When Good Partners Have Bad Sex

Getting Real About Relationships Series PART 1

Also featured on RoleReboot.org and Alternet

Does what's happening in bed tell us what's happening in a marriage?

The sexless marriage is much maligned in our culture.  Most of us, including a lot of mental health professionals, view a sexless marriage as a bad marriage.  But when you think about it, things that make us want to have sex are often not the same things we want in a long-term partner.  For a lot of us unpredictability, passion, spontaneity, and even conflict can be sexy.  However, in a long-term partner, we seek reliability, stability, safety, and trust.  Grrrr… doesn’t knowing someone will remember to take out the recycling every week just make you want to rip your clothes off?  In a wonderful book called Mating in Captivity, which in my opinion should be required reading for life as a human, psychoanalyst Esther Perel argues there are good reasons why sex drops off in long-term partnerships, even good ones.  In fact, these relationships are often quite stable and the partners extremely connected.  Perel argues that desire and lust are borne out of distance and difference.  We feel there is some space between us and another person and we long to physically unite.  Feeling very connected and similar to someone doesn’t stir up that desire.

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