real life

It’s business time*


Have you been having sex with the same person for more than a year? Then you need to know this: there’s a 90 percent chance that you and your partner won’t have tried anything new in bed after your first-sex anniversary. Not even one teeny thing. And once you’re past the two-year mark? It’s almost certain the two of you will never try anything new in bed again. Never. Again.

That’s the startling sex news from psychologist, sexpert and author of the book Sizzling Sex, Dr Pam Spurr who interviewed more than 400 couples to confirm what many people already knew: variety may be the spice of life but not really of monogamy.

Dr Spur explained to The Times online, “I’ve come to call this the “two-year turn-off” because many partners find their uninspiring sex life does just that. There’s often little motivation to have anything more than infrequent sex, which can cause relationships to flounder.”

And since women are usually the gatekeepers of sex in a relationship, the losers in the infrequent sex situation are most often men. A few months ago, I was reading a book which discussed this exact subject in one chapter.

Nigel Marsh is an Australian advertising executive at the highest level and the author of two highly amusing books. The first is Fat, Forty and Fired about the year he spent being all three of those adjectives. His second book, Confessions Of A Very Short Man is a collection of his musings on life, many inspired by letters he received after book one. There were thousands of those letters, most of them from men.

One popular theme was sex frequency. Or the disappointing lack of it. Letters arrived from men who loved their partners but felt permanently sexually frustrated. Men who said their partners never initiated sex, instead, they ‘dispensed’ it. Men who described themselves as “overworked and underlaid”.

More than 700 of them wrote to Nigel to vent, which suggests there could be another crisis to rival the financial one: blokes in relationships who aren’t getting enough sex. Fancy that. Perhaps they need a telethon. Or a spot of government intervention. A fridge magnet. Maybe a rescue package. Or their wives and girlfriends could just…have sex with them more often.

I’m not going to take credit for this revolutionary idea because Nigel came up with it after talking to many, many people about the sex gap in their relationship: that yawning chasm between how much he wants and how often she’ll open the boom gate.

Some men told him that their wives’ goal appeared to be to get away with having as little sex as they possibly could. Some women told him they’re so physically and emotionally drained from work and kids and life that sex with their husband feels like yet another form of giving when their fuel gage is below empty. Other women told him their partners had let themselves go and were no longer the sexy men they married. Many women felt they themselves were too fat or unsexy to get their gear off and shake it all about.


And while Nigel acknowledges the validity of all these points, he reckons women should just have more sex anyway. “Don’t try to arrange circumstances so you’ll want it more often – you won’t” he advises. “Equally, don’t try to arrange circumstances so he’ll want it less often – he won’t. Just make the decision to bonk him more.”

Admitting he’s no expert, just a very short man, Nigel points out that one partner denying the other something they really, truly, desperately want is not the stuff of happy long-term love. Remove the word sex and replace it with “flowers” or “affection” or “more help with the kids” or  “picking up wet towels from the floor” and it’s hard to argue his point.

I’ve heard Bettina Arndt – a very tall woman, psychologist and sex therapist – give women the same advice: just do it. She says if you wait around until you want to jump his bones, you may be waiting…forever. She points to research from the University of British Columbia which has shown that many women do experience arousal and orgasm if they have sex without any prior desire, provided there’s a “willingness to be receptive”.

Many women agree. In a 2007 internet survey by The Australian Women’s Weekly 73% of respondents said they sometimes have sex when not in the mood. Half of them gave the reason, “I know I am likely to end up enjoying it”, while a third did it to keep their partners happy.

In his book, Nigel spoke to one couple who had settled on a solution to their sex gap. They have sex every Wednesday. Whether they want to, or not. It’s scheduled. Just like the night you put the bins out. This frees her up to go to bed every other night without fear of “the hand” creeping under the doona as she goes to sleep. And it gives him a guarantee of a raised boom gate instead of feeling like he has to beg or wait for the planets to be in correct alignment.

But Nigel acknowledges the idea of a weekly sex schedule won’t work for everyone. When one man asked his wife “Sweetheart, can we fix a day when we regularly have sex?” She replied: “Sure. How about August 10th?”

*This is the third time I’ve posted this video but you know? It never gets old….thought it was worth a re-visit.

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