Category Archives: Sex And Relationships

Making a Marriage Work; A Primer For Sexual Success

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I’m preparing a workshop for recently engaged couples. I expect there will be about a dozen couples attending. While most of the participants will be preparing for their first marriage, there will be at least two couples working on their second marriage. My experience tells me that regardless of how many turns one takes on the merry-go-round anxiety about sexual compatibility, particularly for the long haul, abounds.

One of the best resources out there for those considering a sexually exclusive traditional marriage is Esther Perel’s controversial book, Mating in Captivity: Reconciling the Erotic and the Domestic.  Her thesis is that increased emotional intimacy between partners often leads to less sexual passion. I’ve been preaching the same sermon for nearly 30 years. But I assure you; there are ways around this predictable stumbling block.

Here we have Paige, age 22 from Tulsa. OK.

I am engaged to a wonderful guy. I’m excited about my upcoming marriage, but I’m also afraid that it will fail. I know you are going to think we’re freaks, but my fiancé and I have decided to save ourselves for after we are married. Some of our friends even our recently married friends are having trouble with their relationship and with the divorce rate so high, what are the chances that my marriage will work? Do I just have cold feet or am I not ready to get married?

First off, I don’t think you’re a freak for reserving full sexual expression till after you’re married. It wasn’t too long ago when that was the norm. But even people who enter marriage as established sex partners aren’t assured success.

I caution you to jettison any Pollyanna notion you might have about marriage being a breeze, or that all you need is love. These are dangerous fictions. Your recently married friends have problems because there are always problems in a marriage. It’s the nature of relationships. Hopefully, the problems you guys will face won’t be insurmountable, but sure as shootin’ problems will be your constant companions, even big problems. So count on it and prepare yourself accordingly.

You can also be assured that the problems you will encounter, regardless of their nature, will impact on your sex life together. Money concerns, the stresses of a career, kids, in-laws, you name it will all influence how you perceive your spouse. Nothing dampens ardor like financial difficulties or meddlesome relatives.

So Paige, rather than focus on the nature of your sex life as you enter your marriage, may I suggest that you concentrate on the bigger picture. And in order to do that you need to ask; why do most traditional, sexually exclusive marriages flounder? They crumble because they can’t bear up under the strain of the couple’s expectations for each other. Simply stated, they want too much from their spouse. They expect companionship, economic support and family for sure, but they also expect their partner to be their best friend, confidant and passionate lover. That’s a pretty tall order to fill for a single individual. Who wouldn’t have cool feet, or even be frozen in place, faced with those daunting expectations.

A lot of engaged couples overly concern themselves with the sexual viability or their relationship. My sense is that sexual concerns, by themselves, don’t tax a marriage to the point of breaking. You’ll notice that I said, ’sexual concerns, by themselves’. While sex and intimacy issues are indeed real and sometimes overwhelming, it’s the underpinnings of the relationship that bring these sexual issues into stark relief. Let me give you an example.

Say I’ve just spent 60 hours this past week at work; I get snarled in traffic on my commute every single day. I drag my sorry ass home to a loving partner, who may have been looking forward to an amorous night of sex play. But I’m completely fagged out, so to speak. I simply don’t have an interest in the old slap and tickle. It’s not that I don’t love my spouse; I do! I don’t have the energy to even squeeze one off by myself, let alone please and pleasure my partner.

Or say I’ve been caring for a house full of sick, ornery kids all day; and freaking out about our family’s precarious financial situation. I have barely the time and energy to rustle together some grub for the brood, when my loving partner, who may have been looking forward to an amorous night of sex play, arrives back at the homestead with stars in his/her eyes. I’m exhausted; and the idea of a tussle in the sack is the last thing on my mind. It’s not that I don’t love my spouse; on the contrary. I just don’t feel attractive, interesting, or more importantly, randy.

As these examples point out it’s not that the sexual energy has flown the coop. More often than not couples who face the tribulations of life together redirect their energy into resolving more pressing concerns than gearing up for sex. The reason I know this for certain is, if I were to take this stressed out couple away from the humdrum of their day-to-day, and land them on a tropical beach without a care in the world; I know for certain they’d fuck like bunnies.

Another example, say a couple is joined at the hip; you know the ones I’m talking about. Where one or the other partner can hardly take a trip to the loo without their spouse traipsing along. Many couples think this kind of closeness is a sign of their love and fidelity, and it may very well be for them. But I can guarantee this kind of familiarity will also stifle sexual passion. The truth of the matter is erotic fervor is dependent on at least a modicum of mystery. If I know my partner like the back of my hand, I’m less likely to see him/her as a sexual object; in the same sexual way as when we were courting.

This also can be proven. Why is the chick at work, who I have virtually nothing in common with, such a turn on? How is it that my yoga instructor, someone I hardly know and who pays me no attention, make me wet? It’s the mystery or the forbidden that jacks up the sexual tension.

The way I see it is passionate sex is dependent on a good deal of sexual tension. This kind of tension dissipates with time and it takes a great deal of work to keep that tension alive. Most couples don’t invest that kind of energy; even though they may pay lip service to the notion that they want the passion to continue.

Intimacy, on the other hand, is dependent on domestic tranquility, in other words, the elimination of tension in the relationship; regrettably this also includes sexual tension. And since most couples desire intimacy over sex they choose (either consciously or not) the path of domestic tranquility. But the result can be the kind of sexual frustration so many married people report.

I’ve been to a lot of wedding; and I’ve officiated at more than I can count. I’ve helped numerous couples construct their vows. Generally the first thing they want to say to each other is something like: “I promise to be your best friend, your confidant; your constant companion. Sound familiar? I thought it might. What I never hear is: “I promise to always be up for all your hot monkey love.” Not only would that vow be a showstopper; it would be an impossible promise to keep, unless you’re a blow-up doll. Frankly, it’s so much easier being a best friend or confident than the sexual siren that will be the answer to all your erotic dreams after we’re married for a few years.

Sexual exclusivity is at the heart of the romantic ideal. That’s why sexual infidelity is such a bugaboo in our culture. But the truth of the matter is, sustaining a model where marriage is the font from which all fulfillment flows is simply unrealistic. Maybe if we expect sexual exclusivity from our spouse, we ought to manage our other expectations of him/her (best friend, confidant, etc.) more pragmatically.

I am of the mind that since more than 50% of marriages in this country end in divorce; we must look at the relationship model we are laboring under. Maybe the romantic ideal is simply an illusion. I mean we can’t honestly try to explain away the divorce rate by saying all these couples simply married the wrong people. Know what I mean?

The parameters of a healthy, successful marriage will need to expand and contract with the stresses put upon it; it is after all a living entity. The balance between dependence and independence will constantly shift; so will the power dynamic in the relationship. Carve these things in stone and you will be mark a grave, not milestones on a path to growth.

Good luck

Bye Bi Love

Name: Dan
Gender: Male
Age: 32
Location: Alberta
I am a bisexual that is happily married with children. My wife and I have a great sex life. Every few months I get an urge to have sex with other men. I have acted out on this several times and always practice safe sex. She has caught me surfing gay/bi porn a few times and I think she knows that I have bisexual thoughts. She is interested in anal play with me and has used a dildo on me a few times. Should I come clean with her and risk divorce, which I don’t want, or continue on the way I am going?

I am of the mind that being on the up and up with one’s primary partner is a real good thing, regardless the issue. Practicing a deception, like you’re doing Dan, will take a toll on the quality of life you share. It sounds to me like you’re trying to have your cake and eat it too, or to make a pun…your Kate and Eddie too. Can’t rightly say I think too highly of this.

Most of the bisexual men I know wouldn’t approve of your arrangement either. Because most of the bisexual men I know are not living dual lives. Most are “out of the closet” bisexuals. They’re happier and healthier then their closeted counterparts. They also are less likely to seek anonymous connections with other partners just to relieve their horniness, as you apparently do. In fact when a good friend of mine, a bisexual himself, read your message he was totally put off. He said you’re the kind of bisexual that gives bisexuals a bad name. OUCH!

I may not go that far, but skulking around looking for cock, like you do, while keeping the little woman at home in the dark is a huge problem for me. This sort of behavior also militates against you forming any deeper connection with a guy than a quick furtive tryst might allow. How can years of this sort of thing be satisfying?

Also by siphoning off all your sexual energy like this you blunt the need to channel some of that energy into finding a creative solution to your sexual needs and desires with your wife. You say you have a good sex life together. She sounds pretty understanding and open minded. Most wives would freak for sure if they found their man chokin’ the chicken to gay porn. Are you sure she’d fall apart if she knew you are bi? I’ll bet not as much as she would freak if she comes to learn of your other life from someone other than you. Right? You’re skating on some mighty thin ice, my friend. Besides, most wives have this sixth sense when it comes to this kinda thing. She may already know more about you than you give her credit for. Maybe she’s just waiting to see how long it takes you to let her in on your little secret.

And about the anal sex thing. I suggest you incorporate more of that into your love making with your wife? Hell, get her a nice strap as a gift for being so understanding. You can find a nice selection HERE! I’d also suggest that you introduce your wife to your interest to “bi” porn. Check out some of the Recommended Titles HERE! Who knows where this could lead? It could open a whole new world to you both. It’s not inconceivable that one day you could find yourselves in a three way or some group play. Stranger things have happened don’t cha know.

So Dan, why not give the old honest, straightforward approach a try for a change. Jettison the duplicity. It’s only gonna wind up biting you in the ass one fine day…and not in a good way.

Good luck

More SEX WISDOM With Christopher Ryan — Podcast #259 — 01/26/11

Hello sex fans! Welcome back.

Psychologist Christopher Ryan, coauthor of Sex At Dawn; The Prehistoric Origins of Modern Sexuality returns for Part 2 of our chat for this the SEX WISDOM podcast series. I can’t tell you how grateful I am that he has more time to spend with us today. And just so you know, today’s show is unusually long. But one probably should expect that since we cover most of human evolutionary history, don’t cha know. Christopher, however, makes the time fly by with his engaging, humorous style.

I sure hope you didn’t miss Part 1 of this exciting conversation, which appeared here last week at this time. But not to worry if ya did, because you can find it and all my podcasts in the Podcast Archive right here on my site. All ya gotta do is use the search function in the header; type in Podcast #257 and Voilà! But don’t forget the #sign when you do your search.

Christopher and I discuss:

  • We aren’t descendant from apes, we ARE apes;
  • Bonobos, a close ape relative, are regularly ignored by anthropologists;
  • The Bonobo “handshake”;
  • Fertility in hunter and gather societies;
  • Monogamy or sexual exclusivity among the great apes;
  • Polygynous societies reflect a male dominant economy;
  • Social monogamy and sexual monogamy;
  • The evolution of male genitalia among us apes;
  • The scientific origins of the term promiscuous;
  • Human sexual expression can be both profound and casual;
  • Same-sex sexual expression;
  • What the future holds for him and his work.

Christopher invites you learn more about Sex At Dawn by visiting their site HERE! Look for him on Facebook HERE! And enjoy his twitter feed HERE!

(Buy this book, sex fans. It’s a marvelous read.)


BE THERE OR BE SQUARE!

Check out The Lick-A-Dee-Split Connection. That’s Dr Dick’s toll free podcast voicemail HOTLINE. Don’t worry people; no one will personally answer the phone. Your message goes directly to voicemail.

Got a question or a comment? Wanna rant or rave? Or maybe you’d just like to talk dirty for a minute or two. Why not get it off your chest! Give Dr Dick a call at (866) 422-5680.

DON’T BE SHY, LET IT FLY!

Look for all my podcasts on iTunes. You’ll fine me in the podcast section, obviously, or just search for Dr Dick Sex Advice. And don’t forget to subscribe. I wouldn’t want you to miss even one episode.

Today’s Podcast is bought to you by: DR DICK’S — HOW TO VIDEO LIBRARY.

drdickvod.jpg

SEX WISDOM With Christopher Ryan — Podcast #257 — 01/19/11

Hey, hey sex fans! Welcome back.

I’m all a flutter, sex fans. I feel like the most popular boy in school just asked me to the prom. So ok, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration. It’s more like the most popular boy in school just told me he wants to bugger me senseless. No, wait a minute; this isn’t coming out precisely as I hoped. Let’s just say that I’m thrilled to overflowing to have today’s guest join me for this SEX WISDOM podcast.

As you know, this series is all about talking with people who are changing the way we look at our sexual selves. And no one in this series so far has exceeded the impact of today’s guest on that discourse. I have the honor of welcoming psychologist, Christopher Ryan, coauthor of Sex At Dawn; The Prehistoric Origins of Modern Sexuality.

I confess; this book simply blew me away. And that’s pretty hard to do considering I’m such a jaded old queen. But honestly, I can’t remember being so impacted by anything I’ve read on the topic of human sexuality in like…evah! Sex At Dawn is nothing short of revolutionary. Despite this being a scholarly work, Christopher and his wife, Cacilda Jethá, have gone out of their way to make their presentation completely accessible even to a layman. There is nothing pretentious about it; the book is full of humor and fascinating antidotes. But I can assure you that it will reshape how you look at your own sexuality.

Christopher and I discuss:

  • The book tour and the media’s response;
  • The absence of a prescriptive element in the book;
  • Humans, extremely libidinous apes;
  • Our failure to question the default human sexual premise — long-term and sexually exclusive;
  • Ingrained behavior not the same as human nature;
  • Agriculture not the advance it’s cracked up to be;
  • Prehistory is 95% of the human experience;
  • The remnant hunter and gatherer societies;
  • Classical evolutionary theory is contaminated with Victorian assumptions;
  • The role of sex in hunter and gatherer societies;
  • Historical reports of first contact with indigenous peoples.

Christopher invites you learn more about Sex At Dawn by visiting their site HERE!  Look for him on Facebook HERE! And enjoy his twitter feed HERE!

(For a little icing on this already marvelous cake, enjoy the slideshow below.)

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Today’s podcast is bought to you by: Dr Dick’s Sex Advice and Dr Dick’s Sex Toy Review.

BE THERE OR BE SQUARE!

Check out The Lick-A-Dee-Split Connection. That’s Dr Dick’s toll free podcast voicemail HOTLINE. Don’t worry people; no one will personally answer the phone. Your message goes directly to voicemail.

Got a question or a comment? Wanna rant or rave? Or maybe you’d just like to talk dirty for a minute or two. Why not get it off your chest! Give Dr Dick a call at (866) 422-5680.

DON’T BE SHY, LET IT FLY!

Look for my podcasts on iTunes. You’ll find me in the podcast section, obviously, or just search for Dr Dick Sex Advice. And don’t forget to subscribe. I wouldn’t want you to miss even one episode

More SEX WISDOM With Brad Warner — Podcast #251 — 12/08/10

Hey sex fans,

Brad Warner, Zen monk, author of Sex, Sin, and Zen: A Buddhist Exploration of Sex from Celibacy to Polyamory and Everything in Between, punk rocker and filmmaker returns this week for Part 2 of our conversation. It’s a pleasure to have him back for another dose of his unique brand of SEX WISDOM.

I suppose you’ve already listened to Part 1 of this exceptional conversation. It appeared here last week at this time, don’t cha know. Good, cuz we don’t want you to miss out. But, if by chance, you missed last week’s show, don’t worry. It and all my podcasts are in the Podcast Archive right here on my site. All ya gotta do is use the search function in the header; type in Podcast #249 and PRESTO! But don’t forget the #sign when you do your search.

Brad and I discuss:

  • Western spiritual traditions are shame-based;
  • The concept of sin;
  • Innately knowing right and wrong;
  • Zen, an individualistic path to enlightenment;
  • Sticking his finger in the eye of scrupulous religiosity;
  • Detachment, non-attachment and unity;
  • The Zen approach to sex;
  • Zen and porn;
  • Zen and sex toys;
  • Zen and polyamory.

For more of Brad and his marvelous and insightful writing visit him on his website HERE!

(Click on the book art below to buy Brad‘s book)

BE THERE OR BE SQUARE!

Check out The Lick-A-Dee-Split Connection. That’s Dr Dick’s toll free podcast voicemail HOTLINE. Don’t worry people; no one will personally answer the phone. Your message goes directly to voicemail.

Got a question or a comment? Wanna rant or rave? Or maybe you’d just like to talk dirty for a minute or two. Why not get it off your chest! Give Dr Dick a call at (866) 422-5680.

DON’T BE SHY, LET IT FLY!

Look for my podcasts on iTunes. You’ll find me in the podcast section, obviously, or just search for Dr Dick Sex Advice. And don’t forget to subscribe. I wouldn’t want you to miss even one episode.

Today’s Podcast is bought to you by: Fleshlight & FleshJack.