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Improving sex can be all about sexual tensions – and overcoming them

Improving sex can be all about sexual tensions – and overcoming them


Towards Relief from Sexual Tensions

THERE is something about a new beginning that appeals to everyone. In the newness itself, there is a single crystalline moment, beautiful and uncluttered. The new marriage is like this in many ways. The day of the wedding ceremony shines crystal-clear and there is a breathless moment.

Everything will be perfect, newlyweds believe because everything is new. But is it? As we pointed out earlier, newlyweds bring a lifetime of attitudes, learning and experience into marriage. Has everything changed? The newly married discover that it has not—a day, a week, a month or so after the wedding day.

How to drive your newly married husband mad!

They may learn, too, that the one big factor they had counted on to keep everything right, wonderful and perfect—namely, the physical love of sexual intercourse—is not perfect. It is not the transcendental light that floods every minute of the marriage with glory. Far from it!
Inevitably, tensions arise. And with them come self-doubt, disappointment and perhaps recrimination. How to cope with the tensions? Here are eight steps helpful in achieving release from sexual tensions in marriage. From these stem still others. Let’s consider the eight, one at a time.

  • You Are Not Alone

Anxieties at one time or another concerning the sexual aspects of marriage are virtually universal. You and just about everyone else you know has had them.

Realizing this fully and accepting it is, in itself, good for you. It is therapeutic. Tension leads to further tension when you feel alone in your troubles. You are not alone. For one thing, another human being shares your problem most intimately, your mate. It is certainly not realistic to consider yourself a special case, somehow victimized by a fate reserved only for you.

  • Take Your Time

I am amazed that married couples believe that courtship, the wedding plans and the wedding day itself set a tone of inevitable, immediate success in sexuality. Of course, this is utter nonsense. There are almost always fits and starts, failures and successes, happiness and heartaches. How, for example, will a man who has never experienced sex be able to satisfy his partner without ejaculating prematurely? How will she, who may be inexperienced in sex, be able to reach orgasm comfortably?

Most authorities believe that sexual adjustment in marriage rarely comes within a few months, and most successful husbands and wives admit this.

A good many believe that it rarely comes before one, three, five years, or even longer. Physical love, after all, is not something that can be regulated automatically as you would some mechanical device. It is an expression of the union of two people as one, a beautiful but intricate union that demands learning and effort. Remember, two people are involved, with their differing beliefs, sensitivities and desires. It takes time, effort, concentration, exploration and deep understanding to make a physical union increasingly rewarding. But time is what most marriages have plenty of—a lifetime. Don’t rush it.

  • Be Ready to Unfix Your Fixed Beliefs

Of course, the husband and wife enter marriage with a great many fixed ideas, but such ideas can hinder sexual compatibility. So, open your mind. Wipe the film record of your mind clean, or at least edit it so that you will not be hindered by fixed ideas or prejudices. This must be done to establish rapport with your spouse in a mature fashion. With an open mind, flexibility replaces rigidity, and flexibility is what you need to achieve sexual fulfilment.

I recall a patient who revealed to his doctor that his wife insisted that it was wrong to have intercourse more than once a week. She maintained that she was perfectly content with the once-a-week schedule. Naturally, this rigid concept made for a good many anxieties in the marriage. The truth is, of course, that there is no “right” and “wrong” when it comes to frequency of intercourse.

There is no arbitrary standard—just as there is no arbitrary standard of right and wrong in any other phase of sexuality in marriage. Well-adjusted married couples have learned how to agree together, within the confines of their privacy, on their standards as to the frequency of intercourse, sex play and all other matters concerning sex. And they change the standards as they change.

Many people (especially women) inquire as to “proper” forms of stimulation, “proper” ways to reach the climax. I always tell them the same thing: anything is proper so long as it pleases both husband and wife and allows both to achieve emotional peace.

Not long ago, a young woman said to me: “Before we were married, my husband was in the Services, stationed in France. While there, he learned all sorts of things from girls about oral sex. Is this proper?”

My answer remains the same. If the husband has strong feelings concerning one or another method of stimulation, he should discuss them candidly with his wife. She should do the same. The open exchange of desires should provide the basis for agreement. Such an exchange is certain to decrease anxiety and to free both to experiment, to try, to discover. There is no fixed “right and wrong” in this regard. A man and his wife answer only to themselves and to each other in this area of their living.

  • Learn How to Compromise

Men and women are different, emotionally and sexually. Thus, there must be a compromise. Men are more easily stimulated, have more sexual fantasies and usually are more aggressive. Women tend to accept the romantic ideal to a far greater extent. They tend to dream romantically rather than act. They are not as easily stimulated and, as a rule, are less likely to play the role of the aggressor.

Considering these differences and countless others, compromise is an absolute necessity. The happily married couple is the one that has, through the years, made acceptable compromises concerning the frequency of intercourse, method, time and place. Lack of compromise only serves to heighten sexual incompatibility. But compromise must never be one-sided.

Sex rarely can save a shaky marriage, but a full, understanding and beautiful marriage can save a shaky sexual relationship. Without a marriage compatible aside from sex, there can hardly be a full sex life.

Fundamentally, sex in marriage goes far beyond its pure pleasure aspect, for it serves as the final bond, a true, ultimate expression of love. But if the love does not exist in the first place, how can there be perfect sex? Full sex life in marriage is not likely to sustain a marriage that has little else of quality. If you believe that sex can be everything, you are in for a major disappointment. Love must come first, then sex—not the reverse. If you remember this you spare yourself needless anguish in marriage.

  • Don’t Rely on Tricks and Techniques

A great deal has been written on the subject of sex techniques and positions of love-making in marriage. I do not believe that the techniques are valueless. On the contrary, married couples should have a sound knowledge of them and should be willing to experiment and to learn new ones.

But the belief that sex techniques will sustain your sex life is naive. Tricks of any kind are but momentary diversions. They are hardly the stuff that happy marital sexuality is made of. We are, after all, considering a profound human undertaking. The individual mainly preoccupied with sex techniques, the touches, caresses and other methods of arousal, is bound to run out of them. Then what?

The mature couple realizes that, as the year’s progress, there is a constant discovery about oneself and one’s mate. Sex is never the same. Something exciting is always just ahead if you will simply allow yourself a chance to discover it. This is natural and healthy. Those who relax in the idea that sex in marriage is a never-ending adventure with its dynamism, its unfolding wonder, rarely are disappointed.

  • Don’t Be Ashamed to Seek Professional Advice

Many couples are reluctant to talk to their doctors, ministers or a marriage counsellor about their sexual problems. This is sheer folly. There is a feeling on the part of many couples (it is probably most pronounced in men) that admission of sexual apprehension and failure is a reflection of weakness and inadequacy.

What fallacy! Married couples who have problems are so numerous that the problems themselves must be considered normal. Should a patient be ashamed of telling his doctor that he has influenza or faulty vision? The answer is obvious. And so is the answer as it applies to sexual matters.

We assume we need to learn a job. We know we must learn about virtually everything in family matters from cooking to raising children. We accept the learning process in almost every human endeavour. Yet many of us fail to see the wisdom of learning anything that has to do with sex.

This failure almost certainly intensifies sexual incompatibility, which of course leads to heightened sexual tensions. Our unwillingness to learn imposes anxiety after anxiety and perpetuates and heightens sexual frustrations so that they can hardly emerge into the bright light of reason, clarity and ultimate solution.

A man I know refused for years to tell his doctor of his great anxiety about his sexual activities. He went along unhappy, sour, convinced that he could never achieve sexual fulfilment.
Finally, one day, he blurted out the story of his misery to his doctor.

“I’m depressed, terribly depressed,” he said. “For a long time, my wife and I have not enjoyed satisfying sexual relations. She accepts the situation as it is, but I cannot.”

The patient, an obese fellow in his early forties, pointed out that his excess weight simply prevented him from being comfortable in intercourse. What is more, he was convinced that his obesity had lessened his sexual capacities.

Considering these differences and countless others, compromise is an absolute necessity. The happily married couple is the one that has, through the years, made acceptable compromises concerning the frequency of intercourse, method, time and place. Lack of compromise only serves to heighten sexual incompatibility. But compromise must never be one-sided.

  • Discard the Idea That Physical Love Is Everything in Marriage

Sex rarely can save a shaky marriage, but a full, understanding and beautiful marriage can save a shaky sexual relationship. Without a marriage compatible aside from sex, there can hardly be a full sex life.

Fundamentally, sex in marriage goes far beyond its pure pleasure aspect, for it serves as the final bond, a true, ultimate expression of love. But if the love does not exist in the first place, how can there be perfect sex? Full sex life in marriage is not likely to sustain a marriage that has little else of quality. If you believe that sex can be everything, you are in for a major disappointment. Love must come first, then sex—not the reverse. If you remember this you spare yourself needless anguish in marriage.

His doctor discussed the matter with him, put him on a diet. The patient fully realized the motivation, the stake he had in losing weight. At the end of a few months, he had lost 29 pounds. “I cannot tell you how this has helped us in every way,” that patient said to his doctor. “Our sex life has never been as wonderful.”

If that man had been able to seek help sooner, there would not have been those wasted years. In his story, there is a moral for all married couples who multiply their anxieties by failing to seek competent advice or to follow it after it is offered.

Two other cases can be cited briefly in this connection. The first involves a woman of twenty-seven, married five years, who would become periodically depressed and refuse to have intercourse with her husband. This went on for two years. When she finally visited her family doctor and discussed it with him, they found the cause of the depression—worries about her father and mother.

Once the cause was revealed, the depression lessened in intensity and she resumed normal sexual relations with her husband.

The second case involves a couple in their thirties who had the wisdom and initiative to consult a capable marriage counsellor in their home town. Their problem stemmed from the fact that the wife wanted to have intercourse only on week-ends. She claimed that was the only time she could relax.

After a few visits, the counsellor convinced the wife that her husband was not making outlandish demands on her and explained masturbation. Also, the wife was persuaded that she should submit to intercourse occasionally during the week, even if she did not derive maximum satisfaction. In this case, the advice worked and the couple has enjoyed much-improved sex for some time.

The point in all of these cases is that the individuals concerned were intelligent enough to seek and accept competent advice.

  • There Must Be Mutual Love and Respect

Perhaps this final consideration should have been first. It should be implicit in happy sexual relations that love and respect pervade the marriage. Why mention it? Isn’t this self-evident? Perhaps.

But there is much evidence that anxiety-ridden couples do fail to respect each other. Many do fail to approach sex with the necessary humility, tenderness and gentleness that should typify any part of marriage, but especially this part. This failure is the source of a great deal of tension regarding marital sex.

What does respect for the other person mean? Simply that the other person’s needs and feelings are truly more important to you than your own. This is something that cannot be faked. It is either so or not so. When it becomes so for both partners, the marriage—and sex—are on the way to success.

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