Maureen McGrath: No Sex Marriage – Masturbation, Loneliness, Cheating and Shame (Transcript)

Healing from sexual abuse takes a lifetime. Ella had lived a lifetime, a widow. She said she wasn’t sexually active but she hoped to be. I thought fantastic. Somebody is going to have sex here. But she said the problem, Maureen, is that these old guys can’t get it up anymore. I said, “Well, Ella, you might have to go for a younger guy”. She said, what’s younger when you’re 84. 70? Yes, some of you are saying. The hard truth is that men in their thirties and forties may experience erectile dysfunction. Ella is going to have to go for a millennial.

So you’re all probably thinking what’s the big deal — why treat my erectile dysfunction? Well, I liken the penis to a plane. If the pilot can’t get the plane up in the air and keep the plane in the air for the entire trip, there’s probably a problem with the engine. So if you can’t get your penis up and keep it up for the entire sexual experience, there’s likely a problem with your engine. Well that’s your heart. Erectile dysfunction is the canary in the coal mine and it may signify cardiovascular disease. It may also indicate diabetes. So these two medical conditions in addition to low testosterone, stress, substance use and abuse, excessive alcohol consumption, unresolved conflict, financial issues, all of those may contribute to low sexual desire and you may end up in a sexless marriage.

George presented to my clinical practice at age 40, he decided to settle down. He was marrying a beautiful and accomplished woman in a few months. There’s only one problem: George was gay. George could not bear to tell his family that he was gay, because he felt it would have shamed the entire family. I said, “George, you’re going to end up in a sexless marriage”. He said, “Tell me something I don’t know”.

So George said to me his plan was this: “Well, when my parents die, I’m then going to divorce this woman and I’m going to marry the man that I love.”

And I said, “George, you are not thinking straight”.

Sex is the barometer of the state of affairs in a marriage. People who live in sexless marriages report feeling frustrated, unloved, undesirable, unattractive and the worst of all, lonely. And loneliness has been shown to increase vascular resistance and elevate blood pressure and lead to an early death. You are more likely to die from loneliness than you are from obesity or excessive alcohol consumption.

When I educate women and I say if you’re not having sex with your husband, someone else may. They get upset and they say that I’m blaming women for men’s bad behavior, when in actuality I’m doing a community service. You see men in sexless marriages cheat to remain in that marriage in general. And women cheat to leave a sexless marriage and women cheat too. Nobody ever thinks we do. We’re just sneakier about it, we just don’t get caught or socialize very differently. This is one thing we have on you guys.

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Women cheat with other men and women cheat with other women. And technology has made cheating accessible for everybody from the politician to the stay-at-home parent that quick swipe right can lead to an online passionate love affair from texting to sexting to secret phone conversations. The more two people communicate online, the more likely an in-person encounter will occur but you can always blame your genes. The gene DN4N has been isolated in cheaters. In the sexless marriage just the environment to turn on that gene, it’s based on a system of pleasure and reward. The stakes are high, the reward substantial, it is the perfect cocktail to turn that love drug back on PEA and the cycle begins again.

Historically marriage was not based on mutual love but rather it was an institution to acquire of all things in-laws, property, and physical labor. But at the turn of the 20th century, in America egalitarian ideals and the emerging Hollywood movie industry burdened marriages with promising romantic love forever and now we’re living forever, fantastic, congratulations. You get to have sex with the same person for the rest of your life.

The second most common question that I hear from patients is when does sex end? Well a 44 year old asked me, he said when does sex end, Maureen? 65? I answered in this way. A 22 year old asked me when does sex end, Maureen? 35? Everybody is older until you get there. I’m here to tell you that sex never ends. If you’re healthy you can have it. You’re healthy, you can have a great sex life well into your eighties and nineties. Sex is good for you. Sex is healthy, yet sex is shrouded in shame.

In the ancient aristocracies, the wealthy men had courtesans for pleasure and concubines for quick sex. In the way we’re going computers will be our concubines, internet pornography our mistress of the day. Technology is fast replacing human connection at high speed.

So how do you rev up the sexless marriage? Sex is about blood flow, sexercise, every day you want to have a daily workout. It increases your agility, your stamina. Women will experience more sexual sensation when blood is flowing to the genitalia. It also helps to treat erectile dysfunction. Also, get help for any of the sexual dysfunctions you may have. Vaginal dryness, it’s an issue that happens to women who have — who are on the oral contraceptive pill, who are breastfeeding, perimenopausal, postmenopausal and there are treatments for you. Pay more attention to your spouse than you do your smartphone. Spend more time in your bedrooms than you do your board rooms or your bedrooms are going to become boardrooms.

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