As promised, this is the first in my Friday series called “Keeping the Sparks Alive!” in which you’ll receive links and suggestions from various experts on how to keep the sexual part of your marriage union in top-notch shape.
While it’s true every marriage has its ebbs and flows as far as sexual excitement (early parenthood being a recognized low for most couples), sexual intimacy should not be placed on the back burner for too long, or the marriage could be irreparably harmed. Remember that while many of the tasks you provide for your family can be outsourced, only spouses can (or should) satisfy sexual needs and desires. It’s a critical component of any marriage.
I’ll begin this series with some resolutions to consider for 2011 from sex and relationship expert Ian Kerner. Joy Behar on CNN interviewed him to ask for some sex resolutions to assist couples. He advised the following:
- Have sex once a week. (See note below regarding how to determine the ideal frequency for your marriage.) Make time for it, and get in the mood. Sometimes you have to put your body and mind through the motions before you feel in the mood. If you wait until the stars align and the laundry is complete, it may never happen.
- Have a positive relationship with positive interactions if you want to have a sexy marriage. Don’t call your partner names or complain about work, chores or the bills when you meet at the end of the day—then expect your partner to feel amorous.
- Invest in your relationship. Kerner says while many couples cut back on date nights and vacations last year due the recession, it’s time to put the investment back in these important activities. After all, he says, divorce is even more expensive.
- Cultivate intimacy outside the bedroom. A 30-second hug helps women raise their oxytocin levels (those feel-good hormones released during sex or breastfeeding). For men, it takes a 60-second hug to have this effect.
Those sound like realistic goals, no? Regarding the ideal sexual frequency for couples, author and marital therapist Michele Weiner-Davis says this is a common area of conflict for couples. She says in case you are wondering, the average American couple has sex 1.5 times per week. However, what works well for one couple doesn’t work well for another. The right frequency is whatever works for you both. The problem lies when one spouse has a much higher or lower sex drive than the other. What’s a couple to do?
The worst thing they do is argue about “who is right” and “who is wrong,” she says. Don’t debate it, but do discuss how you might meet in the middle and attempt to meet both people’s needs. Maintain ongoing communication without being harsh to one another.
Interesting links this week:
I also promised more links this year to other posts. This one by Laura Munson at Huffington Post is a nice follow-up to my first happiness post. Laura found new freedom after letting go of suffering and choosing happiness. Read Laura’s article Living the New Year moment by moment.
Fox News featured Alisa Bowman’s 7 Ways to Fix a Marriage.
The Generous Husband generously posted a guest post by yours truly called 7 Ways a Man Truly Loves a Woman. He also had an interesting idea to come up with three things you each want to change about your marriage this year, one easy, one medium difficult and one that would take effort. Read it here.
Neuroscientists are discovering any time we feel safe, warm, loved, and cherished, we activate the release of small doses of oxytocin in the brain. And oxytocin is the brain’s direct and immediate antidote to cortisol (the stress hormone). If you’re interested in a scientific explanation of how oxytocin levels cancel out stress, check out this article The Neuroscience of Resilience. I especially liked the last few paragraphs.
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