Sex Problems in Relationships and Marriages

Sex Problems in Relationships and Marriages

A significant portion of the problems encountered in the course of relationships in modern times arises from sex. Some of the most ubiquitous sex-related problems are due to infidelity, adultery or inadequate sexual satisfaction. This can be established by reading various publications on love and relationships, listening to relationship programs on the radio, watching TV programs and movies, observation and personal experiences. The problems presented by carnal desires have been manifested especially in contemporary times as people’s perceptions towards nudity and sexual freedom change. Again, this can be observed from basics such as changing trends in dressing and fashion or the evolution of music video production. In addition to the influence sex has on relationships, other social dimensions also arise; for instance, sexually transmitted infections and the need for sex education. Due to these problems, there arises the need to explore sex as a source of problems in relationships and the society in general.

One of the ways problems arise from sex is due to a modern conflict between Eros and sex. According to May, Eros is a desire in people that leads them to dedicate themselves to establishing noble and good lives.[1]Eros reaches for a union with another human being in passion and delight. Therefore, Eros is the basic motivation for relationships, marriages and general commitments between people. Sex, on the other hand, is viewed as a timidity of the organs that people aim to acquire a satisfying sexual experience via orgasms. Research has shown that sexual release makes a person go to sleep or disconnect from a partner bother physically and emotionally. In Eros, we aim for the opposite; creating a connection between ourselves and our partners. This conflict, according to research, is the leading cause of complications in love and relationships.

There has also been a misconception of the concepts of union, love and marriage and their connection to sex. The mortal desire for sexual satisfaction has been so much that human beings have erroneously believed that the goal of a love act is orgasm.[2] However, this is not the case. The truth is that the actual aim of desire is prolongation, and not instant satisfaction, as is usually misconceived. The need for sexual relieve is, therefore, high enough for people to momentarily disregard their social, relationship and marriage duties and commitments. Again, sex becomes the source of problems rather than unity between couples.

Closely connected to the concept of conflict between Eros and sex is the issue of lust. Lust, according to the reading mentioned above by May, can be more easily identified with sex rather than Eros.[3] This is characterized by the absence of an emotional connection between participants of a sexual act. Moreover, sex motivated exclusively by the need for sexual pleasure is classifiable as lust. This is hence the primary cause of problems in marriages and relationships. These comprise of adultery, unwanted pregnancies and sexual abuse. Moreover, lustful passions unequivocally contradict religious principles laid down by faiths such as Christianity, Islam and Buddhism.

Religion also highlights the evils that sex can present. According to religion, sex is a holy act that should only be enjoyed by married couples. God blessed sex as a way of advancing creation through procreation. There are, therefore, problems that arise when religious beliefs concerning sex are foregone. Sin is the resultant of this. For instance, fornication is a religious problem that occurs when couples engage in sexual relations before marriage. Adultery is also a sin that is highly discouraged. For instance, Christianity warns against adultery in the ten commandments. In more controversial matters, same-sex relations are sinful in arguably all religions. Despite this, the campaign for sexual freedom has been persistent in modern times. To compound the matter, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBTs) have increasingly been accepted in the modern world. This creates a large debate, especially on religious platforms. Many religions view same-sex relations as a way of scoffing at the God-given gift of sex.

The issue of religion brings forward the connection between sex and death. Becker argues that sex is a bodily desire; and that our bodies are destined to death.[4] This rhymes with the Biblical events that led to the ending of the paradisiac Garden of Eden reportedly due to the discovery of sex. According to Becker’s recollection of Otto Rank’s beliefs, the discovery of sex brought death into the world and for its compensation, sex also became necessary for procreation. Birth’s role was to counter death. Moreover, Becker links his arguments to Greek mythology wherein Eros and Thanatos are connected; sex is death’s twin brother. Due to this, sex fulfills man’s role as an animal among the species. Sex highlights the consciousness of man as a species and, therefore, representing the defeat of personality and individuality.[5] Since sex is the transmitter of human life, people understandably chafe at it as they hate being reduced to the morality and death.

Beauty is also linked to sex and the problems that arise in marriages and other commitments. Beauty is the most significant motivator of sexual relations. Therefore, loss of perceived beauty implies that the value of sex, and that of the relationship as a whole, is significantly diminished. Moreover, if a woman loses the dependability and strength that she had while establishing the union, it is expected that the investment that had been made in her by a man is undermined.[6] Loss of beauty casts a shadow of imperfection in someone’s life, thus the death of self-importance and cosmic heroism. This is the start of bitterness, tempers and recrimination in the family or relationship.

In modern days, relationship problems, most of which arise from sex, have increased the rate of divorces. Stone explains that the divorce rate in modern times has escalated to 50 percent.[7] Linking this to the thoughts of Becker implies that divorce is now the operational substitute for death.[8] Divorce symbolizes the death of passion, love and union. Both death and divorce are similar in that they depict a premature ending of holy matrimony. Despite the changing circumstances that bring about divorce, single-parent families and stepchildren are as common as they were in the past.[9]

Sex-related problems are also common causes of infidelity in the form of adultery. Sexual dissatisfaction of a partner within a marriage or relationship leads to the person seeking satisfaction from outside the relationship. Changing times have effected a changing perception of adultery. With the rise of gender equality in modern times, infidelity of either the man or the woman is frowned upon and is an often cause of separations. In traditional times, however, it was common for men to enjoy more freedom than their wives were in sexual terms. For instance, men would have several concubines or have sex with slaves without it being viewed as adultery. In comparison, modern marriages are characterized by monogamy. Extramarital sexual relations, when discovered, are likely to lead to disagreements and separation.

Infidelity leads to separation mainly because it is an embodiment of betrayed trust. Love is often depicted by allowing oneself to engage in sexual relations with another person. It is exemplary of submission, trust and affection. Tillich explains the ontology of love as a basic unity of three concepts: love, power and justice.[10] The romantic submission that a person shows by engaging in lovemaking is often a powerful force that holds loved ones together. This power, however, is betrayed when a person has sex outside of marriage or the relationship. Due to the pain of betrayal, there then arises the need for justice. This is manifested by hate, sometimes by revenge and often by breakups and divorces.

In addition to the problems that arise from infidelity and contravention of religious guidelines, more sex-related problems may arise from within the relationship. In modern times, it is true that young people are engaging more and more in premarital affairs. This may be due to a hesitance to commit to marriage due to the pursuance of higher education or advancement of careers. Nonetheless, courtship in modern times is widely characterized by sexual relations. These relations frequently lead to unplanned pregnancies. This is one of the most common sex-related problems among the youth. Pregnancy before marriage is especially detrimental to the education and early careers of the youthful population. Young women are forced to suspend educational and professional commitments to take care of the pregnancy and the baby. More significantly, however, is that couples who find themselves in these situations are often rushed into marriage, which is usually the best option for the baby.

In addition to forcing couples into early marriages, premarital sex leads to the socially controversial issue of abortion. As mentioned before, modern couples usually have long courtships and postpone marriage for years so that they pursue their careers and education. It is, therefore, a common decision for such couples to terminate a pregnancy that occurs during this courtship period for the perceived common good. This presents a social problem as people engage in debates on the evils and benefits of abortions. Nonetheless, religion assumes an unequivocal stance on abortion; a sin that contravenes the God-given duty to multiply and fill the earth. Additionally, abortion often leads to a rift between lovers thus jeopardizing the chances of self-realization, self-discovery and romantic love as suggested by Berger and Hansfried.[11]

Sex-related problems may also extend to the social front. For instance, contemporary times have seen the increase of sexually transmitted diseases. A good example is HIV/AIDS in the 1980s. This is a major problem for couples living in marriage, courtships and other relationships. People are compelled to adapt and change their sexual lifestyles in ways that are beneficial to them health-wise. In addition to sex presenting a problem within these relationships, the society is also affected in significant ways. The need for the society to adapt to individuals’ sex problems is highlighted when diseases such as AIDS are global disasters. Health and education sectors within the society have to adapt to counter these threats.

Unhealthy sexual relations in modern times have contributed to the establishment of countermeasures to deal with problems such as abortion, unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases. For instance, there has been an increased need for contraception and sexual protection via the use of condoms. Contraception has helped reduce instances of unwanted pregnancies and abortions. The efforts of contraception have been perpetuated in modern times as societies engage in sex education to reduce the sexual problems that affect not only individuals but also the communities these people live in. There is thus the need to educate people on the need for contraceptives, abstinence and fidelity.

Conclusively, it is evident that sex-related problems have plagued relationships and marriages extensively in contemporary times. Issues to do with unfaithfulness, adultery, unwanted pregnancies and abortions are all challenges that arise from sexual relations. Moreover, many of the problems mentioned contradict religious principles in almost all faiths. It has also been noted that sex-related problems among couples may also affect the society in various ways. Sex as a source of problems in relationships and marriages is, therefore, explored in this essay.


Top of Form

Becker, Ernest. The denial of death. Simon and Schuster, 2007.

Berger, Peter, and HansfriedKellner. “Marriage and the construction of reality.” Family: Critical Concepts in Sociology1 (2003): 256.

May, Rollo. Love and will. WW Norton & Company, 2007.

Stone, Lawrence. “Passionate attachments in the West in historical perspective.” Passionate attachments: Thinking about love (1988): 15-27.

Tillich, Paul. Love, power, and justice: Ontological analyses and ethical applications. Vol. 38. Galaxy Books, 1954. Bottom of Form

  1. May, Rollo, Love and will (WW Norton & Company, 2007), pp.74-75.


  1. May, Love and will, 75.
  2. , 74.
  3. Becker, Ernest, The denial of death (Simon and Schuster, 2007), 162.
  4. , 163.
  5. Becker, The denial of death, 167.
  6. Stone, Lawrence, “Passionate attachments in the West in historical perspective,” Passionate attachments: Thinking about love(1988): 180.
  7. Becker, The denial of death, 162.
  8. Stone, “Passionate attachments”, 181.
  9. Tillich, Paul, Love, power, and justice: Ontological analyses and ethical applications (Vol. 38. Galaxy Books, 1954), pp. 24-25.
  10. Berger, Peter, and Hansfried Kellner, “Marriage and the construction of reality,” Family: Critical Concepts in Sociology 1 (2003): pp.8-9.

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