I had a phone call a few days ago from a married lady who was extremely distressed that her busband has taken a second wife without even consulting her. When I spoke to him, his reasons for taking a second wife was that his first was constantly refusing sex and has done for many years. As far as he is concerned she was always making up excuses. He could not live without sex. They have several children together and he did not want to divorce his first wife as he still loved her.
I would like to share a few points on this topic of wife refusing sex. I know it is not so simple and there are always underlying issues that must be explored by the couple first before any drastic action is undertaken.
1. Many wives refuse sex because they have accumulated years of emotional neglect, left on their own without adequate appreciation or support for the tremendous amount of hard work they put in order to run a household, manage the children, meet the demands of the in-laws and other mess many husbands leave behind.
Many wives refuse sex because they find their husband too harsh, abrupt and unkind. They refuse sex because their husband are very selfish sexually and have hardly ever thought about pleasuring their wife. Its never mutual gratification for them, it is always his needs first.
They refuse sex because they are physically and emotionally drained. No amount of fatwa or threats would alter that reality. The only way this will change is when the husband learns a new approach and language and together they embark on creating a safe and secure space (sakeena) that provides emotional, physical and spiritual tranquility. They invest in creating a space that is full of love, mercy and compassion.
2. Sexual satisfaction isn’t just a physical gratification or ending of an urge but if fulfilled in the right environment it can provide spiritual and emotional perpetual state of psycho-spiritual arousal and gratification. Sexual gratification is a small sample of a heavenly pleasure, just like entrance to the heavens requires a state of total submission to God, sexual pleasure in this world requires the emotional and intimate connection between two human beings in a state of love and compassion. Or sex would become a mechanical function devoid of the heavenly experience. A Wife and husband should make an effort to be in a state of connectedness that makes sex a pleasure and not a chore leaving resentments.
3. It is OK to have sex less frequently as long as when you do have sex you take your time and make the moments qualitative. To have quality sex you must take time out from the hustle and bustle of life. Not a quickie here and there while the kids are walking around, the mother in law is calling the wife’s name and the men are too busy, only has 2 minutes, he has meetungs, sports, social with mates, football on TV or even lecture to deliver.
A wife is naturally the receiver of a husbands sexual approach and a husband is naturally the same to his wife especially in a loving and compassionate relationship. Arousing her takes a few moments of kindness, loving gestures and intimate and sensual touch. Some men mistaken this to mean groping the sexual parts of a woman. This is most off putting unless she is already feeling aroused and has invited touch there. Groping is animalistic but caressing is the true loving gesture. The entire body is there for the man and woman to appreciate and caress. Why just focus on the private parts. Don’t forget the wife has the same sexual rights over the husband!
Food, sex and children should never be used as a bargaining chip or punishment in a relationship. Adult relationship is based on clear communication and negotiation, not blackmail, threats or violence.
Quality and meaningful sex requires reflective relationship, safe and intimate space and compassionate approach. If a man can make those features part of the dialy reality a wife would hardly say no. And if a wife communicates her feelings and needs, agrees on resolutions and moves on instead of holding on to the past, the relationship will mature and deepen. A man should examine his approach to intimacy, instead of taking another wife may be these men need to learn how to satisfy their existing wife.
Ultimately the Quran gives a marvellous analogy of the garment when describing the mutuality in partnership between a man and woman in marriage, that it envelopes the married couple draping them in close intimacy, protecting them from all elements, shrouding them in a private and confidential embrace and beautifying them for mutual comforts and pleasures.
I have written a basic guide to “Love, Sex and Relationship” for you all to download and read. Please visit:
(c) Ajmal Masroor, Imam and freelance writer.
December 17, 2013