Denise J talks SEX with Rebecca Rosenblat

Denise J Charles recently appeared on  Sex @ 11 With  Rebecca,  a  television talk  show on  Rogers TV Toronto, hosted by Sex and Relationship Therapist Rebecca Rosenblat. Their discussion focused on the issue of dealing with differences between partners in the bedroom and looked at how this  can impact the relationship. Denise provides some practical advice for how a couple can cope with the challenge of differing sexual tastes.

Follow the link  here to view this timely interview on Rogers TV or click underlined link  below.

Denise’s Interview on Rogers TV, Toronto.

Have You Settled For Sexlessness?

Red Red Apples

According to sexperts, if your marriage is characterized by sex which occurs ten times a year or less, you are living in a sexless marriage. Some experts argue that if both members of a couple are content with this light-sex or low-sex trend, then there is really no issue. I disagree. An individual may be content or even happy to live without exercise, he/she may be happy with consuming loads of calories without eating healthy; this does not mean that this individual is making the best life-choice. Healthy eating and exercise undeniably improve the quality of life for us all. And if we fail to eat healthy, it will tell on us sooner or later.

In the same way in marriage, sexual expression is an indelible part of what defines the marriage. The idea of “two becoming one”, which is often repeated in marriage ceremonies, makes intuitive sense to most…

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Have You Settled For Sexlessness?

According to sexperts, if your marriage is characterized by sex which occurs ten times a year or less, you are living in a sexless marriage. Some experts argue that if both members of a couple are content with this light-sex or low-sex trend, then there is really no issue. I disagree. An individual may be content or even happy to live without exercise, he/she may be happy with consuming loads of calories without eating healthy; this does not mean that this individual is making the best life-choice. Healthy eating and exercise undeniably improve the quality of life for us all. And if we fail to eat healthy, it will tell on us sooner or later.

In the same way in marriage, sexual expression is an indelible part of what defines the marriage. The idea of “two becoming one”, which is often repeated in marriage ceremonies, makes intuitive sense to most of us because it ratifies the significance of marriage as a sexual union. Marriage is not room-mating; it’s not just about sharing living spaces and bills with our best friend.

If either spouse or both are content with minimal or no sex, they are actually denying themselves a vital marriage “vitamin” which is guaranteed to strengthen and deepen their intimacy. It’s like deciding NOT to be your best self. Yes; how much times we have sex is not etched in tablets anywhere and we don’t have to get caught up in a keeping-up-with-the-Jonses’ routine in the sex department.  However, striving for an ideal of regular sexual connection can only benefit our marriages.

If sexlessness defines your marriage, you don’t have to settle for it with the belief that this is okay and no deal-breaker.  It’s time to stop robbing your marriage of its vitality. Hopefully, these tips may help.

Start the Conversation

Some may say, if it’s not broken, don’t fix it. I say fix it before it becomes broken. This means making the discussion about sex a priority in your regular marriage dialogue. I’m sure that most of us discuss the bills, the need to change our vehicle, our bosses, and our kids. Well we also need to discuss our sex. Are we content with how much sex we’re having? Are we sufficiently connected sexually or is our relationship lacking? Do we relate like brother and sister instead of like lovers? Do we pay so much attention to being parents that we have forgotten what it is like to be sexual partners? When we think about sex with each other do we do an enthusiastic “Oh yes!” or a regretful “Oh no”?

Carve Out Time

Yes we all want great passionate, spontaneous sex but there is nothing wrong with planning a liaison especially when children are around. Carving out time is however not restricted to when we have sex but refers as well to the time we commit to the general relationship. Sex does not occur in a vacuum but reflects an ‘out-flow’ of the entire tone of the relationship. While some may say that sex sets the tone, things like communication, mutual validation or spousal-support are also critical measures of relationship health. Taking time to improve our relationship health all-round, is sure to redound to  the sexual  department.

Be a Sexual Person

For us women, there is a distinctly sexual -feeling we get when we don that sexy lingerie or have a make-over done. Thinking sexual  thoughts about  our spouse as well  as celebrating our own body by  pampering it a bit  is  a  great way to turn our sexy on. Once we’re in a place mentally where the sexual light is flashing green, then it’s a whole lot easier to initiate the act with our spouse. (Listening to that R and B classic “Sexual Healing” by Marvin Gaye, may also help quite a bit).

Re-Invent Your Marriage

If sexlessness has defined your marriage to this point, re-inventing it will be no easy feat. Getting a different outcome means doing things differently. This will mean altering your mind-set and making the sexual expression of your marriage a priority.  Of course if there are unresolved issues in the relationship like un-confessed infidelity, pervasive anger or a serious lack of communication, then these issues will need to be dealt with before the issue of sexlessness can be fully resolved.

Viewing your marriage as an intertwined whole as opposed to a series of unrelated fragments, is critical to addressing the issue of low-sex. Where the issues go deep and may be connected to past abuse, then intervention by a counselor or therapist is advised.

Regular sex is like the “apple a day” of your marriage. You may not need to compete with a national average but keeping that sexual connection going is a sure-fire way to guard against the threat of both sexual and emotional infidelity. On top of this, it serves to distinguish your marriage as a relationship which is distinct and set apart from all others.  Is this not the reason you exchanged the vows in the first place?

Would You Try Anything In Bed In The Name of Love?

 

 “The hallmarks of a healthy relationship are respect for your boundaries and your body”.  Angela Starr, Essence Magazine, June 2012.

There is no mistaking it; in several quarters sex has become pretty much humdrum and almost overworked as a topic. At the same time, because we know how super important sex is to our lives and our relationships, there is an almost slavish fascination with getting as much information about it as we possibly can. There is also no question that our very liberal, postmodern culture, has encouraged us to push the envelope where sex is concerned. The result has been some fairly experimental bedroom sessions for those who have grown tired of the same-old-same-old in the sex department. While having an experimental attitude may be great for the most part, it can sometimes prove to be problematic in a relationship where partners have differing sexual repertoires from  their pasts, divergent sexual tastes or sexual  preferences that are poles apart.

Since sex for the most part is a relationship deal-breaker, how then should we go about handling the issue of sexual boundaries? What are reasonable sexual demands by one partner on another? If we fail to give in to our spouse’s sexual demands, is this grounds for a separation or divorce? Does our failure to pander to our partner’s every sexual whim and fantasy give him/her the right to pursue an affair with someone else who will? If our relationship is truly one of love, who decides where or whether there are boundaries? How can a couple come to an agreement about boundaries when there are obvious differences in sexual needs, wants and tastes?

While this article will not pretend to answer each of these questions individually, it will attempt to offer general guidelines which should inform the sexual choices we make in our relationships. These guidelines are critical if we are to be at least aware of the challenges which can confront us en route to sexual fulfillment. This brings us right back to our title question, “Should we try anything in bed in the name of love?” And what exactly do we mean by anything?

Depending on where you’re sexually positioned, “anything” can include a wide range of practices including but certainly not limited to oral sex, the use of sex toys, out-door sex, use of mirrors, video-taping, acting out sexual fantasies, silk-scarves for tying-up, costumes, unusual positions, graphic sex-talk, anal sex, the use of  condiments like whipped cream and the like, spanking and this list is by no means exhaustive. While this article will not be prescriptive in telling a couple what they should or should not do specifically, all sexual behavior in a couple/marriage context should in my opinion, pass a certain “litmus” test.

The parameters which already define marriage indicate that we should preserve our unions from any external or internal influences which may threaten to destroy them; remember “let not man put asunder?” This immediately earmarks as lethal to the union any scenarios which involve other people, real or imagined. This obviously cancels from the sexual equation of marriage practices like swinging, group sex or a ménage a trois; regardless of whether a partner claims to want this. For me, it even removes the practice of fantasizing about other people, which has its own set of dangers, in the form of sexual substitution, unhealthy comparisons and emotional disengagement from our spouse.

While people in other types of “non-traditional” unions may claim to be adventurous and defiant of boundaries, for most of us who enter into marriage, we believe that marital limits are there to protect the integrity and exclusivity of the covenant. This is why any sexual activity which attempts to add to the union of two, should be strongly discouraged. Be that as it may, in the throes of sexual desire, we can easily side-step the issue of putting our partner’s needs before our own and can become locked into demanding activities which we may find arousing but which our partner might not. This is why the “litmus” test, of which I spoke, becomes relevant. So here are a few questions each partner should bear in mind before either demanding or giving in to any sexual requests. They can easily provide the platform for a couple to discuss and weigh in on this most delicate area.

  • Do I have to coerce or even force my partner to participate?
  • Can I willingly do this as an expression of love?
  • Am I turned on to doing something new just to keep up with “magazine” trends, because of the influence of porn or do I really care about taking my sexual relationship to a new level?
  • Do I really care about pleasing my partner sexually or am I mainly focused on my own needs?
  • Does the requested activity somehow conflict with my values or beliefs?
  • Do I care about whether an activity makes my partner uncomfortable?
  • Will the activity hurt my partner physically?
  • When it comes to trying new things, am I too closed and sexually conservative?
  • Do I desire my partner as a complete person or am I just using his/her genitals/body for my personal pleasure?
  • Am I comparing my spouse to a past sexual partner or am I comparing experiences?
  • Am I callous or self-centred in my requests?
  • Does my partner pout, sulk or insult me if I do not give in to exactly what he/she wants?
  • Is my partner willing to compromise?
  • Is my partner as focused or as enthusiastic about meeting the emotional/spiritual needs of the relationship, or is he/she simply obsessed with the sex?
  • Do I simply give in to my spouse’s requests in the name of “love”; no questions asked?
  • Am I able to celebrate my sexuality with my entire body without guilt?

I believe that in a context of love and commitment, sex must take on a meaning that supersedes the individual. Yes, each of us may want what we want but not to the extent where it severely compromises the comfort of our partner. At the same time, even a conservative spouse who likes to play it safe should be willing at times to step out on a limb sexually to experience new things. This sexual “risk-taking” in a relational context is not simply about pleasing one’s partner but should also be about personal growth and development.

If relational sex is truly to exceed selfish individualism, then couples must recognize that what they have together as a couple must outweigh what they could ever desire on an individual level; at least this should be the recognized ideal. This simply means that a great sex life must strike a happy balance between what the individual wants and the mutual rhythm which a couple is able to emerge together.