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The Madonna/Whore Complex is one of the most misunderstood male sexual dysfunctions that some wives may ever have to deal with. There is very little information about the condition and the majority of what is written about the complex is incorrect or incomplete.
A married man whose sex drive decreases after years of activity does not suffer from the Madonna/Whore Complex. This is not a condition that comes on later in life, it is a condition that starts early in his development. There are many other reasons for a man’s sex drive to decrease including disease, injury, hormonal changes, stress, and extramarital affairs.
The actual diagnosis of Madonna/Whore Complex should be made by a trained professional who may also be able to treat the man diagnosed with the complex. The term "treat" might be misleading as this is not a broken arm that can be put in a cast until it heals or a bad cold that will respond to antibiotics.
Working through this complex will require that the man change his perceptions of women and his perceptions of the sex act so that he stops putting the label of "whore" on women who are sexually active.
A man diagnosed with the Madonna/Whore Complex does not want to have a wife who is “a lady in public and a whore in the bedroom.” He wants his wife to be a lady in public and in the bedroom. He does not want her to be sexually aggressive, or whorish (in his view). He wants her to be pure in mind and body, virginal in every way. For him, love does not equal sex nor does sex equal love.
For women brought up believing “good girls don’t,” marriage is supposed to be when “good girls do.” Even though she links love, marriage, and sex together, marriage to a man with the Madonna/Whore Complex will be essentially sexless. There may be enough sexual encounters to start a family, but with a child or children comes even more sexual distance. Once she’s a mother, he has even more reason not to “defile” her with sex.
Neither the husband nor the wife in a Madonna/Whore marriage may understand why their relationship is such an unhappy one. He loves her but he doesn’t want to be sexually intimate with her. She loves him but she is increasingly bitter because he won’t give her the sexual intimacy she desperately craves.
Infidelity may be a cornerstone of their marriage, as he seeks sex with acceptable “whores.” For him, there is no difference between paying for sex or having sex with a co-worker; to him all women he’s able to talk into having sex are whores.
A man with the Madonna/Whore Complex is not easy to spot although there can be a few clues that his views of sex and love are dysfunctional. Unfortunately, the clues can be overlooked because he is so passionate, so sexually experienced, so much the ladies’ man. It still takes a professional to diagnose this dysfunction.
Elvis Presley had all the symptoms of the Madonna/Whore Complex: a young virginal wife, a devotion to his mother, a revolving door of other women, and a sex-starved wife who looked for sexual intimacy elsewhere. Priscilla Presley’s book Elvis And Me gives a brief glimpse into their marriage and its intimacy problems.
The information we provide on this website is not meant to take the place of speaking with a licensed professional counselor. We hope the information provided will help you to find the assistance you need.