Sex Relationship Advice
Sex As Microcosm For Relationship Power Struggles
He wants it more. She wants it less—a scenario so familiar that I don’t need to tell you what “it” is. And despite the mythology of popular culture, it’s very common for roles to be reversed, the man in the relationship expressing less sexual desire than the woman. Wherever you find a discrepancy in libido—and this is the rule in committed relationships more than the exception—there is going to be conflict. This conflict, left unresolved, leads to escalating tension, resentment and—not surprisingly—less and less sex. A Sex in America study found, in fact, that 1 in 5 married couples have sex fewer than 10 times per year. But what creates this ongoing tug-of-war between the so-called low desire and high desire partner? And can this situation be resolved, or is it simply an inevitable consequence of differing physiological and psychological needs and wants?
Sex as Power Struggle
Tracy was a successful attorney. Her husband, Greg, was a struggling artist. They engaged in heated conflicts, time and again, about Greg’s relative lack of sexual desire. Matters were complicated by the fact that this lack of desire only seemed to apply to Tracy, as Greg regularly used pornography. But why would Greg “redirect” his libido away from Tracy when this clearly caused conflict?
Sex is a microcosm for the relationship as whole. And relationships tend to encounter persistent friction in the form of power struggle. When one individual feels somehow devalued or overlooked in the relationship, he or she often tries to define him or herself by “staking a claim” in other areas of the relationship—sexual behaviors being favorite targets for this unconscious strategy. Greg, for example, felt inadequate in the relationship as he wasn’t fulfilling the traditional male role of the “bread winner.” Feeling rather powerless in this area, he tried to define himself—and exert his individual will—by withholding sexually. Obviously, such power struggles are ultimately self-defeating, as they merely restrict and limit the experience of both partners.
Balancing the Scale
Since the low desire partner is often attempting to reclaim personal power at a deeply unconscious level, simply planning a romantic dinner is unlikely to facilitate a genuine sexual connection. Rather, both individuals must work at deeper and more authentic emotional and behavioral layers to express their valuing of one another as equally important members of the relationship. Following are a few tips to facilitate this enhanced interpersonal balance:
* Listening to one another without interrupting. Interrupting your partner communicates that you feel you have more of a “right” to speak than he or she does.
* Showing sincere interest in one another’s careers. Asking your partner about his or her work day—and actively listening to the details—communicates respect for this very important aspect of your partner’s self-identity.
* Equally dividing household chores and similar tasks. When one partner is expected to carry a disproportionate amount of chores—especially when both partners have careers—the other individual is communicating a sense of privilege or entitlement within the relationship.
* Complimenting rather than criticizing. Habitual criticism of your partner suggests that you feel he or she is unworthy of your commitment, and needs to work harder to “earn” your affection.
Authors Details: ‘Sex Relationship Advice’ James Robbins Web Site