To Improve your SEX Life BE NICE… Could it Really Be That Simple?
Many of the couples, over 1000 to be exact, I have worked with over the years report that their sex life is very far from ideal. Some couples haven’t made love in months or maybe they have very different ideas of what they would like their sexual life to look like. They often report that their sex life has just gradually disappeared and they want it back.
These couples are mystified as to WHY their desire has cooled off and what that means about their relationship and themselves. Am I still attractive? Does she still love me? Does it have to be this way going forward? How can we fix it?
This is such an important and prevalent issue that hundreds of articles are written about it, in journals, books and newspapers. Advice about our sex lives is all around us. Some people giving advice advocate sex toys, others suggest confrontation of your partner… others recommend “open” relationships. There is so much advice swirling around, but little of it is based on anything but the opinion of the writer.
Then, along came a recent article in The Wall Street Journal. The reporter reviewed several large research studies on relationships that found that BEING NICE is the key to having a good sex life! Is it true that “being nice” is what sustains sexual desire in a long-term relationship? These studies say, YES!
A key feature of being “nice”, according to the studies, is responsiveness to your partner’s needs, in things other than just love-making. The elements of responsiveness, include good communication –listening without judging or interrupting and validating his or her feelings and goals. Also important are expressing warmth and caring about your partner, checking in on the details of your partner’s life and talking about your sexual desires. Together, these convey that you really know and understand your partner and that you care deeply about him or her.
The Journal article reveals that both men and women who saw their partner as responsive to them felt more sexual desire for the partner. They also noted that women are especially sensitive to the emotional climate in their relationship. The nicer and more responsive their partner is, the more sexual desire the woman feels.
These studies validate what I have learned from the couples I have worked with in my psychology practice over the past 30 years. The more emotionally close they feel to their partner, the more sexual satisfaction they report. This is most noticeable after the first year or two, when the initial chemical part of passionate love has diminished. After that, the closeness, niceness and responsiveness make for a good sex life.
When a long-term couple wants to revive their sex life they can be successful if they look deeper into their interactions. They need to pay attention to all of the aspects of their relationship, especially how they treat each other, how they attempt to recover from arguments, how they manage chores, finances and the other components of their relationship. A good and loving sexual relationship in a long-term couple is achieved by taking excellent care of the other elements of the relationship, not just sex.
A side note:
Maintaining a sex life is so important to the well-being of people in relationships that the Wall Street Journal is writing about it. It gives some research basis for the adage: Happy Wife, Happy Life. We can now add: Happy Spouse, Happy Life!
I would love to hear your comments on these ideas! How could you use this information? What specific actions could you begin now? How do you feel when your partner is “nice” to you in the ways mentioned above?
With love and gratitude, Carol
Would you like to see where your relationship is strong and where it could use some improvement? I have created the Relationship Review Quiz to do just that! Here’s the link: http://RelationshipReviewQuiz/