Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Six Sex Secrets Men Wish Their Wives Knew

Sex secrets?? When you've been married for twenty or thirty years? Or when you've been having sex with a variety of partners since your youth?

Well, some things may be secrets and other things may be reminders....but there are some sexuality-related issues that still seem to surprise many women. I've seen this often in my work with couples, conversations with friends and consultations with other mental health professionals.  There are some things that men often find difficult to express to their spouses.

Like what?

1. Men do not necessarily have a greater sex drive than women do.
Okay, I'm not talking about teenage boys or college Romeos, but midlife men with families and jobs and mortgages. These men are much less likely to seek sex to meet a variety of emotional needs and more likely to view sex in the context of a love relationship. Sometimes they're tired or stressed and find great pleasure in just being held and touched. There are many ways to express love that have nothing to do with intercourse. At midlife, you may notice that sex drives between the genders are more likely to equalize. Of course, there are variations among both men and women. Some men and women have a high level of desire and others don't.
 In therapy, we're as likely to see an imbalence of desire where a man has a lower sex drive than his wife as we are to see a sexually frustrated husband and a wife with a lower libido.
If there is an imbalance of desire in your relationship, talk about it with understanding instead of criticism. Enjoy the full range of physical and emotional affection - hugging, kissing, cuddling, speaking loving words -- whether or not this leads to intercourse.

2. Men aren't out for just one thing. 
Well, once again, maybe adolescent males are an exception. But maybe not. Males of all ages want to feel cherished, desired and loved.  A mature man in a well-established marriage or long-term relationship wants to nurture and be nurtured in a variety of ways.If he touches you tenderly, this isn't necessarily a sexual overture. Mature men aren't likely to use sex as a means of proving manhood, or boosting self-esteem. If your husband or partner is like most, he wants a partner who listens, a partner with whom he feels safe and loved, as well as a partner who finds him sexually exciting. And many men also want a spouse who challenges them intellectually, emotionally and physically. Sex is just one of many ways of expressing love in a mature relationship.

3. Love is an important factor in male sexual pleasure. 
While flirtation or a fling can be exciting, there's no substitute -- for men as well as women -- for sex with someone who knows you well and loves you not only in spite of but also because of this knowledge. A friend who was a long-time bachelor recently confided to me his delight in married sex: "All that prowling I used to do, all those women...but nothing could begin to compare to the pleasure I feel with my wife.  I used to think variety and conquests kept life exciting. Now I know that the greatest joy of all is with her. She tops them all because we're truly in love. And what a difference that makes."

4. Men Need Foreplay Too.
I remember a client once saying to me "My wife thinks that if I'm not instantly ready to have sex that means I don't find her attractive. But I do! It's just that I need some kissing and touching, too." 
Life doesn't imitate erotic literature or porn. Sex expert Dr. Bernie Zilbergeld has said that "when it turns out that men aren't always ready, women worry about their attractiveness and men their virility."
And some men felt a bit cheated if foreplay is brief or absent.  "It makes me feel special and loved when my wife touches me, strokes me, looks at my naked body with approval, love and downright lust," another male client I'll call Chris told me. "I want this. I savor it when it happens. But it's difficult for me to ask for this.  I love it when she just...well, falls on me and has her way with me."

5. Men don't always want to be the ones to initiate sex.
Chris' last commen mirrors the results of a study done by Dr. Donald L. Mosher and Mark Sirkin on 138 college men at the University of Connecticut.  The study subjects found the idea of a sexually aggressive female exciting.  They were most intrigued by the scenario of sexual partners taking turns initiating sex. Mosher and Sirkin concluded that men were particularly excited by women initiating sex because this made them feel desirable and also because they were relieved of the traditional male responsibility of making sexual overtures and decisions.
While some women hesitate to initiate sex play because they fear putting pressure on their male partners or being rejected, recognizing a man's right to say "No" can take a lot of pressure off both partners. According to Dr. Zilbergeld: "A lot of women simply assume acceptance when they make sexual overtures. But men, just like women, sometimes need to say 'No.'"

6.  Viagra does not produce an instant sexual Superman.
While Viagra can be a real asset to a middle-aged or older man, it doesn't produce an instant erection.  If the man in your life needs to take Viagra or another similar drug to achieve or maintain an erection, give him time and encouragement during the period the drug needs to take effect.  And, instead of lamenting that sexual spontaneity is a thing of the past, savor the joy of anticipation and make taking this pharmaceutical aid part of your sexual flirtation.  Is this a Viagra Night? If it is, rejoice!  And let him see your pleasure in anticipation. Your enthusiasm can be a major boost to his pleasure as well.

Communication is the key to sexual understanding. If you tell each other what you most want or enjoy in lovemaking, you'll be taking an important step toward dispelling old myths and misunderstandings and experiencing new closeness and pleasure together.

We all need to hear words of thanks, support and love, both in and out of the bedroom. This, along with an understanding of the many ways that men and women are more than a little alike, can add immeasurably to the joy of sharing our lives.

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