Life is so busy. You and your partner have so much going on during the day that by the time you get to bed, you just want to veg out to TV or a good book that will inevitably put you to sleep in less then ten minutes. But then you feel a hand on your shoulder. Ugh, it’s been a while…weeks maybe. I guess I should oblige. And afterwards the initiator usually feels a little guilty. Ah, relationship or marital sex. What a thrill.
Did you know that your motivation for having sex could affect your relationship health months later? Two studies by University of Toronto researchers have pinpointed the most common reasons why people have sex and the ones most relevant to long-term relationships. The reasons fall under one of two categories; approach and avoidance.
Approach motives pursue a positive outcome, for example, “I want to feel closer to my partner.”
Avoidance motives try and evade a negative outcome, for example, “It’s been so long I guess I should, I don’t want to say no again.”
The categories can be divided even further into subcategories: self-focused or partner-focused.
‘Partner- focused goals have the greatest impact on the outcome of a relationship. The studies found that when a person’s motivation to have sex was more positively oriented, he or she felt more satisfied, both in the relationship and sexually and their partner in turn was more satisfied.’ Well, dah! That’s obvious. ‘And conversely, when someone had more avoidance goals, they felt less satisfied and less desire and their partner felt less sexually satisfied.’ This isn’t rocket science people! I thought it was interesting that it didn’t matter how much the couple had sex but the intention that motivated them that made the difference. And over time, when avoidance motives are commonly used, the sex life of the couple declines. I know this to be true as I see it a lot with my married clients. The scenario usually plays out like this… the wife is using avoidance motives repeatedly because they either, don’t have the same sex drive as their husband, they aren’t into having sex that much in one week, they are too tired, they aren’t getting the same satisfaction out of it but are afraid to talk to their husband about it, or they are in that stage in their marriage where they don’t even want to look at their partner. As the wife uses avoidance motives over and over, the husband becomes more and more turned off because they sense that their wife is not “into it” the way he would want her to be. I have seen, in my years of experience with clients, that eventually the husband eventually stops asking for sex as frequently and then eventually not at all. And let me make this abundantly clear…that’s NOT a good thing for a relationship or marriage. Someone is going to end up cheating.
So what the hell do you do to get some positive juju working? There are options. Don’t worry. There is a saying that one of my tutors taught me years ago in middle school. Okay, it had nothing to do with sex and all to do with pre-calculus but it still applies. She told me to “get my body their and my mind will follow.” Back then that meant to sit down with all of my homework in front of me and eventually my mind will start working on it. In the case of sex, or lack of, it’s about getting your body to a place of arousal and your mind will follow and enjoy the moment much more. Whether that means reading an erotic romance novel, buying new sexy lingerie, using some handy tools that can stimulate the moment, or talking or texting dirty comments to one another before you both get home, it will help get you in the mood. Sometimes just stepping outside of your comfort zone can make a big difference in bed. Be creative!
I know, I know, I realize there are always those days when you are disgusted with them or can’t bare to even look at their face. It’s okay to pass sometimes. But for the most part, it’s always better to connect in such an emotional and physical way. So pull out that smart phone and start having some fun with your texts.