Dawn Van Ness
Sex & Family Planning
Being appreciative of your spouse, the intimacy you do share, and the sex you are currently having is obviously one of the best things you could do for yourself. Being appreciative is so important, I’ll repeat myself:
Appreciating what you have is good for you.
Being appreciated for what you bring to your spouse, the intimacy you share, and the sex you have is also critical. If appreciation and gratitude is unbalanced or just one sided, this is not good for you as an individual or as a couple; this is unhealthy.
So, with Thanksgiving weeks away, can you and your partner express thankfulness for each other, the intimacy, and the sex?
Can you express thankfulness and feel grateful without embarrassment or inward flinching?
Can you or your spouse understand if there is inward flinching?
Are you both aware of any unbalance or lack of fulfillment?
Is there acceptance and peace with the state of your sex lives?
Are you working on improving your sex lives or state of intimacy?
Or is the state of your sex lives and intimacy something that is just festering with resentment?
Not Feeling Thankful
If you are not feeling thankful, if your spouse is putting off feelings of thanks or is the source of frustration or hurt, it is ok to acknowledge and accept the negative state of things.
If sex is important to you, and you feel like you are going without unjustifiably, or if the intimacy is not there before, during, or after, your spouse may be denying you.
You may be denying them.
Be realistic about your assessment if you want things to get better.
Thankful Versus Grateful
Be thankful for your partnership, but not grateful in a way that subjugates you and not arrogant in a way that subjugates your partner.
If either person is made to feel less or unworthy or undesirable, by their own state of mind or by their partner, this is not good for emotional health and sabotages sex and intimacy – instead of getting to feel high and euphoric, a person will be left feeling high and dry.
You shouldn’t be so grateful “he even wants you” or that “she allows me.” It is important to start leaning into these issues. You are worth it.
Sharing With Others
Now when you do acknowledge your bad sex life or when someone you know shares details about theirs, it is important to understand something that we may not realize in this post- Plath, confessional, Tweet-throughout-the-day, celebrity-look-at-me talk show, and everybody-is-a-star reality show society.
Here it is:
IT IS INAPPROPRIATE, HARMFUL, AND SUSPICIOUS TO DIVULGE YOUR SEX PROBLEMS WITH ANYONE OTHER THAN YOUR PARTNER.
Why is it inappropriate and suspicious to share your sex problems, even with brothers or sisters? And why is it highly suspect to share with a member of the opposite sex? Even if they are your best bud in the whole wide world?
Because you are supposed to work this out with your partner, and exposing them to judgement or ridicule is irresponsible and mean: it is unloving.
And it makes sitting around the Thanksgiving dinner table WAY uncomfortable for your partner.
No matter how little or how much you are “getting,” what the quality is, or how it makes you feel, taking it outside of the relationship to share and vent is a deal breaker.
Because you can’t build intimacy on a foundation of betrayal.
And if you need to tell people all about it, people have a pretty good idea why you are doing it. Here is just what I’ve observed.
Married Men Sharing Sexual Disappointment Outside a Relationship
I’ve heard enough from husbands and popular male comedians to realize that complaining openly to others is a red flag, especially if it disparages the woman who is a working mother, who may even make more money than her husband or whose career or social standing is increasing, surpassing and threatening her husband’s ego.
More often than not, the husband is not pulling his weight of responsibility, and this is a way of leveling accountability.
Another reason for claiming sexual dissatisfaction is you have an adult trying to extort through guilt something they can’t get, and most times shouldn’t get – emotional dominance and power over the relationship. It is the grown up version of the parent child relationship that mothers know very well.
Sometimes married men are looking for sympathy to either 1) justify an affair to themselves or 2) preemptively justify an affair to their circle of friends or family.
So, in my experience, the reasons men often share bad sex lives: dominance and control, insecurity and ego, affairs and absolution from guilt.
Married Women Sharing Sexual Disappointment Outside a Relationship
Women, I’ve noticed, use sex and the lack of their husband’s ability to fulfill their needs as a way to cover up their own guilt, sometimes because she is lousy with her finances or acts like a spoiled brat to get her way.
So a red flag for me is a woman claiming repeatedly that her husband is a monster or completely inept, making her a chronic victim, especially if she needs to tell the stories over and over, reliving the pain and the drama.
Women will also tell friends about how inept her husband is so they may justify their own affairs, often times emotional affairs or even just crushes.
Another thing I’ve witnessed is women are comfortable with being passive in their sexual lives, while they have no problem rallying against their husband’s other bad habits right to his face, so they share their sexual frustrations with their friends, undermining and hurting him in a way he can’t defend himself against, then berating and even abusing their husbands to their faces about other things.
So for women, the reasons they share outside of their relationship: 1) mask or relieve guilt for something they’ve done wrong 2) justify an emotional crush or affair 3) self-enjoyment in their own victimization 4) extort sympathy for emotional dominance and 5) demonstrate their sexual passivity that relates back to their identity as a victim.
Healthy and Fulfilled People Do Not Share Intimate Matters That Do Not Concern Others
So my observation is that happy healthy people don’t expose their partner to the judgment of others or share their frustration with others unless they are trying to gain sympathy that covers up or distracts from how they are mistreating their partner.
To make a sweeping judgment on the human race, I’d say we were all at some level trying to avoid our own accountability because we are all trying to enjoy a prolonged adolescence and need to grow up.
Like I’ve said before, you don’t need a sex life where you are swinging from chandeliers, and intimacy can be at its peak if you are simply snuggling at the counter waiting for the coffee to perk.
And if you go through a checklist and realize you are justified in your disappointments and frustrations, take it to your partner, not outside of your relationship.
If they don’t want to deal with it, there are consequences for that that doesn’t have you playing the victim.
But this month I certainly hope you are feeling very thankful for your partner, the comfort and release they provide, and the intimacy, security, and comfort you build together.
You can’t be thankful unless you first reflect thoughtfully, take accountability, and take credit.