Part Two from my online chat, Sex in Relationships, August 13:
My wife and I had an active, happy, sex life through our years of dating and early marriage. But she’s changed (we’re late-30s, two young children).
We both work. However, the children are in daycare when not in pre-school and kindergarten. Yet she’s always “too tired,” “too busy,” or too distracted for sex, due to making lists or planning schedules.
If I approach her, she brushes me off or says, “maybe later…” I don’t know how long I can take this.
Not forever. But then, how long can she take feeling overwhelmed by her responsibilities?
Tell her you understand that she’s worrying about keeping things running smoothly, and that you’d like to help her lighten the load.
Example: Offer to split up who does the food shopping and preparation of dinner and kids’ lunches. If she does drop-off to daycare, you’ll pick up, or vice versa.
When you’ve relieved some of the burden and tension she feels, suggest she also take time for relaxation.
Offer to give her a massage. She needs to wind down … there’ll be obvious benefits to both of you.
When I dated, I mostly thought of sex as the way you held onto your guy. I liked the closeness of bodies, and I liked having sexual pleasure and knew you had to give it to get it.
But through my years with my husband, I’ve found sex to be more than just “holding on.” It’s a living bond that takes you through the bad times as well as the good.
It’s a comfort when you’re down, and a way to celebrate when you’re up. I think it’s as important in a life with someone else, as brushing your teeth!
You’ve provided a superb description of the mysterious and sometimes-magical effect of a deep and close sexual/intimacy bond.
Many people withdraw from a partner when times are tough, while your way is to cling together as a team, physically as well as in action, and face the hardships together.
As for the good times, there’s also much to be said for happy play, as well as congratulatory sex.
Mostly, it’s a positive attitude, like yours, that’s an important part of how sex and love keep a relationship on track.
My wife and I have a basic difference when it comes to sex. We know what works for both of us to achieve orgasms, we enjoy sex, and aren’t shy about it.
But in the last couple of years, she’s been trying to introduce other “intimacy approaches” she’s read about or her therapist has suggested: e.g. role-playing, fantasies, naked confessions, etc.
These are time-consuming constructs that I’m rarely in the mood for and don’t understand why we need them. She says she loves me and knows I love her. What are your thoughts on this?
She’s seeing a therapist for her own reasons, yet getting ideas and suggestions related to your relationship. It’s unfair to impose these, without your understanding the reason she and the therapist think there’s a need.
Ask to attend at least one of the sessions to learn what she feels is missing.
It sounds like you have sexual satisfaction together while she wants a deeper, emotional connection. The very fact that you see them as “time-consuming” while she describes them as “intimacy approaches,” shows that the basic difference between you isn’t about sex; it’s about feelings and conveying them.
I think people make too much of sex in a relationship, expecting it to create porn-star-style ecstasy.
People are tired after work, they have stress, children take all your energy, it’s impossible to give your all physically.
Couples live together or marry for company and to share a life, not mostly to have sex.
For those couples who agree that sex isn’t their primary need or bond, comfort, care, and company are fulfilling, and sex only occasional.
But when only one partner believes that sex isn’t important, that fixed attitude can destroy a relationship.
Meanwhile, personal drives and views do change over time. Older people tend to reduce their sexual frequency, and rely more on affection and companionship.
Still, there are many senior couples (60s, 70s, and 80s) still enjoying sex, so long as they’re healthy and able.
The old maxim, “Use it, don’t lose it,” still applies.
Tip of the day:
Understanding, sharing tasks, and providing emotional support can boost your sex like.