LoveShack.org Community Forums

Reload this Page LoveShack.org Community Forums > Romantic > Marriage & Life Partnerships

Sex in sickness and in health


Marriage & Life Partnerships Debunking the old-ball-and-chain stereotype one couple at a time.

Like Tree43Likes
 
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 26th December 2017, 6:30 AM   #1
Established Member
 
heartbrokenlady's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2016
Location: Asia
Posts: 244
Sex in sickness and in health

There are a few threads on here about what happens to a relationship when sex becomes difficult. Having been in a similarish position myself, I thought a more general discussion about this issue would be good.

Marriage (and partnerships, despite the lack of a piece of paper giving an official title) are based on the in sickness and in health idea.

But from what I’ve seen on here, the general attitude is, if a partner stops having sex (and often this IS due to ill health – I’ve been there with cancer and cancer treatment) that suddenly, all bets are off. No sex. No relationship. And the advice on Loveshack is to tell the sexless partner to saddle up or you’re leaving them.

Unfortunately, this was manifested when I was ill and having treatment. I was lucky. My partner was supportive all the way. But several of my friends were not. Their partners left them when the relationship became sexless.

I think this stinks. Surely if this happens, you should support and help your partner first of all with their illness and secondly, do everything you can to rebuild an absent libido.

Libido disappears if you feel ill all the time, or if you are in chronic pain. Some medication can cause this effect.



Discuss
heartbrokenlady is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26th December 2017, 8:24 AM   #2
Established Member
 
central's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: NW Florida
Posts: 3,106
A lot depends on the nature of the illness, and the nature of the person with the illness (and their spouse). Some people lose all libido if they get a hangnail, and some will enjoy sex on their deathbed.

My wife has retained her libido through chronic, very serious Lyme disease over many years, cancer, and two serious back injuries requiring multiple surgeries. In the very worst throes of all this (barring the week post-surgery), we still had sex at least 3X a week. For the past 18 years, we've had sex almost every day (more than once a day in the first 6 or 7 years).

How a spouse responds to an illness also varies tremendously. Some will leave at the first sign of problems, and some will be loyal and loving through everything. That will depend on their nature, and is usually affected by the quality of the relationship as well. I never had any inclination to leave, but I had/have a fantastic relationship even in sickness. If my relationship had been marginal, any little additional problem might have made a decision to leave easy.
central is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26th December 2017, 8:29 AM   #3
Established Member
 
heartbrokenlady's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2016
Location: Asia
Posts: 244
Quote:
Originally Posted by central View Post
A lot depends on the nature of the illness, and the nature of the person with the illness (and their spouse). Some people lose all libido if they get a hangnail, and some will enjoy sex on their deathbed.

My wife has retained her libido through chronic, very serious Lyme disease over many years, cancer, and two serious back injuries requiring multiple surgeries. In the very worst throes of all this (barring the week post-surgery), we still had sex at least 3X a week. For the past 18 years, we've had sex almost every day (more than once a day in the first 6 or 7 years).

How a spouse responds to an illness also varies tremendously. Some will leave at the first sign of problems, and some will be loyal and loving through everything. That will depend on their nature, and is usually affected by the quality of the relationship as well. I never had any inclination to leave, but I had/have a fantastic relationship even in sickness. If my relationship had been marginal, any little additional problem might have made a decision to leave easy.

I am in awe of both of you. Her for continuing to be a sexual being and you for continuing to see her for who she is, beneath the ill health. What great marriage role models!
heartbrokenlady is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26th December 2017, 9:31 AM   #4
Established Member
 
elaine567's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Posts: 14,174
I get sex is important for bonding and a marriage, it is also good for validation, self esteem etc. too, but I also get that some sick people feel pressured to have sex in case the other goes off to find someone else.
I also get that some use sickness as a "get out clause" to either a) to avoid sex( the sick one) or b) to leave a marriage (the healthy one)

However, barring other agendas, is there not a sensible time for a loving partner to say to a sick one, "Let's put this on hold as this is not going to do you any good in the long run, you look like death warmed up, or you must be in agony..."

Seems that some here WANT and NEED sex to such a degree that they are not willing to empathise with sick and ailing partners at all.

Maybe it is all part of the "Me, me, me and more me", attitude of some people, and that others are very accommodating of their partner when they are less than 100% and may never really be 100% ever again.
elaine567 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26th December 2017, 9:37 AM   #5
Established Member
 
merrmeade's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Deep in the heart of...
Posts: 2,744
I think this issue is completely different from a gradual or undefined loss of libido, say, due to aging. Those situations may be in part physical, in part psychological (still valid) but they can be addressed.

But giving up on the relationship or checking out for a while because your partner is seriously ill? How is that okay? I wrote on the other thread that I think it's that OP's right to expect his wife to share intimacy with him in some sexual way. But, when my husband had a transplant for cancer, I wasn't counting the days until we could screw! There was too much else to think about and do than worry about that. Especially if the outcome is unsure.
merrmeade is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26th December 2017, 10:13 AM   #6
Established Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2016
Posts: 283
I went thru this before. My wife had Lyme Disease and we went 7 months without ANY intimacy. It sucked and she could have had sex. She was working full-time without any issues and was doing other things. I think what people forget is that intimacy doesn't have to be just sex. I would have been fine simply cuddling watching a movie but that never happened. I think a lot of it comes down to the severity of the illness and if the partner is using it as a way of not having sex or if they truly can't or are not at all in the mood. Every situation will be different.
What-2-Do is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26th December 2017, 10:22 AM   #7
Established Member
 
d0nnivain's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: Northeastern USA
Posts: 27,608
I don't think I ever read a post where LS advised a healthy spouse to dump an ill spouse over the lack of sex.

I have seen plenty of posts where a deprived spouse is encouraged to leave a spouse who has shut down & checked out.

I think too many people think marriage is disposable.

That said, when issues like sexual incompatibility arise in a dating relationship I am a firm believer that the disappointed partner needs to head for the exit
d0nnivain is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26th December 2017, 10:37 AM   #8
Established Member
 
heartbrokenlady's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2016
Location: Asia
Posts: 244
Quote:
Originally Posted by d0nnivain View Post
I don't think I ever read a post where LS advised a healthy spouse to dump an ill spouse over the lack of sex.

I have seen plenty of posts where a deprived spouse is encouraged to leave a spouse who has shut down & checked out.

I think too many people think marriage is disposable.

That said, when issues like sexual incompatibility arise in a dating relationship I am a firm believer that the disappointed partner needs to head for the exit

But the definition of ill health is in the eye of the beholder. She may think he's malingering to try to avoid sex. He may be suffering ED as a result of medication.
heartbrokenlady is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26th December 2017, 10:51 AM   #9
Established Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 47,773
Quote:
Originally Posted by heartbrokenlady View Post
But the definition of ill health is in the eye of the beholder. She may think he's malingering to try to avoid sex. He may be suffering ED as a result of medication.
That's a really good point, along with how the partners perceive sexual interaction in the flow of their relationship or marriage.

For example, using your example, if I had ED yeah my dick might not work but I can still show my wife sexual love through oral sex and manual stimulation and, for many men the reverse can occur, meaning men can orgasm without an erection. Much depends on the partners, how their brains work, how they were socialized regarding sex and carried that into adulthood and reinforced it or modified it through personal experience.

I believed in demonstrating love and intimacy in sickness and in health when married. Sometimes the libido was there and other times it wasn't. Nothing is perfect in life. However, part of compatibility is the descriptions partners attach to such statements and opinions. Sometimes they can find common ground. Other times it's better to move on. Glad I did.
carhill is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26th December 2017, 10:59 AM   #10
Established Member
 
heartbrokenlady's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2016
Location: Asia
Posts: 244
I agree Carhill, but I don't think many men would give a woman sexual gratification if they weren't aroused.

Women do it for men (I've done it many, many times), but I've never met a man or heard of one (from friends) who actually do. My ex didn't. Either he was aroused or there was no sexual interaction. A friend whose husband had ED, no sex, ever.

Yes. Intimacy at all times, even if it isn't sexual. Absolutely. 100%.
heartbrokenlady is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26th December 2017, 11:10 AM   #11
Established Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 47,773
Quote:
Originally Posted by heartbrokenlady View Post
I agree Carhill, but I don't think many men would give a woman sexual gratification if they weren't aroused.

Women do it for men (I've done it many, many times), but I've never met a man or heard of one (from friends) who actually do. My ex didn't. Either he was aroused or there was no sexual interaction. A friend whose husband had ED, no sex, ever.

Yes. Intimacy at all times, even if it isn't sexual. Absolutely. 100%.
I recall it occurring many times while I was caregiving and my libido was in the toilet. Why? Because, at the time, I felt it was my responsibility to my wife as her spouse. She was more liked sex for sex'es sake and I respected that. Also, I learned through trial and error that, even if I wasn't aroused or libidinous, starting the engine cognitively, basically forcing myself to do something I might not feel 'in the mood for', often, though not always, kick-started the libido. So, even while the marriage ended, those interactions taught me something and I thank my exW for that. She preferred, in the end, a more 'normal' male, or so she shared. Fair enough. That's what life's about.
carhill is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26th December 2017, 11:31 AM   #12
Established Member
 
heartbrokenlady's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2016
Location: Asia
Posts: 244
Quote:
Originally Posted by carhill View Post
She preferred, in the end, a more 'normal' male, or so she shared. Fair enough. That's what life's about.

Lucky woman, to have a man so caring. Most of us can but dream.
heartbrokenlady is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26th December 2017, 11:44 AM   #13
Established Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 47,773
Caring is one thing, perhaps an important thing for some, but it's just one small part of a package and that package, as nebulous as it can be to identify, is what is critical to marital success. I've little doubt that men who've complained on these forums about sexless marriages have spouses who care about them. I'll bet those spouses often care very much. Their language of care may not, either situationally or globally, include genital sex. Some people work it out. Others soldier on in silence. Others get their needs/wants met with other humans. Others part company with their spouse.

One tidbit of advice I got from dear old dad was once one starts treating marriage like an accounting exercise, it's over. He was an accountant

If/when sex becomes a tit for tat battle rather than a fluid expression of love and intimacy, that's where I'd fear the accounting exercise to risk beginning.

At this point in life, I doubt I'll ever encounter an 'in sickness and in health' individual where the rest of the package of attraction and compatibility is in play so just let it go. Good discussion topic though.
carhill is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26th December 2017, 11:48 AM   #14
Established Member
 
heartbrokenlady's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2016
Location: Asia
Posts: 244
Just a theoretical one. Because a lot of stuff on this site is so biased towards leaving/divorce. And there has to be another option.
heartbrokenlady is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26th December 2017, 1:46 PM   #15
Established Member
 
wmacbride's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Posts: 3,333
Something a lot of men may not realize is just how much pressure there can be for a woman to live up to the standards of attractiveness set by society.

It's easy for someone to say " well, the porn star with the tiny waist, a size FFF chest, perfect skin and hair isn't realistic, and no man really expects that" , but to someone who is already feeling down on themselves because they are ill, it can seem like the exact opposite.

After all, how many men's magazines ( not necessarily porn), websites, advertising, and even television shows and movies that are geared towards men feature women who aren't looking their best or who are even just average?

If an advertiser is picking a model to market a product to men, will they choose a model like the actress Cathy Bates who will point out the logical reasons why a guy should purchase the deodorant or the hot, young maybe 18 year old and pose her suggestively next to the product and not even really say why a guy should buy it?

It's easy when one is in good health and thinking logically to see that most men know the difference between ad copy and the entertainment industry and real life, but like I said above when one is feeling ill and down on themselves to start with, it can be hard to see yourself as being attractive and desirable.

I can totally understand how this happens. Before I got sick, I had what would be termed a curvy figure with a behind that would make Kim Kardashian jealous ( isn't she the one who is always going on about her backside?), but now it would make a broom handle jealous. From the time I was a teenager, it was one of my features that was always appreciated by men, and losing that has been a bit of a blow ( but it does make it easier to find pants that fit right ... I guess you have to take the bad with the good).

I'm not blaming this on men, as it's not their fault. It's just a reality some women ( and men too...I expect they go through a similar experience when they are ill, but in a way that is unique to the male of the species) go through.
__________________
"“there’s no better system than our own morality, not law, not science, not religion… just decency.”-R.M.
wmacbride is offline   Reply With Quote
 

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

 

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
In sickness and in health skylark100 Marriage & Life Partnerships 13 2nd January 2016 6:26 PM
LDR and sickness? Zoeva Long-Distance Relationships 8 10th May 2014 4:46 PM
Heart health as metaphor for emotional health? AnyaNova Self-Improvement and Personal Well-Being 4 6th December 2013 3:38 AM


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 1:50 PM.

Please note: The suggestions and advice offered on this web site are opinions only and are not to be used in the place of professional psychological counseling or medical advice. If you or someone close to you is currently in crisis or in an emergency situation, contact your local law enforcement agency or emergency number.


Copyright © 1997-2018 LoveShack.org. All Rights Reserved.