What Are Your Thoughts On Dan Savage's Take On Sexless Marriage?

I hate to disagree, Dan, but you missed the mark when you wrote this: “When we marry, we’re signing up to **** someone at least semiregularly for decades. Not interested in *******? Don’t marry.”

Dan, people marry for many, many reasons. Sex is only one of them, and sometimes it isn’t even high on the list—or on the list at all. Family, friendship, stability, love, someone to grow old with, and on and on. Your surprisingly narrow description of what marriage means needs some rethinking.

Thanks for your work,

Cacilda Jethá, MD


I’m willing to concede that I left an important subordinate clause out of the sentence that riled you, Cacilda: “When we marry, we’re signing up to **** someone at least semiregularly for decades, among other things…”

Marriage can be about all the things you list, Cacilda, but so long as sexual exclusivity is presumed to be a part of marriage—a defining part, according to the right-wingers—spouses have a right to expect sexual activity within their marriages. People who are interested in marriage but not sex—people whose lists only include family, friendship, stability, love, someone to grow old with, and on and on, but not sex—need to inform their prospective spouses of their disinterest in sex before marrying, not after.

As I’ve said a million times before: If you don’t think that sex is what marriage is all about, mostly about, or even partly about, if sex is something you can live without, that’s grand. But you need to marry someone who feels the same way or inform your betrothed of your disinterest well in advance. And if you lose interest in sex after you marry but want your partner to stick around for the family and stability and friendship and the rest of it, I’ll let you in on a little secret: The spouse is likelier to stick around for that crap if you give the spouse permission to get his or her sexual needs met elsewhere.

It never ceases to amaze me how many people who aren’t interested in sex—who consider sex to be trivial and unimportant—nevertheless deny their frustrated partners permission to do this trivial, unimportant thing with others.

Dan Savage (mail@savagelove.net)
SoulApocrypha SoulApocrypha
36-40, M
4 Responses Mar 21, 2009

But, yes, to get to the point: If we entered marriage with the expectation that we would eventually eschew any of the other factors, such as family, financial support, etc., it would be fair and reaonable to reveal that. Sex is something that people --some of us, anyway-- need, and marriage binds us to a sole provider for that need. To ignore that or to consider it immaterial is ingenuousness at its worst.

Hello Dan,<br />
<br />
It's not a subordinate clause. It's not a clause at all. It's a prepositional phrase.

My husband dropped sex soon after marriage. Don't think it was deliberate, but he had issues with his mother that he seemed to transfer to me after our first kid. And then he went on Prozac for 20-odd years and the sex stopped. I'm with Savage, but it isn't likely that anyone I know thinks that they will give it up in advance.<br />
<br />
I hear a lot more women than men complaining about this btw.

Thanks Dan for shwoing this so called MD for what she really is, another woman pushing for women to abuse their husbands by denying them sex. You have proven the adage that sex is like air. No big deal until you aren't getting any.