Most couples I see in my practice have sexual/intimacy problems. The presenting issue may be communication, children, money, etc. but it’s usually not long before sexual problems surface. Sexual issues in marriage are often the “dead elephant (“moose,” for Canadians) in the middle of the room,” that is, sexual issues are difficult to deal with and even more difficult to talk about. I believe it’s monogamy that underlies most sexual issues in marriage. Many researchers and social scientists question whether human beings are naturally monogamous and so do I. Being parents, friends, business partners, confidants, etc. with one person for a lifetime and expecting sexual passion with that same person is a tall order. Just look at the state of marriage and long term committed relationships – affairs, pornography, 50% divorce rate, conflict, etc. are often symptoms of sexual dissatisfaction in monogamous relationships.
Does this mean I don’t believe in monogamy? No, it simply means I think we have to accept the fact that human beings in general are not naturally monogamous – and work with this reality. Choosing monogamy is not unlike choosing to be a vegetarian; it’s not “natural” but we make that choice for our own reasons (health, spiritual, morals, etc.). I’ve heard it said that even for committed vegetarians, “bacon still smells good,” but they simply choose to refrain from eating it. Monogamy is like that. Imagine how many people would choose to get married if part of their wedding vows were, “I do but..don’t expect me to have sex with you.” What this really means is “I expect you to be monogamous but don’t expect me to meet your sexual needs.”
Sex expert, Michael Metz, talks about how unrealistic sexual expectations inevitably leads to disappointment and dissatisfaction. He suggests that we reassess our expectations and ultimately embrace the concept of “good enough sex” (G.E.S). I encourage couples to find creative and open ways to meet each others sexual needs. “Thinking outside the box” and expanding your sexual comfort zone are essential if you are to remain sexually monogamous and satisfied.
More to come on subsequent posts.