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Chapter 4 Law #2: Sex is really important

“If sex doesn't scare the cat, you're not doing it right.” Anonymous

 

I know that’s a pretty smart-assed way to start a very important chapter. But really, what can you say about the importance of sex in a relationship that hasn’t already been said? It can be so many things:

·   a relationship maker

·   a relationship killer

·   a lot of fun

·   a dreaded task

·   a source of extreme pleasure

·   a source of extreme unhappiness

·   a source of trust, love, and real intimacy

·   a source of extreme distrust

·   a time to really be together

·   a time of major disagreement

·    and a million other things

Bottom line: it’s a really big deal and you’ve got to get it right, as in right for both of you, for your relationship to be good.

In Chapter 1, we described how, as a relationship progresses, sex can crater it:

 

The exciting part of sex with a new partner can wear off, making it less satisfying, at least on an emotional level. It might still be good on a physical level or not. For people whose enjoyment of or motivation for sex is mostly based on the excitement of the newness of the relationship or on the need for continual sexual conquests, their relationship is about to go into a death spiral.

 

Additionally, people who need their lovers to have a certain body type, can begin to perceive their partner as no longer sexually desirable due to weight loss or gain, aging, disease, hormonal changes, etc. So let’s look at these three issues:

 

Firstly, people whose enjoyment of or motivation for sex is mostly based on the excitement of the newness of it:

   The “Coolidge Effect” is a phenomenon described in biology and psychology whereby sexual arousal and performance is enhanced with a new partner. It has been found to be more pronounced in males than females. – Roughly paraphrased from Wikipedia

 

Sure, I get it that 99+% of couples have a lot more sex early in the relationship than later in it. Some of that has to do with “making themselves as attractive and irresistible to the other person as possible” early in the relationship and not trying so hard later. But there seems to be another reason why the amount of sex in a relationship reduces over time, beyond the physical limitations of advancing age and decreasing hormones in a really long-term relationship. Besides the sexually specific “Coolidge Effect” described above, the fact that humans seem to be wired not to notice things that are familiar is at work here. It’s the way a sight or sound, that, when we first see or hear it, grabs our attention, but with time, fades into the background of our consciousness. Example: First night in a ground floor beachfront condo in Maui, I found it hard to sleep due to the sound of the waves crashing on the nearby reef. After a couple of nights, I didn’t even notice it. We can only pay attention to a finite number of things at a time and once something is noted and categorized, its ability to grab our attention is greatly reduced. It’s similar with sex: after a while with the same partner, it just gets too familiar to achieve the same level of awareness in our consciousness as when it was new. We’re wired that way, and if both members of the relationship reduce their interest in sex at the same rate, then no problem. But if one reduces interest in sex at a rate faster than the other – serious tension in the relationship results. More often, it’s the guy who maintains the higher sex drive longer because a guy’s sex drive is hormonally driven at a higher level.

So, OK, you've got me here. I can tell you all day that it shouldn’t be this way, that it can be bad for the relationship, but if that’s the way you feel, then that’s the way you feel. It can be a real problem. Best I can advise: be aware of the potential for unhealthy relationship tension with this, apply trust and unconditional love, and try to be OK with the imbalance. OMMMMMMMM….

 

Secondly, the person who has a need for continual sexual conquests to feel good about themselves:

Well this one’s pretty easy to explain and recommend a fix for although probably very difficult to implement and get right. The need for continual sexual conquests is generally a result of low self-esteem. Reread Chapter 3 and the rest of this chapter for reasons for this behavior and ways to overcome it. Without overcoming it, your relationship is doomed.

 

Thirdly, people who need their lovers to have a certain body type:

This can be a tough one to solve if what a person likes is wired into them. It would be like getting them to prefer vanilla ice cream, when chocolate is what they really like – can’t really do it – see  Chapter 6. In this case, if the partner whose body type has changed, can change it back by e.g., weight gain or loss, curing disease, balancing hormones, etc., then they should do it if they’d like the relationship to continue in a healthy way. But some physical changes may not be reversible. In this case it would be better to read and live the advice in Chapter 5 about basing relationships on more than physical appearance, before choosing a relationship partner.

We also need to address the situation where what body type a person likes isn’t really wired into them but is just self-esteem threatening. An example of this could be a partner being rejected because of gaining weight, but the rejecting partner is not really turned off by an overweight body. Rather he’s afraid to be seen with an overweight partner for fear of what others might think of him. In this case, the suggestions for improving self-esteem from Chapter 3 should be reread, learned, and practiced.

 

***

 

OK, time to introduce some gender generalizations to the discussion of sex being important:

·   Being thought well of is one of the defining needs of humans. As that relates to sex, guys tend to want to be real studs in bed (able to satisfy their woman) and women tend to want to be very desirable sexually. No big surprises there. Be careful however that neither of these important needs is threatened by the reality of the sexual relationship. Try to be sensitive to stroking these needs but not at the expense of your own needs. The best suggestions for success here again come back to trust and unconditional love leading to real intimacy.

·   The urge of the human species to procreate is VERY strong:

o   Women have a strong urge to find a mate who will produce “good” children so they’re very easily attracted to cute guys in good shape. However, they also tend to look at the whole man when making partner choices.

o    Men just want to have sex with almost anyone although, like women, they prefer attractive, young, healthy partners, again, i.e., those most likely to produce “good” children. They are also much more visually influenced than women, hence the classic cliché of porn for men vs. romantic novels for women.

 

***

 

“Women might be able to fake orgasms. But men can fake whole relationships.”    – Sharon Stone

 

Funny quote, but I have to say that women can also fake whole relationships. Now let’s get back to women faking orgasms…  I have two things to say about this:

1.   It’s a lot easier for women to fake orgasms than it is for men. (Smart-assed guy remark.)

2.   Women might think they have good reasons for faking orgasms. But faking orgasms is lying in a VERY sensitive area of a relationship. Lying breaks trust. Broken trust kills relationships. Just don’t do it. (See Chapter 8.)

 

***

 

Most women really like sex – no big surprise because as was just mentioned, humans are wired that way. But for lots of women it’s just OK compared to how a man feels about it. And if it’s a low self-esteem woman (see Chapter 3), then the sex could be better when it’s mixed with the excitement and promise of someone new – for a re-affirmation that they’re OK, when the rest of their life is spent worrying very much that they may not be OK. Other women have other reasons for having sex besides pleasure. The reasons can range from getting the attention and approval of a father figure that they never could get with their own father, to more overt motivations that complete what’s lacking in them e.g., being with a rich person, a smart person, or a cool person.

Some guys will say or do almost anything to have sex with a woman either because they just want the sex or the conquest or both. Dishonesty is definitely not a good way to start a maybe forever relationship. Remember, as we just noted above: Lying breaks trust. Broken trust kills relationships. (See again, Chapter 8.)

Prospective partners of either gender: beware of sex for the wrong reasons.

 

***

 

Sex mainly for the conquest is not good sex. For her: “I’ve got his complete attention and he really wants to please me.” Or for him: “Wow, she likes me enough to sleep with me.” Both are serious self-esteem builders, although not in the more substantial and lasting areas of life. This type of sexual conquest behavior can become quite addictive not all that different from a bad drug habit. It fulfills a serious need and until it can be replaced by something equally or more fulfilling, is unlikely to stop. (See Chapter 3 for better suggestions on how to get past low self-esteem issues and get to a place where both partners can enjoy sex for its own sake.)

 

***

 

“Men have a relationship to get sex. Women have sex to get a relationship.”          Old anonymous psychology adage.

 

When that “you’re not perfect after all” thing kicks in, men and women tend to respond differently to that revelation regarding their desire to have sex with their partner. For her: “Hmm, I now see that you’re not perfect, so I’m not quite as anxious to make love with you, since I might be letting go of you soon.” For him: “Hmm, I now see that you’re not perfect. OK, time for some “break-up sex”, before I let you go.”

 

***

 

Some women have a very high sex drive having nothing to with self-esteem issues. If you’re a guy who happens to sync up with one of those women who also rings your bell in other areas:

·   Take your vitamins.

·   Get plenty of sleep (whenever she’s not around).

·   Work out hard aerobically at least six times/week to build stamina.

·   Don’t screw it up.

 

***

 

Which leads us to our discussion of women’s sexual power…  We discussed this briefly under Law #1 where low self-esteem women or girls were able to use the promise of sex to get guys to do almost anything. This power is probably one of the basic forces of the universe – right up there with gravity, the electromagnetic force, and the strong and weak forces that Einstein spent a good part of his life trying unsuccessfully to unify. I have no idea how to unify women’s sexual power with anything beyond saying NEVER underestimate it!

So women’s sexual power is not only the enabler for low self-esteem women to use sex to temporarily raise their self-esteem, but it’s a powerful force in even the best relationships – i.e., it can be a good thing! Balance that with a guy’s ongoing attractiveness to his partner (through implementing the advice in this book) and you’ve got a shot at a good, long-term relationship with (repeat after me, yet one more time) trust and unconditional love bridging the bumpy times.

So what does the guy bring to a relationship sexually that’s complimentary to women’s sexual power? There was a commercial on TV years ago that started with something like: “A guy thinks about sex every five or ten seconds.” (Not sure it’s that infrequently.) Guys are wired and hormonally triggered to be very focused on sex. No point in trying to talk them out of it or say it shouldn’t be like that, it just is. Some guys hide it to get women and some guys flaunt it for the same reason. We’re wired that way and it helps continue the human species. It’s not right or wrong, or good or bad, it just is because it works. NEVER underestimate it either.

 

***

 

   “A man reserves his true and deepest love not for the species of woman in whose company he finds himself electrified and enkindled, but that one in whose company he may feel tenderly drowsy.” - George Jean Nathan

 

So the above is a way cool quote, but I don’t believe it’s completely accurate. Being electrified and enkindled can and should still be part of that “deepest love.” My take: feeling electrified and enkindled without being able to feel tenderly drowsy (or in my lingo: feeling trusted, unconditionally loved, and truly intimate) is just another crush – a dime a dozen – probably cheaper than that. But put them both together and you’ve really got something. And even though this quote begins: “A man,” it clearly applies to women also.

 

***

 

Well we started this chapter in a bit of a smart-assed way, so may as well finish in the same tone…
 

Those of you who think auto-eroticism is sex in a car may also need another book. The point here is that although, as Woody Allen so aptly put it, masturbation may be “sex with someone I love,” sex in a relationship is much more complex. It involves the feelings, desires, timing, sensibilities, and a bunch more stuff of two people attempting to act as one. When two people do act as one, or almost as one, during sex, it’s pretty terrific. That’s the goal, but don’t expect it to happen every time. Be grateful whenever it does and continue to strive for that, but understand that many things, e.g., tiredness, stress, the basics of life, illness, etc., can make that goal difficult to attain. As much as possible, bridge those other times with trust and unconditional love.

OK, no deception in bed. Be honest and tell your partner what you like. Trust and love unconditionally and let great sex help get you to true intimacy and a seriously kick-ass relationship worth hanging onto and not screwing up.

 

   Is this a lasting treasure

   Or just a moment’s pleasure?

   Can I believe the magic of your sighs?

   Will you still love me tomorrow?

   – From the song, “Will you love me tomorrow?” by Gerry Goffin & Carole King



Tear out Page for Law #2:

Sex is really important

 

·   Sex is a really big deal and you’ve got to get it right for both of you.

·   Watch out for the 3 ways sex can crater a relationship:

1.  The excitement of sex with a new partner can wear off.

o   If one partner reduces interest in sex at a rate faster than the other – serious tension in the relationship results. Apply trust and unconditional love, and try to be OK with the imbalance.

2.  If one of the partner’s enjoyment of sex is largely based on the sexual conquest, then the relationship has a big problem.

o   The need for continual sexual conquests is generally a result of low self-esteem. Big topic: reread Chapters 3 and 4.

3.  If one of the partner’s body type changes into something that the other partner no longer finds sexually desirable, the relationship will be harmed.

o   If it’s what one partner is wired to not be attracted to, then the other partner needs to change by e.g., weight gain or loss, curing disease, balancing hormones, etc., if they want the relationship to continue.

o   If it’s what one partner is merely culturally conditioned to view as undesirable (e.g., being overweight) but something that really isn’t a problem for them on a gut level, then reread suggestions for improving self-esteem in Chapter 3.

·   Unsatisfied and unspoken sexual needs and desires can lead to relationship problems.

·   Be open and honest and tell your partner what you want in bed. This is much more likely to work in a relationship where trust and unconditional love are present.

·    Let great sex help get you to true intimacy and a seriously kick-ass relationship.

 

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