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Sex Talk: Look, this too is abuse

Is there a worse punishment than putting your perfectly healthy spouse on a sex ban, just because you can (hand-on-chin emoji)? I don’t think so.

I have been told off by those who swear by this selfish act with “you don’t understand!” I just hope you are also ready for any repercussions you may cause the day your camel’s back breaks.

Many of us are used to the more common case of the wife withholding sex from her husband as a bargaining chip, and then giving in as soon as she gets the ‘signatures’ she sought. But less talked about are the husbands sleeping in guest bedrooms and sitting rooms, because they are angry with their otherwise sexually-healthy wives.

In research for this, I have heard of husbands that have imposed this sex ban for anywhere from three months to a year!

Shamim (not real name) who has since separated from her husband for this cruelty, said “he would carry a duvet in his car and spend nights in it”.

She has no idea what turned the tide that way, because their four-year-old marriage went from blissful one night, to cold and distant the next and never recovered after that.

“The reason I left is because we stayed in an estate and the neighbours started talking after this went on for months. He either didn’t come home, or when he did, slept in the car and refused to say what I had done wrong,” she said.

Her husband now wants her to return and work on their marriage, but she does not know what triggered the last episode and whether it won’t happen again. 

I have not found an explanation for her husband’s behaviour – she swears he has no sexual dysfunctions and neither does she – save for a few men’s health websites that claim every man has these ‘silent moments’ that many a wife can never understand.

Another website attributed it to low testosterone, weight problems, pornography, workaholism, lack of respect and lack of confidence, among others. Indeed, one wife shared that she threw in the towel when she kept finding her husband, who had rejected her sexually for months, masturbating on the floor where he insisted on sleeping.

‘Silent moments’ or whatever else it may be that lasts months and comes with a sex ban, is a form of abuse, too. Debbie (not real name) believes Shamim’s husband was having an affair.

Her conviction comes from her own husband’s similar episode years ago, when he would coil up as close to the edge of the bed as possible, and swaddle himself with the bedclothes.

“If I so much as touched him suggestively, he would almost fall off the bed, trying to get away! Long story short, we eventually saved the marriage with counselling, where it was revealed he was having an affair at the time, which nearly killed our marriage.”

Debbie could be right. Or not. But more wives than you would believe are suffering through sexless marriages, not by any fault of theirs. Either husbands retired the sex in that marriage without consulting their wives, or they allowed their libidos to be dictated by outside stresses and cash flow.

As a husband goes through these lengthy breaks, what is a good wife supposed to do?

Some homes are facing infertility not because wives are barren, but because husbands are sexually unavailable, emotionally abusive and curled up on couches every time a fertile window rolls by in the cycle.

I have listened to other wives’ stories and now believe there is a lot of attention put on wives that withhold sex from their spouses, and very little light is shone on the other, more brutal form of sexual rejection that is either on an increase, or women are only more openly talking about it today.

Don’t make assumptions about what your spouse is capable or not capable of…

carol@observer.ug

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