This is part 2 of Man Up: Money, Sex & Power.
Love is an irresistible desire to be irresistibly desired. ~Robert Frost
If there ever was an area that needed to be more openly discussed among married couples, it’s this one: sex. It is easy to believe that every other couple has no difficulties with the subject. That if you and your spouse are having trouble when it comes to sex, you are the only ones. You couldn’t be further from the truth. Every couple will experience at least some difficulty in the area of sexual connection.
When it comes to sexual connection, there are three categories of couples. The sexually barren, the sexually average, and the blessed few. Membership in these categories has little to do with physical anatomy. To be part of the blessed few requires more of each person mentally, spiritually, emotionally, and physically.
Couples who fall in the sexually barren category often are not having sex due to reasons other than physical incompatibility. They often have resentment, bitterness, disappointment or all of the above directed towards their partner. While these emotions may manifest themselves in physical ways, the problem is not physical. It’s mental and emotional. If it truly is a physical issue, there are medical procedures and pharmacological products that may be tried. Viva Viagra, need I say more?
The sexually average are also not immune to these difficulties. Although they have most likely had times when they felt a deeper connection they are desperately trying to recapture the experience.
To reach the promised land of the blessed few requires you to be more present not only during sex, but also during life. You must grow up. And so must your spouse.
Anyone beyond the age of puberty is capable of having sex. But this doesn’t mean you’re ready to handle all the components surrounding sex. Truth is, most people aren’t ready for all the components. To do so requires much more than you may think you are capable.
Even if you have been having sex with your partner for years, for me it has been almost 15 years now, isn’t there a part of you that gets a bit anxious when it comes time for sex? Will I be turned down if I initiate? Will everything go great? Will I be able to perform? Will I achieve the connection I have desired for so long?
Sex is so much more than just an act. Sex is a language. When you begin to look at your sexual language, you will discover it is in line with how you live your life. It will uncover the areas of your life where you are insecure, scared, anxious, or even ashamed.
To begin the growth required to be among the blessed few, work to be more present with your spouse. Both during sex and the day to day interactions. Speak up about what’s going on inside your head. Listen to your spouse as they tell you what’s going on in theirs. It’s the fastest way to better sex.
Better sex doesn’t automatically create a better relationship, but the personal growth required to enhance sex and intimacy will improve the marriage in other ways. When you learn ways of maintaining yourself in your marriage you will improve all your relationships as well.
Here are a few ideas on creating a more passionate relationship.
- Let the best in you run your life. If you’re like most people, you have a scared, angry, vindictive, or lazy side that limits the quality of your relationship. You don’t have to let that side of you run your life. Instead, live from the resilient side of you. Remind yourself of what is admirable, competent and good about yourself, and about your partner. Seek to relate to your partner as though they are capable of developing further as a person.
- Sustain eye contact with your partner outside of the bedroom. This is a quick and meaningful (but not easy) way to stay in touch with your spouse. Begin with trying this during your conversations. Beyond this, make an agreement with each other to look into each other’s eyes for at least five minutes in a quiet, private place. This is not a staring contest. Instead, take the time to really look into each other and let yourself be seen. Expect to run into your own resistances. Note them in the back of your mind. Discuss the experience with your partner. In time, this will become a warm and inviting experience.
- Hug until relaxed. This is a fascinating way to get more in touch with your partner and yourself. Prepare yourself by settling down, relax, take a few deep breaths and slow your heart rate. Balance yourself squarely over your own two feet. Close your eyes, take a deep breath and relax more. When the two of you are ready, open your eyes, without loosing your relaxed balanced position, hug so that you have one foot between your spouse’s feet. Get close enough to easily put your arms around your spouse without feeling off-balance, or pushing or pulling them off-balance. Let yourself relax into the hug and continue to breath. Lots of feelings about your partner, yourself, and your relationship are bound to surface. Note the resistances but don’t give in to them. After the agreed amount of time has passed, break the hug, then discuss the experience with your spouse. In time, you’ll be amazed by the improvements this brings.
- Make eye contact in bed. Building upon the previous two points, try maintaining more eye contact in bed. Start by lying next to each other, and gaze into each other’s eyes as in tip #2. Seek to remain relaxed, focus on your partner and being seen by them. If you feel the urge to touch your partner, touch their face or hold their hand. Stay away from their genitals until you can both reach a relaxed connection with some reliability. You can then expand this activity to include foreplay and intercourse.
- Pay attention to depth of involvement with your spouse during sex. When you and your spouse are actually having sex, you are using one or more of three psychological mindsets. You are focused on 1) physical sensations, 2) playing out sexual fantasies, and/or 3) engaging your partner. Most people seem to focus more on the first two. Instead, focus on engaging your partner during sex. Pay attention to what they seem to be thinking and feeling. Share with them what you are experiencing. Don’t just simply try and bring him or her to orgasm. Try to establish a deeper connection. Once you and your partner are good at engaging each other rather than getting lost in your sensations or playing out sexual scripts, you can work as a team to create terrific sexual experiences.
Sexual compatibility is developed over time. “Curl-your-toes sex” does not just happen by chance. It is co-created by both partners being more involved, not just physically present. When more of you comes forward, it is often greeted by more of your partner. This growth isn’t easy, but it’s the only way to enter into the realm of the blessed few.
Photo courtesy Daniellee385
The preceding list was adapted from Dr. David Schnarch.
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