It’s sort of gone beyond a joke, hasn’t it, the whole sex thing. All men want more sex. Most women could live without it.
“Let’s have sex,” husband says.
“I’m too tired/I have a headache/as if,” says wife.
Ha, ha, ha, ha…
Except it’s not a joke. The absence of sex in a relationship isn’t even remotely funny. Instead it’s a sign of just how fractured a couple is. If not for sex, what makes us a couple? If not for sex, how are we different from roommates?
Michelle and Jason haven’t had sex for seventeen months, however this is only one of the many issues which led them to sign up for controversial TV show Seven Year Switch. They aren’t the only couple on the show citing sex or lack-there-of as one of their issues. Tallena and Brad haven’t had sex for almost a year as well (as we saw Brad confess to Jackie last week).
This week relationship experts Jo Lamble and Peter Charleston visited each switched up couple and played them clips showing how damaged their communications with their partners have become.
Jason wants more sex.
Michelle is too busy hating him to have sex.
Only it’s never that simple, and that’s why this show is so brilliant. That’s why this show will hopefully not only lead to most of these couples happily reuniting (hey, it may happen!) but help those of us watching at home with ours.
Firstly I want to make it clear that at no stage did relationship expert Peter Charleston suggest Michelle use sex as a “bargaining tool” when talking to Jason about their relationship. It was Michelle who made that suggestion and she was joking, well-half joking.
Charleston quickly corrected her and replaced the word “sex” with “affection” because when Jason tries to talk to Michelle about the lack of sex in their relationship he says things like, “You never wanna touch me”. The more cynical of us would say that “touch” is code for “sex” and several years ago I would have agreed.
Have a look at Michelle and Jason discuss what they want – and don’t want – from sex. Article continues after this video.
I know better now because my husband and I were exactly where Michelle and Jason are just a few years back. Listening to Michelle explain her feelings about being intimate with Jason was like watching the ghost of my relationships past.
She explained, “Yeah, but because of the way that he is with me, I don’t feel like being affectionate with him, because most of the time I hate his guts. I know that sounds awful but when you get spoken down to all the time and you feel like you’re not listened to, I don’t want to cuddle the guy. Or anything else.”
Eventually Charleston helps her figure out how to talk to Jason about her issues with Michelle deciding to say, “We would have more affection in our relationship if we had more time to spend together and we maybe actually listened to each other a little bit more.”
As soon as she said it though, one thought immediately popped into my head.
The best way to get him to spend more time with you and listen to you more is to have sex with him.
Then I remembered what happened the last time I said this, when I wrote an article called, Bad sex is good for my marriage and was told that I was basically allowing myself to be raped and must have a terrible marriage. On the contrary. Since deciding to simply have more sex with my husband our relationship has never been better. It has truly gone from strength to strength.
That’s what I want to explain to Michelle. I want to tell her to start having more sex with her husband first and then start working through all of her other issues with him, and he with her.
It’s as simple as this.
Why should she be the one to make the first concession? Why should she have sex with him when she doesn't feel like it?
The best way I can explain why is to refer to how my husband explained it to me when he wanted to have sex and I didn't. You see, I felt exactly like Michelle. I was so angry with my husband, so resentful, so furious over events in our lives that the thought of him touching me make me feel even more angry and resentful and furious. I thought I hated him and his constant requests for sex made me feel pressured and under-valued. The idea of acquiescing was unthinkable. Then he said something to me I have never forgotten.
"Having sex with you makes me feel loved."
And I said, "I have to feel loved to have sex."
If there's a more challenging relationship impass than this, I don't know what it is. Something or someone has to give and I soon realised it had to be me.
So we had sex and at first I did feel a bit used, I did feel like I was giving in, I did feel as though I was bowing to his demands but then I remembered something. He is not my enemy. I am not his. He is my husband. I am his wife. We love each other and we had to do whatever it took to get our relationship back on track.
It wasn't right and wrong, about who gives in first, it was about the future of our relationship and the family we had created together.
He needed sex to feel loved by me.
I needed to feel loved to have sex with him.
To have her there in bed with me, breathing on me, her hair in my mouth - I count that something of a miracle. Author Henry Miller.
So we had sex and then we had it again, and then again until I stopped feeling used and he started feeling loved and soon enough we both felt love for each other at the same time, allowing us the breathing space to ironed out all of our remaining relationship issues.
I want Michelle to understand that by having sex with Jason, the father of her child, the man she used to feel nothing but love and passion for, not only will the romance and affection return, it will also open the door to starting conversations about what she needs from him, and he will feel secure enough to listen.
I think one of the worst things a couple can do is to let the sex go out of their relationship and one of the easiest ways to fix it is to have more of it, just to remind yourself of the couple you used to be, just so you can be reminded of the intimacy of the act, of the love you share, of the attraction you feel, of the connection you have.
There isn't a relationship on earth that couldn't be improved by having more sex and trust me, the longer you are together, the more in love you feel, the better it gets.
The sex feeds the love.
The love feeds the sex.
And everybody wins.