Sex Is The First Casualty Of 'Stressed' Relationships

Armen Hareyan's picture

Recent studies show that roughly 1 in 3 marriages end in divorce. More than half of married men and married women engage in extramarital sex at some time during their relationship. Is it a loss of passion, caring or love that is causing statistics like these to soar? Not at all, says self-mastery expert Patricia Wall. "Couples often mistakenly identify the root cause of what is troubling their relationships, and sadly -- and quite pointlessly -- that sends couples into a tailspin from which it's very hard to recover." Unfortunately, the end result is frequently divorce.

Although the first tangible symptom of a failing marriage is the loss of sexual activity, that loss is most often due to stress and not a loss of passion or love for the spouse, explains Wall, whose self-mastery workshops have been bringing renewed passion to people's relationships for 10 years. "Many marriages could be saved if people understood the true cause of their problems, Wall says. "In today's world that root cause is often stress."


Stress affects body chemistry, which changes the subliminal signals spouses are giving to each other. Instead of subliminal signals of attraction and desire, the signals become aggressive, or withdrawn -- cutting off the couple's ability to connect. Stress taints ordinary conversation with hostility and emotional distance that destroys desire and arousal. "In the simplest language," Wall observes, "women can't sense sexual interest, and men can't sense caring, when they are stressed."

Body chemistry triggers instincts, damaging interactions at a level the couple is not even aware of, Wall says. "To their conscious awareness it may look like being too busy, or too tired, or just irritable, but their primitive brain has a different perception that is damaging their marriage," she adds.

Surveys show that most people involved in failing relationships believe they have fallen out of love with their spouse, or their spouse no longer loves them or finds them desirable. According to Wall, this is a common misconception -- and a damaging one. The tension that builds around a husband or wife believing he or she is no longer desirable can set in motion a series of insurmountable challenges. "It's infinitely easier to talk through issues of stress than issues of loss of love or desirability," says Wall. "In so many instances, couples incorrectly identify the cause and then the communication ends because it's too painful to talk about loss of love, passion and caring."

"Broken emotional intimacy destroys physical intimacy," explains Wall. "Life is stressful, plain and simple. That stress drains your emotional energy so you're not connecting with your spouse -- and believe it or not, sex stems from connecting emotionally. Men always have trouble believing that. But it's true for guys, too," Wall adds.