HOW MEN AND WOMEN MISUNDERSTAND SEX

Here’s the scenario!

It’s early morning, the guy rolls over, kisses his partner. She gets the message and starts to cuddle into him. Next thing he is on top of her and 3-5 minutes later it’s all over. As he gets up and starts walking out of the bedroom she says, ‘Where are you going?” He replies, “To make a cup of tea!”

Which leads me to ask the question. Is there a link between many couples separating and what I would call the basic human needs of sex and intimacy, either through ignorance, selfishness or lack of interest not being met in a relationship or does it go much deeper than this?

What part does ‘sex,’ and the difference between how men and women view and feel about sex, play out in the number of couples who started out together in loving and caring relationships and end up becoming yet another statistic in the divorce courts? Or is this just another piece of the relationship puzzle that was left unattended and pushed away rather than being dealt with head on.

We all know that there are significant differences between the male and female brains which I think is just another part of ‘the grand design’ – when you put the two together it really should make for a very powerful combination from my perspective.

In most cases, men and women do not behave, feel, think, or respond in the same ways, either on the inside or on the outside.

What if a major difference with men, unlike women, was their inability to express their emotions, worries, sexual issues, and problems to their friends, family or colleagues and never to their partners?

What if some men stopped seeking sex from their partners because they felt furious, criticised and insignificant in their marriage but would not or could not talk about it with their partners?

M. Gary Neuman found that 48% of the men he interviewed reported emotional dissatisfaction as the primary reason for cheating. They reported feeling unappreciated and wished that their partners could recognise when they were trying. They did not talk to their partners about this.

  • They fear talking will only cause more anger and rejection
  • They anticipate that if they start talking about issues in the marriage, their wives won’t stop talking–a reality that may simply reflect the clash of gender differences in handling stress
  • They fear hurting their partner with their honest feelings.
  • They feel self-conscious about performance issues and unwittingly send a message of avoidance, disinterest or rejection.
  • They silently blame their partner for boring sex but don’t consider verbalizing ways of enlivening the love life.
  • They don’t read the non-verbal cues or consider the cues they are sending.
  • They see the defensive posture their partner takes—not as a cover for her feelings of rejection; but as anger and accusation.
  • Paradoxically, they see themselves as protecting themselves, their partner, and their marriage with silence.

As such, many married men are emotionally alone. Unlike women who turn to other women to vent, garner support, and hear other perspectives and feelings— men too often “ suck it up”, remain locked in their perspective and can’t find a way to speak about what they need. This leaves them vulnerable to the attention, affirmation and complication of an affair.

Based on interviews with 200 cheating and non-cheating husbands, M. Gary Neuman, author of The Truth About Cheating, reports that only 8% identify sexual dissatisfaction as the reason for their infidelity.

A Rutgers study reports 56% of men who have affairs claim to be happy in their marriages, are largely satisfied and are not looking for a way out.

  • Sometimes affairs result in divorce. Statistics from 2004 suggest that 27% of divorces are due to extramarital affairs.
  • If both partners want their marriage, however, a marriage can survive an affair. Many partners have journeyed through the guilt and pain to mutually repair and renew their marriage.

If a man can find the feelings and words to engage with his partner in a process of apology and forgiveness, if he can speak and listen, reconsider the mutual rejection and anger, clarify the sexual needs and trust the love —he may well have a marriage he can speak about.

I have often been asked if I have a Divorced Men’s Club – and I see that like the Members Lounge I have for women, something like this for men would also be an incredibly valuable resource.

RECOMMENDED READING:  Married Men Don’t Talk by Tony Hawkins

RESOURCE:  An Unrecognized Reason That Married Men Have Affairs By Suzanne Phillips, Psy.D.ABPP
To share your comments or personal story – send me an email: jenny@divorcedwomensclub.com.au

With love and gratitude

Jenny xx

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PUTTING SOME SPICE INTO A NEW RELATIONSHIP!

When I was trying to decide where to start writing I went straight to the dictionary to get some definitions of the words Spice and Spicy.

Here are some of the ones I found:

  • Something that adds zest or interest
  • slightly scandalous
  • racy
  • ribald
  • risqué
  • suggestive and titillating

Most new relationships will have elements of all of these definitions and yes, they all add to the excitement and fun, the difficulty however is how to maintain this as the relationship moves to the next phase when it might not be so quite so racy or titillating.

The conversation about intimacy and sex is I believe an ongoing one. It is something that needs to be talked about openly and honestly on a regular basis without fear of offending or getting defensive. Simply opening up the discussion so that you can talk through what you can do together to work through the ebbs and flows of sexual energy and intimacy needs.

It’s also important to know what each partner needs to know that they are loved and appreciated and taking the initiative to arrange a weekend getaway, write little love message to pop into a pocket for them to find or buy some lacy underwear to surprise your partner.

For women who have been hurt and feeling  vulnerable after divorce it’s not always easy to know how to approach a new relationship let alone how they are supposed to act.  It’s all new, it’s a bit scary and for so many it is taking them way out of their comfort zone.

So with this in mind I decided to put the question to the women in the Divorced Women’s Club Members Lounge and they jumped straight in to share their thoughts and experiences of venturing back into the dating scene and new relationships.

Here is what some of them had to share.

  • The most important thing is communication. You don’t need to bring up specific exes, but you need to speak up if your new, or not so new partner does something that makes you relive old hurt, shudder or excite you
  • I ask that our bedroom life remain totally between us, as when spicing up a previous relationship, the then partner told others and that got back to me.
  • One common ground is, we are all adults, therefore ‘should’ be able to talk about things, including sex. If sex has been taboo in the past, you should tell your new partner it’s new or sensitive.
  • As for spicing it up, talk through things beforehand, during and afterwards. Relax and go with the flow. Don’t rush and make sure you have plenty of time to ‘play’.
  • Run a bath, light some candles, turn the music down, or do the opposite, turn the music up and dance around…. you may just fall into a heap laughing and it may be the lead up to ‘fast, furious fun’.
  • Discover your partners likes and dislikes, explore possibilities, and going beyond the comfort zone. Ambience, involve all the senses.
  • Stop means stop!!!
  • If you are thinking of bringing toys into the bedroom, go shopping together and watch each other’s body language when you are in the shop.
  • Trusting each other comes when both partners work to give and gain that trust, to do this you both need to learn what your partner needs to develop that trust.
  • I believe that a relationship is not a 50%/50% partnership, it is 100%/100% giving to each other and it takes work on both sides to achieve this, which is commitment. Once you have this, being adventurous and going beyond your comfort zone is easier and exciting, and you get to share it with your amazing partner.
  • I believe that there has to be accountability to make who ever needs it to be comfortable to open back up!
  • Staying in touch as far as spice I think a couple needs to go away and get away from the everyday once in a while. Even if they think they don’t need it they do. How many of us have more sex and fun time when we are on vacation with our other half
  • Doing something the other really wants to do bringing real joy to someone else shows you really care and they are more likely to open up
  • Little emails and text during the day is a good way to the build up of seeing each other!

The reality is that intimacy and sex are critical components to both creating and nurturing a healthy and on-going relationship. It takes some planning and effort by both parties to ensure that this very important part of your relationship is cared for before one or both parties decide to call it quits and move on to add some zest or interest with someone else.

If you notice an incompatibility that causes concern early on in a relationship that’s the time to deal with it no matter how great you think the other person is for you.

The alternative is that you will probably spend the next 3, 5 or 10 years looking for something or someone else to fulfill these basic human needs of connection and intimacy.

To share your comments or personal story – send me an email: jenny@divorcedwomensclub.com.au

With love and gratitude

Jenny xx

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