Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Is Sex Important?

It seems like a silly question, doesn't it? Of course sex is important.  The problem is how important it is.

Most men think it's more important than it really is, and most women think it's less important than it really is. It's that gap that leads to a lot of unhappiness in marriage and a good portion of the infidelity in the world.

On the other side of the coin, most men think that sexual infidelity is much less significant than it really is and most woman think it's more significant than it really is. It's that gap that leads to a lot of divorces.

So how do men and women who stay married for decades navigate these murky waters? Some stay together in an unhappy and often sexless (or sexually unsatisfying)  marriage.  Some cheat. Some decide to try the open marriage option. Some hang on as long as they can before eventually divorcing. Some choose to talk about it openly, acknowledge the difficulty, and work constantly toward a resolution that is not just acceptable, but satisfying for both of them. No matter how you slice it, it's not easy.

I think the trick is to remember that your spouse sees it differently than you do.  There is no point in trying to convince him that sex shouldn't be as important to him because you will fail. Why?  Because it is important to him! And there's also no point, Gentlemen, in trying to convince your wife that sex should be more important to her.

Men are also at a disadvantage because women talk to each other.  And what do they tell each other about sex? That their husbands want it too much, that they think it's more important than it really is.  As they talk, they reinforce their own perspectives and miss the obvious - No matter what your girlfriends say, if your husband says he needs more sex to be happy and you want him to be happy (which you do or why would you have married him?),  then you should be having more sex with him.  It's pretty simple, isn't it? Unless his dick is chasing you several times a day, every day, what's the problem?

Remember my friend, Steve? He told me once that he was having a discussion, again, with his wife about the frequency of sex. He wanted it three times a week, but he could he happy with twice. His wife told him that she had talked about it with her friends and they told her that he was being completely unreasonable because no one who had been married as long as they had been married (40 years) had sex that often. She actually put the opinion of her friends ahead of her own husband's happiness, mostly because it reinforced what she wanted anyway. She also told him that women her age shouldn't have to have sex anymore. Seriously.  And then she wondered why he cheated.  She thought that because sex was unimportant to her that it shouldn't be important to him, either.

What women like Steve's wife don't understand is that women generally enjoy sex more if they have an emotional connection with someone.  Men, on the other hand, are more likely to slide into, or stay with, an emotional connection if they have their sexual needs met. Both parties have to give in order to get what they want. Do you think this is an accident?  I don't. I am pretty certain that we were made this way. Men and women complement each other physically (insert tab A into slot B), emotionally, and in many other ways. The more a wife tries to make her husband like her ("once a month should be enough") or the more a husband tries to make his wife like him ("I don't care if you worked all day, made dinner, cared for the kids and cleaned until 10:00 pm., let's get it on!"), the more trouble they will encounter.

The real danger comes when each starts to think there is something wrong with the other for not having the same needs. A man wanting to have sex is perfectly normal.  And if your husband wants to have sex with you after decades of being married, count yourself very fortunate, Ladies. If you give him grief for it, you're just pretty stupid in my opinion, or you really want a divorce.

I've known women who were unhappy in their marriages and they pushed their husbands away sexually.  Then, when he cheated and they ended up divorced, the women acted like the victims. I'm not saying that infidelity is morally defensible, but there are two sides to every divorce and the sad "victim" is usually not a real victim at all.

If you're a woman and you don't want your husband to cheat, you need to recognize that sex matters to him and you need to give him some good sex. Notice I said "good sex."  You may also want to read 10 Tips for Wives to Keep Your Husband from Cheating. There's no guarantee that he won't cheat, but the odds are better if you take the suggestions I offer in that post.

If you're a man and you want your wife to give you more sex - and good sex - you need to back off a bit and come in from a different angle. Remember that she doesn't understand the how and why of how important sex is to you. Court her.  Make that emotional connection and then go for the sex.  This is a much more complex topic than this post can cover, so I'll write another. In the meantime, read What Women Really Want in Bed, and remember that to a woman, pressure is the anti-aphrodisiac.


Don't forget to check out this month's Sex Blog Chain post.  It's about Holiday Sex!


Brigit Delaney said...

I always love your posts, Kat. And I think your 2nd and 3rd paragraphs say loads about what is wrong with marriage nowadays. But, don't forget that there are actually happy marriages that do not involve infidelity, misunderstanding, or a need to be "open". While Mr. LL and I dabble on the side for fun (always with the other person in the room), neither of us would be unhappy if the other called it quits in that regard. I don't think infidelity or a sexless or open marriage are the only options available.

Kat said...

Brigit- You are absolutely correct. I would consider that part of the "talk about it openly" option. I find it hard to believe there are long term marriages that never have any sexual issues, but I agree that doesn't mean the only choices are I infidelity or a sexless marriage. Thank you for pointing that out!

Anonymous said...

I have started to read your blog, and have to say this is brilliant and common sense advice. Wonder why this doesn't work with your H. He should realize you are/should be very IMPORTANT.


Ryan Beaumont said...

I had a boss once that told me "if it's important to me it should be important to you." He wasn't talking about sex but I think it fits. With respect to your subject it doesn't mean you have to one another's bidding but if it's important to them the discussion, at least, should be important to you.

Anonymous said...

This is a brilliant piece. So spot on it's amazing.