Misusing Sex as Punishment or Reward
Power—or powerlessness—is usually what leads people to withhold sex or give out sex at their discretion. Some may want total control. Others find it is the only sense of control they have. Most times, a withdrawal from sex is only the tip of a problem.
When Sex Is Not Pleasurable
According to the Masters and Johnson Institute in St. Louis, Missouri, some couples do have problems of inhibited sexual desire. People should not force themselves to feel sexual any more than they should force themselves to enjoy a hot fudge sundae.
Today, very few people question anyone's right to decline sex, even in marriage. But, couples should be aware that when one partner has begun to withhold sex or give in to sex as a duty, there is something amiss in the relationship that must be addressed.
What to Do?
Even if sexual ploys garner the desired attention or win some other battle, the real problems go unsolved. Feelings of disappointment, anger, and frustration begin to take over. Sex, which should be enjoyable on a physical, emotional, and even spiritual level, is degraded.
For those who are tempted to use sex, it is important to stop and ask why. In many cases, couples will benefit from therapy to help them repair the relationship. This can be a good opportunity to work out unresolved issues. Many people will find that power struggles or definitions of roles from their own families are cropping up in the relationship.
The American Psychological Association
Mental Health America
Canadian Mental Health Association
Mental Health Canada
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