Since time immemorial, there have been marriages where sex was a problem — not because it happened too much but because it just did not. As such, every culture has devised ways of dealing with sexless marriages. These thoughts crossed my mind as I listened to John narrating his ordeal when he faced a panel of elders.
“About a year ago, my wife reported me to her parents”, he lamented, “they detained her after that and so she did not come back to our home following a visit which was meant to be for a day.”
On that day, John’s father-in-law called him and ordered him to get two older male members of his family and go with them to his in-laws’ village home as a matter of urgency. It took John a week to plan the visit in which he was accompanied by his uncle and elder brother. They arrived to find a panel of elders waiting. They were not welcome or given food and drinks like in previous visits.
“Our daughter did not lack food. We have enough here,” the chairman of the elders’ court said. “We also have better houses here where she can sleep. But there is one thing that she cannot get in her mother’s house and that is why she got married to you. Do you know what that is?”
There was pitch silence in the room. John’s uncle was holding his forehead in the palms of his right hand facing the floor. He shook his head gently, a sign of embarrassment. He seemed to understand where the discussion was headed.
“Why was I not alerted in good time to interrogate our boy and come prepared to answer these questions?” he asked.
The short of it is that John was warned to have sex with his wife otherwise he would face severe consequences, including his wife being taken back by the parents.
It had been a year since the ordeal. John came to the sexology clinic because he felt that the problem he was facing had not been fully resolved. Before his wife reported him to his in-laws, they were having sex once a month on average.
“I did not have the urge and sometimes my erections would fail,” he explained.
After the meeting with elders, he started using all manner of sexual stimulants as well as alcohol with the aim of getting extra stimulation. He smoked weed, chewed some roots from western Kenya, swallowed the blue pill and drank almost daily before engaging in sex.
“Somehow I have managed to have sex a little more but my body is slowly giving up. I feel sick all the time and I fear that I am becoming an alcoholic,” he said.
But John is not alone. There are many men and women who are into chemsex or chemical dependent sex. Many will drink alcohol till they are tipsy before engaging in sex because in their sober minds they just cannot do it. Others use a number of chemicals available around the world that people use to stimulate extra desire and feelings as well as causing genital readiness for penetrative sex.
It is not for the doctor to judge how you manage your sexuality as long as the practice is within your values. If you choose to have chemsex, however, just be sure that you stay safe. Some of the chemicals people use have side effects that are harmful. In other cases, the sexual escapades in chemsex can expose one to infections such as HIV. Genital injuries have also been reported to happen.
In a number of cases, people have been reported to regret following chemsex. Stories are told of people waking up in the morning and wondering how they ended up having sex with someone they would never imagine doing it with. There have also been cases where people are accused of rape. The drive from chemicals and sometimes the effect of the chemicals on judgement can make one engage in sex without confirming that their sex mates have given consent.
“For me, the issue really is that I feel hollow”, John interjected, “I just do the sex to avoid another embarrassment with my in-laws but there is really no satisfaction.”
And John was also at the brink of alcohol addiction. He believed that he could not do without alcohol if sex was to happen. This is a problem that people involved in chemsex face all the time. If you believe, for example, that you must smoke weed for sex to happen, you may get hooked and end up with other social and even legal problems.
“So, that is why I am here,” John said. “I need to have sex without first getting tipsy or swallowing tablets or chewing some strange roots.”
After a thorough medical check, the diagnosis for John was obvious: his relationship with his wife was in bad shape. They needed couple therapy to repair the dysfunctional relationship and recreate emotional connection. When people are emotionally connected, their bodies begin to respond sexually. The inhibition goes and physical intimacy starts. Of course, this does not happen in a day. It may be many months before first signs of progress are noted. Patience, consistency and partner support are key for success to happen.
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