Time to step it up in the bed­room

Life & Style Weekend - - FRONT PAGE - With Joanne Wil­son Joanne Wil­son is a Neu­ropsy­chother­a­pist and Re­la­tion­ship Spe­cial­ist of TheCon­fi­dante Coun­selling. Email jo@the­con­fi­dan­te­coun­selling.com or visit: www.sun­shinecoast­coun­selling.com

IF I asked you, “What is one of the most thrilling, mag­i­cal and un­for­get­table ex­pe­ri­ences in your life?” Would it be that last tub of cookie dough ice cream or meet­ing your true love, com­mit­ment and be­com­ing sex­u­ally in­ti­mate? Was/is this ex­pe­ri­ence the ba­sis of your emo­tional well-be­ing, sense of se­cu­rity and your own per­sonal mirror of self-devel­op­ment?

In­ti­macy changes and em­pow­ers us. Starry-eyed, we each lever­age the other’s point of view and skills as we nav­i­gate life

to­gether. Ac­cess to shared re­sources can increase our be­lief in our abil­ity to reach our goals, per­son­ally and as a team. As ‘you and me’ be­comes ‘we’, the ini­tial rush of in­ti­macy build­ing is a heady and ex­cit­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. How­ever, for many cou­ples, this

be­comes any­thing but.

As a mar­riage ther­a­pist, I have the sa­cred hon­our of lis­ten­ing

to the mov­ing ac­counts from both men and women on their ex­pe­ri­ences of bar­ing all, and their souls. From where I sit, it does mean so much in ways you wouldn’t think, along with the myr­iad of good and bad con­se­quences. In the ther­apy room, we some­times mar­vel about the sex­ual

dif­fer­ences be­tween the gas-oven-type blokes ver­sus the elec­tric-slow-burn fe­male ver­sion. We muse over the way blokes

will “tap her on the shoul­der” af­ter a day of tense, silent con­flict, while the woman re­treats with shock, pre­fer­ring a more com­mu­nica­tive ap­proach to re­con­nect first. Then there is the heartache of the guys who strug­gle with not

ful­fill­ing the sex-crazed stereo­type, while their wife grap­ples with feel­ing sex­u­ally unattrac­tive and ugly. Sex – it means so

much. The early days of your re­la­tion­ship are high in help­ful oxy­tocin – the feel-good hor­mone. We take more risks, are out to impress and less likely to con­sider con­se­quences. Oxy­tocin helps us pair


As time goes on, and for all sorts of rea­sons, we don’t al­ways

put in as much ef­fort and may take the other per­son for granted.

Your spouse is then less likely to feel amorous, re­sult­ing in fewer op­por­tu­ni­ties for the sense of value and con­nec­tion

de­rived from play­ing hanky-panky. Sex sure cre­ates an amaz­ing, al­most mys­te­ri­ous bond. It’s an in­cred­i­ble union of souls that brings cou­ples to­gether. Many men de­rive a real sense of feel­ing val­ued from sex,

rather than just “get­ting their rocks off”! So, for men, not hav­ing sex can be a big prob­lem and some can barely func­tion without

it. Maybe the ladies need to step up and make an ef­fort just be­cause it is im­por­tant. Whoa – con­tro­ver­sial, I know. Equally, per­haps men need to work at be­ing al­lur­ing too. If you smell, don’t look af­ter your­self and are steadily work­ing on your beer

gut, then your wife prob­a­bly isn’t go­ing to be danc­ing in the sheets with you in a hurry. It’s im­por­tant to ask guys what they are do­ing to make sex an at­trac­tive prospect for their wives. It may well even start with emp­ty­ing the dish­washer.

Many cou­ples com­pare their fre­quency of in­ter­course with oth­ers, but it’s mu­tual sat­is­fac­tion and not fre­quency that

mat­ters. If a cou­ple is en­joy­ing sex just on their birth­days then I’m happy if they’re happy! The chal­lenge arises when one part­ner wants it ev­ery other day and the other is only in­ter­ested in hav­ing sex once a month.

It is never too late to be­gin to have the courage to ad­dress

any such canoodling co­nun­drums and speak to a pro­fes­sional ther­a­pist. In the mean­time, here are some ideas:

Are we able to com­fort­ably talk about this topic to­gether? For some, step­ping up might just mean mus­ter­ing up the courage to talk to each other about in­ti­macy is­sues. Did I go into this re­la­tion­ship with un­re­al­is­tic

pre­con­cep­tions of hav­ing the same li­bido as my spouse all the time?

Do we reg­u­larly set aside a sa­cred space in our lives for sex and give it the at­ten­tion it de­serves? Do we try to save some of the best of our­selves for each other? How are your en­ergy and fit­ness lev­els – get­ting suf­fi­cient sleep, ex­er­cise and eat­ing a healthy diet?

Do I pay at­ten­tion to my ap­pear­ance to help en­sure I feel con­fi­dent, hand­some or sexy?

In what ways can I healthily learn to find joy in sex, which may have been dam­aged by pre­vi­ous ex­pe­ri­ences, for my long-term men­tal health and the longevity of my mar­riage? What are the con­se­quences of my de­ci­sions on my fam­ily

and com­mu­nity, even for many gen­er­a­tions to come, if I’m think­ing of seek­ing sex else­where? More on that hot topic soon.


Sex is an im­por­tant way to cre­ate that magic bond.

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