Masters and Johnson once said
good sex begins while your clothes are still on
We cannot have a good sexual relationship with our significant other without having a good relationship. Of course, not all sexual roadblocks are a reflection of the relationship, some may be physical. That being said, intimacy, emotional closeness and being vulnerable are pivotal to every marriage. Self-disclosure, sharing personal information and feelings with your partner is essential to our ongoing bonding experience. Time moves forward and we grow and change as individuals. As we have new and different experiences, our personal views and feelings change. It is important for us to share current feelings and thoughts with our spouse to keep them in touch with our inner lives so they may share our inner life. In essence, this is intimacy. If we work on improving our connectedness with our partner, sexual intimacy will drastically improve; the quality of our relationship will improve and happiness as well as fulfillment will return. So many marriages lose this over time, and sex is generally the first indicator that the marriage is in trouble. Sex is a very important component of marriage.
We can create with our partner, whatever kind of sexual relationship we desire. But this requires TALKING WITH one another. There are so many marriages that neglect the elephant in the room.
I see couples that go several months and even years without having sex. Why is it that something so important and that feels so good can be so easily placed on the back burner for so long? I have heard many rationalizations:
We are too busy with the kids, we both work and are too tired, there is no time, one of us is not in the mood, women often say they are not happy with how they look or feel physically (I feel fat, I don’t like by body right now etc.) our timing is often off, kids are in the house, we have visitors, blah, blah, blah.
Of course there are always circumstances when these things are true. But if we allow ourselves to go too long without being with one another sexually it becomes like having to get your rugs cleaned.You know you have to do it, but you just keep putting it off because it starts to feel more like something you should do rather then something you want to do. Yet when we finally do have sex we say “ why don’t we do this more often?”
There are several things that you can do to bring sex off the back burner and into the open again:
- The bedroom is for sleeping and sex. Nothing else, no electronics allowed (Smartphones, tablets, TV, computers, PS3, etc.) Leave those things in the kitchen or in another area of the house before bed. How often do you find yourself along with your spouse while in bed looking at your phones, at Facebook, working on your laptop, reading emails, texting or playing a game? Stop it! Really look at each other, talk about your day, connect, touch one another, and remind yourself what it is about your partner that you love so much. And it’s ok to be affectionate WITHOUT having sex.
- Don’t always wait to be in the mood. Sometimes just go for it and stop over thinking so much, and try not to be so serious.
- Don’t go to bed angry. This is a tough one, and requires each of you to keep your side of the fence “clean” and not hanging on to things that may have upset you for weeks on end. An exercise I ask couples to do who struggle with taking the time to connect, is to take 15 minutes one day a week, to talk about how the week was, if there was anything that occurred that was hurtful, bothersome, or even positive and share it with one another. This cannot turn into a marathon discussion, or you will lose the goal just connecting. One at a time each of you talks and the other listens. Listening means listening, not defending or making excuses why you did what you did or said what you did. It means hearing your partner’s feelings and thoughts to try to understand how they feel. This simple exercise can dramatically purge things that weigh on you or your partner and not only free you up emotionally, but bring you closer.
- Remember Romance. Even simple gestures such writing a love note, giving a random long hug, offering a backrub, scrolling a heart on the shower door or bathroom mirror with an ‘ I love you’, feels adoring to the receiver. The next time your partner gets in the shower he or she will see it and smile. How about a kiss to wake him/her up? Or a random text or email during the day that says “ I’m thinking of you” Flowers and small gifts for no special occasion are always a nice surprise but buying things isn’t always necessary to communicate your love.
- Compliment or praise her/him more often (if you have children you can do this in front of the kids, this is especially powerful to the receiver) you’re a wonderful provider and hard worker, you’re a good father or husband, you’re a loving and special mother or wife, you’re a reliable partner and friend, you’re so talented at what you do for a living. We all need and want to hear these things from the person we love and cherish the most. It makes a difference and goes a long way.
- Teach your spouse what you enjoy and what feels good to you sexually. Teach them about your body When a couple comes in for issues surrounding lack of sexual activity, I ask with both partners in the session, if they know what each of them like sexually. Where do they like to be touched? Where do they not like to be touched? How do they like to be touched? The neck? The ear? The chest? The belly? etc. These are the areas where foreplay comes into action. Most of the time, believe it or not, the answer is, as he or she looks at their spouse sheepishly “ you know.. I don’t know”. Learn all you can about your partners body. Spend time touching one another asking questions, experimenting, discuss one another’s sexual fantasies, try different positions, TALK to one another. I can promise you there will be things you will learn and experience that will surprise you and this will open a new area of your relationship.
- Look at each other. In supermarket psychology this has been called “soul gazing”. It is not staring it is looking. Look in your partner’s eyes, for a few moments in a quiet place. This is not an intellectual exercise it is an emotional one. What do you see? What color are his/her eyes, what sense do you get of them? How do you feel? Experience them. Many people who struggle with intimacy struggle with this exercise because it feels awkward or uncomfortable. They are looking for a specific “thing” instead of having the experience itself of connecting on a non-verbal, non-sexual, level. Remember it is the inner experience you feel and the emotional experience that occurs when you both really look into one another
Research is consistent with reporting that there is a link between feeling satisfied sexually in our relationship and overall quality of the relationship. I think we should all not only start talking about the elephant in the room but doing something to make ourselves and our marriages more of a priority. We make time to work out, we make time to get our nails done, we make time to watch football, we make time to go the salon, we make time to do things that are important to us.
Make your partner and your marriage a priority. When we don’t, we only drift away from one another and there is way too much of that going on nowadays.