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Sex is the glue in a marriage

Posted on September 18, 2012


This is a subject Ive been ruminating on for a while,
based on numerous things Ive read. And I dont want you ladies out there to be angry, but there seems to be
a blind spot for a lot of married women out there that somehow sex isnt that important once you get
married. That somehow its just a thing that guys like. Or, Im too tired/too bored/too pissed off to have
sex. Some just dont seem to get that a marital relationship is still a romantic, living thing that must be
nurtured like any other relationship, and that sex is a healthy, normal part of the nurturing process that
its far more an emotional than physical experience for men (despite the clichs to the contrary).
Sex is the glue. Sex is certainly not everything, and in the greater scheme of a marriage, its actually a
pretty small part of the overall interaction between two people, but, truly, sex is the glue in a marriage. Its
what holds all the rest together.
Why? Not because the only thing men care about is sex, but because its how, even with the kids and the
jobs and all the other crap that goes on during day to day life, a husband and wife can unite and rejoin,
keeping alive the sense of oneness that existed when they were newly in love.

The statistics regarding sexless marriages state that around 15% of married couples in the United
States live in what is what is defined as a sexless marriage, which is sexual intercourse occurring 10
times or less each year. While some accept their fate and do nothing about it for myriad reasons, there is
no doubt that the lack of sex can create tension and resentment within a marriage and can threaten its very
existence. Usually, only one of the couple loses his or her sex drive. The other still craves sex and feels
deprived. When this happens, the chances of divorce in the near or far future may increase dramatically.

Millions of people with low desire are simply not concerned about or troubled by their lack of interest in
marital sexual intimacy. Nor are they particularly motivated to do much about it. Just ask their spouses!
Being complacent about ho-hum or non-existent sex is a formula for marital disaster. When one
spouse is sexually dissatisfied and the other is oblivious, unconcerned or uncaring, and has no interest, sex
isnt the only casualty; intimacy on every level becomes non-existent. Spouses stop touching affectionately,
having meaningful talks, laughing at each others jokes, or connecting emotionally. They become like two
ships passing in the night. Infidelity and/or divorce become all too real threats.
So what happened to the sex after we got married? Its like that old joke
Q: How do you cure a nymphomaniac? A: Marry her!!

We laugh because its funny, but we also laugh because


its true. Its a story Ive heard from friends in real life and read about on line over and over again. In the
beginning, your wife was charming and quite appealing. You had no problems with intimacy. Your wife
couldnt keep her hands off of you. You felt desired, cherished and loved. Before long, the atmosphere
changed. Your wife became less and less interested in sex. Your wife is still charming and appealing and
your level of desire hasnt changed but that person who once seemed so giving sexually has now become
rather stingy with her affections. You find yourself wondering, what happened???
It leaves many men feeling bewildered, alone, unloved, unwantedand vulnerable.
Sex is a bonding, emotional experience for men too. For most men, sex is a way of connecting to your
wife emotionally and physically. It builds a bond that promotes closeness and emotional intimacy. The
sharing of intimate pleasure in a marriage enables couples to bond more deeply as friends. That friendship
will sustain the marriage as we age, our bodies change and our need for the sexual connection lessens. This
is an important point, ladies Men, more than women, are prone to view their self-esteem through
their sexuality. So if sex isnt happening, self-esteem in most men plummetsand they then become

vulnerable to someone elsesomeone who boosts their self-esteem by seeing them as vital, sexual,
desirable beings.
Sex is what separates a couples relationship from all other relationships. A marriage without sexual
intimacy will eventually eventually sputter and die.

What does sexual rejection feel like for a man? Sexual rejection, especially by
someone who vowed to love, honor and cherish you is devastating. It leaves you feeling unattractive and
undesirable. You may internalize her rejection and blame yourself by thinking you are not attractive enough;
sexy enough, thin enough, smart enough. Her actions will give root to unhealthy beliefs about yourself and
your value as a person. There is the danger of depression, loss of hope, you may feel old before your time
and there is certainly a sense of shame over the fact that your own spouse does not desire you. You become
vulnerable to someone else someone who makes you feel the opposite of your wife loved, wanted,
desired, desirablea man.
This is such a simple concept. So why dont a lot of married people get it? And why are they so
surprised that, when they no longer show much interest in sex, that their partners get discouraged
and leave them? Or have an affair? Or both? This is a surprise?? Not when you consider how important
sex is as the glue to a partnership. That to men its far more than just sticking it in a warm place because it
feels good 3 times a week.
At the risk of generalities, I know I can say this. If you exhibit any of the following feelings or actions,
your marriage may be in serious trouble:

If you see sex as something to be avoided


If you see sex as something that you dont desire but your partner does
If you see sex as something you do like a chore something to be checked off, where you basically
give minimum effort, and exhibit little to no satisfaction during the act.
If you use sex (and withholding it) as a method of punishment or control. Tying sexual activity to
the extent to which your spouse does their chores at home, or as reward for something, is not
romantic, very passive-aggressive, and will tend to irritate and discourage your spouse.
If you never initiate sex. If your spouse has to ask for/beg for and/or always initiate sex, its unlikely
they will see you as someone who desires them. And if they feel undesired, unwanted, and not
cherished, you could be headed for trouble. Is it so hard to flirt with your spouse and write them a
naughty text about what youd like to do to them tonight? To come at them at night a little
aggressively and coquettishly? Is it that much of an imposition on your time and psyche? It works
wonders for most men.

We all hear about husbands or wives who are workaholics, and inevitably the spouse is unhappy.
And the workaholic spouse is now too tired for sex or uninterested in general. Their job becomes their
spouse and their real spouse becomes a roommate, a second class citizen. How can someone work 70-80
hours a week and avoid sex with their spouse and assume that everything should be just fine? Marriage is
not the end well, I have them now. I dont have to work so hard on nurturing the relationship. Case
closed it is just another stage in the growth in the relationship. Too much work and no time for sex will
cause the couples downfall and the rotting of their marriage.

Marriages that value sexual intimacy will generally do


better than those that do not: These couples make the time to be sexual, they talk to their partners about
sex, they view expressing their love physically as exquisite. These couples know an important secret: that
sex is a gift. It is healthy and natural and a vital part of the human experience. It is a unique way to express
your love, unlike in any other relationship youve been in. In a committed relationship, it is a means of
experiencing the closest emotional intimacy of our adult lives. There can be safety, love, and acceptance in
this connection. The fun you share in sex (playing, learning about one another, sometimes making mistakes
and laughing at ourselves) is bonding you together as well. Beyond expressing love for one another and
having fun together, sex has a powerful positive impact on each partner.
Most men want to feel competent and capable. One way they feel this is in their ability to please their wives
sexually. This is a powerful force for a husband and when he feels competent in his marriage, he tends to
feel the same in other roles in his life. Also, for many married men, sex is much more than physically
feeling good. It is emotional and spiritual. It is a way for a man to express his love for his wife. This
connects to what his wife is longing for.
Most wives want to feel desired, cherished, and connected. When she is an interested and enthusiastic
partner, her husband will desire and cherish her and do just about anything for her. And she will feel a
profound connection to her husband. A sexually fulfilled woman will have less stress and more joy in her
life. And these feelings will overflow into all areas of her life.

Why I Had an Affair With a Married Man


"Want to be in a book club? Just us?" Tilting my head, I squinted at David's* email. We were both in the
literary industry and connected on social media, but I'd never met him in person. And based on what I could
tell from his online persona, he was married.
"I'm bad at book clubs. I've caused the demise of many," I wrote, declining his offer, and clicked Send.

But he kept writing. A few weeks later, he asked me to lunch.


Sitting in my therapist's office, I told her about David's invitation.
"The last thing you need is another literary married man," she said, referring to my ex, a successful writer
whom I hadn't been able to get over for years. We weren't in touch anymore, but a few months earlier I'd
been devastated when I found out he'd recently gotten married.
"I know," I said. Never having had an affair with a married man, I did have a history of dating guys with
varying degrees of unavailability and knew how painful it was. I had no desire to put myself in that situation
again.
But David was persistent and I was curious. Maybe lunch would be professional. Maybe he was going
through a separation. I told myself I'd go just to get more information, but if it turned out that he was in fact
married, I wasn't interested.
Sitting in the upscale restaurant waiting for him to arrive, I stared at the same line in the book I was reading
over and over again, but the words were swimming in front of my eyes, and I couldn't focus. When he
walked in, the first thing I noticed as he reached to hug me was his wedding ring.
Looking over the menu, we talked about writing as if this was a business lunch, but my heart was pounding.
"You know everything about me and I don't know anything about you," I said, because he'd read my writing,
so he knew all about my childhood traumas, bad breakups, and struggles with depression, anxiety, and
OCD.
"The balance is off," I said, swirling a French fry in ketchup. "Tell me something personal about you."
"I'm sober," he said.
"Like, you used to not be?" I asked.
"Yup."
And that was it: instant intimacy. We'd only just met, but we could already tell each other everything about
ourselves. Lunch lasted for three hours and turned into coffee at a caf a few blocks away, and then a
lingering walk through the Manhattan streets as the sun warmed us on that bright fall day.
After I left David I was in a daze, dizzy from our effortless afternoon together. That night he emailed me, "I
don't feel like pretending I didn't feel something between us today."
Reading his words, I couldn't believe he was so straightforward, and I was relieved. I didn't feel like
pretending either; I could pretend for years, wanting something more but subsisting on the pretense of a
friendship with a subtext of sexual attraction, living indefinitely in an unfulfilling fantasy. We agreed to
meet for coffee to talk.

Sitting across from him, he pressed his leg into mine under the table. "You're not going to move?" he asked.
"Nope," I said, pressing back against him, my eyes locked on his.
"I should tell you," I confessed, propping my elbows on the table and leaning forward, "I have this pattern
with unavailable men." I told him about the guy I had a fling with who lived with his girlfriend, and my ex I
couldn't get over, who was married when I met him. We'd had a flirtation for a couple of months before his
marriage dissolved, and started dating as soon as he got separated.
David told me that he wasn't happy in his marriage but had children and planned to stay married for his kids,
until his youngest -- who was eight months old -- graduated from high school. Still pressing his leg against
mine, he made it clear what I'd be signing on for.
"I don't care," I said. "This feels so good I don't want to walk away. I just want to follow this feeling
wherever it goes." I have such an overactive conscience I couldn't even take a paperclip from work without
being swamped with guilt, but for some reason entering into an affair with a married man didn't faze me.
"Just so you know," he wrote to me that night, "I'm not going to be able to keep my hands off you for long."
A few days later we met for seltzers on a rooftop bar, and I curled up into him.
"Let's go somewhere," he said. "The park? Or we could go to my office..."
We wound up kissing on the couch in his office that night, and later that week I found myself back there, but
in the middle of the workday, lying naked on the floor with him in front of an open window, his coworkers
on the other side of a thin wall. I could hear the shuffle of footsteps and the murmur of voices, desk drawers
opening and closing and phones ringing as he slowly traced his fingertips across me and looked at me like
he never wanted to stop.
It's going to be hard to get over you, I thought, closing my eyes trying to freeze this moment at the very
beginning that I already knew was catapulting towards an end. Then I leaned in and kissed him, pulling him
towards me.
Only a week and a half after meeting him, I was having a full-blown affair with a married man and could no
longer recognize my life. I'd been unemployed for almost a year and spent most of my time alone, on top of
which I hadn't dated or had sex in the four years I'd been hung up on my ex. Every day was drudgery as I
sank further and further into painful isolation. Left to myself, my depression, anxiety, and OCD had been
progressively getting worse, and I'd even started having debilitating panic attacks.
Before meeting David, I felt dead. But suddenly, I was alive, desired, and filled with passion and vitality.
My depression, anxiety, and OCD slipped away. Overnight I went from years of celibacy to being naked on
the floor of his office in the middle of the afternoon, constantly emailing and sexting, and having late-night
dirty chats on Facebook. Consumed with thoughts of him, when we weren't together I was either lost in
memories, reliving every detail of every second with him, or longing for him, trying to figure out the next
time we could see each other.

On a cold, gray November day, we spent the afternoon in bed together at my apartment. "I think I could get
divorced," he said, his hand resting on my hip. "Now, not in eighteen years. I think I could do it. Move out,
get an apartment..."
In that moment, lying next to him in the post-orgasmic glow of the most incredible, tender, sensual
experience we'd ever had together, something shifted inside of me.
Up until that point, I was pretty much OK with the way things were. I'd long ago identified that the reason I
was magnetically drawn to unavailable men was that I myself was emotionally unavailable. So having a
married boyfriend was perfect for me -- it was passionate and exciting, and there was built-in distance so I
didn't feel suffocated, trapped, and in danger of actual intimacy. I thought I'd hang in this extramarital limbo
until it got too painful, and then I could just opt out.
But in the muted light of my apartment that day, I made a decision that I was in for the long haul. I decided
that I'd stand by him through his separation and divorce, no matter how painful, emotionally trying, and
financially draining it was. I'd be by his side regardless of how many friends' couches he had to crash on,
and through a shitty first apartment in a crappy neighborhood with no furniture and bare walls. Warmth
spread out from my heart and across my chest and I knew; I was going to make this work, and we were
going to be able to have a legitimate relationship.
I love you, I thought, running my hands over his back, but I didn't say it.
The next week, he emailed me the night before he left to visit his parents with his wife and children for
Thanksgiving, "The rest of my life pales in comparison to being with you."
He was usually in touch every day, many times a day, but over Thanksgiving I didn't hear from him at all.
After dinner with my family on Thursday night, I rushed to my Mom's computer and stared at the screen,
refreshing and refreshing and refreshing as my stomach tightened more and more. I soothed myself by
thinking that it was probably hard for him to get a minute alone to contact me when he was surrounded by
his extended family, and convinced myself that he'd definitely be in touch when he got back into town on
Saturday.
But Saturday night I sat at the table of the bridal shower I was throwing for my younger sister, sneaking
glances at my phone the whole night. There was still no word for him, and as soon as I got home I collapsed
into bed crying. Terrified, I knew that something was really wrong.
On Monday afternoon he finally messaged me on Facebook. After a few minutes of, "How was your
Thanksgiving?" back-and-forth, he wrote, "I can't do this anymore."
I felt like I'd been punched in the stomach and I couldn't breathe. "Can you call me?" I wrote. "Can we not
do this on Facebook?"
"I was at home, staying in the room I grew up in," he said, "and I realized, I don't want to be that guy. I
never thought I'd be that guy. That guy who cheats, the one who has an affair. I can't do this anymore, Jen."

Hanging up the phone, I was spinning from shock, and couldn't understand how he'd gone from, 'I could get
a divorce' and 'The rest of my life pales in comparison to being with you,' to 'I can't do this anymore' in only
one week. I couldn't believe I'd never see him again, never spend another afternoon lying in bed next to him.
Part of me, a small part, felt relieved, though. I'd never have to experience that sick, nauseous feeling
waiting for David to write me back or call, petrified that he changed his mind and it was over. I'd never have
to miss out on Thanksgiving dinner with my family or my sister's wedding planning because I was too
checked out worrying about when I'd hear from him to be present. I'd never have to lose days I should be
writing or looking for a job to intoxicating fantasies of him. I could have myself and my life back.
Blasting Katy Perry's "Teenage Dream" on my iPod, I bounded out to my favorite neighborhood burger
place and felt lighter already, free from my attachment to him.
"I just got dumped," I told the manager as I ordered a cheeseburger and milkshake. "This is my consolation
meal."
"You'll be fine," she said, "I can already tell."
I thought so, too, but the next day the shock wore off and it hit me. All I could do was lie in bed and wail in
pain. That week, my bathroom sink clogged, then my kitchen sink backed up, then the heating pipe in my
bathroom burst, and then I broke my toe because I was thinking of David instead of paying attention to
where I was going and slammed my foot into the bathroom door. My depression, anxiety, and OCD that had
been eased when I was with him came back with a vengeance.
Now I was really terrified. I was unemployed and the little money I had left in savings was running out fast.
I couldn't eat or sleep and I could barely function, let alone try to find work. How was I going to take care of
myself?
Once again, I couldn't recognize my life, and I didn't know what had happened to me. What I did know was
that this was it -- I'd hit rock bottom. Whatever it took, I had to build myself up and put my crumbling life
back together. And on that cold, dark December day something else shifted in me. In my excruciating agony,
I knew with complete certainty that my destructive pattern of having relationships with unavailable men was
finally broken, and if I wanted to survive I could never, ever, do this again.

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Laura Doyle
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It's the Intimacy, Stupid: 6 Steps for Women to


Stamp Out Divorce
Posted: 11/19/2012 2:30 am
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Divorce is like tooth decay: totally preventable for a woman with the right skills and habits. Unfortunately
most women didn't have good relationship role-models. We are largely the product of single parents, broken
homes or marriages that we wouldn't wish on our worst enemy -- the equivalent of learning oral care from
parents with false teeth.
We aren't born with the skills to foster intimacy, passion and peace anymore than we're born with a Sonicare
and good flossing habits. Fortunately, any woman can learn intimacy skills and use them to create trust,
tenderness and connection.
Here are the six proven intimacy skills your mother never taught you that lead to satisfying, lifelong love:

Skill #1: Do at Least Three Things a Day for Your Own Pleasure
There's a direct correlation between your self-care and your level of tolerance for your husband. Self-care is
a profound act for opening the door to intimacy. Relationships require patience and compassion, but if
you're tired, frazzled or undernourished, you give yours little chance of thriving. Self-care -- focusing on
your own pleasure -- takes the pressure off your husband to make you happy (he can't anyway). Your good
mood also signals to him that he can succeed in delighting you, which inspires him to want to do just that.
By treating ourselves well, we also teach other people how to treat us. Having fun every day is not only
critical for a satisfying romance, it's part of a life well-lived.
Skill #2: Relinquish Control of People You Can't Control
"Helpful" in wife language is controlling in husband language. When you correct your man's driving or what
he wears or does at work, you're saying he's not competent. That unwitting criticism is an attack and pushes
intimacy away no matter how well-meaning your comment. Intimacy needs safety and encouragement to
thrive, and vanishes with criticism. Take a step back and trust him to run his own life without any help from
you, and watch him take a step forward and start acting like the man you fell in love with.
Skill #3: Receive Gifts, Compliments and Help Graciously
Receiving is the opposite of rejecting. When your husband gives you something that's not what you had in
mind, receive it anyway by saying, "You're so thoughtful. Thank you." Deflecting a gift or a compliment is
rejecting the giver and the emotional connection you could have had. When your husband offers to bathe the
kids, accept his help graciously no matter how imperfectly he does it. Rejecting a gift, compliment or help
greatly reduces the quality of your marriage and your life. Receive graciously and watch as more gifts start
coming your way almost immediately.
Skill #4: Respect The Man You Chose
Being respectful will resurrect the man you fell in love with. You're too smart to have married a dumb guy,
so if he seems dumb now, it's because you're focused on his shortcomings. It's not that you made a mistake
in marrying him, it's that you've been focused on his mistakes since you married him. A man who feels
respected by the woman who knows him best also feels self-respect, which is far more attractive than
cowering and hostility.
Lack of respect causes more divorces than cheating does because for men, respect is like oxygen. They need
it more than sex. Respect means that you don't dismiss, criticize, contradict or try to teach him anything. Of
course he won't do things the same way you do; for that, you could have just married yourself. But with
your respect, he will once again do the things that amazed and delighted you to begin with -- so much so
that you married him.
Skill #5: Express Gratitude Three Times Daily
Gratitude has magical powers. It turns an ordinary meal into a feast, an average relationship into a lifelong
romance and an ordinary husband into your hero.

I used to be reluctant to thank my husband for anything because I thought that I was doing more anyway and
it was unfair because he wasn't thanking me. I was also afraid he would stop doing the things I thanked him
for and consider them optional, but I was wrong. Today I thank him for washing dishes, replacing light
bulbs and working hard at his business. The more grateful I am for what he does, the more inspired he is to
do things I appreciate, which makes me feel cherished and adored. The same will happen for you when you
practice expressing gratitude.
Another bonus: You can't be grateful and resentful at the same time.
Skill #6: Strive to be Vulnerable
Intimacy and vulnerability are directly connected. If you want intimacy, then you'll need to take the risk of
admitting that you're lonely, embarrassed or hurt. This is not the same as weakness; it actually requires great
strength.
When you're vulnerable you don't care about being right, you're just open and trusting enough to say "I miss
you" instead of "you never spend time with me." It means you simply say, "ouch!" when he's insensitive
instead of retaliating. That vulnerability completely changes the way he responds to you.
Vulnerability is not only attractive, it's the only way to get to that incredible feeling of being loved just the
way you are by someone who knows you well. There's nothing like the joy of intimacy that results from
vulnerability. It really is worth dropping the burden of being an efficient, overscheduled superwoman to
have it.
If your mother didn't teach you these six skills, maybe she didn't know them, but that doesn't mean you're
doomed to have the same outcome in your relationship. An intimate, passionate, peaceful relationship is not
a matter of luck-it's a matter of skill and good habits, just like maintaining those pearly whites.