Tag Archives: Romance

Rekindling the Bedroom Flame

Sex doesn’t just happen like it does in the movies.  People are not always swept away with fireworks and mutual orgasms.  Instead, human beings have to learn how to make love.  Unlike dogs, cats, birds, and other animals that have sex as an instinctive joining for procreation, for humans it’s a learned behavior.

When people look at porn or read romance novels (the female version of porn), they think that’s how sex is supposed to be.  However, it takes time to get to know each other’s bodies and communicate (which is usually the part people don’t do).  Oftentimes, couples feel embarrassed or think certain things are taboo.

This is where sex therapy comes in.  Most people believe that something has to be broken in order for them to go to sex therapy. However, the first thing you should know is that you don’t have to wait until there’s a sexual problem in your relationship before you get help.  After many years of habits forming and walls going up, certain feelings and behaviors get entrenched and often become hard to reverse.   A lot of divorces could be avoided if people dealt with these things sooner.

There are all kinds of events and experiences which get in the way of people feeling comfortable, relaxed, and open.  If there’s a medical issue (cancer treatment, surgical procedure, physical disability, etc.), a history of sexual abuse or rape, or perhaps lovemaking has simply slipped from your schedule, sex therapy can help with a number of areas.

The goal is to talk about your feelings, thoughts, and fantasies with your spouse and put them out there for the therapist to examine.  If a guy is too quick to the draw or a woman can’t seem to be able to reach an orgasm, these kinds of issues can be addressed openly and honestly. It’s all about sexual and emotional enhancement, and having some fun too!

Now let me dispel one fear right off the bat.  When you go to sex therapy, you don’t have sex in the office.  Some people think, “Oh my gosh, are we going to have to get naked and do stuff in front of the therapist?!”  No, you don’t.  And by the way, if you do go to somebody who tells you to get naked and do things, get out of there and report them.

If you’re not feeling satisfied, if you’re dealing with erectile dysfunction or premature ejaculation, if you want to experiment but your spouse doesn’t (or vice versa), if painful issues from your past are interring, or if you feel like infidelity is the only answer, then you and your spouse should see a sex therapist.

That being said, not all sexual issues require therapy.  I have some tips for you and your spouse to try first:

In the beginning of a terrific relationship, most people are in the mood most of the time.  But with careers, kids, and the house, life becomes busy with demands and responsibilities.  People underestimate the importance of hugging, touching, and loving on a daily basis.  You need to make time for each other.  Be sure to talk about something more than what bills need to be paid or what has to happen tomorrow. 

When you’ve made time together, it’s important not to expect that you will both be aroused and filled with desire immediately.  In addition, don’t stick to a formula.  For example, “I do this same thing to turn him/her on and then we go to sleep” isn’t romantic.  Playful interaction is important.  Think about it as improvisational jazz or a dance: make it spontaneous and have some fun with it.

Moreover, don’t make the orgasm the be-all, end-all.  It’s been calculated that we spend eight hours of our lives in orgasm.  That’s not a lot of time.  Having an orgasm is great, but it’s not necessarily the point.  Your focus should be on the amount of time spent lovemaking or else you’ll miss out on a lot of fun.

Most importantly, communication is the best way to get positive feedback.  When you go to an expensive restaurant, you take time with the menu, you discuss the possibilities, you savor every bite, you share from each other’s plates, and you talk about the meal afterwards – the presentation, the flavors, the sauces, the ingredients, etc.  Do the same with sex (e.g. “I love it when you touch me exactly like that.”).  Talking about sex does not take the romance away, and in fact, giving feedback to your partner about what you find pleasurable is a wonderful gift because then he or she knows they’re not failing. 

Your Spouse Has Cheated. Now What?

In the movie Closer, Clive Owen’s character grills Julie Roberts’ character about the nature of her infidelity.  He bombards her with a barrage of questions about the frequency, timing, whereabouts, type, quality and orgasmic nature of the sex she had with the interloper until she finally asks, “God, why is the sex so important?!”

Men and women react to infidelity differently. Women are more concerned with the emotional side while men care more about the sex. This is a result of hardwiring to a certain extent.  Females want to know if their male can still be a provider and protector for their young.  Males, on the other hand, are primarily invested in the preservation of their genes.  This is why, like Clive Owen’s character, men will ask about the sex and women will ask about the romantic feelings involved. 

Once you understand the differences in how men and women react to an infidelity, the next question becomes, “What should I do if I find out that my husband/wife has cheated on me?” 

First, you need to know that it’s possible for a marriage to survive an affair. In fact, the healing process can even improve the quality of the marriage. However, in order to improve the chances of your marriage staying together, you and your spouse need to seek professional help. 

Therapy helps you have adult conversations and develop skills to resolve your problems. When choosing a therapist, try to find one who has been in a long-term marriage. Be aware that therapists who have been recently divorced have a higher percentage of their patients and clients divorce.

I recommend high quality professional assistance because in order for you and your spouse to truly work through your challenges, you’re going to have to see and accept that both of you played some role in the infidelity. I am not saying that somebody had the right to cheat; I simply mean that if you decide to stay with each other, you have to figure out why things got so bad to the point that someone cheated. The success of your marriage pins on your ability to change the behaviors that alienated each other in the first place.  

If you truly think you did everything perfectly, then dump your spouse. You’re either right and this person is just a bad apple, or you’re not in touch with them enough to work it out. Either way, the relationship doesn’t have a chance of succeeding.  Don’t sit around playing the blame game for your unhappiness or their lack of a moral compass – it’s a recipe for disaster. 

However, if both of you are willing to work, there are some common mistakes you should try to avoid:

Don’t spend your time humiliating, debasing, challenging, and assaulting the cheater. Instead, try to get to the bottom of what hurt the relationship in the first place (e.g. lack of affection, being too busy to be sweet, etc.).

Contacting the person they had the affair with is usually futile. It rarely uncovers the whole truth, and oftentimes, the exposure alone will make them back off.

Naïvely taking your spouse’s word that he or she has ended the affair is one thing, but constantly following them around and checking their phone and email every five minutes is another. Yes, most people need help disengaging from an affair because there is a tremendous amount of physical and emotional investment.  However, hitting them with guilt nonstop isn’t going to help anything. 

Finally, realize that it’s going to take time. 

Ultimately, if your spouse has cheated, you need to ask yourself the following question: Is this a pattern of behavior (i.e. a reflection of their character), or is this a single event which indicates that something seriously wrong in the marriage wasn’t respectfully dealt with? Between work, the kids, and everything else going on, did one or both of you stop paying attention to the relationship? With better communication, better decisions can be made and priorities can be adjusted.  Hopefully, in the end, you can both look back at the affair as a slap on the back of the head reminding you that you weren’t paying attention to the relationship.

Fake vs. Real Love – A ‘Chemistry’ Lesson

In today’s world, you meet someone, you text, you think they’re the greatest thing in the world, you have sex, and it’s over.  You don’t even bother to get to know them – it’s just, “Hello. Do you have 15 minutes?  Let’s hook up.”  The romance of actually trying to build a relationship is not much in season.  Of course, there are shack-ups, but those are really just fake relationships. 

I want to talk about the difference between real love and the fake stuff.   Fake love is the immediate chemistry.  We all know what that is – the chemical rush of horniness that can last from three weeks to a year and a half and then “Poof!” it’s gone.  It’s a little different for males than females because they are each biologically focused on different things.  Males are focused on their sperm taking over the world one female at a time.  Females, on the other hand, are biologically concerned with safety, security, and being provided for so their babies will be safe.  Although the biological system in human beings can be somewhat overridden, chemistry for a male is still a) she’s a hot babe, and b) I’m going to look hot walking around with her.  It’s initially superficial, and it lasts longer the younger the male is.  For the female, a male’s attractiveness is semi-irrelevant (I mean, “piggy dirty” is not acceptable, but other than that, she doesn’t care).  She just wants to see if he can take care of her.

Men are perfectly capable of engaging in sex without emotional bonds.  That’s why prostitutes have always existed.  Today, a lot of women are behaving like that, and it’s one of the many reasons why female depression is so high.  “Just having fun” leaves a lot of women feeling used up and lonely.  They engage in multiple meaningless situations of physicality, which don’t make anybody – men or women – feel better.  It takes time to develop a relationship, and a lot of you folks aren’t doing that.  You are just trying to get some physical and emotional needs met.  The problem with that is there’s no giving involved – the cornerstone of a real relationship. 

The onset of real love and fake love can feel very similar.  It’s obsessive – you can’t think about anything else, and you might lose weight, sleep, or time.  However, when it’s fake love, you are both only projecting fantasies and assuming things about each other.  You can’t see future problems because you are both idealizing all of each other’s qualities and insisting that the other person is the best you’ve ever met.  However, you haven’t actually “met” them.  You are only seeing an idealized version of that person. 

That is why courting is so important.  It’s how you learn more about a person other than just, “She’s beautiful and a bombshell in bed.”  You have to let the dust settle.  Until that happens, you really have no idea if you’re right for each other.

When two people immediately start planning for the future within weeks of meeting, it’s a sign that they don’t know a damn thing about each other.  I’ve always told women that if a guy is proposing that quickly, it isn’t because he loves them.  Real love evolves into (and I know this word is going freak some people out) service.  You see, fake love is all about how the other person makes you feel.  Real love is about your commitment to making someone else feel good.  Real love involves two people focusing on the needs of each other and doing loving acts over and over again without anyone keeping score.  That’s why fake love ends up being such a bummer and a letdown – you hit a wall because all you’re thinking about is how you feel.   

Now, just because fake love is largely about physicality doesn’t mean it’s unimportant to real love, especially in the case of men.  I find it really annoying when women call my show saying they’ve gained between 30 and 50 lbs and still expect their husbands to love them exactly the same.  Your husband may have deep feelings of caring and commitment toward you, but it doesn’t change the fact that your blubber is not a turn-on.  If you would have asked him, “What would you think if I gained a lot of weight,” I guarantee you that his answer would have been, “I want you to be fit and nice-looking like you are now.”  Women get all mad and upset when I tell them that because they think, “If he loved me, he wouldn’t say something so hurtful.”  Come on!  All he’s doing is telling you the damn truth.  As a spouse, taking good care of yourself and being healthy are very important.  Chemistry still matters later on, and a lot of it has to do with how you look to your spouse.  

On another note, what happens when you don’t have chemistry with someone?

Well, some people hang around for a while to see if the chemistry will evolve.  I’m not a big believer in that.  I think there are probably some circumstances where that does happen, but beating your head against the wall to make it happen is probably not a good plan.  When you hear about two long-time friends who start feeling sexy about each other one day, that is not really chemistry developing – it’s just chemistry they weren’t aware of that is now coming forth.  In my opinion, the chemistry was probably there from day one, but their brains were not functioning on that level. 

If you have persisted and still don’t feel chemistry, don’t try to force things.  It isn’t fair to you or your potential partner to do that.   You can’t manufacture or counterfeit passion, and there is no substitute for chemistry.  Give each romantic experiment a good try, but don’t wait forever.  If nothing happens, you have to move on.