Our family arranged our match when I was 27 and she was 25. She seemed like a beautiful, educated and well spoken woman. Before our families made the match official, all I asked her was if she wants to get married out of free will (as opposed to family pressure) and if there is someone else she wants to be with. We got engaged and had a 4 month courtship period. We chatted and went on dates. I have female friends and I know how confusing this time can get for girls. I wanted to respect her space and didn’t make a move to get physically intimate. She said she was a virgin. I, too, was a virgin so I thought she might be feeling shy talking about the details.
Cut to our first night and we were at my parent’s home. I talked, showered her with compliments gifts and sang for her. After making the atmosphere extremely romantic, I leaned in for a kiss. To my horror, she jumped back. I was horrified that I had scared her. She said she didn’t feel comfortable, so I let it be. A week later, we kissed. Another 2 weeks later, she was *letting* me take off her clothes. I tried to stimulate her by caressing her breasts, back, neck in a lot of different ways but she never seemed to be aroused. In fact one day, to my horror, she ran into the bathroom and I could hear her sobbing. I felt guilty.
3 months passed and we still hadn’t had sex. I tried everything. I got her flowers, chocolates, gifts, cooked, sang for her, took her to dates, invited her friends over, cuddled and talked with her. I did everything Google came up with when I searched ‘romantic’. I was a good husband. She couldn’t give me one reason for her behaviour because according to her she did love me & was attracted to me. She went to her parent’s place as we needed some time to clear out minds. Then we finally had sex. I was ecstatic but she lay there with an expression like she was tolerating it. I dismissed it as the discomfort of her first time.
About 8 months passed, she was still unresponsive. She never initiated anything and was always reluctant about anything new. After months of me nagging her about not telling me what she liked or disliked so that I can make sex better for her, she one day had a mental breakdown. She broke down crying loudly and didn’t stop for 2 hours. Between her mumbling & shouting, all I could understand was that she hated sex and felt dirty every time I touched her.
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Next day, I took her to a psychiatrist despite her revolts. The way she was reacting was not normal, but very scary for me. After 2–3 weeks for sittings, the doctor said that she had spent all her life hiding away from her own sexuality and that she has become averse to sex. She suppressed her sexual feelings to stay a virgin. So she couldn’t embrace her sexuality even when it was with her husband.
The doctor said this complex is very common with Indian women and is never diagnosed. When porn, sex scenes in movies, masturbation, premarital sex is seen as something ‘bad’, it subconsciously makes sex an overall toxic thing for women and they suffer through it only as part of their wifely duties. Despite being educated, having male friends, and a normal middle class upbringing, my ex-wife had suppressed her sexuality. She was averse to sex for a decade of her life after puberty, and society’s approval of marital sex didn’t make sex ok in her mind. Having sex with me was torture for her. And it would have gone unnoticed if I didn’t keep pressuring her to be more responsive and involved.
Today we are divorced. We talked intensively among ourselves, discussed with her psychiatrist, and went to couples’ counselling. It was the best decision for the both of us. She is single, happy, successful at her job, regained the health she lost during the year we were married, and sees a psychiatric to become a healthy sexual adult. Even if she stays celibate all her life, she is now on the road to feel more free and unburdened everyday. I can only imagine the trauma my ex-wife went through before her diagnosis. I just hope we someday live in a world where sex isn’t seen as a sin and girls aren’t subconsciously taught to be virginal and submissive. I hope no girl has to go through this trauma again.