I came across this Family Feud segment where the question was, “Married men, what would you do for sex?” The men surveyed answered that they would: lie, beg, cheat, kill, and die for sex... but apparently none would either cook or clean for sex.
Well, there's a big couple sexual challenge in a nutshell.
A few years ago, I was on TV talking about a (then) new study that found if men did more housework, their wives would be more in the mood for sex. It definitely ruffled a lot of men's feathers. The feedback from men was immediate, loud, and angry: he did help with housework and yet he still didn't get sex.
In response women shrugged and said, “Yes, her husband did help and was the 'fun parent' but she still did the majority of the child care and housework.” Added to this, over the holidays it was worse, because it was assumed she would take on do all the silent chores—like holiday shopping, wrapping, card writing, coordinating, making holiday supper, etc.
Yet another new study in the news, this time out of the University of Alberta, found heterosexual couples have more and better sex when the men are doing their fair share of the housework.
It contradicts a widely reported 2012 U.S. study that found couples' sex lives were negatively affected when the male partner helped out with tasks traditionally thought of as "women's work." (?!!?!?!?) Reading that study made me want to go and break something into a thousand tiny pieces.
Unfortunately, the fallout from these studies is many women resent the expectation and obligation of a housework/ sex quid-pro-quo: if he does the dishes, it means she's had time to 'relax' and therefore be more in the mood to put out. It's one of those theoretical ideas that look good on paper but is much too complicated to work in real life.
In fact, we can see how this ideology could easily disintegrate into (yet another) sex power struggle.
It's no secret the majority of women still do more housework then men, and it affects our will, want, and desire for sex. Sooooo... why aren't we speaking up about both the housework and sexual frustration? Is this what we want our daughters to see and emulate? Just saying.
If you've read any of these studies, or at least the to the end of the articles written about the research, inevitably there's a statement saying by him helping with housework, it helps her feel respected and appreciated. Perhaps the underlying difficulty isn't about the practical sharing of duties; it's the intangible and difficult-to-discuss self-worth feelings.
Looking at this another way, it's a housework/ negative baggage/ I don't feel like sex issue. That is, the cumulative effect of all the months and years of uncommunicated resentment, feeling unappreciated, exhaustion of trying to do everything for everyone (except, of course, herself) becomes the catch-all-place for her constant stress, anger and apathy.
And we all know: the majority of women cannot/ do not want to have sex when she's holding onto anger, stress and apathy. So it isn't the sharing of housework per se, it's all the negative feelings associated with housework that stops sex dead in its tracks.
I appreciate how complicated the unspoken communication is that gradually happens as life moves forward. I was amazed (and ashamed) when my kids were born how fast both my husband and I slipped into old-fashioned stereotypes of what men and women do. We were scrambling, and once the dye was cast, it felt impossible to renegotiate household chores.
That said, I know a number of moms deliberately take on all the household and child care responsibility (un)consciously as a convenient way of getting out of sex.
Either way, something has to give.
Women double-shifting isn't healthy. A poor sex life isn't healthy. Both can and do lead to tremendous couple conflict. Glib suggestions, tips, advice on how to fix “him doing housework = her feeling like sex” and couple conundrums (like appreciation, respect and team work) are usually met with women's eyes glazing over.
It seems the first step is being aware of this dynamic: how it's affecting your relationship, and deciding you want something different for your life. No doubt, turning this ship around means a lot of uncomfortable, messy conversations.
Ultimately, only you can say whether the next twenty years of your individual and couple happiness and well being are worth it.
While at the playground not long ago, a dad told me with an equal mix of awe and horror: “Friends of ours have a sex contract. An actual contract to have sex!?!?!?”
I looked him in the eye, smiled, and replied, “Fantastic idea! They might have found out how to do it from my book.”
In a world where under-the-surface resentment, guilt, and frustration over sexual dissatisfaction is the norm, discussing our ever-evolving sexual wants, needs, and desires makes A LOT of sense. But what if you're not the type to get it all down on paper?
With the new year fast approaching, this is a perfect opportunity to rejuvenate the oh-so-important couple intimacy with a jump-start to your sex life.
When we think about making sex a priority—or at least not the very last thing on the to-do list—there's a perception that it will be too complicated, time consuming, or too much effort. While it's true that sex needs to be taken off cruise control, the benefits of making this effort is massive. Intimacy is a glue that holds you two together through thick and thin and it's also a giver of confidence boosting sexual self-esteem. I won't bore you with the hundreds of research papers proving the power of intimacy, because intuitively we have experienced what it does for our personal and couple happiness (but if you do want to read one, you can do so here).
Sex Expert Advice: A ten minute (positive) discussion about your sex life once in a while, saves months and years of unnecessary heartache, relationship dissatisfaction, and sexual unhappiness.
Here are 5 tips that will help you and your partner rejuvenate your sex life during the holidays and into the new year.
When doing your holiday shopping, why not buy a "special" couple gift? When deciding what to buy, the first thing is for you to understand where your sex comfort level is and then push yourself to try something edgier. Fortunately, there is no end to the sexy present possibilities.
It could be something as innocent as giving your guy a lovely razor kit with a promise to give him a sexy shave. Or get a friend to take a few sexy snaps of you and create a couple's-only photo album. Or for the techie, Onyx is an online game of sexual exploration where players perform all kinds of intimate actions, from mild to kinky.
If you don't have Trojan lubricants waiting in your night stand (or close to your bed) ready for use, RUN to your local drug store. When you get there you will find a wonderful assortment. To start, you'll want a few lubricants on hand, such as those from Trojan.
Arouses & Intensifies: This lube is perfect for foreplay massage, hand-jobs, and intercourse. Silicone, unlike water-based lube, won't dry out. Trojan Lubricants are unscented, clear, non-sticky, and mess-free.
Arouses & Releases: Sometimes we want a little 'extra' and this lube is an easy way to add a different sensation and dimension to love making: warming, heat, cooling and/or tingling. Together, your movement helps unlock the motion-activated intensifier.
People hate looking foolish and they especially don't want to look foolish during sex. The reason we sex experts drone on about 'setting the mood' with the ubiquitous candles, music, and cute underwear is because these are familiar things (and sadly, they get tossed to the wayside early on in a relationship).
If you're ready to try new sexy things but don't know how to initiate the conversation or even what to do, then buy a sex game. My personal favorite is Embrace: The Ultimate Sex Game.
Sue Johanson, host of "The Sunday Night Sex Show" put Embrace in her Pleasure Chest (the highest rating for sex toys) and said, "Playing the game encourages you to reveal those innermost thoughts. Thoughts you’ve maybe been wanting to share, but were nervous or shy about telling your partner. And you’re given erotic challenges, like ‘blindfold your partner and lick them all over.’ I liked the game and I think it could help deepen a couple’s intimacy–and that’s always desirable."
I discuss sex games a little more in this short video:
Introducing a vibe like Trojan's Vibrating Bullet or Hot Spot Vibrating Ring into the bedroom is definitely a sex game changer. However, a big challenge of buying a personal or couple vibe is that there are hundreds to choose from. And what every woman (and guy) likes from their vibrator experience varies dramatically: programmed/intense/squeeze controlled vibrations, type of handle/grip, length and girth, and so on. Because every vulva and penis is different, it's smart to put some thought into what you're buying, by going through this check list before putting your credit card down.
Generally, it's not a good idea to surprise your partner with a toy because they may take it the wrong way. Besides, it builds super sexy anticipation when you shop together.
As you can see, creating a satisfying sex life is a matter of simply tweaking a few small things for your usual routine. The best part? When you introduce new sexy ideas, it's a sure fire way to flood the brain with all those wonderful feel-good hormones you experienced when you first met your sweetie. So what are you waiting for?
Wishing you a very happy, love, and sex-filled holiday season and new year.