Sex and Intimacy
I remember riding a bus with my husband as a married couple of two weeks, both of us barely twenty years old. We were groping at one another and whispering and giggling and, in general, acting like idiots. We weren't drunk; we just couldn't get home fast enough to put out the fire in our pants. Those days, thankfully, are gone. Those days, sadly, are over.
The most boring thing about my marriage is that my husband and I almost never have time to do anything "just for fun." There are lots of things that we do together. We go to weddings, bar mitzvahs and school plays. We shop for furniture and choose paint colors. Yes, sometimes we try and grab a few moments. But our idea of going out is sitting down in a restaurant together after going shopping for a bed.
A friend of mine -- married for five years -- recently told me that she felt "bored" with her marriage. It might feel like boredom - same thing every day, nothing ever happens. But really, I think it's a lack of connection, even a pushing away. A non-sharing state. She said this without a shred of self-consciousness, like a reporter, who could only watch from the side and tell what she saw. I was riveted by her confession, because she is an intensely interesting -- and interested -- person.
Don't despair if you're on a budget--"away" can be a state of mind. Remember when you first dated? It seemed like all kinds of places could be romantic just because you were together. Looking back now, you might agree that the setting or the cost didn't reflect the world's ideal of a romantic experience, but the memories were made and the romance was obvious. When my husband and I were dating in college, one June night, we spent a wonderfully fun romantic evening at the semi-lit playground of a local elementary school.
Have you ever fantasized about your dream vacation with your partner? Where does your imagination take you? What are the scents, sights, sounds and feelings associated with your daydream? I posed this question to our team of freelancers and staff. Enjoy this peek into their dream vacations. Camryn's Dream Vacation In my dream vacation I am naked in the water.
The party was over at about 2:00 a.m., because I ended it. My hosts were both about two tequilas away from total liver failure. So I turned off the music, turned on the lights, and started the whole crew cleaning up. There had only been about a dozen of us left, the die-hard revelers. I was high on music, drunk on pheromones, and a bit daiquiri-happy, but relatively lucid. The rest of them were absolutely smashed. So there we were, a bunch of thirty-something, married-with-kids suburbanites, dirty dancing and smoking and lying on the icy lawn.
The most frequent question asked by men suffering from erectile dysfunction is whether the problem is medical or psychological. It may help to know that it is also the first question a doctor will try to determine. If you are experiencing difficulty maintaining an erection during intercourse, it is always a good idea to get an evaluation from a urologist first. Even when it is clear that there are psychological aspects to the problem, an evaluation by a urologist can find and treat medical problems which may be contributing to impotence.
Let me introduce myself. I am in a mixed marriage. Not "mixed" in the sense of religion, but mixed in nationality. I am American; my husband is Swiss. We met nineteen years ago at a little camping village in the mountains of France, and recently celebrated our eighteenth wedding anniversary. I knew Daniel was special as soon as we met. On our first walk, we sat in the Alps, in the shadow of a weeping willow, and he sang me love songs in French. A few days later we went to Paris, where we went for long walks through winding cobblestone alleyways.
"You and your husband are alone in a cabin for the first time since your marriage. He is nibbling on your ear. Do you (a) nibble back, (b) tell him the toilet is running, (c) ask him to kill the mosquito that's buzzing in your ear, (d) think about how disgusting it is to have his saliva stagnate inside of your ear or (e) tell him if he's hungry, he should go make himself a sandwich?" (A and b are from Erma Bombeck, c, d and e are our additions.
You mean there's nothing I can do to get my wife to love me? What are you saying? There's no love in a marriage? If so, why get involved with someone if they can't make you happy!
Love - - What is it? First, let me tell you what it isn't. It's not a something we fall in or out of. It's not a dreamy, blissful state where all fears, doubts, and worries melt away as we merge into one flesh. And it's not those glorious first moments of your first love when you were swept away in a wave of ecstasy. I know that's what the music industry and Hollywood would like us to believe. It's interesting how we use language. Think about this - "we fall in love." Fall means to stumble, trip, lose your balance and be out of control.
Erica Jong once said, "Advice is what you ask for when you know the answer, but wish you didn't." Here, then, is some advice for young couples wondering if he/she is "the one." You probably already know the answer to this, but it's difficult to swallow whole. So here's the question back at you, in nice, bite-size pieces (ask yourself one a day): 1. Do I feel trapped or liberated at the thought of living with him forever? 2.
Dear WholeFamily Counselor, I have been with my wife for 10 yrs now. Recently we had a big argument and it lasted on and off for about a year. I have never had any other sexual partners before my wife but she has had 3. I don't know why but during the period that we were disagreeing with one another, I asked her how the other guys were, sexually. She told me a few things and it really got me down. Sexually I think I perform ok or at least I did until I asked my wife what I did.
Dear WholeFamily Counselor, I think my husband is really a pervert. He wants threesome, anal sex, pierced bellybutton and a tattoo. I don't want any of these. Then my husband said I don't really love him. He just can't accept my decision. I started disliking sex. I don't want to have sex rest of my life. He said I am closed mind. I am Japanese and my husband is American. Maybe culture gap or something. We are not open for sex. At least when I was growing up.
Dear WholeFamily Counselor, I am having a real problem with my fiance. We are getting married this summer and I love him with all my heart. Unfortunately, I am not very physically attracted to him. Once we're intimate and actually having sex, I'm totally satisfied by him. However, I never initiate sex and often tell him I'm not in the mood. I am taking Prozac, which I know can be a real libido problem for women. I think this, coupled with the fact that my fiance is not a real scorcher, have led me to have a barren sex life.
Dear WholeFamily Counselor, I have other problems but right now I'd like to talk about this problem. I experience pain in my vagina rather easily. I have a 13-year-old daughter and I am 40 years old, my husband is two years older. He is a little inhibited and my fear of pain worsens the matter. I have always reacted to vaginal examinations with terror and only a very sensitive doctor is able to get me to relax to a certain extent and examine me without causing me much pain.
Dear WholeFamily Counselor, I'm so happy to finally come across your web site... My name is Julie. I'm curious to know if there's anything that can be done about a husband and wife that have different opinions about having sex with more than just their spouse. My husband has expressed his curiosity about having sex with a girl friend and me.... Since we already have done this, I'm inclined to think he's manipulating me. He already knew the answer, so why is he asking me? I don't mind him having sex with my girl friends even if I'm not there.
I am a 32-year-old man. My problem is that my wife, who is 34, never ever initiates sex at all. She is never in the mood…
Dear WholeFamily Counselor, I'm married with three young children. We are both working. By the time we take care of our clients and children, we have little energy for one another. We rarely reach sexual encounter. I often experience pre-mature ejaculation. Any suggestions? Thanks, Sexually Frustrated Dear "Sexually Frustrated," One of the biggest problems that I hear as a sex therapist is that young, busy couples cannot find quality time to get together to enjoy each other by themselves.
Dear WholeFamily Counselor, I got married for the first time about a month back -- both of us are virgins. I am having difficulty entering her during sex. Please provide us some direction. Dear "I Need Direction," There are a few possible reasons why you are having trouble with penetration. Firstly, are you clear about the anatomy of the vagina and the surrounding area -- the vulva? This might sound elementary, but lots of people, not only virgins, are quite ignorant about women's sex organs.
Dear WholeFamily Counselor, First I would like to comment on how good this site looks and how informative it is. I am writing regarding a question my fianc?e recently asked me, "What are the signs of being pregnant?" and truthfully I didn't know how to answer her. Please help me out. Signed, Clueless Dear "Clueless," The first sign of pregnancy for most women is the absence of menstruation following conception. Some women, especially those who have been pregnant before, find their breasts and abdomens have a heavy feeling and their nipples are unusually sensitive. But, for the majority of women, missing a period is the first sign.
Dear WholeFamily Counselor, Three weeks ago, my husband moved out of our bedroom. He asked me last week what I wanted. I told him I'd like some affection. He said any affection he would give me would be faked. I can't understand why he doesn't move out if he doesn't care about me. Am I being foolish, thinking he still cares? Dear Am I Being Foolish, Your husband has decided to sleep on the couch and then to make matters worse, you ask him for affection and he says that any affection he would give you would be faked.
Dear WholeFamily Counselor, I have been married almost 8 years, with 3 children. I have not been the best husband. I have treated my wife badly. But I have come to realize this and she knows this. I have been doing better and she also agrees, but we no longer have sexual relations. Now we do have 3 children which has a lot to do with it and because of our work schedules it is hard. Sometimes she seems to want but when the kids are asleep then it changes.
Dear WholeFamily Counselor, I am a 32-year female. I have been married to my husband now for five years. But I have lived with him over 10 years. And he knows all my problems and fears. See, when I was about five or six, one of my uncles and one of my mom's cousins did some ugly sexual things to me. And it caused a lot of problems for me. And the cousin did the things to me while I was sleeping. And this went on for a long time. So my husband knows this.
Dear WholeFamily, What if the person you are interested in was your first love? My best friend is going through this, and she hasn't had the greatest marriage. Now that she is interested in her first love, hubby is all attentive and sweeping her off her feet! I advised her to continue to talk and be honest with her husband: to talk it to death basically. She seems to be getting worse "in love" with her first love, as she puts it. She has two kids in their teens who drive her crazy to add. One of her worst fears is insecurity and expenses. Let me know so I can help her better than I have been. Dear Friend, When a marriage has become routine and the teenagers are driving you crazy, it's very seductive when an old love reappears and gives you a taste of something fun and exciting.
Dear WholeFamily, I am 26 years old and have been married for about 10 months now. My husband and I lived together for 6 months before we were married, but before we moved in together we were about 1500 miles apart for the first year of our relationship. At that time, we saw each other once every 2 months or so. We were very much in love and had really great sex during that time. Once he moved in, we continued to have great sex fairly often for awhile.
Dear WholeFamily Counselor, I think my husband is really a pervert. He wants threesome, anal sex, pierced bellybutton and a tattoo. I don't want any of these. Then my husband said I don't really love him. He just can't accept my decision. I started disliking sex. I don't want to have sex rest of my life. He said I am closed mind. I am Japanese and my husband is American. Maybe culture gap or something. We are not open for sex. At least when I was growing up. I want my sex is private. I can't talk to anybody about this. Please give me your honest answer. Am I too conservative? I can't compromise these things. How can I make my husband understand my decision.
Dear WholeFamily, About 2 years after my husband and I were married, I started feeling like all he wanted out of me was sex. We have now been married for 9 years. It's still the same. He has never been able to hold me, or touch me in any way without it being sexual. We've tried going to a therapist, but he says it's stupid and quits going. After we get into an argument over whether or not it's sex or to cuddle, we always have sex, but the cuddle never happens.
Dear WholeFamily, I need some help! Nothing seems to make me happy anymore - the more I surroud myself with happy things, nothing seems to work. My husband and I have been married for 18 years and we have an 8- year-old and a 5-ear-old. I feel content most of the time, but lately my husband "seems to bring me down." I come from parents who divorced after 27 years and I don't like what divorce does to children, so I want to make this work.
Dear WholeFamily, I have one question that I hope you can answer for me - How do I tell my super-sensitive husband that he is not giving me what I need sexually without hurting his feelings? Dear Wife of Super Sensitive Husband, You are not satisfied with what your husband is giving you sexually. You know what you need and don't know how to tell him without hurting his feelings. If your husband is "super sensitive" he will most probably be sensitive to your needs and willing to satisfy them if he were to know how. If you tell him what he is not giving you, his feelings may be hurt. But if you tell him what you do need, he will appreciate the trust you have in his ability to understand your needs and satisfy them.
Dear WholeFamily Counselor, Hi! General info on us -- We are quite young, married for two years, have one child, are both reasonably thin and fit. Our marriage is good with the exception of our sexual relationship. Here are our two sexual problems: 1. My wife can only achieve orgasm by her being on top (with penetration) vigorously rubbing her clitoris against my pelvis. She does not feel any pleasure whatsoever from regular penetration, although my penis rubs her clitoris upon entry and exit.
Dear Dr. Tobin, My husband and I have been together 10 years, married for six of those years and have a two-year old. We have a wonderful working relationship and are good partners, but I have always felt that something was missing. Our relationship began not out of romance or passion, but because he was just good company. I never felt in love or matched. And I believe we've never truly been intimate with each other. I tried to end the relationship in our second and seventh years together, but he really wanted to make it work.
Dear WholeFamily Counselor, I've been married five years. My husband and I have three kids together and one from a previous relationship. From the beginning I have had trouble expressing my feelings toward my husband. I've always loved him but he says I 'm not loving and compassionate enough. The beginning of 1999 he had to work out of the country for six months When he returned he accused me of cheating, because I went out with friends more than usual.
Dear Dr. Tobin, My wife and I have been married 21 years and have 3 daughters. Since I have known her, she has suffered from insecurity and a poor self-image, resulting from bad experiences during her teen years. She was a bit heavy, had severe acne, and had few friends. During her college years, she had high anxiety about grades, and spent all her time studying. I, on the other hand, have a high degree of self-confidence, and tend to take things more in stride.
Dear WholeFamily, My wife and I have been married for 30 years, I am 51 and she is 50. We still love each other very much, but the romance in our marriage is almost completely gone. We have not had sex now in over eight weeks and that pattern has existed now for almost two years. She has told me point blank that she is not interested in sex anymore. This change in her began again almost two years ago when her boss at work passed away and when she had her hysterectomy. I still am very interested in her sexually and love her very much. Is there anything I can do to change her outlook? Dear Frustrated, It's difficult to argue with your wife's biology.
Dear Dr. Tobin, I have to make a decision about a young man that I have been dating for six months. I live in Indianapolis and he lives in the State of Washington. We are both Christians and have an open communication line that the majority of married people would envy. The problem is that upon his return visit back to Washington, after the Thanksgiving Holiday, I found myself questioning our relationship due to two apprehensions.
Dear WholeFamily Counselor, I have always thought that marrying your best friend is the most perfect situation. You can talk about anything and probably already have before the marriage. BUT, it ends up that my best friend, my husband of two years, just doesn't want to talk anymore. I have had some pretty serious issues I've wanted to talk about lately i.e.; not being particularly attracted physically or mentally to him lately, having a baby, big time things huh? He just starts fidgeting, cleaning, whatever he can do so he won't have to listen.
Dear WholeFamily Counselor, I have been married 16 years. I was so in love with my husband but he hadn't been very affectionate for a long time and really didn't treat me very well. He was never physically abusive but was always cutting me down emotionally, although he still said he loved me. Things kept getting worse, eventually I fell out of love with him. Then he had a fling with a woman he knew I could not tolerate. But he insists it wasn't a full-blown affair. And he even says he feels that deep down inside, he thinks he did it to hurt me. I'm not sure why. I left the bedroom in January and we hadn't had any sexual relations since then. I did not love him and had no desire to be "with" him anymore.
Dear WholeFamily Counselor, I will try to be as to the point and brief as possible. Three years ago my husband had an affair and a baby was conceived. The other woman is madly in love with him -- still to this day. He pays child support and has also been to visit his other child. I went to counseling two and a half years ago but he will not. My husband feels he does not want to talk to strangers about this. He also drinks too often and drives. I have asked him endless times to please stop before he hurts someone.
Dear WholeFamily Counselor, Since I grew up in a dysfunctional family with an abusive, alcoholic father, I realize this is part of the reason I continue to make poor choices for myself when it comes to husbands. I have been married to my third husband for six years (first husband --10 years and second husband --10 years). This is his fourth marriage. I'm ready to call it quits. My husband is an absolutely wonderful, charming, generous, fun-loving, popular, well-respected, community-minded man to the outside world.
Is there such a thing as keeping the magic in marriage? When you fall in love, the magic is there, inside you, around you, between you and your beloved, and it feels wonderful. You forget all your petty problems, you glow, you are transformed into a being of beauty, passion, desire, compassion, and happiness. You become interesting and interested, giving and receiving.
This functional drama shows how good communication and deep intimacy in a relationship help a couple face a very delicate problem. Sexual issues are often a very sensitive area for couples. When there are sexual problems or difficulties and the partners do not openly discuss these problems, the couple may develop theories and suppositions about the nature of the difficulty. These are not necessarily based on reality or on correct information but instead often reflect the fears and anxieties of each partner.
Most everyone has experienced the feeling of jealousy. It isn't much fun. When it occurs on a regular basis in an intimate relationship, it can drive a wedge between the couple. For a marriage to succeed and grow, there needs to be a basis of trust. Mimi and Carter have begun a discussion here and Mimi has set a ground rule for how often Carter can call her while she visits her sister with the children. However, this conversation is anything but a resolution of the problem.
One of the greatest challenges facing a couple in a committed relationship is how to keep passion and romance alive. Kids, jobs, the house and the various pressures of life tend to wear down a marriage. The result is a conflict situation like the one confronting Steve (44) and Elizabeth (41).
Marriage often becomes routine. As the couple raises children, they may feel exhausted, and be less willing to give to each other, support each other and listen to each other with deep caring.
Join the Austen-Kutchinskys as they struggle to make their new blended family work.
Listen to others Think it only happens to you? Families in conflict reveal their innermost struggles to communicate.
Learn how to express yourself through letter writing- using proven techniques for creating positive relationships.
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