‘A woman may not be able to have sex with her husband because of sound reasons and not simply because she does not want’
How important is sex in marriage?
It is very central in any marriage. Not only does it bring partners closer, it is also a medicine and therapy. It can be very enjoyable when the children have not yet come into the picture, because at that time, the couple is so in love and free with each other. But when a woman gets pregnant, that alone can take a toll on her to the point of rejecting sex and the same applies to when the baby arrives. One has to sympathise with women who have to balance their parenting roles with their wife, household and career obligations. It is not that easy and the men should understand. The solution should not be for them to seek sex with other women. They should instead talk openly to their wives about how they feel.
What triggers off sex?
A man’s urge for sex can be triggered off by anything they see, feel or touch, while for women, it is activated by love and emotion. In case a woman’s mind has been poisoned in anyway, it becomes difficult for her to have sex. The problem I have with some men, though is that they think that having sex is just a matter of releasing tension on their wives and afterwards sleeping off. They believe that it is just a matter of diving into the woman as if they are climbing a horse.
What’s your take on out-going Gender minister Mary Karooro Okurut’s remarks that denying your husband sex without a sound reason like sickness is denying your husband his rights?
Her advice does not help women. In the first case, a woman may not be able to have sex with her husband because of sound reasons and not simply because she does not want. It may be because of poor advances. Men have a tendency of forcefully luring their wives even after being with other women. Even when the wife tries to explain to him why she cannot fulfill his wish, he will not listen but rather force himself on the wife and rape her. Men take women like some sort of sexual objects, which should not be the case. They have to learn to make their wives wilfully submit to them in a more civilised manner.
And how should men do that? I mean, make their wives submit to them in a much more civilised manner?
By executing their role as husbands. From time to time, they should, for instance, be able to take their wives out for dinner or call them during the day to ask how they are doing. By doing such things, it becomes very easy for the woman to submit to the man. But these things of working 24 hours from Monday to Sunday without having any time for your wife and at the end of the day, you go demanding for sex is unfair and inconsiderate on their part.
Is that all they should do?
Of course, there are other things they should do, such as saying thank you whenever their wives do something nice for them. If your wife, for example, cooks for you a nice homemade meal, applaud her for putting in her time and effort. Those small little nice things (obutonotono) that men do for their wives are the ones that make them easily submissive.
Whose role is it to initiate sex in marriage?
Anyone who feels like having it should ask. Women, however, are not always comfortable initiating it because of the cultural norms that dictate that the men should make the first move. But the situation has changed in these modern days. I have seen women going ahead to propose to men, which I think is a fine thing.
In case you see a man who is a good potential husband, why not ask him to marry you? The only problem with this is that many men would run as fast as their legs would take them if a woman asked them to become their husbands. It is out of this fear of losing out that they let men make the first move.
How about instances where the husband is not in the mood of having sex?
It can be due to various reasons, including tension, problems at work and financial constraints. The other reason could be that the man has a nagging wife back home. In fact, there is a proverb somewhere in the Bible that mentions that it is better to live on the corner of the roof than share a house with a nagging wife. Just imagine an exhausted man coming back home from work and without even asking him how his day was, the nagging wife goes ahead to shout and bark at him. I urge women to stay away from this vice. Such behaviour has an effect of repelling the man.
Whom should couples go to for advice whenever they are having sex-related issues in their marriage?
The couple should in the first place be able to discuss their issues transparently with each other. I disagree with these cultural norms that limit women from expressing themselves on sexual matters. A woman should be able to say them out freely. If this does not work, then I would advise them to go and talk to a qualified religious clergy man to offer them counselling.
The women can also talk to women in their various associations, such as the mother’s union and church groups to solicit solutions on a particular issue that they may be facing in their marital sex life.
Your definition of conjugal rights is…..
A husband and wife enjoying sexual interactions and relations in their marriage as a result of the love and affection they have for each other.
CAN DENYING SEX CAUSE DOMESTIC VIOLENCE?
“There are many other major issues in a marriage that can bring about domestic violence and sex is not really one of them. Besides, from most of the stories I have heard about domestic violence, sex is not mentioned as the major cause. Most times, it is because of other reasons, including a partner’s bad attitude,”
Grace Nakimera, ARTISTE
“Sex happens to be one of the major reasons people get married and if it is not handled well, quarrels and fights may easily erupt, therefore leading to domestic violence,”
Clara Kokunda, Monitoring and Evaluation Assistant uhmg
“Sex is a key factor that brings couples together, therefore when a partner denies the other sex for whatever reasons, they can easily lash out in anger. And in the end, a couple ends up arguing, quarrelling or even engaging in a physical fight because they have been denied sex,”
Edith Baganda, Entrepreneur
‘Sex for many women is priority number nine or 10, after gardening but for men, sex is consistent as number one concern’
What is your definition of conjugal rights?
In the context of marriage, conjugal rights refer to sexual relations between a husband and his wife. When they come together, they do give erotic services, intimacy or expressions of sexual nature. The sexual need is rendered by the wife to her husband and vice versa. That is what conjugal rights is all about.
Out-going Gender minister Mary Karooro Okurut recently discouraged women from denying their husbands conjugal rights, saying lack of it breeds domestic violence. What is your response to that?
It is true some women are denying their husbands sex because they listen to certain feminists who sometimes say if men do not give them what they want, they should be denied sex. This is dangerous. You could have disagreements on many other issues, for instance, where to send your children to school but that should not enter the area of conjugal expression.
Sexual denial and refusal can even spark violence. People have killed themselves because of this. A man is designed with testosterone, a strong aggressive hormone to desire the need of sexual satisfaction and if this is denied and not met from their partner, it creates a level of frustration that is even difficult for people to understand.
Does this mean that you support what she said?
We actually need more people speaking like this so that women understand and do not ignore this fact. When Karooro brought this out, I think she was aware and in touch with what is happening in marriages.
How important is sex in marriage?
Sex is very important. There is a real physical hunger for sexual intimacy and it is biochemical; driven by a combination of hormones, including testosterone that kicks off the drive, the adrenaline that creates the vigour it drops into the body system and it creates energy, causes the heart to beat faster, makes the blood run from the north to the south.
Sex is what makes couples bond together. Sex also alleviates stress and creates harmony in a marriage. Couples who do not have sex in marriage tend to have a difficult relationship.
And whose role is it to often initiate sex in the marriage?
There is no specific person to initiate sex in the marriage. The husband or wife can do it.
Is it true that women are not as much interested in sex as the men?
Indeed, most times, women are not in the mood of having sex and it is necessary for them to cultivate the mood for it. Their most desires instead are companionship, love and loyalty.
The previous surveys have actually hinted that sex for many women is priority number nine or 10, soon after gardening but for men, sex is consistent as their number one main concern. Nevertheless, with or without the mood, it is necessary to recognise that your spouse has a real biological need for sexual relation. Wives need to understand that the urge their husbands have for sex is a sign of sexual hunger and malnutrition, a sense in which it creates a lot of stress and needs to be handled.
What if the man is not in the mood for sex?
Whenever this happens, the wives begin suspecting that their husbands may probably be sleeping with other women and yet this may not be the case. His lack of interest in sex may be because there is a fundamental issue in the relationship or in the health of the man.
Is there a point in marriage where the urge for sex simply burns out?
Yes, there are times in any marriage where the urge for sex may die out, especially during the times of stress, sickness, financial distress, depression, guilt or conflict. It is important that such issues are dealt with once they arise.
Who should couples talk to in case they are having sex-related issues in their marriage?
Couples can go and talk to the pastoral clerical leadership of marriage and counsellors in the church. There are also cultural relationship experts commonly known as Ssengas, who can be of help.
The other alternatives could be talking to your best man or matron. Remember, it is important to find someone who is mature and knowledgeable about relationships to guide you. Otherwise, watching pornography or reading tabloids is not a remedy for these kinds of issues.
CAN LACK OF SEX IN MARRIAGE CAUSE
“Sex cannot be the major cause of domestic violence in a marriage. It is used as a cover up of other silent difficulties a couple may be facing in their marriage such as financial constraints,”
Bruce Nabaasa, medical Lab Coordinator
“Yes, sex can be a major cause of domestic violence in a marriage. For example, if a couple is having sex-related issues in their marriage, one partner may start pointing at the other as the cause and at the end of the day, this can prompt a fight between the two, hence domestic violence,”
Paul Busingye, computer scientist
“Sex is one of the things that suffer most when a couple gets married. This is because the couple gets too comfortable with each other and does not really regard it as a priority as before when they were dating. This can bring frustration in the marriage. This is when you begin hearing of stories such as of a wife pouring hot water on her husband with allegations that he might be getting the sex from elsewhere,”
Philip Luswata, actor and movie director
Compiled by Esther Oluka