Are you, like me, hearing the complaint of men not being ‘man enough’ resounding like a broken record?
And this has nothing to do with the sex. Yet.
It is more about finances. Responsibility. Generosity. Pulling his weight in parenting and around the home.
And when you listen to the men in the interest of fairness, you will hear another broken record: men complaining that there is too little love in their marriages to feel motivated to be ‘the man’ in their homes.
Now, this one has everything to do with the sex.
Like a beautifully harmonised song, the wives chorus that if only their men were more responsible, more take-charge, more generous to them, they would allow themselves to be more indulging – sexually.
To this tune, the men add their voice in booming bass that if only their wives could be friskier between the sheets, they (men) would be inspired to be the husbands their wives expect them to be.
Which is the chicken, which is the egg? And what comes first?
As everyone tries to figure that out, marriages are disintegrating one by one as each spouse waits for the other to change.
One wife that I challenged about making her marriage less asexual as a way of motivating her husband to be a better man in every way, memorably shut me down with her answer.
“When my children are not yet back in school for lack of school fees and the pantry is empty, where do I find the libido to make love with the very person who is supposed to provide those things, but has neglected to?” she asked me.
I tried to go for the usual answers in the line of, “You know, regardless what the stresses are, don’t let the sex stop in your marriage.”
But the reality is, even a bad bank loan can shift your heart from its normal position to your throat and make normal bodily functions painful.
Similarly, transferring all the bills, financial stress and decision-making to your wife and still expect her to function in digital sexual mode is stretching it a bit. Especially when she is busy trying to swallow around the heart lodged in her throat.
But on the flipside, how will the standoff end?
The very wife who asked me where I expected her to find the libido amidst her troubles, months later had a reluctant confession.
“Munange, I willingly give [my husband ‘some sugar’] these past weeks, and it is like a transformation! He walks around the house whistling, checks the children’s homework and he even shopped for the kitchen for the first time in years,” she said.
Where he had been quenching all his thirsts in booze and staggering in at 2am, he now returns home at reasonable hours and in the right frame of mind to be talked to…and given ‘sugar’.
She agrees, when she sorted the chicken and egg paradox, things became more bearable around her home.
Yes, the children still suffer the occasional school fees mishap, but it no longer comes with bitterness; she can discuss with her husband how to get out of it.
Not that only men benefit from good sex; it is just that wives strangely slap most sex bans in place.
A March 2017 study by three American universities and published in the Journal Of Management, says satisfactory sex has been proven to boost work performance for 24 hours for both men and women.
Whether you want your husband to go out and grab the best deals and bring home a bigger check and bigger loaf, or you want to tackle those bills yourself but with great attitude, good sex is where it all starts.
So, maybe there is no need for choosing egg over chicken, after all; it should be about a marriage that works, and the department that intimately binds your bodies, spirits and souls – the sex – is cardinal in making the whole thing cohesive.