15 Reasons You’re Not Getting Enough

As a Marriage & Family Therapist one of the problems I hear most often is about sex — one partner wants more while the other wants less, or none at all.

Sex is the adult version of play.  Just as it was when we were kids, there are some people who don’t play well with others.  Healthy play — for children and adults — is free of bullying, harassment, threat or harm.

Take heart in knowing that most sexual problems can be overcome with increased knowledge, a change in attitude, improved behavior, and better communication.

If you’re not getting enough sex, consider the following.

  1. You aren’t good in bed.  Read a book.  Better yet, ask your partner what feels good.
  2. You’re self-centered.  Okay for masturbation, but you’re a poor lover if conjoint love doesn’t include your partner too.
  3. You neglect foreplay or after glow.  Communicate, demonstrate that being close is just as important as the act itself.
  4. You don’t pay attention to what’s going on in your partner’s life, like illness, new parenthood, grief, stress, psychological problems, etc.
  5. You make assumptions that your partner wants the same thing, at the same time, in the same way you do.  Boredom kills enthusiasm.  
  6. You’re ugly in attitude, behavior.  No need to explain that.
  7. You’re not fun.  Play is too serious, you keep score, you sulk when you don’t get your way.
  8. You try too hard, you’re uncomfortable, or you just plain don’t know what you’re doing.  There are many ways to learn; chose what best fits you.
  9. You don’t try hard enough, not just sexually, but with the business of coupleness.  Like housework, bill paying, auto maintenance, parenting, cooking, social life, etc.
  10. It’s not about sex at all.  You’re distracted by something else — kids at the bedroom door, pets on the bed, work?
  11. You belong to the Wham Bam School of Love.
  12. You stink — your clothes, your hair, your body, the sheets.
  13. You neglect your body through poor diet, exercise, hygiene, or health.
  14. You could care less about your partner.  Enough said.
  15. Your partner has better things to do,  I once read that a certain percentage of women were on their cell phones during sex.  I don’t remember the percentage but any number is too high.

For over 20 years Kathe Skinner has been a Colorado Springs’ Marriage & Family Therapist in private practice with a specialty in couples work. She and her husband of 31 years live in Colorado where they hold communication retreats for couples. 

NEVER TRUST A DAISY WITH THE TRUTH ABOUT LOVE.

“I love him but I’m not in love with him.”

“I don’t feel that way about her anymore.”

Chamomile Flower Flying Petals Isolated On White Background

What does that mean?

Don’t get me wrong.  I’ve been married more than half my life and there’ve been times when I’d have sold David to the highest bidder.  Shit, any bidder.

Relationship is still the best comic fodder out there. Sometimes, though, relationship stuff isn’t so funny.

How could such a high point in our lives, one that defined who we came to think of ourselves as being, become so abysmal?

Time for a reality check:

We didn’t know what we were getting into.  Did you get the birds and bees talk from your parents?  And if you were fortunate enough to get the facts about sex, I’ll wager no one told you about love and relationship.   While sex is loaded with misunderstanding, innuendo, assumption, and expectation, relationship is many times more complicated than that one component alone.  Don’t even get me started on how we learned to be in a marriage from watching our parents’.

You’re in good company.  Couples are surprised when I tell them how many other couples experience the same things — sleepless nights in separate rooms, thoughts of divorce, planning how to leave, worries about the kids or their families or what their friends will think.  Most every couple experiences relationship burn out, often many times in the same marriage.

Without much more than an admonition to “wait until you’re married” it’s no wonder most people equate sex with love.

Love is transitory.  Think about who you were in high school. Or, if you’re old enough, remember what defined you in your thirties. Dollars to donuts much is different.  What you weigh is different. What you drive (and why you drive it) might change from a small car to a mini-van.  Or, if you’re like me, the color of your hair might be different, too.  And much as some of us would like to have the poundage of a 16 something, change happens all around and to each of us.  Pay attention to Life; marriage mirrors it.  Always moving, shaking . . . changing.  Put another way, love never stays the same.

“Love” doesn’t remain the googly-eyed, altered state it was.  Good thing: who wants to be married to a cross-eyed idiot?

A daisy won’t tell you the truth about love.  If love answers were revealed by plucking petals, there’d be a whole lot less agony around relationship.  In beginning-love, uncertainty can be delicious; all-encompassing, interrupting eating, sleeping, and thinking.  The only way to keep from dying as a sleep-deprived anorexic without a job is to stop being consumed with expectations and assumptions about who loves you and who doesn’t.

Lots of people have it wrong.  Being “in love” comes after “love”.  Being in love is the long-haul, mostly up but sometimes down, day-to-day boring stuff that binds us.  Being in love can’t happen right away.  Being in love packs together the stuff of life and in the process teaches us how to traverse it by ourselves and ultimately with someone else.

DSC_4482-K&DKathe Skinner is a Colorado Springs Marriage & Family Therapist who specializes helping couples get their relationships where they want them to be.  She and husband David are celebrating (really) 30 years of marriage.  Find out more about Kathe and how therapy really can work at http://www.coupleswhotalk.com, where you can also leave a message or set up an appointment.

copyright, 2016 Being Heard, LLC

 

Which AGE is a Romance Killer? You May Be Surprised.

beached rowboatNo matter what your age, assumptions, generalizations, and expectations (AGE) will kill romance, and even the relationship, just about every time.

Human beings, male or female, are complex outcomes of how they’re hardwired, the meaning they make of themselves and their place in the world, and the world in which they grow up. I’m not a fan of statistics but I do know enough to say the combinations are endless — finite, but endless.

In other words, no two people are exactly alike.

Maybe because of our need to manage those unmanageable numbers we make generalizations about “what is a man” and “what is a woman”.  As a therapist I sometimes fall victim to simplification myself rather than taking the elements of a couple as two different people and not the generalized version of their gender descriptions, e.g. men are stoic and women are emotional.

I’m not the only perpetrator.  Societies generalize all the time, with changes usually coming over time, and in sometimes cataclysmic ways.  In American society think women getting the vote, same-sex marriage, or race relations.

Some generalizations take their time dying.  For example, every newly married couple — and some long-term ones — have expectations based on generalizations.  Same with expectations each gender has about the other.  Our society generalizes about roles, sex, happiness, conjointness, privacy, emotionality, rationality, areas of competence, and so on.

Otherwise life is way too complex.

Take sensitive men, for example, with their thoughts, feelings and behaviors contrary to the alpha model.  Or women whose thoughts, feelings, and behaviors run to competitiveness and control.  It’s not just men who have to wear a mask, women do, too.  A guy might get away with wearing a pink shirt if he’s otherwise kick-ass.  A woman CEO has to wear more than perfume in order to be relabelled from pushy, bossy, or bitchy.

Expectation-based thinking is insidious in most of us, hetero- or homosexuals alike.  That’s trouble.

Human interaction is expectation-based, often uneducatedly expectation-based.  We generally modify expectations about the physical world based on trial and error — that’s called learning. But when it comes to couples, for instance, generalization-based assumptions are wedged tightly into our psyches and seldom disappear for good.

In other words, a failing grade is earned in Relationship 101.

Relationships don’t have to die, or even fail.  Examining automatic thinking is work. There’s another way; it’s harder, but it works. Paying attention to gray matter chatter is the first step in breaking an AGEing brain away from automatic thinking.  Automatic thinking is a passive process; no thought goes into it at all.

The more active (read “aware”) the process of thinking, the fewer assumptions, generalizations, and expectations we hold about our partner and our partner’s role in the relationship.  It’s active thinking that can give partners insight into each other — the real other, not the generalized versions.

If a relationship stands a chance, AGE has to be put aside.

Kathe Skinner is a Marriage & Family Therapist specializing in couples.  She and her husband, David, teach couples how to avoid the destructiveness of AGEs.  They offer a Secular Couple Communication Workshop throughout the year; the next one begins September 25th.  Check it out!

Copyright, 2015 Being Heard, LLC

3 WORDS MEN HATE TO HEAR

 

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Women, can you think of the last time your man brought up something that bugged him about you?

Maybe it was that you talked to your friends too much, your mother too much, or him too much.

But unless really, really pushed – like during an argument – men aren’t usually relationship-complainers; at least mine isn’t.

It’s not that women do more talking than men – that truism got debunked (by male researchers, interestingly enough) – it’s how and what they talk aboutthat seems to make a difference.  Follow a husband and wife through any department store:  listen to what each points out and the descriptive words each uses.  Are both genders equally engaged and expressive?  I hang with my husband at Home Depot but the reverse isn’t true at Ross Dress for Less.

Men are finicky about stupid things, like artichokes or wearing turtlenecks.  Lots of things aggravate women, too, starting with men’s inability to recall what they do that women don’t want them to do anymore.   Hence the phrase “How many times do I have to tell you?”

Now, I couldn’t swear to it, but I’d bet my last carton of yogurt that men forget things on purpose, even at the risk of appearing stupid, which is actually pretty smart.

How else to explain men who feign ignorance about where the kitchen towels go when enlisted in putting away the wash?

Or men who fix diesel engines but can’t remember to put down the seat?

While the splash of a fanny hitting the water at 3 a.m. isn’t enough to strike fear in a man, three words are:  Can we talk?

That same carton of yogurt rides on my belief that when a woman says those words, it’s like a guy’s thrown into the deep end with shackles binding his wrists and ankles.  It’s not that women bowl guys over with the quantity of words – the sexes actually say about the same number of words in a day.  It’s the kinds of words used, the language that’s spoken.

Women generally have it over men in “feeling-speak”.  So when a woman wants to talk, bet your yogurt it’s in the language of feelings.  And even if both partners are talking about the same thing  their understanding and expression of it are very different.

Just like being in a strange land where we don’t sprechen the language, we show our frustration with each other in the same ineffective ways:

  • Talk louder and louder;
  • Throw up our hands in disgust;
  • Think how dense the other person is;
  • Walk away, muttering.

Just as tourists in a different land need more than passports and sensible shoes, couples often leave behind what’s most basic to their enjoyment and success.   Translator app, anyone?

Kathe Skinner is a Marriage & Family Therapist and Relationship Coach specializing in couples work, especially with those relationships impacted by invisible disability.  She has a firm belief that the quality of a couple’s communication skills have a significant impact on their own, and their family’s, health.  Kathe and David have been married for almost 30 years and live in Colorado where they teach Couple Communication Workshops and continue to unravel Petey’s and Lucy’s cat-speak.  Discover more about Kathe Skinner and the Couples Communication Workshops at http://www.BeingHeardNow.com and be sure to check out more of Kathe’s blogs at ilikebeingsickanddisabled.com.

©2014, Being Heard, LLC

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