I was looking for a eye grabbing topic I haven’t written much about, if anything, in the previous 298 issues and the obvious one is sex.
So, having gotten your attention, I’ll move along to noting a few of the things we have either learned or confirmed while listening to clients over the past decade – a few of which may be surprising to some of you.
First, while it will not be a surprise to learn that there is a wide variation in sexual appetites, preferences, and/or experience, it may be news that there are no significant gender based differences.
That’s right. Women are just as apt to complain about sex being too infrequent, too inhibited, and too boring as men.
Men are also as apt to demonstrate complete indifference to sexual activity – and when it comes to avoiding sex completely, men win that dubious distinction – 0 times in a 35 year marriage, for one! Talk about an angry wife.
Besides problems caused by differing preferences, there are also the problems caused by one spouses drinking. Sex with a drunk doesn’t hold much appeal for very long.
Of course some spouses also use their drinking as a passive aggressive way to avoid sex and punish a spouse.
Others, men and women alike, report never having had sex sober and they are terrified as to whether or not they even can, much less like it!
As usual, our standby for many activities is to schedule it. That does reduce the pressure and resentful uncertainty. And it gives couple something to look forward to.
Of course if the two of you are so far apart on the matter, then it’s time to consider what to make of really incompatible differences.
Sometimes it still comes down to having to choose between a lot of unhappy choices. A “cost/benefit” analysis can help, but eventually it will come down to finding a resolution that doesn’t leave either person paying all of the price for the other’s preference.
Again, that’s why we like to work with you as a couple, at least part of the time, so we can help negotiate reasonable compromises, where possible, or verify that no such solution exists. At least then you’ll know that you gave it your best shot.
For more on this, see the next section which refers to some of the common stumbling blocks. Then give us a call and talk about the idiosyncrasies of your particular situation. Maybe we can help with this underlying problem that so often fuels the alcohol abuse.
Is there such a thing as sex after marriage?
Newlyweds are frequently astonished to discover that the wedding ceremony no sooner ended than their sex life did too.
Or it continued, but only until the birth of the child or children.
Or until menopause, or retirement, or…
And again, it’s just as apt to be men who turn off the tap as women.
Some people, apparently, see sex as being appropriate only during certain periods of one’s life or for particular outcomes. Once these stages or ages or accomplishments are achieved sex falls by the wayside.
Yes, this attitude or belief system tends to affect the immature “adult” and many women and men suddenly become aware that they have acquired not a spouse but an overage adolescent.
That’s a problem we see a lot of, with the real adult eventually turning to alcohol in a vain attempt to drink their way down to the immature spouse’s level (alcohol is a “regressant” after all).
But the other spouse is usually also drinking and they end up like people occupying adjacent elevators that never do stop at the same floor.
Some spouses learn to manage their “oldest child” while others seek divorce and the search for a partner capable of, and interested in, an equally, mutually, intimate relationship, in every sense of the word.
That option means selecting partners a lot more carefully than we did the first time around. But in these days of increased options the chances are better than they were 10, 20, or 30+ years ago.
Need help navigating choices? That’s mostly what we do around here. Better choices than alcohol abuse. Better choices than unending resentment, anger, and passive-aggression.
No, the choices and the processes aren’t easy or comfortable or predictable – but, then, does your current unsatisfactory life offer anything beyond the “security of familiar miseries?”
Let’s at least consider what else might be possible?