Will having sex twice a week make your relationship go from so-so to spectacular? Despite research showing that happy couples have sex two or three times a week, putting an unhappy couple, especially one with different libidos, into a sexual schedule isn't the answer to instant happiness.
When it comes to working with clients who are unhappy in their relationships, sex is always one of the topics that comes up. Either he wants it too often or she complains he isn't interested anymore. Differing libidos causes stress in a relationship, but that stress isn't relieved if a couple has sex twice a week. In fact, bowing to an outside arbitrary number will add more pressure.
Don't get me wrong. I'm a strong believer in frequent sex. But who's to say that you can't have gourmet sex once a month and be happy? When I'm working with a client that's not satisfied with their sex life, we usually dig into the why behind the issue before digging into the frequency.
First and foremost, let's be honest here. When we have sex, we are satisfying primal needs of human connection.
Now, I know that gender differences aren't always exact, but let me share some general observations based on my own personal experience, my research and the work I do with my clients. I also know that when an emotional topic, like sex, is on the table, it helps to step back and apply some logic to the situation.
Men need sex in order to feel. In society, men are regularly told that "Boys Don't Cry," "Real men are Strong," and "Real Men control their emotions." In history, men have been tasked with going out into the wild in order to provide food and shelter for their families. Men go into battle to defend the kingdom. "The Job" for men is to protect and provide, and to do this effectively, they need to shut down emotions and feelings.
When a man has sex, he is able to feel. He is able to open his heart and feel emotions and he is able to connect to his own humanity, so to speak. What men are often unable to say is that cuddling next to you — both before and after sex — allows them to set aside being the strong man society expects. He can draw strength and comfort from the feel of your body against him. He can let down inhibitions. He can surrender. Though during the act of intercourse, a man is hard and strong, entering a women allows him to experience not only her warmth and softness, but his own. Sex allows a man to feel loved, accepted, supported, and masculine.
Women, on the other hand, are able to more easily access feelings and emotions through the act of talking (and writing and reading). Even women who are strong and desire to be in control often feel more secure in a relationship when she is able to talk about her feelings. Women usually want to communicate and connect on an emotional level before we are "ready" to connect on a physical level.
It's not unusual for a woman to withhold sex from her partner if she isn't feeling emotionally connected. And don't think I don't get it! When a couple has sex, the woman is physically open and allowing her body to be entered. A man hungers for sex, because he wants to reconnect and share love. Women hunger for sex, too … but often they want the emotional fulfillment and communication before they are willing to open to sex. So, it can be easy to get in a cycle of no sex.
I would never tell you that you should have sex when you don't want to. I would ask you, however, ask you to ponder if you use sex as a part of control in your relationship.
Suprised? There is a lot of power in sex, and being the person that says "yes" or "no" wields tremendous power. But, are you using that power for the good of everyone involved — including your own physical and mental health? Or are you using sex to keep him in line? Are you using sex to punish or reward her for meeting your expectations? (Often, expectations that have never been discussed).
I will tell you from personal experience that the withholding of sex on either partners part as a way to "punish" the other partner will lead to the destruction of your relationship. The withholding of sex breaks the bond between people because it diminishes the ability to trust ... and without trust, your relationship will suffer.
So, what's the solution when a couple is struggling with opposite sex drives? Is going to a prescribed number of sexual encounters a week the answer? No, because all this does is add another layer of stress to the relationship. Throw out the idea that having sex twice a week will fix your relationship. Instead, what if you experimented for the next 30 days with sex?
What if you opened yourself to the possibility of sex any time your partner makes advances of any sort? What if you initiated sex on occasion? What if you opened yourself up to being kinder to your partner? What if, instead of trying to maintain control, you allow yourself to lose control and receive love and pleasure from your partner? If the frequency of sex has been a stressor in your relationship, I know that the thought of this may make you feel all kinds of vulnerable. But within vulnerability, we can reach our greatest potential for true intimacy and deeper happiness.
Debra Smouse believes that within every woman is an Inner Sex Kitten just dying to go from "meow" to "roar". To connect with Debra, visit her website and connect with her on Facebook or Twitter, where she shares snippets of creating a life she loves.
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