Our third post on 'enhancing your relationship' is talking about how we keep the flame alive amidst the plethora of distractions that life throws at us.
Kids, pets, TVs in the bedroom are all passion killers. Research out of Italy finds couples with televisions in their bedrooms make love half as often as those who don't.
Thinking of buying a TV for the bedroom? Think again it could ruin your sex life. A study by an Italian sexologist has found that couples who have a TV set in their bedroom have sex half as often as those who don't. "If there's no television in the bedroom, the frequency (of sexual intercourse) doubles,"said Serenella Salomoni whose team of psychologists questioned 523 Italian couples to see what effect TV had on their sex lives. On average, Italians who live without TV in the bedroom have sex twice a week, or eight times a month. This drops to an average of four times a month for those with a TV, the study found. For the over-50s the effect is even more marked, with the average of seven couplings a month falling to just 1.5 times. The study found certain programmes are far more likely to impede passion than others.
We live in an age of enlightenment, and yet, we are affected by many old myths and taboos. Two old myths, for example, say that as people get older they aren't interested in intimacy, and that marriage is destined to bring boredom. When you and your partner go to bed at night, nature will inevitably take its course, frequently. If a man and woman are in love, it is natural to want to express that love physically. I have discovered over time that it is when DH and I don’t go to bed together, or, we let other pressures interfere, that we begin to have problems.
Clinical psychologist and certified sex therapist Cory Hrushka, says, "Some parents become lazy or they start to take the relationship for granted—for example, 'my wife's Catholic, so she's never going to leave me, so why do I have to work on the relationship?'—so whatever intimacy they have is very routine. "Women typically need to learn to ask more for what they want," he says. "Men typically know what they want, but they don't necessarily know how to get it. "They've lost their relationship because they've become rutting partners at night and parents during the day...and I've got to throw a little grenade in there to shake things up—to shatter, redefine and rebuild their relationship," Hrushka says. He has couples who come to him for a regular tune-up to keep their relationship healthy, which he says is much better than a couple not dealing with underlying problems for years then coming in for a major overhaul. They suggest that couples start finding themselves as lovers by sitting down and asking each other if they can separate themselves from their roles as parents? It's a question a lot of couples never think about. They simply get caught up in looking after the kids until one day one or the other —usually the man—looks up and complains what happened to their lover? Where did that part of their lives go?”
As time goes by in a relationship, anything and everything gets in the way of a married couple having intimacy. Pressures of life, children, and plain old ‘I’m just damn tired of it all’ play a role in not being able to pay as much time to one another as you used to.
So, what are the problems, and, what are the solutions? Well, I’m sure they vary from relationship to relationship, but there are going to be some pretty straight forward comparisons.
It is hard to maintain privacy when you have children. Not only do they demand attention and take massive amounts of energy, but, as they get older you have to become more and more careful and quiet (getting back to Friday’s topic – not a good thing!) If you're unlucky enough to be without a lock on your bedroom door, (something that I suffer from) there is always the fear that some sick or terrified child is going to burst into the room (and that has happened to me before).
Another problem is the stress of life. Debts; ups and downs at work; extended family crisis; children's illnesses; and, the million other things that occur during the course of a marriage, diminish not only the opportunity, but the desire for sex. It is difficult to give each other the proper attention if you're always tired and quite frankly – fed up! Most couples fall into a pattern when it comes to making love; a dull pattern. The approach to love-making stays the same. What worked at twenty-five is still happening at thirty-five. Both partners know what's coming, and, after a while it gets old and tired, just to match the way you’ve been feeling. Great.
We take each other for granted. We barely speak to one another throughout the day and then expect there to be a smouldering sexual desire at night. What usually happens is that there is an attempt at the game we call sex, which leaves both people frustrated emotionally and sexually, and really just a tad resentful.
We don't take care of our appearance like we once did. When we dated, and even when we were first married, most of us were very concerned about our appearance. As time goes by, sadly, we tend to care less about how we look, and, this sends a very bad but very real message.
So, what are the excuses?
• You can't find a baby sitter. You use this because you feel guilty leaving the kids after working all day. Tell your kids that you need one night a week for grown-up time. Let them help pick a sitter they like and schedule him or her every week for six months. The kids will start to look forward to your night out, too.
• You don't have money for a sitter. Many couples can't afford a sitter every week. Arrange a baby-sitting swap with a neighbour or friend. Or establish a ‘do not disturb’ rule one night a week. Set your children up with a movie, sleeping bags, popcorn and breakfast items for the morning. • You're too tired to go out. Do it anyway. Going out will decrease your stress. You'll feel energized and relaxed when you return.
• You don't feel romantic. The only way you’re going to feel romantic again is if you both make the effort at romance. If you really can't get in the mood, try sleeping in each other's arms or get the baby oil out and have your partner give you a massage and see what happens next.
• There's not enough time. Make the time. Wake up early or stay up later. Divide household responsibilities with your partner so you can have some time together. Make the children's dinner and feed them in a separate room while you have a romantic dinner with your spouse.
Okay, so what do you do?
The very first thing is to go to bed together all the time. Don't stay up and read while your DH goes to bed. Don't let him watch his favourite DVD when its time to go to bed with you. Bed time needs to be ‘your time together’. When you don't go to bed with your DH the message is pretty obvious, "You don’t really excite me any more". Of course, most of us don't say anything. In fact, we may not even be aware of it, but, down deep, it hurts and it affects our relationships.
The bedroom should be for two things. One is sleeping, and, the other is making love. It is a mistake to put a computer; a sewing machine, or a TV in there. All of these things create a solid distance between you both. Keep your bedroom for playing your adult games. Make love, talk, cuddle – be intimate.
Get a lock on the bedroom door or teach the kids to knock. You can lock the kids out of the bedroom, and you'll be amazed at how much more relaxed you'll feel in ‘expressing’ your love when you don't have to worry about them bursting in on you just when you were about to get down to it.
Make a Date. Going out together is vital if you want your marriage and your sex life to thrive. At least once a month, go to a play, the movies—whatever you used to do together that you dropped after you had children. Try not to talk about the kids or bills or house repairs. Talk about things that will remind you of why you fell in love in the first place.
Make it a habit to have getaway weekends occasionally. Make the effort! Book a weekend away, leave the kids with relatives once in a while and do something just for the two of you. You know you're going to be tired. Use babysitters, family and close friends to give you time away from your life. Time to revive and get your energy back isn't only good for your sex life; it is also good for you.
Always remember that sex is to be enjoyed. Get rid of the inhibitions that society throws at you and get adventurous! Wednesday’s topic comes in to play here—get the toys out!! LOL As long as you are both comfortable with it and it’s legal, consenting and, it doesn't break a moral law, then it really is okay. Variety really is the spice of life, and where better to apply it than in the bedroom? Talk to each other about what excites you. You will find that the simple act of communication with your DH, brings you as close as the physical act does. Think about it, if you feel at ease sharing your innermost thoughts on this subject with your partner, it will create an incredible trust and respect.
Give each other a break. Although it may sound contradictory, another way to improve your sex life is by spending some time by yourself. This is especially crucial for women, since they tend to put the family's needs before their own. Getting together with friends, or doing something just for you can help you feel more sexual because such activities help fill you own needs too.
Think about the way you treat each other during the day because it’s going to affect the way you treat each other at night too. Think about the way you were when you were dating, the thoughtful little gestures; always touching each other to show your affection; grabbing a quick kiss when it’s unexpected; buying/receiving a card – just because, little notes left in unexpected places; flowers… You'll see amazing results if you just show a bit of TLC. Make it a point to ‘attract’ them all over again. Dress up – in and out of the bedroom. Show each other that you are still desirable and desire. Learn to flirt again; start trying to make each other feel special again.
Reclaiming the bedroom and your sex life should be something that you are happy to do, and if it’s not, well, then you need to ask yourself why. If your relationship is feeling a bit tired and lost to you, give some of these steps a try, and see where you are in a few weeks time. I hope your quest is successful.
Our competition winner from Friday's post. We asked you to tell us What's the funniest thing that's ever happened to you having sex? Our winner for 'Izzy's Books' competition for a book of her choice from the Total-e-bound back-catalogue is Danette. So, Danette, if you'd like to email me at competitions @ total-e-bound.com (no spaces) we'll wiz over your prize. Congratulations!
So, for today's book give-away we would like you to tell us which two books are released today from total-e-bound? Send your answers to competitions @ total-e-bound.com, and put 'Lucy's Books' in the header. Good luck!