Sex… There, I’ve said it… There are two major hot buttons for couples that come to see me: sex and money (we’ll get to money in another article).
People will not usually state it up front. It feels far too shameful to approach right off. But eventually I find that the sexual part of their life is ho-hum, less than satisfying, a subtle power game, or a hostile battlefield.
This is far from the lusty, passionate and even sweet experience of movies and advertisements. So, what’s going on in the bedroom?
First, let me assure you that many couples have a sexual life that is very fine. If you’re in that category then great! If not, then read on.
Most of us know that men and women have very different notions about sexuality. The stereotype is that men are just interested in bodies and women just want emotional closeness. And our culture encourages these stereotypes. However, there is also a lot of truth in them.
Men, I’m going to tell you something you’ll probably not hear anywhere else. So, listen up. At age 18 the hormones in the body work just fine.We’ll immediately get an erection if we look at a naked woman. But, by the time we reach middle age this natural biological function has really dimmed.
Except for the men with the highest of sex drives we all find that the pump has to be primed with: Emotional Intimacy. This means that we talk with our partner, look deep into her eyes, listen to what she’s about and (yikes!) tell her about our deepest fears, failings, and desires to succeed.
Women have known this stuff all along. My wife has always had a saying, “Love me in the kitchen, if you expect me to love you in the bedroom.”
She doesn’t mean grope her in the kitchen. She means to partake of life with her, to know her deeply, and to make sure she gets this message all day long.
Women, it’s a terribly frustrating experience to have your partner experience impotency. If you’re secure and caring you want to help him so much, but the help is difficult to come up with. If you’re insecure you might start to believe it is you’re fault and you’re just not woman enough to turn him on.
The real problem is usually a lack of priming the pump. And by that I mean real serious emotional intimacy. And usually, your partner doesn’t have a clue to what this means. Usually we men learn about this stuff from you women.
So, where’s the 1,2,3 easy answer? Sorry to disappoint you. There isn’t one. I could lose readership over this, but you need to hear the truth.
Emotional intimacy requires a lasting commitment to entering the other’s life in deeper and deeper ways. There are books and books written on this, but who follows the advice?
So, here is your assignment for later today: Tell your partner about a fear you’ve never mentioned. Make sure it is one that you don’t want to bring up. Make sure it is a challenge to you. Regardless of the reaction, know that you’ve just taken a step of maturity that can ultimately be the step to a real turn on!
Steve Roberts is an experienced Marriage and Family
Therapist who shares tips and real life relationship secrets
from over 20 years of practice. Married 27 years to Pam,
his partner in Life and profession, he has personally
known the peaks and valleys of the couple experience.
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