Have you been not sharing bed with your spouse for such a long time and try to keep physical interaction as less as possible? Is it that you feel disgusted by your spouse and despise his/her looks? Or is it that your spouse doesn't find you attractive or doesn't find interest in sex? On the other side, you are having a sex life but you really can't enjoy intimacy with your spouse and have to fantasize to find sexual excitement? Are you are irritated by the high sexual desire of your spouse that is mechanical and void of any intimacy? For newly married couples, are you finding difficulty to know how to act properly in your sexual relation or how to attract your spouse? Or do need to learn how to nurture your intimate life? If you are suffering any of the above problems or other sexual problems in your marriage, we invite you to read the questions that were posted by OnIslam readers and the answers provided by Dr. Maryam Barbara Bachmeier in a Live Counseling Session that was conducted about this vital issue. Magy: Jazakum Allahu Khayran for this session. This issue really touches so many Muslim married couples, who have lots of mistaken beliefs and thoughts about sex. It is also common in many cultures to think that it is a shameful subject to explore or to ask about it. And that only leads to worsening and complicating the situation more. Dr. Maryam-Barbara Bachmeier: As-salam `alaykum Magy, Thank you for your comments about this topic. Marriage is indeed a place where two people can truly get to know each other and learn how to feel comfortable with each other. Sex is a very important part of marriage. The bond that is created by two people who are truly able to express and receive in this manner is truly the bond that can also keep them together through all of the ups and downs of a marriage. Thank you for acknowledging the need to be open and candid about this. Sometimes a problem can be easily worked through, but when not attended to, could lead to the destruction of a marriage with a lot of potential for success. Marriage should provide the partners with a safe place to really experience their own being and the being of another at very deep levels that cannot be experienced in any other way... It is a sacred space. Abidah: Assalamu `alaykum . I agree it can kill a marriage - that's what happened to mine. My ex-husband refused to consummate the marriage, refused to share the same bed & shunned all forms of physical contact. After various efforts, help from relevant parties & istikhara, I finally chose divorce. My question is, I can't seem to stop rewinding my past, trying to see where I went wrong, and I am prone to questioning my self-worth as a woman and feeling inadequate. How do I stop blaming myself and start building up my confidence again, without blaming & hating him in the process? Jazakum Allahu khayr. Dr. Maryam-Barbara Bachmeier: As-salam `alaykum Abidah, Your ex-husband most likely had some unresolved emotional issues. His refusal did not have anything to do with you even if he said that it did. He may have had physical issues that he was too embarrassed to talk about. Or, he may have been terrified of performing. He may have been terrified of intimacy. Whatever it is that prevented him from becoming sexually active with you, it really and truly was something inside him that did not have anything to do with your worth, your beauty, or your womanliness. You really have to trust me on this. You can try to tell me more about the situation, and perhaps we can identify what his issue might have been. However, at this point in time, it is probably best for you to put this whole disappointing experience behind you. Just realize he has problems and have compassion for him and don't blame yourself for wanting your own needs met and move forward. P: At first sorry for my English because I have forgotten who to write or express myself, it has taken a long time since I used it. I became married about 7 years ago. In the first year I became pregnant and I have now a beautiful daughter. At first my sexual relation with my husband was good, but since I get pregnant I could not feel any sexual desire or any interest about sex. My husband at the beginning was all the time trying to have relations but at the end he became fed up and avoids any situation. Nowadays I feel sometimes very bad, because I would like to have another child but I can´t do the sex without feeling disturbed, feeling pain or feeling that I don´t want to do it. It is not the problem that my husband doesn´t look handsome or that I feel something about another man. I don't feel any about men in general. Please, I would like to have some help, because every day my marriage is worse. If you could speak Spanish I think I could express myself much better. Dr. Maryam-Barbara Bachmeier: As-salam `alaykum Sister, Some women "freeze up". If you are feeling this way and you cannot relax during the sexual experience, then intercourse can be painful. Learn to love yourself and your own body. Look at yourself in the mirror without any clothes on and get used to yourself without clothes on. This will help you become more comfortable with yourself. Have your husband caress you on areas that are not sexual. This will help you to become desensitized to touch. Once you feel comfortable with his touch, and you feel comfortable in your own body... you will be much more relaxed and the sexual experience will likely bring you pleasure. Understand; we are supposed to find pleasure during the sexual experience. It is OK ALLAH created us as sexual beings. Flirt with your husband in a playful and non demanding way. Have fun with this and in time, he will likely want to have sex with you. S: I am 26 and married, presently I am studying outside and not living with my wife. I met with an old girl friend on Facebook and we started chatting and fell in love and we promise to get married. Were these conversations sinful? More over upon thinking a lot I realize that it's not going to work because I don't have the intention of getting another wife and I don't even like the idea of more than one wife. She loves me a lot but recently I told her what we are doing is haram in Islam and I decided to pull out of this relationship. Still she calls me and expresses her feelings. Also should I inform my wife about this and ask for her to forgive me? Also the girl sent me some clothing and food stuffs what should I do with them, can I use them from an Islamic point of view? Dr. Maryam-Barbara Bachmeier: It is wise to end this relationship. There is no reason to tell your wife. You have not had an affair. However, you put yourself very close to the fire. If your old girlfriend won't take her things back after offering this once to her, then give them away to charity. Don't look back. It is your own soul you sin against when you do something that can ultimately destroy the very thing you want to keep and has the most meaning in your life; i.e., your marriage. You probably did hurt this woman, so ask ALLAH to forgive you and be careful not to put yourself or another in this situation again. You made a life commitment to share a journey with your wife. Honor this commitment; your life will unfold in a much happier way if you do. Your bond with your wife is too precious to risk. You do not have this type of bond with the other woman. Let her go and she will find a new love; one who will hopefully marry her and give her what she really needs and deserves in life. Yogirl: Assalam, It's been 3 months that I got married. As a married woman I am not quite happy with my sexual life. At the beginning I thought sex would be everyday (note only the first week of our marriage it was everyday) if not at least twice a week. But we do it once in two weeks. I do get frustrated and sometimes I sleep in a sad mood. As a newlywed I find this not enough and also when we do it sometimes I don't find any pleasure. I think because of this frustration. I would like to mention that my marriage was a love one and my husband is very nice and a very good human being. Once my husband admitted that he masturbates. I found this very shocking and I was very hurt thinking why I was here and for him it's quite normal. Is it normal for him to masturbate when he has a wife? Or please advise because sometimes I too lose interest in sex and I concentrate on other things. Dr. Maryam-Barbara Bachmeier: Assalam `alaykum Yogirl, Often, when there is a lack of sexual activity in a marriage, there is a communication problem and/or an emotional issue that needs to be resolved within the marital relationship. The feeling of connection with each other might be suffering. Sometimes newlyweds are too shy to talk about their sexual needs, desires, and wants. If this is the problem you can bring this subject up with your husband and let him know that you have learned that having good sex is really a matter of learning each other's needs, wants, desires, and bodies. Communication problems can cause you to feel distant with each other. If you and your husband have emotional issues that you need to work through, bring it out into the open...learn to be honest and authentic with each other. It is likely that once the other issues in your marriage are cleared up, you will again enjoy a sexual relationship. I pray this is helpful to you.