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Sexual Favors: Do You Owe Your Spouse Sex?

Unless your spouse is an IRS tax collector, you don't owe anything

I came across a recent story in Huffington Post's Divorce section. It's about whether or not we owe our spouses sex. Let me get one thing out in the open here: I don't think we owe anything, but I do agree that with marriage, comes the occasional night when you're not in the mood but should still rouse yourself for a go (because, you know, you'll probably enjoy it).

But let me back up a bit. A few months ago I found out I have an autoimmune disease. Don't worry -- it's really nothing serious. it just causes hypothyroidism -- a.k.a. my thyroid gland hates me and has decided to stop functioning the way I need it to. It took a few visits to several doctors (including an endocrinologist) and countless blood tests for me to accept that I would have to take drugs for the rest of my life (and possibly have trouble conceiving, but that's for another time).

I felt trapped by my constant visits to the pharmacy and doctors -- let alone all the symptoms that led me to see a doctor in the first place: I always felt sluggish (and often depressed for no reason), found it next to impossible to lose weight (and still do) and, on top of it all, my sex drive took a free fall into oblivion.

Before my prescription kicked in (and before I decided to actually take it), I simply couldn't get in the mood. And Jack couldn't have been more supportive. Whenever I tried to muster the energy, Jack would always question whether I actually was into it. Here's the thing: I felt obligated. Part of that obligation came from my wanting Jack to not feel neglected, but a lot of it came from expectations society has built for us as husbands and wives.

Jack always argued that I should never feel as though I owe him. Which is true. Intimacy is healthy, and like the author of the HuffPo article says, "How would you feel enduring one year, three years, five years -- without being touched by the person you love? What happens to your self-esteem, to your outlook, to other aspects of your emotional and physical well-being?" When put in these terms, I can completely understand that years of a sexless marriage, or one lacking any intimacy, could spell divorce.

Nowadays things have gone back to normal, but the whole experience really made our relationship stronger. I'll admit it still sucks taking a little pill every morning, but I'd take that over my thyroid shutting down or going without some quality get-down time with my man any day.

What about you ladies -- do you feel like you owe your spouse sex? When you consider that less than half of couples have sex on their wedding night (the one night when I think it's pretty "expected" that you have sex), really puts sexual obligations into perspective. I think sexual intimacy is a necessity in any healthy marriage but when it becomes an obligation, a duty, a trial on the marriage, is it time to worry?

-- Holly