In the individual sessions that I gave, I was used to people who came to me with very intimate problems that they had not told anybody else about. It is people’s chance to open up in a surrounding where they can trust that no word will ever reach anyone they know. Our talk is confidential. Even in cases in which I became friends with the person who had come to me, I never talked about the topic of our session without them asking me to. I was thus not very surprised when a friend opened up to me about a very private issue in 2005.
He had actually got in touch with me through his wife. She had been going to different spiritual events in the area, had heard of me and had convinced her husband that it would be good for him, too, to come along. After getting to know me in a meditation they decided to take individual sessions, too, separate of each other. It was not until we met again though, having established a small friendship, that the man trusted me enough to talk about his relation with his wife. To make it very short, he was sexually unsatisfied.
He told me that he loved his wife dearly and that he had spent so many years and so many ups and downs of life together with her that he would not want to miss her anymore by his side. No, everything was fine except one thing: she had absolutely no interest in sex. He had approached her in many different ways, trying to be romantic or wild, to remind her of old times or to try something fully new but she just never felt like it. Over the course of years, they had become less and less sexually active, the occasions on which she responded to his advances became less and now that they were living their life in retirement, they had reached a state at which he believed that he may never have sex again in his life.
His story touched me especially because of the love that he expressed for his wife. He said ‘I love her and that’s why I don’t want to go to any other woman for my physical needs. I might find one who would be happy to or I could pay but I don’t want to do this to my beloved one!’ At some point in the development of this sexual crisis she had even allowed him to do exactly that. ‘I won’t mind if you go to someone else for that!’ she had said – but he had refused this offer.
He also told that her unwillingness extended to any kind of sexual action. ‘I would not always need to do it all but she refuses even doing a little bit!’ I heard his pain about the fact that they seemed like strangers to each other once they reached their bedroom, the place where they should be most intimate with each other.
Obviously that situation had caused conflicts in between them. He had sexual needs and that sexual energy started accumulating without being spent. To release pressure, he had started watching porn – but when she caught him, she showed she was angry and disgusted by this which in turn made him feel guilty. They fought about it and thus further increased the distance in between them on their bed. She seemed frigid about it, acted as though sex itself was something that only dirty people did and talked about.
They took good care however not to bring any of this dissatisfaction out into the world. In everybody’s eyes, they were the perfect loving couple. They also had no other issue than this! They could spend their whole day in harmony and nobody would notice anything, not even they themselves, until the evening time would come. They had a cover of the perfect couple for the world and even for themselves.
After hearing all of this, I clearly told him that I would have to talk to his wife too, and if possible to both of them together as this was a matter that concerned them very privately. He carefully asked her and she agreed. To make it short, I could feel a very common pattern of guilty feelings within her connected to the topic of sexual intimacy and could relate these to her traditional, catholic upbringing. In a few sessions with her and also with both together we managed to talk about these points. I talked about how natural sex was and that it was nothing dirty but something to enjoy intimately with your partner.
It was not easy for her to leave those long-retained feelings behind which religion had planted in her but at some point when we met again, they both told me that their bedroom had become alive again and that they enjoyed their physical intimacy again. I was very happy to hear that I was able to help them.
I know that there are a lot of couples who have not found help for such problems. It is always a very individual case, something that cannot be solved with one general suggestion and I hope that people find a counsellor suitable for their needs who can help them find back together because a relationship without physical closeness won’t succeed for long!