Google processes more than 60,000 internet searches every second, or nearly 6 billion per day, and the Nos. 1 and 2 most-frequently searched terms are “sex” and “s e x.”
In other words, sex is a popular topic and human activity.
It also holds VASTLY different meaning or evokes vastly different feelings in people because of their individual religious beliefs, or differing sexual orientation, or previous experiences (positive or negative), or due to several other factors and influences.
The topic of sex can produce significant discomfort for many people. Maybe they’re embarrassed. Maybe they’re afraid.
Maybe they’re ashamed.
Maybe that discomfort sometimes gets in the way of two people in a relationship having honest and vulnerable conversations about sex. I think that was true in my failed marriage.
Many things contribute to the common breakdowns that infect and fracture marriages.
We don’t always know how to talk to, nor accurately interpret one another. It’s why couples always have the same fight.
We don’t always know that leaving dirty dishes by the sink, or being extra-polite to strangers, or doing a bad job of executing household tasks like meal planning can end our marriages.
But I think most people realize that when two people who promised one another sexual exclusivity and faithfulness stop wanting to have sex with one another, an obvious problem arises.
But I don’t think most people truly understand WHY this happens. I think most people believe: “That’s just the way it is!,” or that it’s the other person’s fault, or that they simply fell “out of love.”
I believe it’s a lot less complicated than that. But, unfortunately, a hell of a lot more nuanced.
And I think much of it can be fixed by helping men understand something most of us aren’t routinely taught as boys or young men.
The Things We Don’t Teach Men: What Makes Us Sexually Attractive and Desirable as Singles Often Changes Radically in Marriage
In other words, all that shit you did to get your wife in bed back before you were married becomes mostly ineffective in a long-term relationship.
What do I mean?
—>Your physical appearance.
No matter how physically attractive you are, no amount of rugged good looks or a chiseled physique can overcome feelings of mistrust and danger she feels as a result of relationship insecurity.
—>Your bank account.
Money is attractive because it represents both safety and opportunity. But if she feels unsafe BECAUSE of your relationship, all those commas and zeros can’t and won’t matter.
Confidence only works when it’s authentic. Humor and intelligence only works when kindness and trust are present. And while mind games or deception might work for bar pickups and one-night stands, dishonesty or even just the lack of an authentic connection between two mutually trusting and vulnerable people will eventually end all marriages.
‘Did you try to have sex with your wife?’
That was the subject line of an email sent by a reader. She’s a stay-at-home mom with a 10-month-old daughter, and if she’s not exaggerating, her and her husband haven’t had sex since they discovered the pregnancy.
That’s roughly a year and a half ago. Which is a problem.
She found my blog, MBTTTR while rifling around the internet, discovered the same unsettling commonalities so many of us share in our troubled relationships, and fired me a note asking whether I tried to have sex with my wife because she’s sad that her husband doesn’t “chase” her nor produce sexual desire in her, and she’s rightly worried about what this means for her marriage’s long-term outlook.
Because if they simply pretend it’s going to get better on its own, things will worsen and then they’ll divorce, and everyone will hurt, especially that little girl who deserves better.
Things only change when our behaviors do. Doing the same thing over and over tends to produce the same results.
The 4 Things Men Should Know About Sex in Marriage
1. Your primal feelings of lust and sexual attraction have waned (or will wane) because of hedonic adaptation.
There’s nothing wrong with this or you.
It doesn’t mean you’re not “soul mates” or not “meant to be together.” It means your brain is functioning normally and naturally adjusting to something positive and normalizing it. When things become “normal” or “routine,” they frequently feel more “boring.”
Our brains adjust to positive things because it’s biology’s way of keeping us motivated. It’s called hedonic adaptation, and it’s important for our self-awareness that we understand this. If humans had the tendency to rest on our laurels, we would never accomplish or achieve anything. The downside is, we commonly feel dissatisfied with familiarity.
Once you come to mental terms with this, then you can take steps to combat it with intentional gratitude and mindfulness, AND you can come to the intellectually correct conclusion that leaving your spouse for someone else because of “boredom” is an endless cycle like a dog chasing its tail.
In marriage, CHOOSING love is very important.
2. Men need to know the REAL recipe for Magic Sex Potion.
Sometimes, people search Google for “magic sex potion.”
They want to use an elixir to magically produce sexual desire in their wives. But there’s actually a way to produce sexual desire in wives WITHOUT magic. And it’s a pretty helpful thing to know.
3. Pornography and masturbation (especially when hidden) can cause significant harm to relationships.
I’m not going moralist on you here. It’s not my place to judge your heart. I’m saying there are super-practical things you maybe haven’t thought about pertaining to porn and/or masturbation, the most obvious being: Maybe if you stop wanking it in the shower so much, you’ll build up more sexual desire, and maybe that will serve as a helpful reminder and motivator to pursue your wife so she stops feeling like you’re not interested in her, or like you’re more attracted to fake internet chicks than the person you vowed to love forever.
This certainly affected my marriage. Badly. I don’t like talking about it because my mom reads this shit.
4. There comes a point in many relationships where wives feel forced into duties once performed by our mothers. That’s bad.
No further explanation is required:
Guys don’t screw up their marriages on purpose. Bad marriages and divorce are MISERABLE. Young men WANT to be great husbands and have successful relationships.
But we are often not armed with the right information in our youth. I don’t think it’s because people are intentionally hiding it from us. I think it’s because most others don’t know this stuff either.
Sex is important. You’re probably thinking about it right now, you big dirties.
Let’s not let one of life’s greatest pleasures be among the things that tears us apart when it, quite literally, is meant to be something that keeps us together.
Read more of Matthew Fray on the Good Men Project!