issues?

 

In sexual violence, there’s the use of force or coercion. A person who has lost sexual desire could be experiencing low libido. Alternatively, if not low libido, it could be sexual dysfunction.

Sexual dysfunction is the inability to have sex, usually accompanied by extreme feelings of guilt. You feel you’ve failed as a man. You want to but can’t. Each can have physical and psychological causes but are completely different in how they are treated. This, therefore, means it’s important to get checked by a physician to determine what could be going on. The causes for the loss of sexual interest can be many, ranging from stress, maybe depression, erectile dysfunction where they can’t have an erection, there could also be hormone imbalances or genital pain. Could it also be a chronic illness? The medications they are taking? Low self-esteem, and relationship problems. The list could go on and on. Low libido is often the result of an undiagnosed medical condition (such as low testosterone, high blood pressure, hypothyroidism, or diabetes) or a chronic drug (such as antidepressants, birth control pills, and certain prostate medications) that may altogether kill your sex drive.

 

What do you do if your hubby tells that if you got married for sex, then you are in the wrong place?

When a man feels like he has failed to meet his conjugal duties, a lot goes on in his mind. He may behave aggressively or become quiet because he is struggling internally and confused about how to handle the issue. 

And that can be very tricky and sensitive to handle. Both partners must be willing to engage in honest and open communication, because any discussion about the lack of sex may trigger feelings of guilt, anger, blame, or embarrassment, setting back rather than advancing a solution. Counselling goes along way in helping deal with the deeper issues.

 

What about if the man was pressured to marry the woman hence uses this against the wife whenever they are trying to communicate? What do you do in such a situation?

She needs to assertively let the husband know how that makes her feel every time he mentions since that is the decision he made despite the fact that he was pressured. He can’t continue to use that to intimidate her, let him know how that makes her feel. She should communicate how that makes her feel and if it doesn’t stop, seek counselling. If this is something that can’t be resolved they can decide to end the relationship.

 

My husband likes suggesting that we use sex toys to spice up our sex life but I’m quite uncomfortable. What’s your take?

Let him know that this is something you have never tried before. Is this something you are open to trying? If you are, start slow, let him guide you and if you are comfortable that is an area you can explore. If you are not comfortable, communicate this and try something else. There are different toys so you can find what works for you. However, if this is something you are entirely uncomfortable with, do let him know. But first ask yourself, what makes you uncomfortable? Is it your religious beliefs? Foreign object? Why is your man using this instead of coming to you? Face your fears

 

What’s your take on a man who uses toys on himself even before you are official with him?

It boils down to communication. Some men use toys to feel good, they may even think that is safer than having extramarital affairs. Find out why he is using the toys because it looks like you aren’t married yet so ask first. Talk more about it. Will it affect your sex life if he is no longer using them? Would you allow him to use it if you are married? Is it something you would like to explore together? Talk to him about it before becoming official.

 

My partner of 8 years forces himself on me when I am not in the mood. I sleep very heavily and he penetrates me when I’m asleep. So I wake up in the morning and notice. We have talked about it numerous times and he promises to stop then he does it again and we go back to square one because I lose the desire to be intimate with him. At the back of mind, I ask myself why I should give it willingly if he can still take it without my consent. I feel abused and I don’t understand how he can have satisfaction from sex with me when I’m unresponsive. What can be done?

I agree proving marital rape is hard. Just because it’s difficult to prove doesn’t mean we can’t report this criminal act. I would recommend taking action as soon as it happens. A timely medical examination is important. So go to the hospital immediately. If you have any witness testimony, eyewitnesses before or after the assault let them support your claim. There are very high chances that for any marital rape to occur, there are other issues that may have been going on such as emotional or physical abuse. Any possible admission by the perpetrator on texts can all help to secure conviction like any other sexual assault case. Keep any written information you may have in text or email.

 

Hubby drinks a lot, regularly comes home in the morning hours. I have refused to have sex with him since I don’t trust him. I am at fault? NB. We have talked about this for 2+ years now. He doesn’t change. So, I have just resorted to not having sex with him just to protect myself.

You are not at fault! 

When he is sober and relaxed, have a sit-down and assure him of your love. Alcoholism is a mental health issue. The support from the wife is very important. So, have a conversation, let him know that you understand that he has a problem and you will be there to support him, and also explain how the drinking is affecting your relationship, your family and the kids. Let him know that you are willing to help him as its something beyond his control. 

One thing you should do is don’t enable his behaviour. eg. When he runs out of fuel don’t give him money… Provide the household essentials but do not enable his behaviour. This is a deeper issue that requires counselling.

 

If you happen to have explored more on sexual bedroom matters with a previous partner, how soon should you show/teach your current partner? Would that be comparing or should you just get/form a new rhythm?

First of all, how is your current partner’s sex life like?

Are you ok with how it is right now or you think there could more spicing up? It’s not so much about what you were doing with your previous but how satisfied you are with how things are going with your current partner. If you want more, you can start spicing things up by introducing new ways slowly. You can also find out what your partner wants, are they open to trying new things? Do they want more time? Check-in with them so you’re on the same frequency.

 

Your take on a partner who wrongs you, like drinking all night comes at  3:00 AM and starts bothering you for sex when you refuse he goes mute.

Talk to him about it when he is sober and let him know that having sufficient sleep is important for you to take care of your family. Additionally, let him know to wake you up at 3:00 am when you’re half asleep to have sex is not good as he needs to consider you as well. Are you concerned about him sleeping out there with other women? Are you ok having sex with him when he comes home earlier? Let him know what you prefer and what you are willing to work with him on.

 

When you ask your partner for sex and they deny you, what do you do? What if you have a higher sex drive than your partner, what can you do without having sex by force?

You don’t really have to have sex when you are in the mood, sometimes its good to have charity sex. Its all about trying to fulfil the needs of the other and trying to compromise as much as you are comfortable because sex is really important for a marriage. Sometimes it’s rare to be in the mood at the same time together. At the end of the day its really meeting each other’s need.

 

What if you can’t have sex or it’s a difficult time for you. Can be unwell ‘down there’ but can’t understand that.

What does it mean to be unwell down there? Are you on your periods or is it a medical condition? If you are sick you need to go see a doctor and get checked. If this is a once in a while situation, communicate with your spouse that you are not ready. His not understanding is not fair for you. Have you always come up with an excuse to not have sex or is it once in a while. Communicate with him so as to avoid a negative feeling towards sex

Abuse is not only physical but also emotional and psychological. Any kind of abuse leaves the abused in a state of confusion, depression, doubts and many other effects due to trauma. If you are going through abuse or you know a person going through abuse, the Gender-Based Violence-free hotline is 1195. Furthermore, if you would like to join a community of women healing from abuse, WhatsApp +254736275978.

You may also like: Healthy Relationships: How Abuse Affects Children

Healthy Relationships: 3 Red Flags That Signal Emotional Abuse in a Relationship

Sexual Health and Consent: Healing After a Relationship With a Narcissist

Register for our weekly newsletter and follow us for more information and resources on Gender-Based Violence on MumsVillage Facebook page!

 

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