This comment interested us because it seemed to indicate an unfortunate but common marital problem. She keeps talking, but he stopped listening. He may feel like the ju nior partner and since she "always has to be right," he believes there is no room for his opinion or feelings. At this point, negative communication appeals to her more than none at all. The problem is there's no real conversation going on here. Her plan is to keep speaking until she gets him to agree with her—she's desperate for his understanding and support—and this is unlikely because, to him, it's all nagging and he tuned out long ago. His plan is to communicate silently, by withholding sex. Couples need to learn how to discuss their issues with respect, and to really listen to each other. She has to begin by trying to explain what's really bothering her, and he has to try to slow down, stop, and hear what she's saying.
"I'm just plain mad. I do so much more around the house than my father ever did: I vacuum, wash dishes, do the laundry, and change the diapers. I want what women have been saying they want for years, thanks and respect. I want to feel wanted. And until I get it, there isn't going to be any sex." (Male, 50s)
We strongly believe egalitarian marriages work best, and we also think partners should thank each other for doing those little, usually unpleasant, boring, and, yes, thankless, jobs. This guy feels not only unappreciated, but unwanted. Sadly, he has become a twenty-first century-male Lysistrata, withholding sex until his personal battle for respect is won.
"For my own amusement, I took to counting the seconds between arriving home from work every day and the first negative comment. It was generally significantly less than a minute." (Male, 50s)
Most men tie their self- worth into two things: their sexuality and their jobs. Unfortunately for them, this is the very foundation of their validation, and it easily gets cracked and eroded. If a woman shows a man no passion (in spite of the fact that he may not have any himself ), he will feel rejected, and the rejection will, often, turn into anger, apathy, or depression. A little bit of fl attery might go a long way in the situation described in the previous quote, but any kind of positive reinforcement tends to be one of the first things to exit from an anger- based marriage. What remains is an emotional void, a relationship where intimacy becomes foreign and distasteful, and not to be trusted because the risk is far greater than the reward. An angry man may be a raging bull, or he may just sit quietly, secretly consumed by fury.
No Erection = No Sex
Forty percent of men over the age of 40 suffer from impotence at least on occasion, and the percentage increases with age. It is estimated that more than 30 million men in the United States have this problem. Certain medical conditions, such as hypertension, diabetes, and obesity, can result in diffi culty getting or maintaining an erection. Depression and anxiety can have the same result, as can many and various medications (including some used for treating depression and anxiety).