Grief over the death of a loved one tends to put the need for sex on the back burner, at least for a while. But at some point the desire returns – often combined with a bad conscience. Is it “too early” for sex? That’s what pastors and theologians say.
Suddenly he was gone. It’s someone who had wrinkles and bruises you knew inside out. The scent you love Bare skin, intimacy, crumpled sheets: they all no longer exist. What does it mean for your own sexuality when a loved one dies? , which explains why it’s by no means absurd.
Why is sex taboo in times of grief?
Traugott Roser: It has to do with the traditional idea of what mourning should look like. For example, the specification for the year of mourning, when widows or widows wear black. As such, clothing indicates: i am absent
In the year of mourning, origins should also be considered. It was about potential children who could still be born. It was necessary to clarify whether the deceased was entitled to an inheritance.
One more thing: Many people have this image in their minds that mourning someone is also an expression of the quality of love. And the duration of loyalty, including sexual loyalty, is evidence of the depth of love. Or vice versa: A person who immediately flirts with or kisses someone else probably did not truly love the deceased.
What does losing a partner mean for your own sexuality?
Sexuality is an expression of being human. And it’s not just about intercourse. Touching, caressing and sensual things are part of it. When your partner dies, it’s not just the person you can talk to at the breakfast table who goes missing. After all, the body is used to being in touch with other people. When one of them dies, the communication is cut off.
But of course there is still sexual excitement and needs. This is a very painful process for many mourners. It’s like losing a language.
Sexual desire remains. After a while, you may feel ready to engage with new people. It’s not easy mentally at first, is it?
In studies, affected people say this is associated with shame. “I still have sexual desires, but my partner recently passed away.
Moreover, grief throws the whole body into chaos. Also hormone balance. And in this context, there can also be prominent sexual desires and emotions that you don’t even know how to deal with.
What makes it difficult to deal with?
Many people don’t have the language for that. Never learned to talk about sex. How do I formulate what worries or confuses me for others?
And of course, who can I talk to about it? Because I didn’t tell my kids about having sex with my dead partner.
Much can be gained when the affected person talks about their feelings and thoughts. What is the best way for an outsider to act?
As an outsider, the most important thing is to let the grieving person know that these feelings are perfectly normal. After some time, rather than immediately after death, you can ask, “What about your grief, your physical absence, your empty bed? Would you like to talk?”
If the grieving person is meeting someone new, avoid saying things like “Don’t you think it’s a little early?” It is important not to enter the assessment directly in a critical sense. A better alternative is a phrase like, “If you’re going out with someone tonight, what do you need to have to have a great night? What are you afraid of?” It is important to speak openly without judgment.
the rules are not good. On the other hand, I was like, “Oh, are you still wearing black?” or “It’s time to go out and socialize again”. Saying this instinctively without being heard isn’t very empathetic and doesn’t help at all.
to people: Professor Traugott Roser is a palliative care focused pastor and author of the book Sexuality in Times of Grief. When Longing Remains. He is also Professor of Practical Theology at the West Wilhelm University of Münster.