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What hinders a Healthy Sex Life in Committed relationships by Dr. Patrick E. Prince

Sex or sexual issues are usually symptoms of other problems within the relationship. When these are resolved, most couples realized it was never about sex.

The following checklist highlights a few of the common relationship issues that I have experienced / addressed throughout my 23+ years of practice dealing with couples. This is not limited to TCI, but includes my Country, St. Kitts & Nevis, as well as other Caribbean Countries, and the United States of America where I studies and trained. This is not an exhaustive list; and these so-called sexual issues are often not about sex or sexual activities, but are signs and symptoms of other fundamental issues that are ignored:

1. Boundary Issues – most spouses want to change their partners, and can’t; thus, there are holdouts on sexual activities as a way to pressure that change, which often never comes. Instead, it puts more strain on the relationship and on sexual activity.

2. Decreased or Lack of Intimacy – as a result of couples not being able to spend the quality time and communicating as openly and positively as before, when they first met; desire for and affection towards each other decline. This often leaves both partners, or at least one partner unsatisfied; and sexual activity becomes more of a chore than a cloud of bliss.

3. Distracted Attention – couples usually bring children into the mix. Children are a blessing; but couples have a tendency to allow children to distract their love, romance, and intimacy. Couples don’t date anymore, don’t have their sexual cat-plays anymore, they don’t dress sexily in the bedroom anymore… when asked why? The usual response, “the Children.” Of course, this hinders getting to the home base (Sex!!!).

4. Emotional Cheating – because of all of the above previously highlighted issues, couples usual turn to a friend or a online buddy or a neighbor to confide in. This becomes a habitual activity. And, before you know it, it has gone too far. In most cases, there are no physical sexual interactions. However, the partner becomes so caught up in the emotional relationship that it distracts from the actual “real” relationship. Not finding a way to effectively communicate their needs and the relational hiccups, couples cause the door to the bedroom to be temporary closed.

5. Lack of Appreciation – can trigger infidelity or emotional cheating. When a partner does not feel appreciated, s/he often turn to others for such attention. More often than not does “it” stays as verbal compliments. Left attended, it crosses over to the other side… where sexual activity looks brighter.

6. Lack of Effective Communication – instead of couples communicate with each other, they talk at each other, complain to each other, and criticize one another as a means to communicate. What this does is turn off the switch to the activities in bedroom, starting with a decline in intimacy and foreplaying.

7. Money – The Mighty King Sparrow (Calypsonian) sings, “No Money, No Love.” Couples are often not openly honest with each other about the finances. In many relationships, couples don’t budget; and the financial resources become depleted. The bills are yet to paid, but one partner has a new set of leather car seats or the other partner gets her ballroom-style gown, nails done, hair style off the chain for the upcoming event… Either way, neither partner previously discussed their spending; and thus, this turns into a verbal fight of yelling and name calling, resulting into resentment lasting for weeks up to months. When this happens, you know the bedroom door is closed for business… No Money, No Love!

8. Poor Time Management – due to the stressful demands of work and hours spent on community volunteering activities, couples become so busy and distressed that the quality of their marital relationship decline, starting with the lack of spending quality time with each other. Therefore, the teasing and cat-playing that usual precedes awesome sexual activities are stopped; thus, killing the “big bang” feeling during sexual activities.

9. Technological Interference and Distraction – with technology comes responsibility. Many couples text at dinner, at family meetings, in the bedroom – when they should be touching and gently caressing each other. Having the laptop in bed all the time next to your partner, doe not equal “Quality Time.” Many couples are on Facebook, when they should be kissing their partners faces. Many are on Twitter, when they should be tweeting the words of love in their partners ears. When this happens, partners will be turned off; thus, shutting the lid to the cookie jar.

10. Unwillingness to Forgive – “I can forgive, but I can’t forget” … is usually what is said when asked about forgiving the past and moving on for the better. Many couples are NOT willing to forgive; … they are able to forgive, but more often, they are NOT willing to forgive. When this happens, resentment usually dominates and many partners resort to sleeping in the children’s or other bedroom or on the sofa / couch to avoid intimacy or sexual interactions with their significant other.

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