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.

When You Are Not In a Sexual Groove

boredLet’s picture it. You come in from work feeling a bit tensed and tired. You undress and pop into the shower for a long steamy bath. You step out to dress hoping to unwind to a wonderful movie, magazine or book; you know, some good old me time. Then you sense it. You’re being watched by a pair of hungry eyes but really, the last thing on your mind is making love. So you look for that long snugly tee shirt, make sure you put on a pair of unsexy undies, hall out your dog-eared novel and pretend that you didn’t read those heated signals.

Let’s change the scenario. You and your spouse have not connected in a while and you have a bit of an itch which needs to be scratched. So you spend some extra time in the shower that night. You put on some of that new scented stuff you bought recently and pull out a little sexy number you haven’t slept in for a while. The kids are all tucked in and you give your man that sexy come hither look. He doesn’t need a second invitation but promises to be in, as soon as he completes that urgent, need-to-be-delivered-in-the-morning project on his computer. What begins as a bearable half hour wait begins to feel like two hours.  By the time he turns in, your mood is gone and you’re half asleep and angry at the same time.

What each of these scenarios reflects is the reality of mismatched timing and differences in desire; clearly a part of any marriage relationship. What should the response be when our spouse wants to get his groove on but we’re clearly not in the mood? What happens when the tables are turned and our amorous advances aren’t exactly met with immediate enthusiasm? The fact is that in a relationship, our sexual expectations will not always be met. Of course we have a number of response options to choose from when this happens; these responses include sulking, anger, withdrawal or understanding. Getting to a place of understanding may not, however, be always easy since we tend to link our sense of worth, acceptance and attractiveness to our sexual desirability. And the truth is that we don’t usually handle sexual rejection or insensitivity very well. We often take it very personally and if it occurs frequently, we can begin to wonder if our partner is cheating on us or no longer finds us attractive. These notions in our head, real or imagined, can introduce much tension into the relationship.

While unresolved issues, buried anger, hidden affairs, relationship neglect and a failure to communicate will most certainly be felt all the way in the bedroom, quite often, desire differences can be a consequence of other factors. Reaching a place of understanding when these differences occur will be critical to our ability to move our relationship forward. The following reflects some of the common reasons why we may not always connect sexually with our spouse.

1. Contrary to popular opinion, most men are not always sexual ever-ready batteries. Work-stress, financial difficulties and even testosterone levels can all affect a man’s desire for sex. Male depression can often be masked and because men are usually not raised to be emotionally expressive, they bury their feelings and can act out by sexually rejecting their spouse.

2. The female hormonal cycle plays a big part in a woman’s desire for sex. As nature would have it, a woman is horniest when she is most likely to get pregnant; which is usually mid-cycle. Outside of this, her desire for sex will fluctuate but can be positively influenced by her partner’s sensitivity to her emotional needs, the overall quality of their relationship and by how she feels about her sexual self.

3. Our misreading of signals on the sexual radar can also contribute to bedroom misses. Our tiredness or preoccupation with work issues can cause us to miss heated looks. A simple request for a back rub or neck massage, can be veiled expressions of sexual desire which men especially miss because many want direct hits like crotch-grabbing, which most of us women are not inclined to give. A simple request by a woman to talk, can also be a roundabout invitation to pleasure-land, since most of us want to also experience a strong emotional connection. Many men who dread communicating with their women, miss the opportunity to turn talk into great sex.

4. In the general scheme of things where meeting our partner’s sexual needs is concerned, selfishness is perhaps the greatest enemy. Being tuned in only to our own needs and concerns means that we care very little about our partner’s. So focusing on our tiredness, our bad day, our feelings, our sex drive or lack thereof, will cause us to deliberately ignore or see as unimportant, the body language of our partner which is screaming at us “make love to me”.

Ultimately, understanding why our sexual groove with our partner may be out of sync, is the first step in attempting to make it right. Carving out time to relax and reconnect in a non-pressured environment, is a great way to get our sexual groove back. Scheduling dates for sex also ensures that at least in those times, we and our partner are on the same page. Of course I am not suggesting that our sexual desires will always match our partner’s or vice versa. Knowing, however, that we each need to move away from an overt focus on ourselves is the first step in attempting to satisfy each other sexually. While a relationship is about a whole lot more than sex, prioritizing sexual intimacy, signals that both you and your partner understand what makes this relationship exclusive and distinct from all others and indicates your willingness to work at it.

 

 

 

When A Man Makes Love Like a Boy

I know this article will probably tick off some men. Sorry guys. But I also know that some women will immediately connect with the imagery. When it comes to sex, some men are definitely men and unfortunately other men seem destined to remain boys. What exactly do I mean? Not being a man myself of course I can only make this summation based on years of keen observation, the anecdotal stories of my girlfriends and through the self-incriminating utterances and actions of men themselves.

The popular R and B group of the 1980’s, Boys 2 Men, were not only endearing to us because of their wonderful harmonious blends. As fans we also fell in love with the concept of the group; with the fact that the group represented the antics and expressions of boys growing into manhood. Of course this was clever marketing designed to garner a huge female fan-base. What right-thinking woman can resist the spectacle of the smooth-talking boy-man?

But what does this have to do with love making you might legitimately ask? Everyone knows how much men love sex. Realistically, in terms of importance, it’s an activity right up there with breathing oxygen. Let’s face it girls, it’s just how they’ve been wired. That having been said, it is critical to note that while men will “grow up” in several areas of their lives (financially, educationally, and in terms of their independence) several of them, seem perennially stuck in boyhood-land, in the area of their sexuality.

I will expand on this by comparing several traits of the “sexual boy” and “the sexual man”. This is not to suggest that I am promoting that chronological boys should have sex but my terminology is simply a euphemism to describe an immature versus a mature way of viewing love, sex and relationships.

The Sexual Boy

  • Wants sex on demand and is either unaware of or is insensitive to issues like his woman’s cycle, hormone changes, illness or mood swings
  • Is focused on the sexual hardware; that is, size, shape, texture, look or feel of the vagina, butt and or breasts; will frequently obsess about them
  • Is impatient about having his sexual needs met so is likely to rush to a sexual climax whether or not his partner is sexually satisfied
  • Sex is likely to be a purely genital-focused activity
  • Sex is more about “doing it”; it’s a thing to be done and is severely depersonalized
  • Limited eye contact, limited vocalization of desire; there is a decided fear of intimacy and of being emotionally vulnerable during sex; eyes are therefore often closed and there is limited talking before, during or after sex
  • Will tend to hug and show affection only when interested in “getting it on”

The Sexual Man

  • Wants to enjoy lots of sex but is thoughtful and aware of his woman’s physical and emotional challenges; is patient and willing to wait it out
  • Appreciates all the hardware but is more focused on making love to his entire woman (her soul and essence) and not just her vagina; desires his woman fully and lets her know this
  • Is hard pressed to ensure that his wife is sexually fulfilled before he is because he recognizes that after he climaxes it’s virtually all over; balances fully giving into the moment and practicing self-restraint; remembers “with my body I thee worship!”
  • Is able to use the love-making act to celebrate his partner’s entire body; not just her genitals
  •  Whether sex is hot and passionate or slow and romantic the focus is the woman; not the performance
  • Is comfortable exposing his desire for his woman with words and actions, communicates during sex and is emotionally available even when the act is over (will not roll over and play dead)
  • Will show love and physical affection even when not feeling horny

Even though all women would love to dwell in relationship utopia with a “sexual man” instead of a “sexual boy”, chances are that many of us find ourselves saddled with the latter. Why is this you might ask?  Social norms continue to dictate that we raise boys to be uncomfortable with the expression of emotion because we are afraid of feminizing them. We are then forced to settle with the fallout from such a practice in our intimate relationships. As a result, as women, we continue to make sexual and emotional demands of our men that they have not been socialized to deliver on a normal day.

It is likely that the “sexual man” has had a really balanced up-bringing by wise parents who allowed him to engage all aspects of his personality. Even if this were not the case, through education, reflection and or counseling, he has learned to tap into his softer-gentler, nurturing side and has perfected the fine art of combining this with his raw, male sexiness. The result is a really desirable guy who knows how to bring both sexual and emotional pleasure to his intimate relationship.

What’s A Woman to Do?

For those women who have been married for years, it is probable that they have seen much more of the “sexual boy” in their beds than the “sexual man”. What’s a woman then to do in this scenario? Realistically there is no quick fix to deeply ingrained behavior patterns with which we have become comfortable or with which we define ourselves. One obvious characteristic of an exclusive relationship, should nonetheless be, the communication of dissatisfaction. There can be no hope for improvement in the relationship, if sex is allowed to continue unruffled; even if the male ego is a sacred cow. This calls for direct honesty on the part of the woman who is unhappy in bed. The following represents some of the response choices available to her.

  • Talk it Over: Using ‘I’ statements, instead of ‘You’ statements, ( eg; “I feel like . . .”  instead of “You never make me feel . . .” ) COMMUNICATE your dissatisfaction in a disarming, non-accusatory way; accusing your spouse will only encourage him to get on the defensive and may alienate him further or make matters worse.
  • Show and Tell: As much as is possible, MODEL the behavior you want to see in bed. While there is no guarantee that this will be reciprocated, at least there is a point of reference from which he can observe what it is you really need. So if you want sexy talk while you’re having a go at it; don’t be shy, show him how it’s done.
  • Practice makes Perfect: Although there is an ingrained knee-jerk response in us women to withhold sex when we are unhappy, this can be counter-productive. The more you PRACTISE the act of making your sex better, the more those natural love hormones are able to work at breaking down your partner’s emotional barriers.
  • Don’t Cast the First Stone: There is nothing worse than making a man feel that he is entirely at fault in a relationship (especially because he never is). Before a woman off-loads on her man, it would be good for her to PAUSE, SEARCH and REFLECT to see which behavior she may also need to adjust. Showing your own flaws and foibles is in fact an excellent way to secure empathy
  • Seek Wise Counsel: When all else fails, TRY PROFESSIONAL INTERVENTION. Of course many men hate attending a counselor but this can be navigated tactfully, especially when he realizes that you’re all about improving the sex. After all is said and done, if sex is as important to him as he lets on, then there should be no limit to what he is willing to try to make it even better.