A lot of people are visiting psychiatrists for a solution to solve their sexless marriages. Surprisingly, this isn’t a very ‘Indian’ problem, but a worldwide phenomenon, according to a study.
Payal and Dev Kapoor (names changed) were there for a problem which is less discussed among couples. Both in their early thirties got married about four years ago. The Kapoor’s have been going for vacations and living together like any other couple, but have not had sex.
Dr. Anjali Chhabria, a consulting psychiatrist in Mumbai and founder of Mind temple was visited by a young couple about a month ago. “Sexless marriages in India are becoming common nowadays. I meet many such couples. Payal was a little over-weight, while Dev was fit. This affected them so much that doctors advised to have sex during a particular time of the month. Yet nothing really worked because sex can’t be scheduled or timed,” said Dr. Chhabria.
“Body shaming and low self-esteem are real problems in our country. Earlier, there was certain suspense around sex. Now, the aura around sex has disintegrated,” she added.
In a surprising turn of events, sexless marriages and sexless youths are increasing all around the world. Various studies across the world point out at increase in the sexless marriages owing to a low self-esteem and body shaming or porn addiction.
A study released in February 2017 said, Japan family planning association found that nearly half of married couples had not had sex for more than a month and did not expect that to change in the near future – the association’s definition of a “sexless” marriage.
The data on married couples were among the findings of a wider survey of 3,000 people aged between 16 and 49 conducted at the end of last year. The association received responses from more than 1,200 people, including 655 married men and women. A record high 47.2% of married men and women said they were in sexless marriages, up 2.6 percentage points from the previous poll in 2014, the association said, and significantly higher than the 31.9% recorded when it conducted its first survey of the nation’s bedroom habits in 2004.
Sexlessness seems like a real problem even in India, according to experts. “I attend to this lady who is 36 years old now. She does have ideas of erotic pleasure, undoubtedly. But she wants to be single because she doesn’t want to complicate things in her life,” said Dr Harish Shetty, consulting psychiatrist at LH Hiranandani Hospital, Mumbai. People do not want to have sex due to various reasons ranging from health worries like getting infections to avoid any emotional complications further on, explained Dr Shetty.
For a doctor with a Padmashri in sexual medicine dealing with the issue of a sexless marriage is an ugly leitmotif. “About 10% of referred cases I meet on a routine are about sexless marriages. The fear of bad performance or satisfaction is some causes of sexless marriages in India,” said Dr. Prakash Kothari, Padmashri and consultant sexologist.
Porn addiction is highly to be blamed say some experts. “In the 70’s and 80’s, sex was a subject of limited knowledge. There was no question of having perfect bodies or longer duration of intercourse on the fore. But with this over-exposure, there is a kind of expectation from oneself and the partner. To avoid the worry about failing expectations, most people choose to be away from sex,” added Dr. Chhabria.
Another study in the USA said people are having 15% less sex now, than they did about 20 years ago. Various factors affect the frequency of sexual activity, including age, longer working hours, fatigue and increased use of pornography, reportedly.
“Body shamming is increasing due to pornography. It’s more among women owing to proliferation of pornography. Among men, it’s about stamina. People are looking to satisfy themselves by masturbating or so without having to commit to anybody. This means they are satisfying themselves sexually, but not by having sex,” said Dr Mundada, consulting psychiatrist at KEM hospital and youth wing president, of Indian Medical Association (IMA), Maharashtra chapter.