Marriages without Sex (3)
By: Beth McHugh 2008
Today we conclude the story of Sue, the wife who only had sex with her husband on two occasions throughout the course of their marriage. This was specifically in order to have her two children and the times and dates of intercourse were meticulously planned in order to maximize her chances of conception.
After the birth of his second son, via Sue’s clandestine means, James found out that his wife’s reluctance to have sex was grounded in her childhood. Her father had raped her as a child and she now found the act of intercourse both fearful and repugnant. Yet she wanted her babies, too.
When James insisted she have therapy, Sue refused. Sue was a psychologist and her refusal to seek help for her sexual problems revolved around her fear of seeing another psychologist, and her business spread all over town. Of course, psychologists are bound to silence as part of their code of ethics, but Sue used it as an excuse. When James suggested she seek therapy in the nearest capital city, only two hours drive away, she still refused.
Childhood sexual abuse is a traumatic event which shapes the adult lives of many victims. It is easy to see why Sue had this problem. Yet as a psychologist she was turning a blind eye to the effect her refusal to seek help was having on her husband. James became depressed and threw himself into his business, which became very successful. But James was not happy. A deeply moral man, he had an affair. He was very happy for a time, but the guilt of cheating on his wife was taking its toll.
Just to make things worse, the woman he was having the affair with contracted cancer and died. James was a broken man. His children, now prepubescent, were noticing that things weren’t right in the family home.
After a final ultimatum, James left Sue. Yet he was not a happy man, unable to reason why his wife would sacrifice their marriage by not seeking help. Sometimes the pain of sexual abuse is very great. Yet Sue was dishonest in not telling James right from the start that she had a problem. She unwittingly used him to have children and present to the world a façade of a normal married life. She ignored her own training and refused to seek help.
James has gone on to marry and have two further children, although he is still haunted by the loss of his first wife, who he loved dearly. Sue remains single, unable to find another man willing to play by her rules.