In a recent article posted on AOL, Dr. Epstein (a Ph.D. based out of San Diego) revealed that 10 to 20% of American marriages are “sexless.” That is, sex happens once a month or less.
Our neighbor in the blogosphere, PA Don’t Stand for “Palo Alto” has an interesting spin on this article that should give you something to think about - does this mean that 40 million Americans are in marriages suffering of passive aggression?
"… I’m no doctor, and I’m sure that some people have matching low libidos, but the cases I know about are ones where one person desperately would give almost anything to feel desired and have sex, while the other in the couple is a passive aggressive.
I hope any of you who may be seeing a therapist are honest about where you stand. A psychology professor once said this:
When sex is good, it’s 5 percent of the marriage, but when it’s bad, it’s 95 percent of the marriage. “The key is to understand what’s good and bad,” he says. Good means that each person’s sexual needs are being met. Bad means that at least one person’s needs are not being met.
If everyone agrees that due to low libido, children, aging, that not having sex is okay, at least temporarily, that’s one thing. Having a passive aggressive spouse/boyfriend/girlfriend that “withholds sex” is totally something else. I would give almost anything to know how many of these people are passive aggressive, but since the psychological community doesn’t recognize that anymore (LOL), I guess we’ll never know."
How do you feel about this? It’s definitely true that withholding sex as punishment is a passive aggressive trait that many partners suffer through. But do they reveal it? Dr. Epstein makes a good point in saying that many more marriages are probably “sexless,” but people don’t reveal it out of embarrassment. If in their marriage, their partner withholds sex as punishment, certainly there could be many people who participated in this study, but didn’t come forward! Passive aggressive punishment is very crafty, in inducing shame and making the victim feel like they “deserve” it!
If your partner is using this device against you, don’t suffer in silence or continue to blame yourself! Withholding sex is not about your inability to perform for your partner - it’s about their need to control you by ignoring and denying your needs!
Do you need someone to talk to about this or other personally hurtful passive aggressive behaviors? You can have a private, one-on-one conversation with our Conflict Coach, Coach Nora. Your first conversation with her is free.