Monday, October 15, 2012

The Relationship Equation

Challenge!  Poll one hundred men and one hundred women and ask, “What’s the best thing about having a mate?”  If my experience as a sex therapist is indicative of a larger truth, a vast majority of men will say, “regular sex partner,” and the women will say simply, “partnership.”

Now, some men may complain that when they say “regular” sex partner, that’s exactly what they mean – regular.  Married men often come to my office lamenting their ho-hum sex lives, demoralized that after “I do”, their wives don’t do them anymore.  Gone are the days of freaky Fridays and sex-filled Saturday afternoon slutfests.  Once you put a ring on it, Friday’s are reserved for Redbox (sadly, no sexual pun intended), and Saturday afternoons are filled with carpools and kids’ soccer games.  For many of my married male clients, the last time they saw their wives on her knees, she was more likely spot-cleaning her hardwoods than about to do anything to his manhood.  And the last time she was bottoms-up bent over the sofa, she was more likely fishing guppy-shaped crackers out of couch cushions crevices than waiting to be pillaged by his Captain Hook.  But still, “regular” sex – be it in quality or quantity – is better than no sex.  At least if you’re a man.

My married female clients are no less concerned with the sexual partnership of their relationships than their husbands.  They just value the overall cooperative aspect of the marriage more than the coital aspect.  To many married women, sex and relations are not mutually exclusive, i.e., the quality of the relationship determines the quality of the sex.  Whereas, for many married men, the quality of the sex determines the quality of the relationship.  The fewer hummers he’s getting, the more ho-hum his relationship input.  Conversely, the more ho-hum the relationship, the fewer hummers she’s likely to give.  In the marriage equation, if relationship input of y = sexual output of x why do so many marriage partnerships feel unequal?

Take my clients – let’s call them Dick and Jane.  Dick is tired of his wife being such a plain Jane, and Jane is tired of…well…Dick being such a dick.  They’ve settled into a sexual rut wherein Dick is so used to paralytic penetration (you know, when the sex is so boring it feels like you’re having intercourse with an invalid) that he just kinda pumps and dumps.  He goes hard, and when he gets off, he literally gets off – of Jane – whether she’s gotten off or not (an it’s usually not).  Dick takes for granted that Jane is just not that into sex, so he’s stopped trying to please her.   What I know that Dick doesn’t, is Jane is a sexual adventurer.  My one-on-one sessions with her have revealed fantasies and desires that could turn Dick out.  Hard.  Rick James style.  Dick doesn’t know this because Jane is sick of telling him.  Every time Jane tells Dick to take out the trash, she’s really telling him how trashy she wants to get with him.  Every time she tells him to help clean up the kitchen after dinner, she’s telling him how dirty she wants to get with him in the bedroom after dessert.   Jane is speaking her own personal love language but Dick can’t translate it.  Nor should he have to.  There’s no Rosetta Stone for this.  The only way to really learn your partner’s love language is by immersion.  It’s clumsy at first, but just like my semester abroad, being relentless about speaking a romance language, instead of falling back on the comfort of your native tongue, can be the difference between PASS and FAIL.

Since Dick started prioritizing their relationship partnership, Jane has become a better language teacher, and traded passive aggression for passion aggression.  Everything Dick does outside of the bedroom to show Jane he’s got her back yields such dividends in the bedroom that Dick is now getting it from the back, the front, sideways – seriously, Jane goes upside down on him on a regular basis.  Dick and Jane have balanced the relationship equation by finding the common denominator; when they both put forth the effort, the ole “in and out” is a lot more fun.  Now, Dick puts in more time working to be a real partner, and Jane is excitedly putting out.  Hard.  Rick James style.

Dr. Lainey Toussaint
(I'm not a doctor, but soon to play one on TV)

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