The No-Sex Argument
Being in a committed relationship can no doubt lead a few arguments. In fact, Esure did a survey that said couples argue 2,455 times per year. My calculator tells me that’s 6.7 times per day. The top reasons for arguing according to Esure are as follows:
Not listening - 112
Overspending - 109
Money - 108
Laziness - 105
One of you snoring - 102
Bills - 98
What to eat for dinner - 92
Driving too fast - 91
Walking past things that need to go upstairs - 90
Dirty house - 90
What to watch on television - 89
Disciplining the children - 88
Dirty washing left around the house - 88
When to have sex - 87
Taking each other for granted - 84
Children's bedtime - 83
Getting home late from work - 82
Not taking washing out - 82
Getting in the way in the kitchen - 82
Treading mud into the house - 80
Spoiling the children - 79
Who should cook the evening meal - 79
Swearing in front of the children - 79
Not closing cupboard doors - 79
Parking the car - 77
Not answering your phone - 76
Failing to say please/thank you - 75
Not saying 'I love you' - 69
When to have sex is right in the middle here with 87 times per year, which is nearly every 4 days. Yet, I firmly believe that the true reason behind any argument is ultimately ‘You don’t care enough about me,’ and the solution is sex. Not having sex is the underlying reason as to all of these surface-level issues.
Sure, it may irritate us that they leave their clothes on the floor, lose everything, or fail to tell you how much they appreciate you, but all of this is a disguise of the very same unmentionable grievance; where is the sexy-time?
The no-sex argument is one of the greatest afflictions of every committed couple. This argument has caused more violent and vague verbal transactions between lovers than any other.
It’s why Sun is spending too much money shopping in South Korea knowing Jin will find out. It’s why Jim is throwing chairs in the kitchen in Alabama even though he is scaring Juliet. It is why Rose and Bernard aren’t talking as they sit in a nice little restaurant in downtown London. If it goes on long enough, little Walt may have a new step-parent who doesn’t love him. [I’m watching ‘Lost’ right now.]
All of this leaves us crying over a bottle or at our next appointment with the shrink trying to understand why our lover stopped loving us physically. It makes us feel unwanted. That feeling of not being wanted makes being with our partner and ourselves unbearable.
The injury is real and it cuts deep. Our self-respect is threatened. The whole issue becomes larger than ourselves.
Time after time, whether late at night or playfully during the day, we try to touch them, tease them, and show them we want them. We try to gracefully give them the sign of our desire for them with a light caress or passionate squeeze, and we are turned down.
They respond gently with a limp response for just a moment, but then, we feel them pull away. They cower away from our advances to disappear into their phones or deep sleep, leaving us to feel like the freak we now believe we are.
So we stop trying. We know if we bring it up, they will only make unacceptable excuses in our eyes:
I’m just tired.
I have a lot on my mind.
I’m just not in the mood
These may all be true, but after so many rejections, we can’t help but feel the truth of all these excuses.
We are not wanted.
If they wanted us the way we wanted them, we wouldn’t have to seduce them. We wouldn’t have to manipulate them sexually to have sex with us. Why should we have to convince them? Why does the idea of sex need to be sold?
We feel so isolated. We have been demoted to the lowest caste system: the untouchables. Surely, we must be the only ones being rejected this way. It’s as if we have contracted some rare and disgusting disease that is too shameful to mention to others, much less ourselves. We feel we are the only ones in this happy and hot world not having sex. It’s an emotional injury too dishonorable to mention.
Make War, Not Love
So if we can’t make love, we make war. We get trapped in these ridiculous cycles of aggression. They don’t want us at bedtime because we disappointed them at supper-time. Yet, it only feeds the cycle. We still feel and go unwanted. How could we possibly find the audacity to be anything but resentful in their presence.
This rejection by the one we love and want is worse than the fairy tale and predictable rejections of being single. At least when we are single, we can expect to be overlooked and undervalued in our sex lives.
But this… Being rejected by them… It is a sentence with no end.
We are stuck. We can’t complain. We can’t just let it go. So we fight about everything in arm’s reach:
The reality is, all we want, what we so desperately need and desire is to hold and to be held, to penetrate or to be penetrated.
A Different Meaning of Preventative
It can seem absurd that so much can depend on this one little issue. We brush it off as inconsequential until it is too late. Yet, the absence of sexual gratification can affect the fate of children, properties, and groups of friends.
It is such a small thing compared to how much time we spend working, sleeping, and watching TV. However, it has an immense impact on our lives.
An inadequacy of sex is of such major importance because of the act itself. Sex is the soothing balm to conflict. It remedies suffering, lonesomeness, and apathy. It is nearly impossible to be depressed, detached, or dispassionate when in the throes of love-making.
Sure, there may be hate-sex but even that is heartfelt and devoted.
The very act of sex demands us to be:
Even when the world is falling apart around us, it is proof that everything is all right.
It is so clear and so obvious, yet we are unable to approach the subject. We can’t find the words. We are too embarrassed. If only we didn’t feel so alone, we would have the courage. Ironically, what would give us our courage and end our loneliness is what we are too afraid to fight for.
We’ve been there. We’ve fought for it. Unfortunately, it only leads to anger and humility. How do we bring up the problem without defensiveness getting involved? If only we could reveal our hopelessness without becoming hopeless.
If only the partner who didn’t want it could explain in a way that made sense and wasn’t so hard to hear. If only the one that felt rejected could share their concerns without giving in to spitefulness and pain.
It’s glaring, but needs to be said: sex is the solution to the no-sex argument. It is the fundamental argument underneath most arguments couples have. If you can get past this one argument, you can get over almost any other problem that may arise in the relationship. Otherwise, you may be fighting all the way to the grave.
Imagine if we were all to this point as a species. Not to be so sexually liberal as to use sex selfishly or carelessly, but to have an understanding with our lovers so as to avoid the awkwardness and tension of no sex.
We would definitely be calmer. Fewer:
Hell, it could even end wars if everybody was just a little bit calmer.
There is no easy way to get around this difficult paradigm of arguments. The best we can do is be aware when it is present and learn what words best express our worry and heartache on the issue. We may not always get the answer we want, but if work to make the conversation right, then on a good day, you might get lucky and re-make-love.