Till Sex Do Us Part
by Mada Moilliet
It’s 10 pm on a Wednesday night. You’ve just crashed on the couch to catch your breath after 16 hours spent running around doing the usual zillion or so tasks that your day demands. The kids are in bed, the dinner dishes are done, the laundry is somewhat under control, the toys are, well, they’re scattered pretty much everywhere but you can ignore that, tomorrow’s lunches are planned if not made, and you’ve decided what to wear to work in the morning. Now it’s time to catch a few minutes of whatever mindnumbing trivia is on TV before heading for bed. From across the room your husband catches your eye and gives you an appreciative smile accompanied by a suggestive tilt of the eyebrow.
Oh Lord no, not the sex cue, you think. Not that on top of everything else you’ve been expected to do today. You purposely mistake his smile as a sign of gas, yawn elaborately, and scratch your armpit in a most un-ladylike manner. Maybe that will cool his jets, you hope. That thought is immediately followed by feelings of both guilt and resentment. You love your husband, you know you should be more interested in your sexual relationship (you sometimes wonder what happened to those wonderful lusty feelings you used to have for him), but honestly, you’re so busy and exhausted with the daily chores and responsibilities that making love just seems like one more thing to check off the to do list. Can’t he see that you’re exhausted?
Does this scenario sound eerily familiar? According to Dr. Trina Read, sex expert and author of Till Sex Do Us Part: Make Your Married Sex Irresistable (Key Porter Books, $21.95), there are millions of women experiencing the same dilemma—and, yes, this loss or lessening of sexual desire in long-term relationships is more common for women than for men. Read experienced this same phenomenon in her own marriage, an irony she was quick to recognize as she spent her working hours coaching others on how to improve their sexual relations. The book was borne out of her research into the topic, the lack of helpful literature, and her desire to help couples stay happily together over the long term.
The average married woman has only learned to have what the author calls “single-woman sex,” which involves little or no intimacy. Once she is well into marriage (or a long-term monogamous relationship), she is unable to enjoy the sexual act as much as she would like. Single-woman sex is mostly about body mechanics—it’s a clutch-and-grab activity where you go for each other’s hot spots. In the first two years or so of a relationship, this works just fine and you and your partner feel like your sex life is out of this world. During this stage, you’ve both got an abundance of “love drug” hormones coursing through your bodies. Sex aside, you spend a lot of time talking, touching, cuddling and appreciating one another. The intimacy that a woman, in particular, craves is present on a variety of levels. With this intimacy, a woman feels an emotional connection with her partner, a key ingredient to her sexual satisfaction.
So what typically happens next goes something like this: after five years with the same person, the intimacy (both inside and outside the bedroom) tapers off. Without that intimacy, and the accompanying feeling of emotional connection, the same old clutch-and-grab technique becomes less gratifying. The hot spots have cooled down somewhat, the hubby no longer seems like Mr.Perfect, and life has become crowded with other priorities such as children, work and managing a home. Since the woman is typically overloaded with the everyday tasks of this life, sex goes to the bottom of her priority list. She avoids bonding physically with her man outside of the bedroom because she’s afraid that any touching has to lead to sex. She becomes resentful of her husband’s amorous overtures, and then gets to add a big helping of guilt onto everything else she’s feeling.
So if single-woman sex is all about the excitement and passion that happen effortlessly in the first two years with someone, then what about “married-woman sex”? Is there such a thing as “happily ever after” outside of the fairytales we were told as children or should we just pack our bags and move on to someone new every five or six years? Of course we shouldn’t, and neither should we give up on having a satisfying, fun, exciting sex life just because we’re no longer young or starry-eyed.
According to Read, there are five stages in a long-term relationship.
Stage 1) You’ve met the perfect partner.
Stage 2) You look for and find everything wrong with your partner.
Stage 3) Instead of blaming your partner, you look inward and begin making changes in yourself.
Stage 4) You and your partner become friends.
Stage 5) You enter into the bliss part of the relationship.
The trick is to get through Stage 2 and make the changes necessary to reap the rewards of the later stages. Read explains that married-woman sex includes a level of intimacy both inside and outside the bedroom. It is more “fluid” and all-encompassing in that it’s not just about the sexual act itself. There’s a state of mind involved and a way of being throughout the day that supports the general intimacy and sensuality in the relationship. If a woman’s mind is already in that space, her body is more apt to be receptive as well.
When you’ve passed the “love drugs” stage, there are three simple things Read suggests as a way to create a space for the less frenzied but more thoughtful, intimate and imaginative married-woman sex (and this doesn’t mean any less passionate, by the way).
1) Every day, touch your partner in an affectionate way. Hug him, pat his butt, give him a peck on the cheek, or hold hands on a walk. It’s a non-verbal way of saying, “I love you, you mean a lot to me.”
2) Every day, appreciate your partner. Acknowledge what he’s done that’s right rather than focusing on the negative. Again, this sets a tone of intimacy and gets your mind working in a certain way.
3) Every day, make yourself a priority. Take at least a few minutes and do something that makes you feel good about yourself—you’ll take that attitude into the bedroom and it won’t be so difficult to switch your brain from chores/family/responsibilities to making love.
These suggestions are just a starting point to making your married sex irresistible. The subject is complicated at best and like a mined battlefield at worst, but it’s not something that should be ignored. We’re given a set of high expectations in the area of marital bliss, but we’re taught very little about how to make a relationship work.
To find out more about the intricate topic of marital sex, visit www.trinaread.com
or pick up a copy of Till Sex Do Us Part.