You have seen those kiss and make up scenes in movies, I'm sure.
The cute guy does something to make his woman livid. Very soon, a few telling kisses along her neck does the trick and before long, she has succumbed and they're locked in a passionate embrace with more excitement to come.
When the reality hits home about us doing something to displease our spouse, many of us pull out all the stops to seduce our partner to take his/her mind off whatever has gone wrong in the relationship. I remember hearing a husband complain that the only time his wife seemed to go all out to initiate sex with him was when he was angry with her. Having already tackled the issue of "make up sex" previously, I do believe that there is a place in relationships for sex to work its magic in bringing healing when needed. Nonetheless, there are several instances in marriage where sex is perhaps not the solution and where forcing intimacy can actually worsen things.
The desire to redefine a relationship after either partner has cheated is understandable. Having sex too quickly after infidelity has been exposed, however, can complicate the issue. Sex is pleasurable and releases hormones which reinforce that feeling of connection. Using it to "patch up" a relationship where the issues remain hidden or un-discussed is likely to be counter-productive. It is highly probable that the pleasure of sex and the rekindling of a sense of connection could cloud the issues as to why the affair happened, lulling either partner into a false sense of security. For example, because passion has been experienced, a couple could perceive that forgiveness has done its work and that everything is alright. After the passion has subsided, the victim of adultery could be left seething with a range of emotions from anger and bitterness to self-loathing.
The same is true of abuse scenarios. Giving into sex when a partner is verbally, emotionally or even physically abusive can expose the abused partner to feelings of self-hatred and betrayal. Such individuals can feel powerless; as if betrayed by their own bodies and sex, even though it may be enjoyed in the heat of the moment, can become an enemy which belittles and destroys the abused partner’s sense of self-preservation. In these scenarios, sex can also become a part of the cycle of abuse and intervention is definitely needed.
Even in other instances where verbal communication may be lacking in the marriage, sex can become a way of escape, instead of dealing with the critical issues at hand. As a substitute for articulating concerns and discussing them, either partner may resort to sexual expression as a diversionary tactic. When manipulated in this way, we may give in just to keep the peace, while the bothersome issue is never confronted.
“As a substitute for articulating concerns and discussing them, either partner may resort to sexual expression as a diversionary tactic.”
While I am in no way suggesting that a couple's sex life should be put on hold until everything is perfect, knowing that our marriages are multi-dimensional is critical. Yes, sex admittedly is given a lot of attention and that is to be expected. Being aware of the deep issues which drive our behavior, including our sexual behavior, is, nonetheless, just as important.
Issues like fear, poor communication skills, co-dependency, and even a victim mentality, can keep us stuck in a sexual rut. As a consequence, the individual and couple remains stunted and their sex life never becomes the empowering force it was meant to be. Instead of adding value to the relationship, victim-based sex can actually take value away. Admittedly, deep issues may require external intervention to get to the core and this option should be explored. In these instances, the services of a counselor, therapist or clergy is advised.
In the same way that we need to lead integrated lives in order to experience a sense of wholeness and peace, our marriages, in order to thrive, must also be integrated. While our sexual relationship does define marriage and distinguishes that relationship from all others, it is not the only facet that constitutes marriage. Marriage is multi-dimensional and sex cannot become the solution to every problem. By the same token, great, orgasmic sex does not necessarily mean that everything is alright between a couple. Using that sexual relationship, however, to develop and express a selfless love, is by far more empowering. With sex being what it is, if a couple mutually desires that connection regardless of the situation, at least their desire can be used as the impetus to begin the dialogue.
Denise J Charles is an educator, counselor, relationship-coach, published author and blogger. She holds a Masters Degree in Education and is a qualified trainer-of-trainers. Denise is Executive Director of "Better Blends Relationship Institute," a counseling and training entity founded by herself and her husband Gabriel. Denise’s blog on sex can be found "here". Denise’s new book is "How To Have Mind-Blowing Sex Without Losing Your Brain."