When it comes to the area of sex most men think they are experts. With so much testosterone to spare and a constant interest in sex they have mistakenly linked intense sexual interest with sexual expertise. Many of us women know from experience, that our sex lives are hardly what they’re cracked up to be. If most men were as “expert” as they believe then most of us women would be deliriously happy. The reality is that being “great at sex” for most of us women in relationships, is about a whole lot more than just knowing how to use the “hardware”, if you get my drift. It involves having the right attitudes, knowledge base and skills required to make a woman fulfilled on all counts. It is the quality of the orgasm to some extent (who wants to be sexually frustrated?); yes, I won’t belittle that, but it is also about a whole lot more.
If you are a woman, are you living with a fully mature well-adjusted sexual man; or is your spouse merely a sexual boy? If we find ourselves deeply dissatisfied and perhaps living with a man who needs to grow and mature sexually; what can we to do to make it better? Listen to the new podcast for my latest episodes on the internet lifestyle, radio-show, Better Life With DeniseJ to explore this issue further. Just follow the links.
What happens in a relationship or a marriage when a “special friend” of either the husband or wife becomes too close? What about the best friend issue? Can or should I have a best friend of the opposite sex other than my partner? How close is too close when dealing with the opposite sex?
The next two episodes of “Better Life With DeniseJ” on Blog Talk Radio, will seek to unravel this issue of emotional infidelity. What exactly is emotional adultery or emotional infidelity? What drives this behaviour? How lethal is it? What are the warning signs that my spouse has an inappropriate attachment to someone? What boundaries can couples set up, to guard against it? If our relationship has been threatened by an inappropriate attachment, how can we make it better?
Follow the link to Blog Talk Radio to listen to Parts 1 & 2 of this podcast on the lifestyle radio show “Better Life With DeniseJ”.
For those of you in a sexual relationship, the way you have sex says a lot. Yes, sex is so intimate and revealing an activity that it has the power to uncover and expose us; literally. Having been in and around the Performing Arts for some years, we have always been told that dance is very revealing. It has the power to strip and expose the dancer so much that whatever a dancer is going through emotionally, is often revealed through his/her dance. The same is true about sex. The way we behave sexually, says quite a bit about our perceptions of sex, our attitude towards sex, our comfort with our own sexuality (or lack thereof) and our beliefs about sex itself.
So our title question “Do you have sex with your eyes closed?” is to be taken literally, at the same time that it is symbolic of our general comfort levels with the idea of sexuality. I often say during talks to married couples or to young people thinking of marriage in the future, that sex is extremely important in to a marriage relationship. We all hope to be married for a really long time I am sure. And yes while we will share bank accounts, a mortgage, car-payments and various life-goals and achievements, the reality is, that most of us will spend a fair amount of our married years having sex with our spouses. Even though this is so, most of us if we’re honest are still uncomfortable talking about our personal sexuality. Yes some of us have sex but we don’t even want to discuss it with the person we’re doing it with. As a consequence, many remain dissatisfied in the bedroom or experience serious sexual conflict that seems to have no recourse, simply because the act remains so deeply hidden an issue.
So what does “having sex with our eyes closed” reveal? It can actually suggest a range of responses dependent on how you see it.
It can mean that we’re decidedly uncomfortable with our own sexuality or with sexual expression.
It can indicate that we’re savouring the experience and prefer to shut everything else out to focus on our senses. (Remember closing your eyes to relish a really sweet fruit or a succulent cut of meat?)
It can suggest that we’re concentrating really hard on the “action” to ensure that it’s as enjoyable as the last Cosmo article said it would be.
It can intimate an innate embarrassment with our own sexual enjoyment and or with our bodies.
It can mean that we actually hate what we are doing with a capital H and are there in body only, while being absent in “spirit”. In other words, it can reveal that we are disconnected from our spouse and would really prefer to be somewhere else.
I believe that if we had to conduct an informal poll to investigate attitudes to sex and sexuality, that women would register the greatest levels of conflict or discomfort. Yes, women today are far more “liberated” and overtly sexual than they appeared in the past; I will agree to that. The very revealing styles of dress advocated by many women today and the ease with which sex is discussed among girlfriends, would seem to suggest that this is so. However, my experience also suggests that this is not always indicative of true liberty in the bedroom or of a woman’s ability to “let go” sexually. This is especially true of women raised in conservative homes or those raised on sexual “mis-information”. On the other hand, men who are normally socialized to embrace their sexuality, tend to have less of an issue with the problem of sexual-conflict or discomfort. Instead, this is how men are validated and defined.
Conversely, society often forces women to bear much of the blame for incidences of sexual impropriety which involve men. Because we women are often blamed for a man’s sexual downfall or for his lack of sexual discipline, many of us imbibe the idea that our very potent sexuality is an enemy. If a woman has suffered sexual abuse as a girl or was conflicted by her body’s own betrayal to her abuser, she may also internalize the idea that to be sexual is to be bad (Remember Rihanna’s “Good Girl Gone Bad?). It’s like we can’t be sexy and good all at once. This can encourage a woman to withdraw emotionally, even in a relationship like marriage, where her sexuality should be freely celebrated. Internal conflicts like embarrassment or a deep sense of shame or even body-consciousness, can also lead to attempts at “blocking out” the sexual experience.
Unresolved issues in a relationship could also lead to “sexual-eye-closure” which is really symptomatic of the deeper issue of sexual disconnection and withdrawal. Unsettled arguments, insults, prolonged emotional abuse, infidelity which goes unchecked or un-confessed, physical abuse, and financial neglect are among the many causes which could negatively impact the sexual connection between couples. Be that as it may, many continue to treat sex like an instinctive behaviour which they are unable to do without, while refusing to deal with the deeper, underlying challenges of the relationship. This is counter-productive and spells danger for any marriage.
Whether we are single or married, our attitude to our sexuality is likely to be a product of a number of influences. Our socialization, our personality, religious persuasion/faith, personal beliefs, knowledge about sex and the context of our relationship, can all have an impact on how we “behave” sexually. A fulfilling sexual relationship where we are free to be the uninhibited, sensual creatures we were meant to be will only be possible, when we can experience a sense of peace, with regards our sexual selves.
This means ensuring that our pursuit of sex, matches the ideals which we hold dear. For example, if we know that commitment, integrity and honesty in marriage are the ideals we strive towards, then we shouldn’t feel pressured to “give it up” just because everyone one else is. We should also not settle and give in to the guy who really is not worth the time of day, just because he claims that he can’t live without our “honey”. We also should definitely not practise self-abuse, by dutifully giving sex to a husband who we know is sleeping around, exposing us to STD’s, beating the living daylights out of us or disrespecting us by not dealing with the critical issues in the relationship. Sex might be great and all of that, but surely we are worth a lot more than a few moments of romping in the sack.
Serious emotional or spiritual challenges with sex may require deep counseling or therapy. We may need to open up and share with a trusted friend, who is grounded enough to give some valuable insight. Ultimately, making our sex-lives better, may also mean laying down the ground-rules for more honesty and openness in the marriage, by practicing greater levels of communication.
So next time you’re having sex and your eyes are closed, let’s hope it’s because you’re in a place where you are clearly savouring the delicious enjoyment of a truly, great sexual experience.
Red Red Apples joins Better Blends Relationship Institute to bring you a new and exciting Live talk show with author, counselor and relationship-coach Denise J Charles, Executive Director of Better Blends Relationship Institute.
Better LifeWith DeniseJ is an exciting, radio-blog show which will keep you inspired, entertained and fully engaged. Listeners will find it filled with loads of tips, personal experiences and humorous anecdotes, that will help them experience that “better life” which we all crave.
Our second episode deals with the touchy subject of sexual abuse and how it can impact our intimate relationships.
Whether you are married or single, if you have experienced sexual abuse, or know someone who has, then this show will resonante with you. Maybe you are involved in a helping profession, and have a desire to help those who struggle with this aspect of their past.
This show will air on Monday September 12th at 11:00PM (EST) “Sexual Abuse and Your Relationship”. Follow the link here.
If you miss the live shows, log in any time after to listen to the podcast.
To be a part of the show or to join in the discussion live call Denise, your host, at (714) 816-4739
Hopefully by the end of this show we will all learn how to bounce back from tragedy to enjoy a “better life”.
So stay tuned and enjoy “Better Life with DeniseJ” and please share with your friends.
There is a deeply embedded idea floating around in relationship circles, that men are emotional klutzes when it comes to the expression of deep feeling. And this idea is not without some merit. As women, we’ve witnessed men scratch themselves in public, and give huge pats on the back or behind (depending on the culture) when affirming each other in some sport. Men have screamed, laughed and even cried together at the outcome of some game or the other. Obviously, to men, there seems to be some safety in expressing emotion during the testosterone-laden, competitive nature of sports. There appears to be some unspoken male-code which makes this acceptable. When it comes to expressing themselves to their women, however, the opposite is true; they have been known to virtually clam up. What is it about emotional intimacy with women that renders most men speechless?
Several theories have been advanced in an attempt to explain this phenomenon. Chief among these is the well worn notion of male socialization; the fact that we raise boys not to cry, or express pain, hurt or disappointment, for fear that this would feminize them. The impact of this is often an inadequate emotional vocabulary when it comes to the expression of feeling. Women, on the other hand, who have been raised in a context where they have been allowed to vent, cry and talk things over with their tested and tried girlfriends through the years, take this same level of emotional intensity to their romantic relationships fully expecting to have this reciprocated. The disappointment that ensues when most men fail to even understand what their wives or partners are demanding of them, can be almost tangible and can lead to deep levels of dissatisfaction for women.
The good news is however, that with the advent of relationship-education, counselling and the like, some men have been learning gradually, (with much kicking and screaming) to drop their defences and shed their relationship inhibitions. This leads me to the new or emerging “sexy” in male-female relationships; a term I will tag as “guy-vulnerability”. Yes, guys are learning to be more in touch with their softer-kinder-gentler side and are experiencing the joys of being more open emotionally. Not surprisingly, this is leading to more fulfilling relationships. Not only are there several benefits to men in this area, but women find this new development very appealing.
How exactly does being a “vulnerable guy” help a man? Firstly, there is the potential for great stress-relief. Since there is no longer a need to hide feelings, there is less tension and physical stress, so such a guy is likely to be far more relaxed and at peace mentally. Less stress also means far less quarrelling and bickering over petty things in the relationship. The guy, who has learned to harness his vulnerability, does not have to repeatedly extend the effort to prove his brawn, bravado or masculinity. He can therefore re-direct his energies into learning to meet his partner’s needs more. This new lease on a man’s emotional life, actually makes him appear very attractive to the woman in his life.
As a woman I can vouch for this. When a man is expressive, he seems far more human and humble. There is no shame in admitting weakness, fear, uncertainty, hurt or intense need. There is no shame in verbalizing deep love and desire. In fact, far from emasculating him or robbing him of his “balls” as some men might fear, the man who unmasks and exposes himself, appears to be a giant in most women’s eyes. We women well understand the social pressures exerted on men and by men in “keeping up appearances”. The guy, who does not allow these social expectations to shape him, is perhaps far more courageous, individualistic and principled. This is indicative of a resolve and of a strength-of-character which we all crave in our partners. Who wants a wimp who just bends to the pressure of social expectation without a consideration of how this may make his partner unhappy?
There is perhaps something to be said for those time-worn principles on which many of us were raised; those principles which said that to be a leader you first had to follow or the one which affirmed that there is strength in weakness. When applied to the male-female debacle, we can conclude that these are valuable relationship traits which should cross the sexes. Both men and women must learn to be gracious in how they deal with each other. Yet, I recognise distinct male and female characteristics which help us to at least feel that we are not married to ourselves. I am in no way suggesting that men become “just like” women or vice-versa. There are plenty of male-female distinctions which reflect how we truly compliment (and not oppose) each other. And we know all too well what those are.
At the same time, when a guy, can go all out, to at least learn how to navigate his relationship in a way that is perhaps different to the norm, then his woman will appreciate this. One of the bigger benefits of this improved intimacy is likely to be an increased passion, which will be felt all the way in the bedroom. Men who are emotionally expressive are likely to be more vocal in bed, more willing to experiment sexually and will definitely place their spouse’s sexual needs before their own. Sex to such a man is not one-dimensional or penis-focused but is likely to involve a man giving every inch of his body and soul to his woman, as well as encouraging and coaching her to do the same.
So guys need not fear that emotional vulnerability is about being all soft and wimpy. In fact, we women think that it’s pretty hot and sexy.