Why comparing your sex life with others is a bad idea...
“Is that normal?”
This question has popped out of just about everyone’s mouth at one point or another. If you’re married or in a love relationship, you may have asked your closest friend or silently wondered this.
What’s normal in a relationship-- and what’s not-- is the subject of a new book called The Normal Bar by Chrisana Northrup, Pepper Schwartz and James Witte. It’s filled with advice and trends among couples on a variety of topics... including how often they have sex.
According to The Normal Bar’s authors, 40 percent of couples surveyed say they have sex three or four times a week. When you read a statistic like this, it might elicit a strong response. If you and your partner fall in that range, you probably feel reassured. If you two don’t have sex that often, then maybe you start to worry. If you have sex more than three or four times a week, maybe you feel proud and grateful or possibly you are concerned and ask yourself...
“Are we normal?!”
No matter how alternative each of us thinks we are, to fall outside what is said to be the “norm” can cause concern. The underlying question of “Is that normal?” is “What’s gone wrong?”
There is an assumption that if your sex life does not fall in the “normal” range, there is something potentially dangerous going on. Having less frequent sex “has” to mean that there isn’t attraction, that you and your partner have drifted apart or that one of you is having an affair, doesn’t it?!
We don’t think the authors of this book are trying to make anyone wrong! In fact, their stated intention is to help people improve their relationship and be happier.
It’s important to recognize when you’re comparing yourself and your relationship to others and making a pronouncement that either things are “good” or “bad” because of what you think you see. This is not a healthy or helpful habit if you want more connection and intimacy in your own relationship.
When you compare, it’s likely that you’re going to perceive another person’s relationship or even what’s “normal” incorrectly. There’s a lot of the picture that you’re not getting!
Studies sometimes reflect what’s going on for only a small slice of a particular population. Circumstances might be very different for those surveyed than what is going on in your life. When you see a “blissfully in love” couple walking down the street and deem your relationship to be lacking in comparison, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment and pain. Who knows what is true for this couple most of the time.
Honor what’s “normal” for you.
It is valuable to identify what is “normal” in your relationship. Notice the emphasis is on thinking about what, for you and your partner, is a normal and usual mode-- not what you think the rule is that ALL couples have to abide by.
Love is not “one size fits all.”
It’s going to be very different for each couple, so notice what it’s like when you and your partner are connected and close and stop the comparing. When you two are connected is probably when you’re also having frequent and satisfying sexual and non-sexual intimacy.
When you honor what’s “normal” for you and your partner, then you can appreciate where you are and what’s going right. This doesn’t mean that you deny the troubles you two have. It just means that you know what is usual for you.
This can be a place for gratitude and for building up to changes you both want.
Get curious about what’s blocking intimacy and passion.
If you want more frequent sex and connection, then take your “normal” and figure out a next step toward the improvement you’re looking for. If you and your partner are falling far short of what your “normal” is when it comes to sex, there’s probably a block. Without blame, figure out what’s blocking intimacy so you can start making changes.
This can be potentially tricky!
It’s all too common for people to either lay sole responsibility for a lack of passion on their partner or on themselves. The truth is almost always that responsibility is shared. BOTH people in a relationship contribute to dynamics that either push them apart or move them closer together.
Look at the ways you normally communicate, react and act. Notice what happens on a daily basis and when you feel stressed out or emotionally triggered. Even if it doesn’t seem like a particular habit would influence intimacy and sex, it probably does.
Remember, healthy and amazing sex and intimacy spring from a relationship connection that is close, trusting, respectful, kind and attentive-- all of the time and not just when one person wants to have sex.
Make passion, connection and fabulous sexual intimacy the new normal for your love relationship or marriage. Passionate Spark~Lasting Love will show you how (and it’s FREE!)