SEX! From Boredom to Best Practice

 

 

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If you’ve been married for a while, chances are you’ve experienced some level of bedroom boredom. Like any often performed human activity, sex runs the risk of becoming routine and predictable. While we may choose from a variety of natural responses, if we really want to tackle this relationship challenge, it may mean stepping outside ourselves a bit and evaluating how we tend to respond. This is needed before we can craft our way forward to a what I will call sexual best practices.

The Auto-Pilot Response

This occurs where couples mostly have sex when either half-asleep or half-awake (just a matter of perspective). Sex occurs as a matter of course, pretty much like the necessary bodily function of going to the bathroom. There is absolutely no effort at creativity or ingenuity extended into the love-life. Sex is brief, functional, perfunctory and release-oriented;  pretty much along the lines of that well worn expression “wham-bam-thank-you-mam!” The missionary position becomes etched in stone and sometimes the wife can even do the grocery list during the act, if she can get her eyes opened wide enough.

The Sexless Response

Couples go sexless when the cares of life become so overwhelming that sex is no longer worth the time, work and effort. This couple begins to function almost along the lines of a brother and sister. There may or may not be a certain sense of warmth between them but life has become so centred on the activities of family (children and in-laws) that this couple has actually lost all sense of being a couple. In this response pattern, the practice of not having any sex (or as little as twice a year), is not necessarily a well-thought out or deliberate response. It usually occurs because one individual loses his/her desire and the other capitulates because he/she gives into a feeling of powerlessness in the situation.

The Nocturnal Headache Response

This response occurs when there is a simple lack of common sex, I mean common sense. One partner (usually the woman) gets locked into complaining of a nightly headache, while failing to realise that she’s having that headache precisely because she has not had some good sex in a while and perhaps needs that great orgasmic release. No seriously, the headache response reveals an escape-route mentality. Of course I am not denying that there may be times when illness may prevent partners from experiencing a good roll in the hay but that’s not the point here. Barring genuine illness, partners can become locked into various excuses as to why sex does not happen. “The kids will hear us”, “the dogs are barking”, “my mother lives next-door”, “there is a hole in the ceiling” all become viable reasons as to why sex should be circumnavigated. While this sex-avoidance behaviour may only be perpetuated by one individual, it becomes a significant road-block to sexual intimacy since it definitely takes two to tango.

The Roving Reporter Response

Perhaps this is the most lethal of responses to bedroom boredom. It occurs when one or both partners begin to look outside the relationship for the sexual excitement which they know is lacking. The partner or couple who gets locked into this response may not be necessarily interested in leaving the relationship. There may be a sense of security in knowing that they have built a life together. They perhaps share a mortgage, a car loan, kids, pets and the list goes on. What they don’t share however is an exciting sex life. When sexual boredom has set in and there is a lack of dialogue on the matter, the result could very well be a tendency to inspect the grass on the other side. This is a response that is grounded in laziness and a self-serving agenda. The energy, spontaneity and ingenuity that is often required to make an affair work, had it been applied to the marriage, would most likely have resulted in  a re-kindling of the sexual fires. The self-serving partner is however looking for a quick fix and working on a relationship can be time-consuming.

The “I Want to Have Great Sex With You” Response

There are couples who love to have great sex, and I mean with a capital L. There is however one condition. They only want to have that great sex with the person to whom they are committed. Sex for such individuals is not an end in itself. It’s not a case of “any sex will do”. They are not into trading vaginas and penises for their own personal aggrandizement. Do such couples experience boredom in the bedroom? Of course! Their boredom could be as palpable as the next guys. What distinguishes their response however is their level of commitment to the relationship and their intuitive understanding of the value of a good sex-life to the health of the relationship. Because they understand the basics of relational health, they are, therefore, willing to put in the extra work to alleviate the bedroom blues. They also understand that love is really about putting the needs of another individual before their own. This means that if each partner focuses on what to do to please the other sexually, then the result is likely to be one sexually fulfilled couple.

Regardless of the response mode you and your spouse may have found yourselves in when it comes to the bedroom blues, the following tips represent a starting point for your continued sexual renewal as a couple:

  • Schedule lovemaking sessions; especially when there are kids around. This ensures that sexual intimacy becomes as regular a part of your couple’s repertoire as taking a shower is to the individual.
  • Don’t underestimate the power of the quickie. Yes the long, drawn out, steamy, lovemaking sessions a la Hollywood and the romance novel may be well known to some of us, but a short, sweet sexual encounter may be better than none at all
  • Get deliberately creative. Using the powers of imagination from time to time can always add flavour to the love-life. This may involve using sexy lingerie, silk boxers and other little tricks like scented candles, fragrant oils, music, feathers, flavoured condoms, satin sheets, carefully positioned mirrors and you get my drift I’m sure.
  • Cultivate a ‘touchy-feely” relationship. Couples who understand how to be physically demonstrative to each other outside of the bedroom get to preserve a certain level of sexual tension which just goes kaboom when they come together.
  • Have a regular date-night. Spending time together regularly in other social settings helps an individual to see his/her partner in a different light. Taking the effort to dress up and go out together sends a powerful message that the individual is not being taken for granted.
  • Communicate, communicate, communicate. Couples who fail to share what they really feel about their love-life run the risk of harbouring anger and resentment which can contribute to further rifts in the relationship. It is important for couples to practice emotional intimacy if they expect to have great sexual intimacy. This comes only through honesty, openness and a shared vulnerability.
  • Have lots of sex. Scientific studies have proven that the more sex we have the more sex we want. So there is perhaps no greater way to jump-start a flagging sex life that with some attempt at a sexual marathon (of course not forever but just so you could get those hormones racing again). Couples could perhaps set themselves an attainable sexual goal as an experiment or a challenge; for example, sex everyday for five or seven straight days. According to researchers, this is guaranteed to straighten out those hormones and have them and other parts of of your anatomy in tip-top working condition.

12 Steps for Cementing Relationship Commitment

by Denise J Charles

shutterstock_116979841We’re always talking about commitment in marriage but do we even know what it should look like? Follow these 12 steps to strengthen your level of relationship commitment. 

  1. Accept human imperfection in both yourself and your spouse and see it as a gateway for personal development and change
  2. Choose loving confrontation when unhappy or dissatisfied with some aspect of your relationship; this means that talking about how you feel is always critical; decide from the outset that you will not choose easy escape routes like emotional detachment or affairs
  3. Protect your relationship from negative external influences (friends, family, cohorts) who encourage you to bail out at the first sign of marital stress
  4. Set realistic goals for your marriage and work together at making them happen
  5. See love as a choice, not a feeling that is based purely on sexual chemistry or attractiveness
  6. Choose significant moments like birthdays, anniversaries or any day for that matter, to relive the memories of how you met, got engaged or got married; keeping alive the magic of your early relationship is still significant to the health of your marriage but understand that while this may be a tool to enhance your commitment, it should not be the basis for it
  7. Develop relationship loyalty by actively demonstrating that you and your spouse are on the same team; practice “having each others back” instead of competing
  8. Never neglect your sexual relationship; keep this “one-flesh” reality of your relationship going to demonstrate how exclusive and set apart your relationship really is from all others; this means actively working to make your sex better which will in turn strengthen your levels of intimacy
  9. Strive to demonstrate a “higher-order” love that is unconditional and loves “in spite of”and which also includes the practice of forgiveness
  10. Deal with relationship issues in a timely manner, before they have the chance to fester into deep-rooted anger or bitterness
  11. Never share your  marital challenges with someone you feel sexually attracted to; this represents the antithesis of commitment and loyalty
  12. If you sense your relationship  is becoming unglued and you both seem unable to handle it on your own, choose a reputable counselor, coach, pastor or therapist to help you get your marriage back on track

FREE WEBINAR EVENT! GET NAKED: EXPLORING MARITAL INTIMACY

The question of intimacy, will always be one which will determine the health and state of our significant relationships. But what is intimacy? What does it really look like in marriage and why is it so important? What hinders intimacy in marriage? Why do we run from it and how can we build and strengthen the capacity for intimacy in marriage?

Join me on Saturday April 25th, 10:00 am – 10:45 am AST for a  FREE WEBINAR EVENT : GET NAKED! Exploring Marital Intimacy

Please join my meeting from your computer, tablet or smartphone by clicking on the link below. Space is limited, so please log in at least five minutes early, to secure your place.

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Great RELATIONSHIP EDUCATION you don’t want to miss. Brought to you by Better Blends Relationship Institute and Red Red Apples.

The Truth About Penis Size

woman-holding-measuring-tape-near-mans-penis_0As sexualized as our culture is, many of us still hold erroneous beliefs with regards to sex. One of those primary beliefs is that a woman needs a man with a big penis to feel sexually satisfied. It has even been said that some women are, at times, unwilling to relinquish a man who on all counts may be a real jerk, simply because his claim to fame is a large penis. While the philosophies which may guide those pursuing casual sex and those interested in commitment and marriage may be entirely different, the idea of the large penis being correlated with great sex, still holds sway in the minds of many, regardless of their relationship status.

There is a standing joke that there really is no need for extra-large condoms because such men who claim to need them, really only have extra-large egos. Whether you agree with this evaluation or not, there is no denying the fact that we live in a phallus-dominant society. From the design of lipsticks, to pens, to gear-shifts and the obvious obelisk, phallic symbols are everywhere. Let’s face it, men are not only seemingly defined by sex but they place great stock in the tool designed to do the job.

Haven’t we noticed how some men, somewhat unconsciously, seem to touch their genitals when talking in social settings, as if there is a constant need to affirm that the penis is still there? While some may think that this behaviour is ample proof of Freud’s “castration anxiety” theory; (the belief in an unconscious fear of penile-loss which develops during childhood and lasts a lifetime), I believe that it also confirms men’s tendency to externalize their sexuality.

The externalization of sex involves an emotional disengagement with the sex act by focusing primarily on the sex organ as the “tool” which does the job. In this paradigm of sex, it’s the penis doing the work and not necessarily the man per se. It is this type of thinking which has contributed to the obsession with penis-size. Not only do men believe that the size of their penis relates directly to their ability to give sexual pleasure but many women have themselves bought into this notion. Failure to reach a climax for these women may, therefore, lead to the complaint that the penis was too small.

Actually, the greatest sexual tool needed to enjoy great sex is the brain. How we feel about ourselves; our sexual self-concept, our ease and comfort with our sexuality and our thinking patterns with respect to sex have a greater part to play in our enjoyment of the act than any old penis. It is a medical fact that the vagina is not a gaping hole to be filled or plugged; it is an expandable space. This simply means that it will normally adapt and adjust to the size of the penis which enters it. For women who have had children and who may experience some sense of “slackness” (actually overt stretching of the vaginal wall) this can be remedied by the regular exercising of the pelvic floor muscles (imagine stopping your urine flow) and by the selection of sexual positions which allow the female’s legs to be closed.

The overt reliance on the male penis as the source of all sexual pleasure has also placed an undue sense of responsibility on men for the extent of female pleasure. Focussing on the genitals also restricts the level of ingenuity or creativity a man is able to bring to the bedroom when it comes to lovemaking, as it downplays the skills he may need to develop with his hands and or mouth.

Right thinking women, however, must own their sexuality and understand that the responsibility for their own pleasure first lies with their thinking and attitudes towards sex. By turning her focus inward to her own pleasure-centre, a woman can learn how to surrender and release herself to sexual pleasure and own her sexual experience as an enthusiastic participant. Dwelling more on what she brings to the experience also puts her in a frame of mind to give pleasure to her spouse, as she feels a greater sense of sexual empowerment. For men, a healthy, functional view of sexuality should also mean developing the understanding that women are far more concerned with how they are treated and valued in the context of a relationship, than they are with pure penis-size.

Adapted from How To Have Mind Blowing Sex Without Losing Your Brain by Denise J Charles

Do You Fall In And Out Of Love?

romantic_couple_sunset-wallpaper-2048x1152The idea of “falling in love” as an all-consuming passion over which we seem to have little control is standard romantic fare. We meet someone with whom there is a strong physical and even emotional attraction. We may even get to the stage where we become mildly obsessed. We can’t seem to get this love interest out of our minds. We not only think about this lucky one constantly but when we see him/her we often get all warm and fuzzy inside and our body might do things which we didn’t exactly plan for. But each of us knows that these feelings do not last. Why then do we claim to have “fallen out of love?” Do we honestly expect to maintain these heady feelings for a lifetime and what are our relationship options when this intensity begins to fade?

Scientists explain that the chemical dopamine plays a big role in those initial intense feelings of attraction. It provides an intense pleasure-rush not dissimilar from what is experienced in other addictions. The danger comes when we literally get hooked on the butterflies or on the rush and high of initial sexual attraction. If these feelings also inform our expectations of what a relationship should be, then we can experience intense disappointment when the feelings wane or absolute confusion if we experience them with someone else.   How many times have we heard a friend claim to have “fallen out of love” with one individual and “in love” with a next? How then should we navigate our relationships when faced with the reality that these feelings have not lasted?

1. Change our relationship expectations: If we understand from the outset that the fall from the high of love is inevitable, then hopefully we won’t fall apart when it occurs. We often unrealistically expect that “true love” means sustaining our original emotion. Coming to terms with the reality, that change can be a vital sign of our maturing love, should enable us to redefine the fuel which drives our relationship.

2. Desire more than feelings: It’s regrettable that so much of the literature and even music which exists about love, is based on feeling. It is important to reframe love as more of a decision to commit which is of course buttressed by attraction. Essentially, this commitment is a choice to deprive ourselves of other choices. While those mushy feelings which drive attraction may be great, they’re obviously not enough to base a lifetime of commitment on. Attraction should, however, be viewed as an ongoing dynamic which must be worked at by both partners. At the same time, our love should come from a deeper place. Knowing what makes us attractive to our spouse and working on that constantly is, therefore, also critical.

3. Understand that love is an action: Verbalizing love is great. Many of us women particularly, love to be told “I love you”. Love should however be evidenced through active demonstrations of thoughtfulness. It should also be communicated in the love-style which our partner desires and not necessarily what we prefer. Our love-style simply means how our experiences, personality and gender converge to influence how we like to give or receive love. This will mean stepping outside our comfort zone to learn and do the things which our partner may appreciate but which may not necessarily be second nature to us. So if a woman needs to be romanced or a husband needs sex to feel wanted, then we should respectively oblige.

4. Add personal value to our relationship: Very often in relationship-land we tend to focus on ourselves; on our needs and on what is important to us. Seeing our relationship, however, as a place where we can give and add value means that we focus less on us and more on the greater good of the relationship. This will require us asking ourselves “How can I improve my relationship?” or “What can I change about myself to make this relationship better?” Moving out of self-preservation mode to focus on the value which we can add, also forces us to take responsibility for our own happiness.

5. Create memorable moments: Our daily experiences form the basis for our sense of life-fulfillment. When those experiences are positive and pleasurable, we feel a sense of peace and contentment. Creating positive memories means living each day of our relationship intentionally. This will encourage us to put more thought into our actions, to think before we speak and to evaluate our core motivations for doing things. This will also encourage us not to take those daily moments for granted. While living in the moment is good, planning for future moments means taking our relationship off automatic-pilot to work towards the lifetime of love we want.

The Sex-Focused Man

ambition-sexy-couple-09012012This discussion may seem like a moot point since it may be argued that all men are focused on sex. Without making the term “sex-focused” seem like some errant disease, it is important to note that sexual difference between men and women continues to plague relationships.

While this article is not meant to suggest that women are disinterested in sex, research does suggest that we tend to have a far more holistic view of our intimate relationships. As natural nurturers, we want to take care of, protect, and improve our relationships and of course this includes the sex. For us, sex is important but it is an aspect of the relationship; not the sum total by which it is defined.

Our men, on the other hand, often want to improve the frequency and quality of sex, while paying scant attention to other aspects of the relationship. This can be quite a problem when there are relationship issues like a lack of verbal communication or the need to apologise. Men can sometimes attempt, in these instances, to use sex as a substitute for discussion. Because, as women we are wired differently, we often will have none of this. No matter how good our man is in the sack, nothing beats actually saying “I love you” or “I’m sorry”.

Since women and men seem so much at cross-purposes on the issue of sex, how then do we navigate our relationships? How can we each be fulfilled in marriage when we’re coming from entirely different points of reference? Very often we reach a stalemate because we expect our partner to love as we do and experience our relationship as we do. This is not exactly fair since our hormonal wiring is different. Barring incidents where sex is used to manipulate, control or humiliate, as women, we perhaps need to come to terms with our partner’s relationship pulse; namely sex. Men by the same token must accept that their women are interested in a whole lot more than the latest sexual position, technique or the number of times they have sex in a week.

Adapting and demonstrating a willingness to walk the relationship through our partner’s shoes is perhaps the first step towards finding a resolution. This literally means understanding that sex is a male priority while love and relational health is a woman’s. While a husband may choose to relate or demonstrate love through sex, he must ask himself, does my wife feel loved or validated in each instance? Yes, being sexually desired and pleased is a vital part of an intimate relationship and as women we do value this but the tendency to use sex as a substitute for dialogue or as a short cut for deep relationship change can also be counterproductive. By the same token, as women, we must question how loved or appreciated our man can feel if we’re deliberately withholding sex or have adopted a casual attitude towards its place in our relationship.

This relationship challenge is also compounded by the fact that while men do focus on sex as critical, many are uncomfortable talking about its importance to them. Because this is seldom discussed, the result of inadequate sex from a man’s perspective is often bitterness, resentment, sulking and emotional withdrawal. Men are energized by sex in a way that we as women will perhaps never understand. As a result, its absence in the relationship can leave them feeling depleted, unloved, and less than manly. It is important that this critical need is communicated in marriage. While failure to do so exposes the relationship to being undermined, inadequate sex should never be readily used as an excuse for infidelity.

By the same token, inadequate emotional stimulation in a relationship and a disregard for the importance of communication, also contributes to a woman’s pervasive unhappiness. Women are energized by words and demonstrative love and would also appreciate their man’s “sacrifice” in this area. Most women don’t want to be simply viewed as an object for their man’s sexual release; we want to be appreciated as the multi-faceted creatures that we really are. When a woman is emotionally satisfied, the issue of sexual regularity and quality really becomes a non-issue.

Ultimately, men should not allow their focus on sex to cause them to emotionally disengage from their wives nor should women disconnect sexually because their emotional needs are unmet. The solution to the core difference in priority between men and women, rests in both individual’s willingness to meet the needs of the other and by so doing, demonstrate the essence of true love; selflessness.

When Our Sex is Bad

How to tell him he's lousy in bed?

How to tell him he’s lousy in bed?

We all know that deep love and intimacy seal the deal when it comes to longevity and commitment in a relationship. We also know that relationships suffer from a number of negative issues including poor communication, inattention, infidelity, abuse, boredom and this list can go on. What happens, however, when the sex is really bad? Many individuals may not mind complaining about a cheating, abusive or disloyal spouse but how many of us want to complain about bad sex? On a good day, many of us adults who do have sex behave as if we don’t and even for those of us who do, admitting that we’re having problems in this area is akin to acknowledging some type of adult failure; or so we think.

I was made very aware of this sexual disconnect among adults only too recently. While promoting my book “How To Have Mind Blowing Sex Without Losing Your Brain” it was amusing to note the embarrassed stares, self-conscious giggles or incredulous glances away from the book’s title by a number of adults passing by. This of course included married couples. It was obvious that in spite of our society’s seeming openness about sex, many adults are still uncomfortable confronting their own sexuality. If some of us remain so deeply embarrassed by sex, how then do we navigate the turbulent waters of a sexual relationship where the sex is bad with a capital B? Do some of us even know what bad sex is? Are we even remotely in touch with our own sexual needs and desires? Are we informed by good sexuality education or are we still operating at the level of sexual myths and conjecture?

If we’re to specifically improve the quality of our sexual relationship and if we’re to enhance the overall quality of our relationship with our spouse, then honest communication about the state of our sex is imperative. One of the complexities of relationships is that although we can have a very loving partner who meets our needs in several ways, that individual can still be pretty lousy in the sack. When It comes down to it, however, when we’re in love and our heart is in the right place, great sex is not something we want to experience with someone else; we want to experience it with the one we have committed to. How then can we move our sex from bad to good?

1. Clarify what we want: knowing what we’re looking for in our sexual relationship is the first step on the journey towards ridding ourselves of bad sex. This means being in-tuned with our own bodies, including our sexual needs and preferences. If we’re holding residual shame and embarrassment about how our body looks, if we’ve never looked at our genitals and remain clueless about our own pleasure centres, then chances are, we’re in no position to articulate our desires. Being in-tuned sexually therefore involves acknowledging and accepting our sexuality. This can strengthen our sexual confidence and reduce the sense of trepidation which can keep us silent in the face of dissatisfaction.

2. Communicate clearly but sensitively: Acknowledging our own needs can embolden us to share what is necessary with our partner. Communication in this area should not be designed to humiliate, thereby fostering a sense of inadequacy. We want our guy to know that satisfying us is within his reach and that together, we can learn to enrich our sexual experience for the benefit of us both. If for example, the male partner is plagued with premature ejaculation, working together to overcome this challenge can enhance the quality of sex for both individuals. Communication should also seek to affirm the positive aspects of the relationship first, before zeroing in on the inadequacies. We should never seek to convey a sense of hopelessness.

3. Release Inhibitions: Sometimes our sex is bad because we’re too uptight; we haven’t learnt the fine art of surrendering to the moment. Our inhibitions and skewed expectations can keep us locked into a zone of performance-anxiety which makes our intimate time with our partner both stilted and burdensome. Understanding that our sexual success is not one-sided but demands our own participation and cooperation can be a significant step in the right direction. This can release the burden of responsibility we as women can sometimes place on our spouse to “give” us an orgasm and encourages us to “own” our sexual pleasure. A more participatory approach can add some much needed zest to our love life, opening it up to exciting experimentation, which in turn has the potential to improve its overall quality.

 

Is Your Sex Abusive?

signs_of_an_abusive_relationship-290x160Very often when we think of sexual abuse, we imagine a young girl or boy being taken advantage of by an adult. Most of us get fairly riled up by the idea of an adult, who should know better, seeking sexual gratification through a child or adolescent. What many of us fail to recognize, however, and I’m going to mash toes here, is how abusive many of our sexual relationships are even within the context of marriage. Yes; commitment may be great, but it does not automatically “sanctify” every “type” of sex which may occur in such a relationship. And by “type” I’m not talking here about peripheral things like positions or oral sex. Many of us would be hesitant to admit that we have been victims, or even the perpetrators of abusive sex because very often we don’t recognize abuse even when it’s staring us straight in the face. So what exactly am I talking about?

Any sex that seeks to control, is negatively conditional, dehumanizes or ignores the choice of the other individual is abusive sex. Relationship sexual abuse is not exclusive to the unmarried, under-aged nor is it confined to rape. It occurs in all contexts. But we live in a peculiar society which teaches women, almost exclusively, that keeping their man, means submitting to his sexual advances every time, in spite of the status of the relationship. Of course women are free to do what they choose with their bodies. Nonetheless, within the context of any sexual relationship, even marriage, women must also be cognizant of when the sexual behaviour of their partner begins to cross certain lines.

Sex becomes abusive when a woman must perform sexually to receive money for groceries, bills, to ensure her children are looked after or for her general upkeep. Abusive sex is also indicated when sex is used to override every other relational concern. For instance, if a partner is repeatedly unfaithful, has contracted a sexually transmitted infection, is physically violent or even verbally abusive but refuses to change, seek help or to discuss these concerns and seeks only to maintain sex in the relationship, then such sex is abusive.

In the context of marriage, while Biblical teaching may advance “ownership” of each other’s bodies, it also speaks of the concept of mutual submission. Inherent in this teaching is the value of dialogue and compromise as higher order skills in any marriage relationship. This means that partners are free, whether male or female, to express how they truly feel on an issue and the implication of mutual submission is that such expressions should be met with an attitude of tolerance and negotiation. It does not suggest rail-roading over each other’s feelings to get what he/she wants even when that thing is perceived as the right to sex.

When women or men are objectified sexually, so that they are only acknowledged or valued for their sexual performance, then such individuals are also experiencing some level of sexual abuse. This type of sexual relationship in fact dehumanizes individuals, is extremely genital-focused and reduces the partner to nothing more than an object for sexual gratification. The individual is not valued for his/her core personality, preference or needs.

The problem with sexually abusive behaviour in a relational context is that many individuals have grown to accept such behaviour as the norm. In fact, many of the behaviours mentioned here would not even be perceived as abuse, especially in a marital context or for those in long-term relationships. Abuse, however, is any behaviour which seeks to treat another in a harmful or offensive way. While sex may be important for intimacy, it is not the only aspect of a relationship which requires attention. Honesty, integrity and mutual respect are of an even higher value because they have the power to define the entire relationship.

When spouses look out for the greater good of each other and of the relationship, then this can only enhance the quality of their sexual relationship. If an individual, however, feels powerless, threatened, victimized or dehumanized in the name of sex, then this may be a very dangerous relationship requiring rapid intervention or a quick exit. Ultimately, we must be empowered to make those choices which support our emotional and sexual safety and health.

 

When Sex Clouds The Issue

sex gets cloudyThere’s a belief going around in some circles about women and broken relationships. It’s commonly said that the only way for a woman to get over one man is to get underneath another one. There are some women who swear by this standard and will move quickly into another intimate relationship after their marriage or relationship fails. Whether or not you believe in using sex as a means of ridding yourself of a new man and cementing yourself with a new, there can be no question that sex can be relationship-defining.

While some proponents of casual sex will say that using sex to grease one’s ego, to make oneself feel good, or for recreational and relaxation purposes is no big deal, the research confirms otherwise. Sex has an inherent component which glues individuals together; regardless. In other words, we don’t just have sex and get away scot free; there are consequences to sexual joining, no matter our motivation.

The hormone Oxytocin plays a significant part in our sexual encounters. It fosters feelings of connection and belongingness when we hug, kiss, touch and orgasm with our partner. While this binding is an aspect of the built-in spirituality of sex, it does not need ideal relationship conditions to occur. There is nothing written in the fine-print of sex to suggest that sexual oneness or binding or connection, only occurs with marriage vows or when there is love in the relationship. It in fact occurs with all types of sexual encounters. This means that when we misuse sex to prove a point about our worth, value or desirability; when we seek out new sexual opportunities just for the fun of it, we may actually be doing more harm than good. We may be contributing to our own emotional confusion by connecting ourselves indiscriminately to someone else, while still being tied to a previous spouse or partner.

Premature sex can encourage a false sense of intimacy. Even when we think we’re simply being casual, the passion of sex can mess with our heads. It can mimic love through its intensity and this can cause us to gloss over the glaring flaws in the new individual we may be having sex with. The headiness of sex can also prevent us from facing our own neediness or low self-esteem. Sex alone can never be an adequate therapy for feelings of worthlessness. In fact, the individual who falls too quickly into sex after a break-up proves that she is unable to stand on her own two feet.

Because sex is what it is, it should never be used to test-drive a new man, particularly after a woman has been hurt. Sex too soon will cloud the issue of the pain and rejection a woman must deal with in her own heart; particularly if her previous relationship has been marred by infidelity or abuse. This type of replacement sex, especially if it’s ‘good’ will get the hormones going and will foster feelings of attachment. Such attachment, however, is premature and shallow and is hardly the foundation for a better relationship with someone new.

So what should we do in the face of a relationship’s demise?

Evaluate: Understanding why a relationship ended is a critical aspect of moving forward into emotional health. This involves knowing our relationship style in terms of whether we were too clingy, insecure, demanding or even the model partner who just got a raw deal. This is also a time for taking responsibility, if in any way we contributed to the breakdown of the relationship. This should allow us the capacity to change those aspects of ourselves which we may need to and is also critical for our personal growth.

Reconnect: Using the time when a marriage or relationship ends to reconnect with ourselves, to clarify our relationship values and to determine what is really important to us, should be far more important than indiscriminately jumping into another man’s bed.

 Treasure Transition: In the event that we are entirely the victim of a cheating or abusive partner, then our relationship transition period is a time to take fresh stock in determining what we will no longer tolerate from any man. It should also be a period of self-affirmation and even forgiveness. Taking bitterness and resentment forward will be harmful to any prospective relationship. This is why we need time to grieve what we had so that we can be healed of the effects of a painful relationship before moving on. Sex can cloud this issue and leave us exposed and vulnerable to further abuse.

While the desire for human connection and intimacy is understood, using sex as a short-cut to such is counterproductive. If at the time of a break-up, we forego this essential period of reflection, healing and growth, we could easily find ourselves smack dab in the middle of another bad relationship.

Denise J Charles is Director & Relationship Coach at Better Blends Relationship Institute e mail betterblends@gmail.com

Ten Tips For Rekindling the Sizzling

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If you and your spouse have been together for a while, chances are that you’ve been dealing with relationship boredom at some level. There is no way around it; sex can and does get boring, our relationships grow stale and we can settle into a sense of inevitability. The passing of years, however, need not spell the death of novelty or excitement in our relationships. With a little forethought, planning and ingenuity, we can learn to turn things around. The following ten tips represent some of the strategies we may use, to actively keep  ourselves and our marriages fresh and interesting.

  1. Preserve a sense of mystery in the relationship by not doing every single thing together; whether man or woman pursue your own interests, bring something back to the relationship that you can discuss with your spouse; something with which he or she is unfamiliar
  2. Occasionally reinvent yourself; a new wardrobe, a fresh hairstyle, a manicure and pedicure can add some pep to your steps causing you to exude confidence and an irresistible sexiness; having the exact same hairstyle, using the same fragrance or the same method of applying make-up as when you first met spells bore, bore, bore. The same goes for the guys; keeping yourself well-groomed and making sure your wardrobe is current, shows that you understand that your woman is visual too
  3. Develop a new skill or pursue a new course of study, learn a second language or pursue a new hobby, which confirms that you are all about developing you
  4. Keep some personal rituals private; intimacy does not mean you have to “do the bathroom business” while having a conversation about the kids or the mortgage
  5. Keep your date-nights diverse; going out regularly does not mean eating at the same restaurant for five years in a row; introduce each other to new cuisine, remembering that eating together is a terrific way to bond
  6. Do something spontaneous and adventurous together; (bungee jumping, hiking, paragliding?) something that may reveal a whole new side of you that your partner may be totally unaware of
  7. Switch up your sex life as regularly as your busy schedule will allow; try sex in a new location, a different position, with new trinkets (lingerie, feathers, candles, music, silk, mirrors), you get my drift
  8. Agree to fore-go sex for about a week or so or longer if you can handle it (the longer the better for this experiment); practice lots of teasing touching and hot glances during this time with zero sex; come together afterwards for a night of explosive passion guaranteed to wake up the neighbours; this can definitely add some freshness to the routine which sex may have become
  9. Call your spouse with a surprise suggestion/plan that knocks him or her for six; for example, “your bags are packed and we’re spending the night/weekend at a hotel”, “I’ve arranged baby-sitting and we’re going out tonight”, “I’ve booked a spa day for you just so you could unwind”; being thoughtful or showing that you have your partner’s best interests at heart, is a sure-fire way to inject some needed energy into a flagging relationship
  10. Travel together as much as possible; being tourists in a foreign location can affect the way you see each other and you get to experience new sights and sounds in a mutually fresh environment