Putting The Sex Back Into Your Marriage Dr. Trina Read gives you a first look into her new book, Til Sex Do Us Part: Make Your Marriage Sex Irresistible (Key Porter). BY DR. TRINA READ
Excerpt taken from chapter 1, You Like Sex and Your Partner But...
"Anton and I thought we were special, somehow immune to love’s travails but, in truth, we were nothing out of the ordinary, just another pair of souls who could not hold it steady when the going got tough."
—Marian Keyes, The Other Side of the Story
I want to let you in on a little secret. If you don’t enjoy sex in your relationship right now, you’re perfectly normal. In fact, why would you find your sex life satisfying? In my opinion, whoever coined the term "happily ever after" should be drawn and quartered. It‘s absolute lunacy that one day you’ll meet your soulmate and then, shazam, the two of you will ride off into the sunset and be super sexual forever more. Yet, if this myth hadn’t been perpetuated and we had known the truth, we humans might have died out long ago.
Be honest, if someone had sat you down and told you exactly what your sex life was going to be like after only a few years of life together, you might have turned on your heel and run away screaming. In fact, a lot of people have decided to say no to long-term relationships; divorce rates have hovered at more than 50 per cent for a number of years. Irreconcilable differences involving sex or finances are two big reasons people split.
Let’s assume you don’t want to get a divorce; rather, your relationship is mostly happy except for the sex part. Once upon a time, you and your partner were having sex like bunnies and then one day you woke up next to someone who’s more like a roommate than a lover. You love your partner and want to have a stronger intimate bond with him—you just don’t know how. Having infrequent sex—in a society that puts so much value to self-worth on being sexy and sexual—is an uphill battle that millions of couples grapple with every day of their marriage.
Consequently, you’re not alone if you’ve been searching for an easy solution to a complicated modern-life sex question: How can I have fun, fresh, and meaningful sex while trying to be super-mom, super-wife, super-worker, and oh yeah, finding some "me time?"
Indeed, your situation is probably similar to Stacey’s. She wants to have more great sex with her husband—she just doesn’t know how. Instead her hit-and-miss (mostly miss) sex life leaves her feeling resentful, guilty, and apathetic. Stacey is healthy, doesn’t have a sexual dysfunction nor are her hormone levels out of whack. Consequently she’s come to the conclusion that she has lost her libido. She doesn’t realize that her libido has little or nothing to do with her desire to have sex.
She’s an average woman whose sex life has fallen into the omnipresent sex trap: sex was amazing in the first few years of her relationship but since the kids, job, and everything else, sex has taken a back seat. She’s simply really, really busy. As a result, Stacey spends more time avoiding sex than having it. Yet she adores her husband and desperately wants to keep their intimate connection.
There is a logical reason for Stacey’s sex transformation. Too many married women keep having single-woman sex long after the "I do’s."
Have you ever thought back to figure out how you learned the fine art of having sex? After reaching puberty, many young women and their girlfriends talked about sex a lot. Perhaps you read a Harlequin romance or two, then dog-eared and reread the juicy passages. You scoured Cosmopolitan with its monthly, "25 Best Ways to Get Him Hot" articles while hiding from parental eyes.
Then you met your first special someone who made your heart— and other body parts—go pitter-patter. In your teen/young adult hormone–induced haze you fumbled your way through first, second, and third base, excited and scared at the same time. Even though you might not have had intercourse, how you were initiated, your ability to experiment without feeling stupid, and the short timeline to learn all about sex limited your sexual socialization.
The result was that you only ever learned how to have one type of sex, which I call single-woman sex. You probably never gave this way of having sex a second thought because with your short-term love affairs the single-woman-sex formula usually worked well. Maybe once or twice you saw glimpses of how your sex became less exciting as relationships faded into the sunset; however, before boring sex could become a reality, you moved on to the next steamy-hot relationship. And then one day a very special person came into your life and the short-term relationship became long-term.
Long-term relationships carry with them a different set of sex rules that, unfortunately, the happily-ever-after people neglected to inform you of. So, like most people, you went into your long-term relationship having the same type of single-woman sex over and over and over again. At the start, just like every other relationship, you had an invincible sex life and were doing better than perfectly fine, thank you very much.
So when after only two years of marriage, your sex life started going sideways, you and your partner understandably became confused. You had every good intention to maintain your sex life but it never seemed to work out; always something or someone getting in the way. You started to miss your intimate connection and wanted to be close again.
Problem was, you were already stuck in a comfortable single-woman sex rut. Your sex stayed stuck for many reasons: an inability to communicate your wants, needs, or desires; not knowing there was a different way; an inability to communicate sexual frustration; and a strongly held belief that once you met "the one" your amazing sex would magically last forever. Never addressing the change in sex, both of you watched helplessly as your sex life started to nose-dive.
Mini-fights, silent power struggles, and sarcastic little snipes about sex were never big enough to address as a "marital issue," but they definitely started chipping away at your sexual self-esteem. Unbeknownst to you, sex slowly became clouded by all the unconscious frustration, guilt, and anxiety under the surface. You rarely, if ever, resolved your negative feelings; you were simply too busy being busy and didn’t want the hassle of working through a sticky issue. As well, neither you nor your partner knew how to productively deal with all the accumulating negative baggage. Choosing instead that when the lack-of-sex issue reared its ugly head, both of you either buried yours in the sand or had a knock-down-drag-’em-out fight.
Each sexual encounter became more and more like walking through a minefield. Sometimes you could forget all of those hurt feelings and let yourself get right into the sex. More often, though, you couldn’t. Unwittingly, your feelings took your brain hostage and wouldn’t allow your body to enjoy sex.
Not surprisingly, you developed a significant negative emotional pattern toward sex. Today, although most women in this situation can and do orgasm, you really don’t enjoy sex like you used to. Instead, you go through the motions so you don’t have to contend with the guilt and resentment hanging over your head.
Because you’re reading this book, I assume you don’t like your sexual state of affairs and want to turn it around. Take heart, making things better is possible.
IS IT INTERCOURSE OR IN YOUR HEAD?
When couples approach me for solutions to their sexual woes, they inevitably want "tips" on how to make their orgasm or intercourse more interesting and intense. They ask, "What are the best sex positions?"; "How can we find her G-spot?"; "What’s the best vibrator?" and so on. While it’s true sexual novelty does breathe life into a lackluster sex routine (see Chapter 9 for tons of ideas), this is a "male" way of looking at sex—jump-start a lagging sex drive by having a bigger, faster, better orgasm. The hope is by experiencing a great orgasm, it will propel the couple to want more sex and thereby become closer and more intimate.
At this point, trying to fix the intercourse part of your relationship would be like putting a Band-Aid on an open wound.
So instead to start, you need to differentiate between the physical act of having sex and your emotional baggage. If you’re a physically healthy woman (you can orgasm and/or when in the right frame of mind enjoy sex), it’s not the intercourse mechanics you need to focus on; rather, you need to address the negative emotional baggage to help you out of your situation.
You see, it is only when you can once again feel positive toward sex that you can turn your sexual desire and sex life around. Once you toss the baggage, you can say "hello" to having a lifetime of well-deserved married-woman sex.
Dr. Trina Read has a doctorate in human sexuality. Dr. Read is also an international speaker and offers free sex tips on her website www.bestsextipsever.com. To order her book, "Til Sex Do Us Part," click here.