No Sex Marriage – Masturbation, Loneliness, Cheating and Shame | Maureen McGrath | TEDxStanleyPark


Translator: Vicky Lara Labaila
Reviewer: Denise RQ It’s been said if you never want
to have sex again, get married. (Laughter) Sex is one of the most contentious
issues in marriage today, second only to finances. There are many married couples that have not had sex
for months, even years, and that’s OK as long as they are OK
with it and happily married. The problem arises when one person
in the relationship wants sex, and the other doesn’t. According to a national newspaper survey
of approximately 10,000 respondents – mostly married men – 75% were satisfied in their relationship, but more than 50%
were dissatisfied with their sex lives. We are having sex
– don’t get me wrong – we are just having sex at the wrong time,
and with the wrong people; I’ll get to that later. (Laughter) We are having sex before we get married,
ten years on average, so we are effectively
in a long-term relationship and potentially, quite sexually bored
before we even mess up the marital bed. And that has its consequences. Most brides today do not have sex
on their wedding nights, and 50% of men would not
have married their spouse had they known their marriage
was going to be sexless. So, everybody wants to know just how much sex
are married people having whether they are in heterosexual
relationships or same-sex unions. You all want to know what’s going on
at the Joneses; well, not much. (Laughter) Only about 7% of married couples
set the sheets ablaze. Most married couples have sex a little bit more than once a week
for the first decade of their marriage. It decreases after that. So they have sex about 58 times a year. And 20% of marriages meet the criteria
as a sexless marriage, and that, defined by the experts,
is sex less than ten times a year. So why aren’t we having sex
in our marriages? There’s a little-known
chemical in the brain conveniently called PEA or ‘PEA, ‘ and it’s responsible for the elation,
the excitement, and the euphoria that you feel when you meet somebody
that you are sexually interested in. It’s a fantastic feeling. This chemical is gorging
through your blood vessels. You are so happy; that’s
how powerful this little chemical is. But what happens after two years is that chemical diminishes
as does sexual frequency. That’s just about the time you might get married
or may have conflict in your relationship, and that is why communication
is key to great sex. There is another reason we are not having sex
in our relationship, and that has to do
with the sex education that we provide. I’d like to share a story about myself. When I was a teenager, my mother
came racing into my bedroom, and she said, “Maureen, please, tell me you have not allowed a boy
to French-kiss you.” She was feeling terrible
that the sex education came a bit late. And I was feeling horrifically guilty,
as an Irish Catholic girl, that I’d French-kissed a number of boys (Laughter) by that stage. We teach girls and women that sex is dirty,
and sex is bad, or it’s over rated. We say, “You’re just going to get
a sexual-transmitted infection anyway,” or, “You may get pregnant!” This whole fear-base thing
frightens women from enjoying sex, and we never talk about pleasure
or orgasm with girls and women. And in fact, some women say,
“Orgasm’s not important,” and that the journey is just as good
as the destination. I disagree. (Laughter) Of course. I am the one who French-kissed
all the boys, as an Irish Catholic girl. (Laughter) (Applause) It’s like getting on a train
with your lover, and you are going to the most pleasurable
place on the planet. You are so excited. You are getting lubed up with all
the free drinks they are giving you. This is amazing! And just before you reach
your destination, he gets off, and you don’t. (Laughter) You get my point. (Laughter) (Applause) The sex education
we have for boys and men: that’s entirely different. It’s a global program, it’s free,
it’s accessible to everybody, and it’s known as internet pornography. Fantastic! And it does nothing to teach
men and boys about intimacy which is really important to men and boys, or how to make love to anybody. Also, we have a paucity of information
about sexual health for LGBTQI community, and we need to add to that. Marriage can rapidly go
from a holy matrimony to holy hell with the finances, the kids,
the houses, the illness. I mean, you may have signed up
for sickness and health, but that was long before
you’d ever witnessed a man cold. (Laughter) And… (Laughter) And how about that richer or poorer thing? Ladies, we are going to have
to start going for richer. Most women today are working
inside and outside of the home. We are doing the lion’s share
of the housework because according to research,
men don’t feel they are that good at it. And we are bridging the gap between growing children
and aging parents. We are exhausted doing it all
and never doing it. And when we are doing it,
we are checking our smartphones. 10% of people check
their smartphones during sex (Laughter) 35% immediately afterward. We are connected to the Internet (Laughter) (Cheers) (Applause) We are connected to the Internet
and disconnected from our would-be lovers. Maybe this is the reason that the most common sex position
for married couples is doggy style. No, no, no! It’s not what you’re thinking. Get your minds out of the gutter. This is the one where he is
on all his fours and begs, and she plays dead. (Laughter) I have a clinical practice where I see
patients that have sexual dysfunction, and there are two questions
that I ask everybody. The first one is,
“Are you sexually active?” It’s obvious. When I ask women,
they never say yes or no – well, they never say yes – but they never say yes or no. They say, “Sometimes,” “Sort of,” “I am not sure,” “He is” (Laughter) or they say, “I am married.” I say, “Well, that means no to me.” They say, “Yes, sure. Right. it is no.” Most men complain
that women never initiate sex. The reason for this
is because, once again, the sex education we provide to women. Women falsely believe that female sexual interest, desire,
precedes sexual activity, when in actuality, it is sexual activity that prompts
sexual interest and desire. Sexual arousal emerges
as a result of sexual activity. So, you guys, I know,
intimacy is important to you. The most important question
that reflects this, that I receive from you, is, “How much masturbation
is too much masturbation?” (Laughter) So, I just say, “Well,
as long as you can go to work (Laughter) you should be fine.” And then I realize that that’s perhaps
all that what you are doing at work. (Laughter) So, I know intimacy is important. You want to come home,
and you want to make love to your wife if you are in a heterosexual relationship. So after a long
and quite possibly very hard day, you come home to a bit of chaos, perhaps, but you’ve just got sex on the mind,
and she says, “Did you remember the milk?” And you are like,
“Darn! The milk! I forgot the milk!” Don’t beat yourselves up about it; if not for the milk, we have Facebook, hormones,
“I am feeling a little tired tonight,” “My stomach is sticking out, I am feeling
kind of fat, can’t do it tonight,” “Didn’t we have sex last month?” And you are like,
“That was actually last year!” (Laughter) You don’t get it.
I mean, literally, you don’t get it. But you’re like, “She is amazing,
she works in and outside of the home,” “She does a great job
with the kids,” “She volunteers,” She even has time for girls’ nights out. So, I brought a friend home
after one such girls’ night out. As we approached her house, drove up,
she looked up to her bedroom window, she saw that the lights were on,
and she said, “Argh! Donny is waiting up for me.
Do me a favor. Drive around the block a few times (Laughter) until the light goes out.” I said, “Listen! You get in there
and make love to your husband, before somebody else does.” Because that is one thing
that will increase a woman’s sexual desire when someone else wants her man. Still unconvinced, she said, “I decided to extol
the health and beauty benefits that sex has for a woman: a youthful glow, better sleep,
wrinkle-free skin. Keep driving,” she said. (Laughter) There is a device that will increase
anybody’s sexual desire, and that happens to be
the Mercedes-Benz 4matic convertible SL (Laughter) and it comes in 64 colors. But if that doesn’t do it, the desire to have a baby will rev up
any woman’s sex drive. The problem is having that baby
is likely to kill it along with any marital eroticism
a couple may have had because a lot of people believe motherhood and being sexual
is incongruous. John followed me on Linkedln for two years
before he mustered up the courage to make an appointment
about his sexless marriage. He’d been married for seven years, and they had never
consummated the relationship. Their parents were pressuring them
to have children because they wanted grandchildren. When they came into my clinical practice, the second question that I ask everybody
that enters my clinical practice, most unfortunately, is, “Have you ever experienced sexual abuse
or unwanted sexual advances as a child?” This was the first time
this gentleman had learned that his wife had experienced
sexual abuse, as a six-year-old, at the hands of her best friend’s father. She thought sex was dirty, she hated sex. We need a worldwide moratorium
on ending sexual violence on our children, boys and girls,
because it happens to both. (Applause) Healing from sexual abuse
takes a lifetime. Ella had lived a lifetime. A widow, she said she wasn’t
sexually active, but she hoped to be. I thought, “Fantastic!
Somebody is going to have sex here!” But she said, “The problem, Maureen, is that these old guys
can’t get it up anymore.” I said, “Well, Ella, you might have
to go for a younger guy.” She said, “What’s younger
when you are 84?” (Laughter) “70?” (Laughter) “Yes,” some of you are saying. The hard truth is that men in their 30s and 40s
may experience erectile dysfunction. Ella is going to have to go
for a millennial. (Laughter) So you are all probably thinking,
“What’s the big deal? Why treat my erectile dysfunction?” Well, I liken the penis to a plane. If the pilot can’t get
the plane up in the air and keep the plane
in the air for the entire trip, it’s probably a problem with the engine. So if you can’t get your penis up and keep it up
for the entire sexual experience, there’s likely a problem with your engine. Well, that’s your heart. Erectile dysfunction
is the canary in the coal mine, and it may signify cardiovascular disease. It may also indicate diabetes. So, these two medical conditions, in addition to low testosterone,
stress, substance use and abuse, excessive alcohol consumption,
unresolved conflict, financial issues, all of those may contribute
to low sexual desire, and you may end up in a sexless marriage. George presented to my clinical practice: at age 40, he decided to settle down. He was marrying a beautiful
and accomplished woman in a few months. There’s only one problem: George was gay! (Laughter) George could not bear to tell
his family that he was gay, because he felt it would have
shamed the entire family. I said, “George, you are going to end up
in a sexless marriage!” He said, “Tell me something I don’t know!” So, George said to me his plan was this, “Well, when my parents die,
I’m then going to divorce this woman, and I’m going to marry
the man that I love.” I said, “George,
you are not thinking straight!” (Laughter) Sex is the barometer
of the state of affairs in a marriage. People who live in sexless marriages
report feeling frustrated, unloved, undesirable, unattractive,
and the worst of all, lonely. And loneliness has been shown
to increase vascular resistance, elevate blood pressure,
and lead to an early death. You are more likely to die from loneliness than you are from obesity
or excessive alcohol consumption. When I educate women, and I say, “If you are not having sex
with your husband, someone else may,” they get upset, and they say that I am blaming women
for men’s bad behavior, when in actuality,
I am doing a community service. You see? Men in sexless marriages cheat
to remain in that marriage, in general. And women cheat
to leave a sexless marriage. And women cheat, too.
Nobody ever thinks we do. We are just sneakier about it,
we just don’t get caught. (Laughter) Or socialize very differently. This is one thing we have on you, guys. (Laughter) Women cheat with other men,
and women cheat with other women. And technology has made cheating
accessible for everybody: from the politician
to the stay-at-home parent. That quick swipe right can lead
to an online passionate love affair; from texting to sexting,
to secret phone conversations. The more two people communicate online, the more likely
an in-person encounter will occur. But you can always blame your genes. The gene DRD4
has been isolated in cheaters. And the sexless marriage’s just
the environment to turn on that gene. It’s based on a system
of pleasure and reward. The stakes are high,
the rewards, substantial. It is the perfect cocktail
to turn that love drug back on, PEA, and the cycle begins again. Historically, marriage was
not based on mutual love But rather it was an institution
to acquire, of all things, in-laws, property, and physical labor. But at the turn
of the 20th century, in America, egalitarian ideals and the emerging
Hollywood movie industry burdened marriages
with promising romantic love forever. And now we are living forever.
Fantastic! Congratulations! You get to have sex with the same person
for the rest of your life! The second most common question
that I hear from patients is, “When does sex end?” A 44-year-old asked me; he said,
“When does sex end, Maureen? 65?” I answered him this way,
“A 22-year-old asked me, ‘When does sex end, Maureen? 35?’
Everybody is older, until you get there.” I am here to tell you that sex never ends. If you are healthy, you can have (Cheers) (Applause) If you are healthy, you can have a great sex life
well into your 80s and 90s. Sex is good for you. Sex is healthy. Yet, sex is shrouded in shame. In the ancient aristocracies, the wealthy men had courtesans for pleasure
and concubines for quick sex. In the way we are going,
computers will be our concubines; internet pornography,
our mistress of the day. Technology is fast replacing
human connection at high speed. So, how do you rev up
the sexless marriage? Sex is about blood flow, it’s exercise. Everyday, you want
to have a daily workout. It increases your agility, your stamina. Women will experience
more sexual sensation when blood is flowing to the genitalia. It also helps to treat
erectile dysfunction. Also, get help for any of the sexual
dysfunctions you may have. Vaginal dryness is an issue
that happens to women who are on the oral contraceptive pill,
who are breastfeeding, perimenopausal, postmenopausal, and there are treatments for you. Pay more attention to your spouse
than you do to your smartphone. Spend more time in your bedrooms
than you do in your boardrooms, or your bedrooms
are going to become boardrooms. (Laughter) Deal with your marital issues. Go to sleep in the same bed,
at the same time, and don’t bring anything or anyone
into your marriage, except for a great sex toy
and a darn good sex therapist. (Laughter) You must establish guidelines that govern those moments
when you are struck by someone’s attractiveness
outside of your marriage. But don’t think for a second that you have to have sex
with the same person for the rest of your life. That’s not what I mean. In your mind, that is, fantasy is key. Your brain is your largest sex organ. And one more thing: I would like
to leave you all off with a bang: (Laughter) settle all marital arguments
in the bedroom, naked. (Cheers) (Laughter) (Applause)

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