Sexual incompatibility troubles marriages

Discussion in 'Relationships, Discrimination, and Jealousy' started by Principessa, Mar 3, 2008.

  1. Principessa

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    Sexual incompatibility troubles marriages

    By Liane Yvkoff

    (LifeWire) -- He's a 38-year-old executive. She's a 34-year-old homemaker. He says they never fight, and in many ways they're compatible -- but not when it comes to sex.

    "It's almost like a checklist," says Jon (who asked that his real name not be used) of their once-a-month lovemaking. The problem, he believes, is a lack of desire.

    Sexually unfulfilling marriages aren't limited to new parents or aging baby boomers with hormone imbalances. They can ensnare even the relatively young and the recently married. When they are unable to blame kids, stress or physical issues, many couples struggle unhappily to identify -- and resolve -- the problems behind their lackluster sex life.

    Couples end up in sexually unfulfilling marriages for a variety of reasons, says Marty Klein, a licensed marriage counselor and certified sex therapist in Palo Alto, California. One reason, he says, is America's obsession with marriage.
    Laura Berman, a Chicago sex therapist and relationship expert, agrees. "We put the blinders on when we're dating," she says. "We focus so much on the wedding, we don't notice the warning signs."

    Those who believe passion inevitably fades may downplay the sex factor, picking someone they think would be a good father or a good wife even if they're not an ideal lover, Berman adds.

    "I chose her because I thought it would enhance me in some way," Jon says of his wife.

    Berman has seen it before: "People choose partners who have the right resume but maybe not the entire package."

    Other couples enter into relationships with so-so chemistry because they think they're in love and overlook key differences, says Klein.

    Bobbie Jonas, a holistic health practitioner in Calistoga, California, acknowledges she ignored obvious warning signs during her courtship. "I was more interested in a way out from home," she says of her first marriage. Poor communication compounded the effects of weak chemistry. After 10 years, they divorced.

    "Couples wondering where the sex went should be asking if it was ever really there," says Berman.

    That explanation makes sense to Jon. Although he said he and his wife, who live on the West Coast, started off with great chemistry, the cracks in the relationship began to show before they traded rings. After a four-month dry spell during their engagement, his wife brought up the idea of canceling the wedding. "I just really wanted to get married," Jon says. "I felt that it was what I was supposed to do."

    Now Jon is having an affair with a woman -- also in a sexually unsatisfying marriage -- for whom he feels intense passion. "I didn't realize the importance of sex," he says.

    It's not always a problem
    On average, Americans report having sex 85 times a year, according to the 2007 Sexual Wellbeing Global Survey conducted by Harris Interactive for Durex. The largely online survey polled 26,032 people in 26 countries using random samples of those aged 16 and older.

    Therapists generally define "sexless" marriage as having sex less than about 10 times a year, and they estimate 1 in 5 couples are in such a relationship.
    But Klein cautions against looking for problems where there are none.
    "A dry spell is only a problem if the couple thinks it is," he says. "There are plenty of couples who don't have sex and don't think there's anything wrong with it. And there's others that are in a lot of pain about it."

    Klein notes that the expectation of eternally passionate sex may be setting people up to fail. "People have the assumption that you can have long-term, monogamous, hot sex," he says. "It's never been done (on a large scale) in the history of the world."

    Getting more sex
    Berman offers at least one reason to resolve unsatisfying love lives: "Often, when you're not having sex, your empathy and ability to connect is lower, and it's easier to have conflict," she says. "It amplifies (marital) problems."

    At the Berman Center in Chicago, she counsels couples on repairing their sex lives. Some advice:
    • Try traditional gender roles: Men may become more sexually assertive if they feel more in control, and women may feel more desire for a mate with newfound machismo. "You don't have to get his slippers," explains Berman. "You just have to give him some control." She suggests a date where the man chooses everything -- her clothes, the restaurant, the food -- as a starting point.

    • Engage in exciting activities: Whether it's trying an extreme sport like skydiving or snowboarding, or exploring new options in the bedroom, activities that get the pulse racing can open the brain's dopamine centers and increases desire.

    • Talk about it: Couples also would benefit from simply communicating with their partners about what they want in bed. "There is no secret to hot sex," says Klein. "Sexy lingerie and dinners out are no substitute for an honest conversation about sex."

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    The topic of sexual incompatibility in dating and married couples seems never ending on this site. Yet many of you still insist sex is a miniscule component of any good/normal relationship. That is such total bull shit! If you have bad sex or are sexually incompatible while dating it will only get worse once you get married! If everything but the sex is perfect than he or she is not the perfect person for you.

    That's just my 2 cents. :biggrin1:
     
  2. B_cigarbabe

    B_cigarbabe New Member

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    Duh!
    cigarbabe:saevil:
     
  3. whatireallywant

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    I do think sex is a very important part of any relationship, but I have a real problem with that article's advice to go back to traditional gender roles! :mad: I have NEVER been a traditional woman and I have no intention of starting anytime soon! Sorry! Most of these "advice" columns and articles advise that, and I think it is very damaging to people.

    However, for me sex is very important and I would not ever marry someone I'm not sexually compatible with.
     
  4. EFH33

    EFH33 Member

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    I think the article just meant for a night to change things up, or every once and awhile. I am by no means a guy who expects a woman to do things for me, but it is nice every once and awhile to have a woman do those things for you.
     
  5. whatireallywant

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    Oh, ok... I have a tendency to over-react maybe to stuff like that because of my history. As far as doing things for the one I'm involved with, sure that's not a problem, as long as it's truly an equal partnership. :smile:

    Someone unfamiliar with my history may think I'm being too stubborn about these things. I grew up in an area that was very rigid about gender roles, and I was so much a tomboy as a kid that I was sent to behavior mod camp to "try to get me to act more girly" among other things (one of which was my attention span). As an adult, I unfortunately lived in the same area during my 20s, and most of the men in the area would not date an athletic OR an educated woman. I was definitely educated, and while not really all that great at athletic stuff (although I love to play sports), I have a naturally athletic type build (although now with a few extra pounds on it). There were also a lot of women who were abused both physically and emotionally by their husbands or boyfriends, and because they themselves were rigid in their gender roles, they had no means of escape of the abuse. They were both emotionally and economically dependent.

    Oh, and I doubt that many of the people I knew were sexually compatible with their partners, either. I mostly only heard the women's side of it, and they and supposedly their husbands/boyfriends both bought into the stereotypes. I think my refusal to buy into that actually makes me MORE sexually compatible with more men. :smile:
     
  6. B_Jennuine73

    B_Jennuine73 New Member

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    I think communication is the key to a good relationship. This means communication in all things, including GASP! sex.

    In my experience, sex is a taboo topic in many relationships. I think people don't reveal their individual kinks to each other. Everyone has something that gets them off like nothing else. If a person wants to be with someone for the rest of their life, why the hell wouldn't you tell them what gets you off?

    Why wouldn't you want a mind blowing sex life for the rest of your life? If a person gets married, they should be marrying their best friend. Any topic should be open for discussion.

    "you know babe, it really drives me wild when a man pulls my hair"

    "when you suck my cock can you tickle my balls at the same time?"

    "i love to role play"

    "i fantasize about (insert hot fantasy here). do you think you'd like to try that?"

    Things like this should be discussed before marriage, well before marriage. If your partner is not sexually compatible you are dooming yourself to an unsatisfactory sex life for the rest of your life.

    I think this is a great topic. In my last job as a phone sex op, I heard so many fantasies. Sometimes I would ask the client why they wouldn't share with their wife and they most often replied "no way, you kidding? she'd flip" If the guy was in front of me i'd smack him upside his head. I would refrain from saying "then why the fuck did you marry her?"

    Sex is a wonderful thing, on so many levels. Why wouldn't you want to have the best sex partner for a spouse????

    Rant over
     
  7. whatireallywant

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    This is great advice! I do think we should be more open about our desires. Unfortunately, many of us have repressive upbringings that keep us from doing so. I'm actually more shy about talking about sex in real life, although I've actually done some things that would raise a few eyebrows. :smile: (I find "doing" easier than "talking"...)
     
  8. B_Jennuine73

    B_Jennuine73 New Member

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    The repressive upbringings many of us have been raised in is not an excuse for poor communication, IMO.

    It is our responsibility and ours alone to get our needs met, in any situation. Not that our needs override our children's needs or anyone else needs all the time, but our needs are important.

    As I said, the key to any good relationship is communication. Whether that communication is verbal, or in your case WIRW, body language.
     
  9. Ethyl

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    Bears repeating. This article makes the erroneous assumption that traditional roles are the default for improvement in any relationship. What works in a relationship for one couple won't necessarily work for another. I call horseshit.
     
  10. whatireallywant

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    Yes, I see a lot of articles and "advice" columns that are the same way. Basically telling me that I have to just change my entire personality. Wouldn't it be better to find that person who is compatible with me just the way I am? :smile:
     
  11. Principessa

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    Good Point Jennuine73, but it kills me when men post that after 5,10, 15 years of marriage they still can't get more than 3" in their wife. :confused: Scuse me you didn't know that before you got married? After a few years of that the woman has so much angst, anxiety; and fear related to penetration of course she tenses up so he can't enter.

    That's what I took it to mean as well.
     
  12. whatireallywant

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    Yeah, I've noticed that too. Hmmm... possibly they DIDN'T know that before they were married... if they were brought up as I was (and didn't rebel from it like I did :biggrin1:), they wouldn't have sex until they were married. Although my upbringing was not as repressive as that of many in my family and community (my parents are fairly open minded about some things), I was brought up to not have sex until marriage. Obviously I didn't go along with that, and one thing I always thought of was this very thing. How can you know if you are sexually compatible with someone who you are planning to marry if you don't have sex with them first?
     
  13. B_Think_Kink

    B_Think_Kink New Member

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    Did we really need an article to back that shit up? Isn't it obvious?
     
  14. snoozan

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    I have to say this is a broad overgeneralization. Some marriages function well even if there is a good amount of sexual incompatibility. Every couple has a different set of priorities. For some, better sex simply isn't something they'd give up their marriage, partner, and family for. I imagine sexual compatibility is a bigger deal here at LPSG than in the general population. For some people it may not be so important. A lot of compromise goes into a relationship, and that's one area where some couples may choose to do a lot of compromising if everything else works.
     
  15. B_Jennuine73

    B_Jennuine73 New Member

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    I disagree about this being a broad overgeneralization. I do agree that some marriages function well even if there is a good amount of sexual compatibility, though I would say that would be a small number.

    I think every couple has different priorities, but this doesn't mean a good sex life with your partner is not important.

    I think the problem is, one person in the couple doesn't like it the way it is, the other does but the couple doesn't talk about it. So if asked if they are happy with their sex life, the answer you would get is probably a yes, though they both are not happy. I think this is way more common in the general population.

    She's a good wife, he's a good husband, so what if they're sex isn't spectacular? I think it is very important to be as happy with as many aspects as possible in a relationship.
     
  16. frizzle

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    I second that. :biggrin1:
     
  17. Love-it

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    When we first got together I thought sex was wonderful and no problems with penetration at all, full depth and in every position we tried. Before we married I began to notice a pained expression on her face during intercourse and we attributed it to vaginal infections, etc. for 30 years after we married. Our marriage works because we love each other, even though intercourse, or lack thereof, has been trying for both of us. There were years where we might try intercourse once a year, at least we enjoyed oral sex once in awhile. It was tough but now that we know that girth is the problem my wife has been dilating and in almost 2 1/2 years now I have been able to cum in her vagina 3 times, she also started dilating her ass at the same time and she can take me that way easier so we do have sex. No, it's not enough for me and maybe not even enough for her, because pain is still an issue, but she is trying. Gotta love her for that.
     
  18. Max Downs

    Max Downs Member

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    sexual incompatibility may be an issue with some couples, but for the best part of the problem is get out of the house and get some sun on your back! jeez get the TV out of the bedroom fuck the staying back friday afternoons to catch up on emails, put the mobile in the draw, get yourself out of that miserable routine then go and give your partner the best fuck you've got in you!!!!! don't be the cause of your heartache
     
  19. bluesteel81

    bluesteel81 New Member

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    sexual compatiblity is important but it should not be the determining factor in deciding to marry or divorce someone. By what you ladies are saying here, all you care about is how good the sex is. NJQT says "if everything is perfect but sex then that is not the person for you". Then dont get mad when men say all we want is gorgeous women with perfect bodies and spectacular sex.
     
  20. ThisSpace4Rent

    ThisSpace4Rent New Member

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    If it was "just" the sex it wouldn't be an issue. But there's the issue of passion and attraction and desirability mixxed in there as well.

    If you're married to someone who's attracted to you and feels passionately about you, but for physical reasons or whatever can't enjoy sex, that's easier to work through.

    Where it becomes a harder situation is when you're with someone who has no interest in having a physical relationship with you anymore. It's in the way they do (or don't) look at you, kiss you, touch you, talk to you, etc.

    My wife was an amazing lover while we were dating and engaged. Marriage and 2 kids later and I might as well be her brother. She still loves me and treats me well, but we don't have a romantic relationship anymore.
     
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