A bond with my bestie is big­gest prize

Sunday Mirror - - SAIRAKHAN -

I was thrilled to be highly com­mended in this year’s Di­ver­sity in Me­dia Jour­nal­ist of the Year award at the Hil­ton Wal­dorf in Lon­don.

I had to pinch my­self when I re­alised I was in the same room as big names like Lily Allen and Diane Ab­bott.

My best friend Joanna was my ‘plus one’. We met when we were 11 and, while I loved all the glam­our of Friday’s do, my high­light was get­ting ready in the ho­tel room with my bestie. We had the mu­sic blar­ing as we did each other’s hair and make-up – it took me back to our teenage years.

Jo and I come from dif­fer­ent eth­nic back­grounds and re­li­gions, but when we look at each other we never see colour, race or re­li­gion.

Our school­days, our sense of hu­mour and our undy­ing love of Du­ran Du­ran bonded us for life. And our friend­ship is en­riched by our dif­fer­ences. So I couldn’t think of any­one bet­ter to help me cel­e­brate di­ver­sity.

Let’s talk about sex. Yep, I thought that might grab your at­ten­tion. A blog by Saman­tha Rod­man ti­tled “Women Should Have Sex When They Don’t Want To. No, That Wasn’t a Typo” cer­tainly grabbed mine this week.

In it psy­chol­o­gist Dr Rod­man ar­gues that women (and men) should have sex when they don’t want it, to be lov­ing part­ners.

She says that part of be­ing in a re­la­tion­ship is do­ing things you don’t feel like do­ing, adding: “Some­times these things are: watch­ing a TV show you don’t like, in­ter­act­ing with in-laws you don’t like, clean­ing up your part­ner’s vomit or watch­ing the kids while your part­ner works. Some­times these things are sex.”

So, she sug­gests, whether in the mood or not “both men and women should suck it up and have sex when they don’t want to, for the good of their mar­riage”.

Is this woman for real? I take her point that if you don’t pri­ori­tise sex, it will whither and die and ul­ti­mately hurt your mar­riage.

But speak­ing as some­one whose mojo moved out in her mid-40s, I think Dr Rod­man fails to un­der­stand all the is­sues.

For years I had a fan­tas­tic sex drive and then – with­out even re­al­is­ing it had hap­pened – I was find­ing ex­cuses to avoid my hus­band in bed. It hap­pens to so many women. We strug­gle to jug­gle the de­mands of work, kids and run­ning a home and most of us are knack­ered and stressed when we fi­nally hit the sack.

Be­fore long we are com­ing up with ex­cuses to go to bed at dif­fer­ent times so we can avoid the show­down which starts with: “Why don’t you want it? Don’t you love me any more?”

This was my life for a long time. I felt guilty I wasn’t able to sat­isfy my hus­band even though I could see that, as a re­sult, we were drift­ing apart. I felt like a fail­ure.

But the thought of hav­ing sex just to please my hus­band did not en­ter my mind. Why would I do some­thing I didn’t want to? Why would my hus­band want to have sex if he knew I wasn’t en­joy­ing it?

He started to see my problem as a sign of me want­ing to con­trol our re­la­tion­ship. He was wrong, but I couldn’t tell him what the real problem was be­cause I didn’t know. It was only when I fi­nally spoke out that I found some an­swers. A mix of med­i­cal ad­vice and ther­apy helped me un­der­stand that my age, my hor­monal im­bal­ance and my fail­ure to prop­erly ad­dress child­hood trauma com­bined to block my li­bido.

It took six months for me to get back on track and I’m happy to say I have my mojo back.

If you are in the same boat, here’s my ad­vice. First, what you are ex­pe­ri­enc­ing is nor­mal, so don’t feel guilty.

Sec­ond, get your hor­mones checked. For women, a lack of oe­stro­gen and/or pro­ges­terone will hit your sex drive. Like­wise, a lack of testos­terone for men.

Last, if you were sex­u­ally abused or have buried trauma, talk about it, or you will never truly like your­self, and that will im­pact on your sex­u­al­ity.

What got me through was hav­ing a sup­port­ive part­ner, who didn’t pres­sure me and never hinted he would go else­where for what he wasn’t get­ting at home.

So if you’re strug­gling, don’t take Dr Rod­man’s ad­vice to just grit your teeth and sub­mit.

Check out nhs.uk/ con­di­tions/loss-ofli­bido. I heartily rec­om­mend it.

AWARDS NIGHT Jo and me

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