Hot, steamy, exciting, warm, passionate, exotic, seductive, supportive, loving, safe, fulfilling, accepting, imaginative, validating, trusting, growing, and energetic sex. Sound good?
Good sex is one of the most powerful elements that holds a relationship together. A healthy sexual relationship automatically and unconsciously associates the other person with:
- Need fulfillment
Regular, fulfilling, sex also increases oxytocin production and reinforces the oxytocin bond in couples. It is difficult to overstate how important this is in the long-term health and durability of an intimate relationship.
Strong oxytocin bonding in couples is associated with:
- Increased generosity
- Increased empathy and compassion
- Feelings of contentment, calmness, and security when in the presence one’s mate
- Reduced anxiety and greater tolerance of stress
- Significant increase in trust and reduction of fear
- Increases a sense of romantic attraction
- Increases the likelihood of fidelity and monogamous behavior
- Increased tendency to see the positive vs. the negative in one’s mate
- Increased libido/interest in sex (i.e. the more good sex you have, the more good sex you want)
Sexual attraction and satisfaction is very often what gets a couple together in the first place. So how does something so intensely satisfying and so important so often fall into disrepair and neglect?
The pressures of work, children, insomnia, arguments, health issues, and personal issues from the past can all present challenges. Busy lives make it easy to get into the habit of only having sex late at night (after everything else is done) and you are both exhausted. Many couples report getting into a rut – doing the same predictable thing over and over. A few years (or decades) of this often leads to couples associating sex with routine, boredom, and exhaustion. Sex often evolves from the thing we look forward to doing first, to the thing we put off till everything else is done.
Ignoring these challenges and hoping or waiting for things to get better doesn’t usually help, in fact it often makes things worse. Couples who have young children, challenging jobs, demanding work schedules and other life issues cannot afford to wait for life to slow down. Successful couples learn to prioritize (schedule) time for intimacy and togetherness. As many of us have learned, if it isn’t on the calendar it doesn’t happen. Once a couple has made sex a priority by setting aside quality time, the learning, sharing and growing can begin.
Some sexual issues I often discuss with couples are:
- Learning to please the partner in your bed, not the partner in your head
- Sex as access to real intimacy
- Sex as a spiritual experience
- Sex as an expression of love
- Sex as an expression of self
- The role of sexual fantasy and role-playing
- How men and women sometimes experience sex differently
- Problems with sexual addictions
- Overcoming sexual abuse
- Overcoming sexual hang-ups or negative sexual self-image
- Managing significant differences in a couple’s libido
My Bill of Rights (A paraphrase of the Five Freedoms by Virginia Satir)
I declare the right to see what I see, hear what I hear, and remember what I remember.
The Importance of Integrity
How do you know when to trust someone? How do you know when to say “yes” and when to say “no?” How do you decide between two things you really want? Why do you sometimes experience resentment or regret? When is it best to selflessly give to others and when is it best to let others take care of themselves? How do you know when to “follow your heart” or when to “feel the fear, but do it anyway?” In a word: Integrity I often see couples in conflict over issues of integrity.