Atelier Diva: Work, Play, Love
Bringing Sexy Back
December 22, 2021 COMMENT comment
Bringing Sexy Back
By Divya Sreedharan
Samar and Mita* are the quintessential high-flying couple. Extremely motivated and driven, they clock long hours at their IT (information technology) firms, fly in and out of Mumbai nearly every other week, and spend months at onsite projects. They earn well – she adores her Hermes scarves, he collects luxury watches. They live very well – just not together. Separated by different time zones and geographies, this couple in their late twenties connect only over mail, or video chat. They hardly get any time together. So what about physical intimacy? "There isn't any. I call such couples the 'Hi-Bye' generation, the kind that invariably meets only at airports," says Dr Padmini Prasad, Bangalore-based sexologist and gynaecologist. Dr Prasad is in a unique position – being a qualified sexologist and marriage counselor as well as a gynaecologist/obstetrician, couples come to her from all over India, "from Kashmir to Kanyakumari" . Most often they come complaining of infertility. "But when they talk, the root cause is mostly lack of sexual or physical intimacy," she explains.
From depression to even divorce
Why is it that in this always-on world, urban couples who spend hours 'connecting' with friends, acquaintances, family, end up being distant in real life? The reasons could be either by choice (because the couple feel they are incompatible) or because of circumstances beyond their control (for instance, if both work in highly demanding jobs). Sometimes, the reason can be more deep-rooted, points out Malini Krishnan, a psychologist at Inner Space, a Mumbai-based centre for counselling and psychological assessment. In an article about “lack of sexual desire among couples”, Krishnan explains that one of the partners could avoid sex either because of his or her upbringing (parents' attitude to sex), negative sexual experiences, poor body image or even fear of sex (for instance, a woman may dislike sex because the experience is painful for her).
Whatever the cause, effects tend to be manifold. A recent research shows there is a link between marital depression and lack of intimacy. Worse, the resulting stress can end up with one or both of the partners developing acidity, hypertension, diabetes and so on, cautions Dr Prasad. Further, if the cracks in the relationship are not healed on time, the marriage can even end in acrimony.
Intriguingly in March this year, the Delhi High Court noted that lack of sex among married couples is becoming an "undeniable epidemic", due to the pressure of urban living conditions on couples. And a recent news report stated that more and more women cite "sexual dissatisfaction" as their reason for seeking a divorce.
Make up, not break up
So how can couples work past this problem? It depends on the situation, says Dr Prasad. "Many men and women from middle-class backgrounds are highly educated, but lack basic life skills and knowledge. Unfortunately, they know nothing about having a healthy sexual, fulfilling relationship," she points out. Here are some cases she has encountered:
Case study 1: Denying sex is an ego issue
She is a well-paid software engineer, he is a lecturer. He dislikes that she earns more, so wants her to quit her job. She tries her best to manage home, but he is not happy and so he deliberately berates her. There is no intimacy at all. "The wife is going through depression. The husband remained unaffected. He, in fact, told me he feels women should take care of the home. I told him he must change his thinking and accept the situation," says Dr Prasad. The couple is still in counselling.
Case Study 2: Lack of knowledge about sex
In a world where sexually explicit and pornographic material is available at the click of a mouse, can a marriage stay unconsummated? Yes, it can, says Prasad. A couple had been married for five years – he is a software engineer, she a housewife. "Nobody had told them about sex and he was too embarrassed to ask friends or family. So there was no sex in the marriage. When I explained about sexual positions and so on, he actually fainted in my clinic! Now the couple has two children," smiles Dr Prasad.
Case Study 3: No time to be together
What can a couple like Samar and Mita do? "I tell such couples they must switch off from the outside world, from smart phones and laptops. Relaxation techniques – meditation, yoga and so on can help. I tell them to take leave from work to spend time together," says Dr Prasad. Intimacy, both physical and emotional, is one of the most beautiful aspects of a healthy relationship. But both partners need to work at it – to communicate, to live in the moment and most importantly, to feel the love.
* names changed
• Cheat on work. Take two days off work, together
• Spring a surprise – book a weekend at a heritage getaway or spa resort
• Hide his or her smartphone, laptop
• Arrange for children to be with their grandparents, so you can be alone with each other
• Get physically close for frequent cuddles, it’ll set pulses racing
• Buy lingerie, see a naughty movie

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