Gal Josefsberg occasionally writes for ProjectHappilyEverAfter.com, usually offering the man’s perspective on issues. In this guest post, he lists 5 ways men or women can cause their steamy sex life to become icy cold.
Sex is the glue that holds marriage together. Actually, that’s a bad analogy, and not just because the words glue and sex don’t really go together. Sex is one of the basic forms of connection that we human beings have when maintaining a relationship. Forget procreation for a second and just focus on how intimate sex is. Our partners are letting us see them naked, literally and figuratively. They’re not just baring their bodies to us; they’re baring their souls. They’re telling us about their fantasies and letting us in on their most intimate desires. Add to that the incredible release of hormones during and after sex, and I would argue that any relationship that doesn’t include a good sex life has a much higher than average chance of failure.
Which brings me to my topic today. Sometimes sex drives couples apart rather than brings them closer. Here are five sex mistakes that lead to the former instead of the latter.
Mistake #1: Use sex as a bargaining chip. We’ve all seen this on TV. The wife gets mad at the husband and says, “he can forget about getting laid, EVER!” That might be funny on TV, but it’s one of the most destructive things you can do in a relationship. The implication is, “I don’t really like sex. I only do it because he wants it. I only allow him to have sex with me in return for other stuff.” At that point he might as well go masturbate because you’ve just told him there’s no real intimacy in your sex life, you’re just doing it to please him.
Mistake #2: You want to try something new. Your spouse says, “No way.” You won’t let it drop. Respect your spouse’s boundaries. If your spouse doesn’t want to do something, stop pushing. Side note: the most common notes I get from readers about sex are from men who want their women to have a threesome with another woman, and from women who want their men to be more assertive and aggressive in bed. I’m not quite sure what this means, but I’m guessing there’s a fascinating sociology paper to be written here if some grad student is interested.
Mistake #3: You make sex about your pleasure. Part of sex is the act of giving pleasure to your partner. Oral sex is a great example of this. Technically, it doesn’t give you physical pleasure, but it’s a wonderful thing to see your partner enjoying. By the way, remember the first rule: don’t use sex as a weapon or a bargaining chip. This is not about “I’ll do this for you if you do that for me.” This is about “I’ll do this for you because I love you and want to see you enjoy yourself.”
Mistake #4: You’re miffed when his or her sexual equipment malfunctions. Sometimes things don’t work. That’s especially true for men, but it’s also true for women. Sometimes you’re distracted or stressed or tired or all of the above and your body just can’t get into the mood for sex. That’s fine. It happens to everyone. As partners, it’s our job to be supportive during these rare occasions. If it occurs often, seek help, but otherwise be supportive, find another way to enjoy yourself (hint, it starts with “o” and ends with “ral”) and move on.
Mistake #5: You hold yourself or your spouse up to impossibly high standards. We are biological machines. We like to think that we are in complete control, but biology makes more of our decisions than we would like to admit. That’s not a bad thing as long as we are aware of it and make allowances for it. For example, appreciating the physical attractiveness of people outside our marriage is just biology. Expecting our spouses to stop doing that is setting our marriage up for failure. However never thinking of our spouse even while having sex with them is probably a problem. Make sure you understand the difference between being attracted to other people and not being attracted to your partner. Also, understand the difference between being attracted to other people and actually acting on this attraction.
I’d like to say that I’m perfectly aligned with all of these and never make a mistake, but that would be a lie. That’s fine though. A strong relationship can survive a mistake here or there, just don’t make them habit. Otherwise you’ll find yourself wondering what happened to that wonderful chemistry you two had when you were first dating.
Gal Josefsberg blogs about personal improvement at Equally Happy and about gift ideas for men and women at Diamonds or Dogs.My wonderful, newly coded automatic bio will appear at the end of this post, but, as I said, I didn’t write this post. Gal did. Go to his site and check him out.
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A professional journalist, Alisa Bowman is the author of Project: Happily Ever After, a memoir of how she saved her marriage, and coauthor of Pitch Perfect, a must-read if you've ever had a sense of dread tie up your insides before a speech, presentation, or conversation. If you enjoyed this post, you will no doubt love her updates on Facebook and Twitter.