We all do it. According to some scientific surveys — and some studies pioneered by psychologist Paul Ekman, an innovator in the study of the relationship between people’s emotions and their facial expressions — most people will tell an average of three lies in a typical 10-minute conversation.
We like to categorize them, so we can rationalize them. Little white lies, the ones we tell our parents when we don’t want to visit them or the ones we tell our bosses when we want to play hooky, are the most common ones. Sure, honey, I got the oil changed — then you get up early the next morning and get it done. These lies are every day lies, and whenever we tell them, we usually end up working a little harder than we need to in order to keep them under wraps.
Then there are the big lies, the nuclear lies, that we take more seriously. For couples, these lies are usually about affairs, past sexual partners or even medical conditions. These are the kinds of lies that can end a relationship.
But why do we do it? Why is it that so many of us seem to have a reasonably casual relationship with the truth?
In our experience, the primary culprit seems to be self-esteem. We want our partners to have a positive image of us, so when we are challenged on something that might make us seem less than perfect — like forgetting to get the oil changed in the car — we lie about it to maintain a better image for ourselves. That’s why we many times won’t think twice about deceiving our partners, because we feel it is important to our relationships to maintain that facade. The greater the threat to our self-esteem, the greater the lies. The things we hide can become more dramatic — they could include the ex-girlfriend who was a drug addict or the former boyfriend who was abusive.
We also lie out of convenience, because we may not want to go 10 rounds over forgetting to get the oil changed. The purpose is to maintain order in our personal lives by avoiding smaller conflicts whose impact might be to simply ruin an evening. It also helps us avoid insults and discord, but the real issue is not the lie, but why there would be insults or discord as a result of simply telling the truth.
This is where we get into the yin and the yang of lies, because while we can all nod our heads and agree in concept that dishonesty is bad, we also have to recognize our own behaviors that may actually wind up training our partners to lie to us.
When faced with an unpleasant truth, do we react angrily? Worse, do we react violently? Is our automatic default position to head for negativity when an unpleasant truth is offered up by our partners?
If we do, we may very well be TRAINING our partner to lie to us, because we are not recognizing the concept that it takes courage to tell a partner an unpleasant truth and that courage should be rewarded. Instead of rewarding them, we may instead find ourselves punishing them by our negative reactions.
So before telling the small lies, ask yourself what you’re really getting in return for the effort. Would the truth really be that bad? Is the truth so horrible that it is worth the integrity of our relationships to hide it? And if the reaction from your partner is so negative that you can still justify lying, then perhaps the issue isn’t your lying, but rather, the fabric of your relationship itself.
Lies can be the termites of relationships because they eat away at them from the inside, quietly and barely detectable. Anger, however, is the dynamite of relationships that will always inevitably lead to a devastating explosion that can lead to irreparable damage.
So, look at your behavior, look at your partner’s behavior and understand why you lie before you do it. Maybe you don’t have to, because there is no crime in being human and flawed. We all are. The truth shouldn’t be so hard to take that we should allow the lies we use to cover it up to destroy the love we worked so hard to build.
And for Pete’s sake, change the damn oil. You don’t want the car to break down on the way home from work, do you?
We love going to Toys R Us and of the toy stores, because the displays are just amazingly vibrant — all the counters and walls are draped with these bright, blazing primary colors with packages designed to capture the eye and hold your attention.
For us, it’s also fun going to couples’ stores where adult toys are sold, because the displays are strikingly the same, awash in primary colors with a few more bright pinks, reds and purples — though the imagery is typically far from family friendly.
We’re enthused that adult toys have become more mainstream, but we also know there are a lot of people out there who are reluctant to consider the use of what used to be called “marital aids” in their bedroom repertoire. Many couples won’t even set foot in an adult video or toy store for fear of what the neighbors might say, or just a feeling that those toys are only used by swingers or people obsessed with sex.
Well, having been sexologists for nearly a decade, we have a little news for you — your neighbors have probably already been there.
Toys can be a healthy and welcome addition to a couple’s bedroom practices, but we do understand the reasons why many people haven’t yet ventured behind the curtain to see what’s out there for them. So, we’ve assembled a few of the reasons we’ve heard over the years, with a slightly more enlightened view to counter them.
- Only Dirty People Use Them — There is a sense, you could even call it a mild prudishness that some couples have regarding sex toys. We attribute that to the compressed conflict that is sexuality in America. We use sex to sell cars, beer, Web site domains (thanks for the cheesecake, GoDaddy!) and even corn chips, but we are reluctant to address our own sexuality with the same openness. Sex isn’t dirty, unless, of course, thinking of it as dirty is a turn-on for you. The truth is, sex is healthy, fun and downright necessary for a strong, long-term romantic relationship. Being ashamed of enjoying sex is like being ashamed of eating to us. It’s a normal, healthy human activity when performed by consenting adults. So, if sex isn’t dirty, neither are toys used to enhance the sexual experience. If you’ve never gone to an adult toy store, the initial imagery may be a little shocking, but if you go in with an open mind, you might actually find yourself having fun before you know it.
- Toys Are Only for Masturbation — Over the years, as the sexual revolution took hold, women became empowered and chose to indulge their desires with or without a partner and stop being ashamed of their own sexuality. The sale and use of vibrators and other toys skyrocketed, and these toys became associated primarily with masturbation. But that is not their only function. In point of fact, many toys are far more effective and fun when they are wielded by a partner. Now, you don’t really need to be a sexologist to figure that out. A little basic geometry is all you need. When you compare the range of angles a woman can reach using her own arm to the range of motion by a partner who is correctly positioned, it’s clear that a partner can do a lot more with those toys to help a woman receive the full benefit of whatever implements she may have in the toy bag. In fact, many toys on the market today are specifically designed to be used by a partner and are practically useless for masturbation. So, wipe away that old connotation of toys. Some games are most definitely more fun when played by two.
- Toys Will Replace Me as a Partner — As a tandem of the above concern, some partners are concerned that some toys may deliver sensations and experiences that just cannot be matched by simple human to human interaction, and they fear that the toys will replace them in bed. Granted, there are some toys that are very ingenuitive these days, from swivel-headed vibrators to the Sybian (think of a sit-down vibrator run by an outboard motor), and we completely understand how they can be a little intimidating. There has been many a partner who has had to peel a woman off the ceiling after experiencing some of the more innovative devices on the market. But a toy cannot replace the sexual dynamic that two people can achieve together. The largest and most important sexual organ in the human body is the brain, and no matter the horsepower of the toy involved, they have yet to market anything with the imagination and creativity of the human mind. By joining your partner in the enjoyment of toys, you will be an inextricable part of their sexual lives and your role will be secure as long as you share your hearts and your imaginations together.
So don’t be afraid. Minds work best when they are open. And so do toys, once they are out of the box and in your bedroom.
With the recent debut of Showtime’s new docu-series, POLYAMORY: MARRIED AND DATING, which explores alternative relationship structures such as consensual non-monogamy, we’ve been getting a lot of questions about the nature of polyamory. Polyamory is practiced by couples who believe that they can also have deep, committed, long-term and loving relationships with people other than their spouse or partner.
Our fear is that a lot of people will see the TV show — and much like the country’s reaction to the book 50 Shades of Grey — immediately dive into “trying out” poly in their own relationships.
Keep in mind that bringing new people into your currently monogamous relationship IS NOT the same as reading 50 Shades and deciding to try a few kinky games with your partner. Polyamory is not something people can try, like taking golf lessons. Poly partners are people, not golf clubs you can sell at a garage sale if you figure out you’re no good at it. Our advice for couples who watch the TV show and find themselves intrigued by the concept of consensual non-monogamy is to NOT try this at home — not until you’ve done a lot of reading and a lot of talking.
First, understand the basics. Polyamory is a relationship model in which one or both partners in a relationship are consensually non-monogamous, meaning they can date — and yes, even have sex — with others. Of course, this typically begs the question, “Well, isn’t that just like swinging or going to wife-swap sex parties?” No, not at all, actually. What we’ve discovered is that whenever people who are new to the idea of poly first encounter the topic, the first thing they focus on is the idea of having sex with new partners. The thing that blows their minds is when we tell them that poly doesn’t even have to involve sex. It can, but it does not have to, because poly is about love first and foremost. But the one thing that can be said without backpedaling is that poly is not for everyone. Determining if it’s for you is where things can get dicey, because there is no test you can take that will tell you if poly is right for you.
Polyamory, like any relationship model, has its success stories and its horror stories. In the world of monogamy, roughly 50 percent of all new marriages fail, according to recent studies. Gay marriages haven’t been well enough defined or documented for any kind of definitive study about their rate of longevity, either. So, our view is that people are what make a relationship — from any model — good or bad. But choosing which way you want to go has a lot to do with how certain elements of relationships make you feel.
So, short of being able to give you a guide to determining if poly is right for you, here are some things to think about before you put up a profile on an alternative lifestyle dating service.
Jealousy — Are you the jealous type? Does your blood boil when you see your partner paying attention to someone in a flirtatious manner? Does imagining your partner with someone else make you absent-mindedly wander the ammo aisle at Walmart? If so, poly may be a bit of a longshot for you.
Insecurity — Are you afraid that your partner will leave you for someone else “better” than you? Do you sometimes have feelings that you don’t deserve your partner, or that he or she could easily do better? When you are home alone, are you afraid that your partner is spending time with someone else behind your back? Chances are that you should not only leave the idea of poly on the backburner, but you and your partner should also seek help to deal with those feelings of insecurity. Insecurity is a threat to maintaining a stable monogamous relationship, but it is a nuclear bomb that can devastate a poly relationship.
Time — Are you busy? We mean, really busy? Three jobs, soccer parents, caregivers and Red Cross volunteers kind of busy? While you might have the right mindset and heart to open yourself and your relationship to poly, you may not have the time. Remember, poly is about new relationships, not just hook-ups, and any relationship worth pursuing is worth the time to properly dedicate to it. If you are a couple who barely have time for each other, then poly might not be the best bet for you until you can open up the calendar.
Please keep in mind that the TV camera can only focus on one thing at a time. Something as complex as polyamory needs a wider lens than TV can offer, and serious consideration before it can be engaged by serious adults.
This month, as Cal Exotics Sexperts™, we were sent another great product to review. Just a reminder, each product is rated, by our testers (2 couples), using The Love Bird’s Feathers Rating Scale™:
1= “Not so hot” to
5= “VERY, VERY HOT!”
“The hotter the product is, the more feathers it will take to cool you off!”
The new product we received is called the Smackers™ – Triple Kisser. It’s just perfect for you Fifty Shades of Grey fans!
This paddle is a foot long and approximately two inches wide. It’s a sturdy paddle designed for fun fetish play and light spanking.
The Triple Kisser is light weight and has a polyurethane coating. It is soft and smooth to the touch. The design is quite simple, black with three red kisses. Cleans easily with soap and water or, like we recommend, a sex toy cleaner.
The manufacturer’s suggested retail price is $11.99.
So, how did our testers rate the Smackers™ – Triple Kisser? Watch the video below to find out! Get yours now for $8.98!
It’s no secret that good sex can lead to a happier marriage, and a recent study has pinpointed the one where most couples want to see an improvement.
Condom company Durex® polled 1,000 adults, married and single, and asked them intimate questions about their level of satisfaction with their sex lives, and the primary complaint they saw was the lack of duration in their sexual encounters.
A whopping full 50 percent of people said they weren’t happy with the duration (or lack thereof) they are experiencing in their sex lives. The average amount of time people reported for their average sexual encounter was 10 minutes, leading 38 percent of respondents to say that their lovemaking is over too fast. About 20 percent said they like their sexual encounters to last for at least half an hour.
Ironically, however, about 25 percent said they actually prefer the 10 minute “quickee” to longer sessions. The study did not indicate why, but the conventional wisdom we have derived from our practice with our patients over the years is that life has become vastly more complicated. Many couples have three or four jobs between them just to make ends meet. Between the obligations of work, children and family, sometimes even having 10 minutes for a little fun can be a luxury.
A few more interesting tid-bits revealed by the study include:
- Nearly 50 percent of all adults do not regularly achieve orgasm at the same time. In fact, more than a third of those surveyed said that it hardly ever — or never — happens.
- More than three-fourths of respondents said they’ve made love in an “adventurous locale.” Among the favorite places cited in the study: The backseat of a car (though we suspect the family van may become a true multi-purpose vehicle at times), by the swimming pool (we’re assuming they don’t mean the lap pool down at the YMCA) and on a secluded beach.
- But some prefer to stay at home. When they get tired of the bedroom, they send the kids out to the movies and take advantage of the air-conditioned square-footage in their homes. The favorite spots? The shower (31 percent), the couch (23 percent) and the porch (22 percent).
- Women were asked what their fantasy locale for sex would be, and the top two answers were the Eiffel Tower and Buckingham Palace…. okay, we could fill an entire blog with wisecracks on that one, so we’re just going to leave that one alone — except to say it makes us wonder if any enterprising guests of the Queen’s recent Diamond Jubilee took advantage of their backstage passes.
At the end of the day, the study’s final word of advice was something we espouse daily to our clients. If couples want to derive more satisfaction out of their sex lives, they need to talk. Discuss your needs, your wants, your fantasies and your schedules so you can not only have great sex together, but also have the proper time to spend doing it, as well.
Saying that communication is the key to a healthy relationship is like saying that an engine is a relatively important part of your car. It really shouldn’t need to be said, anymore.
But knowing that and acting on it are two different experiences. If communicating well was such an easy thing for couples, then why do so many couples have trouble doing it? The truth is that speaking from the heart is one of the most difficult things we do. When we have disagreements with the ones we love, it can lead to very emotional conversations and arguments. Of course, we are only upset because we care and it matters to us how our loved ones feel. Nonetheless, it is easy to get caught up in strong emotions and actually fail to communicate our needs in a way that will generate a positive response from our partners.
That’s why we recommend to our patients learning an important skill: negotiation.
To negotiate means to discuss something in order to reach an agreement, confer. Whether you knew it or not, you probably use negotiation skills on a daily basis, however, these skills become especially important when you are in a relationship that you want to thrive. Here are some basic negotiation skills that you can start using today:
- First, go into the discussion with the mind set of making it a “win/win”, instead of trying to convince your partner to give in to what you want. Remember, you’re a team. Thus, when one person loses, the whole team loses.
- Be clear and state what you want.
- Focus your request on behavior changes.
- Try not to immediately say “No.” Instead, make a counter offer.
- Be willing and open to compromise. This means both of you must be willing to surrender something you want.
- Continue until you reach an agreement with which you both feel comfortable.
- Honor the agreement.
Here’s how it sounds when we do it poorly and when we do it right:
Not using negotiation:
Husband: “I want to go out with my friends on Friday nights.”
Wife: “FINE! You ALWAYS want to spend more time with them anyway!”
Using basic negotiation:
Husband: ” I want to go out with my friends on Friday nights.”
Wife: “I want to spend time with you on Friday nights. Instead of every Friday, how about you go out with your friends one Friday night a month?”
Husband: “I want to spend time with you too, but I also like to spend time with my friends. How about I go out with them every other Friday night?
Wife: “Okay, just as long as we spend quality time together on our Friday nights.”
The difference in those two examples is the tone and the manner in which the disagreement was addressed. The first example showed someone who wanted to communicate a disagreement with her partner’s plan to go out, but it was all emotion with no path to a solution. The second example showed she could still communicate the same disagreement, but in a way that promoted a compromise that ended with a positive outcome. He is able to spend some time with his friends, while she secured the quality time that she wanted with her husband.
All this skill requires is the ability to step back and think for a moment before you respond. It’s perfectly natural to feel strong emotions with regard to your partner. However, by communicating your viewpoint the right way, you can actually convey how you feel in a way that can leading to solving the dispute instead of escalating it to become a bigger one.
If you think you’d like to learn more about these kinds of communication skills, please contact us and we can “negotiate” a consultation.
This month, as Cal Exotics Sexperts™, we were sent another great product to review. Just a reminder, each product is rated, by our testers (2 couples), using The Love Bird’s Feathers Rating Scale™:
1= “Not so hot” to
5= “VERY, VERY HOT!”
“The hotter the product is, the more feathers it will take to cool you off!”
The new product we received is called the Lia® Bounding Bunny™.This discreet mini-massager is made of pure premium silicone. It’s soft and smooth and resembles a small bunny head with two flexible ears, or pleasure tips, that are slightly curved to for better control.
The Bounding Bunny™ has 10 incredible functions of vibration, pulsation, and escalation. It has an EZ on/off button with an LED light. The added bonus, it is totally waterproof. So you can spice up the bedroom AND add some fun in the tub or shower! The Bounding Bunny™ is available in three colors: Blue, Pink and Purple.
It is 4 and a quarter inches long and requires 1 AA watch battery which is not included. Cleans with soap and water or, like we recommend, a sex toy cleaner. Silicone toys tend to attract dust or lint, thus make sure you dry this toy off with a lint-free cloth and store it in the box. Also, because it is silicone, we recommend using a water-based lubricant with this toy.
The manufacturer’s suggested retail price is $28.99.
So, how did our testers rate the Lia® Bounding Bunny™? Watch the video below to find out! Get yours now for $22.35!
Scientists have confirmed that chocolate contains an enzyme that can set off the pleasure centers of the brain in a manner that is similar to the effect sex has on the brain. Which is why when some women are too tired for one, they’ll reach for the other — “Not tonight, honey, I have a Hershey’s.”
But what if she’s not tired? What if she’s just plain bored, or not interested in a sex life that isn’t what she imagined? Or maybe it’s not her, but her man sitting on the bed with his stash of M&Ms? This can be prevented, but it takes more than just avoiding the candy aisle at the supermarket. That’s why we’ve put together a list of the five most common barriers to a healthy sex life. If any of these look familiar to you, there is a way out.
- Having negative/self-defeating thoughts about sex – These negative/self-defeating thoughts can come from anywhere (i.e. from your childhood, religion, past sexual experiences, etc.) and can really affect your sexuality. Some of us grow up thinking sex is dirty or sinful, while others are taught to be ashamed of their bodies. Remember, your thoughts cause your feelings and behaviors, so if you have negative thoughts about sex, you will have negative feelings about sex which will impact your sexual behavior. The truth is, sex isn’t dirty — in fact, doctors all agree that it’s healthy! It’s good for your cardiovascular system, stress relief and even helps to fight off illnesses by increasing your body’s natural defenses. Sex is also good exercise, burning off as many calories as playing a set of tennis. Develop healthier attitudes about sex with your partner and stomp out those negative, self-defeating thoughts.
- Focusing solely on performance and functioning – Too often, too much focus and emphasis is placed on sexual performance (such as “Am I doing this right?” or “Is this how it’s supposed to be done?”) and functioning (such as “I must have an erection every time.”, “I must make this last a long time,” and “An orgasm has to happen every single time”). This can create undue pressure which can then cause problems in your sexuality. Worrying about performance can create self-fulfilling prophecies. The more we worry about these issues, the more likely they are to come up. Remember, our bodies are not perfect and will not work perfectly all the time and in every situation. Expecting perfection in our sexual performance and functioning will only lead to frustration and disappointment (see number 1 above). Instead, focus on the joy, fun and pleasure of sex, intimacy with your partner and the joy of pleasing each other.
- Not owning your sexuality – It’s so easy to make your partner responsible for your sexuality. However, the truth is, YOU are responsible for your sexuality. You are responsible for whether or not you have an orgasm. It’s your responsibility to know your body and what feels good to you along with your sexual desires. It’s also your responsibility to share your desires with your partner. Making your partner responsible for your sexuality or even blaming your partner for sexual issues can create major problems in your relationship. It takes two to have a good relationship, so it also must take two to enjoy good sex.
- Not talking to your partner about sex – We are always amazed at how many people are comfortable having sex (in fact, lots of sex) but are uncomfortable talking about sex in this country. It’s like there is an unspoken rule: “Do it but don’t talk about it.” If you can’t comfortably and openly talk to your partner about sex, then you probably shouldn’t be having sex. Establish a dialogue. Talk openly about the things that you like, and accentuate the positive, but downplay the negative. Make your partner feel good about the sex you have together, and your partner will make you feel good by doing the things you enjoy the most.
- Not making sex a priority – Sadly, with many couples, sex is not a priority. Even worse, the relationship itself is not even a priority. Work, family, obligations and other “have-tos” always seem to get in the way, and at the end of the day, we wind up without the energy to put into our bedroom lives. Our favorite quote sums it up: “Where the attention goes, the energy flows.” If you want a healthy sex life in your relationship, then put more attention and focus into it. Make it a priority! After all, if we can’t enjoy our relationships, why are we working so hard to make ends meet, anyway? For the joy of balancing the checkbook? Enjoy your partners and your relationships, because if you don’t, we guarantee you’ll miss them when they are gone.
Think about these barriers and work to overcome them. Be honest with your partner, but most of all, be honest with yourself. Don’t by shy about sex, and it will come more naturally to you and your lover.
The human mind is truly a wonder, but its complexity is a double-edged sword. While it makes us capable of great things, it can also trick us into some nutty thinking.
It typically starts slowly, without your even noticing. You’re going through your daily routine, and you notice he hasn’t been picking up his socks lately, or she keeps leaving the lid off the sugar jar in the mornings after her coffee. Then it’s the thing he forgot at the store, which happened to be the one thing you really needed. Or she completely forgets about your date night, and winds up going out with the girls instead. And then there’s the damn socks again, and the sugar lid.
You talk to your friends about it, venting over the perceived pattern of offenses, and they help you paint a picture of someone who is selfish or losing interest in you. Keep in mind, these are the same friends who told you that you just HAD to see that Adam Sandler movie where he played his own sister in drag. They also raved about how that picture of you wearing the bra made out of coconuts would look great on your Facebook page (you didn’t really want that new job, anyway).
So, now, the job is done. You are now positive that your partner is a jerk. But is that really the truth, or just a trick that your mind is playing on you (aided and abetted by the same friends who thought that sending the male strippergram to your mother-in-law’s birthday party would be the perfect gift).
What may be happening is a psychological phenomenon known as confirmation bias. It means we have the tendency to look for evidence to confirm our beliefs about things, instead of looking for contrary evidence to test our beliefs.
For instance, in the case of the guy who leaves his socks on the floor and may have a memory issue with the shopping list, you might be noticing those things without really noticing other behaviors that contradict your conclusions — him walking the dog every morning before waking you up, or always going to the store for you because he knows you’re too tired or the fact that he thought better to get your mom a gift certificate for her favorite Italian restaurant for her birthday instead of sending the stripper. For the lid leaver and absent-minded date-breaker, you might not notice that she makes the coffee for you every morning without fail and that while she broke your date night, she surprised you twice in the last month by sending the kids to her mom’s house for the weekend so you could have uninterrupted alone time.
If you think some of these thoughts may be creeping into your head, we invite you to take this month’s relationship challenge.
Are you ready?
- First, write down any negative beliefs you have about your partner.
- Next, challenge yourself (really challenge yourself!) to look for evidence or proof that disproves or contradicts your negative beliefs. This helps you test your beliefs about your partner.
- Finally, when you find proof that disproves your beliefs, let them know you noticed the good stuff they are doing. Acknowledge and thank them.
If you have difficulty with this challenge or feel your negative beliefs about your partner are true and you need help, please feel free to contact us. Whatever is going on, we might be able to help you both understand it, address it appropriately and move past it so you can focus more energy on the good stuff.
Love isn’t dead, but every so often we read something that makes us think it might be comatose.
As the Internet dating world has exploded, with more than 40 million Americans having profiles on at least one of the key dating personal Websites, there is another kind of dating site that has popped up that just makes our blood boil.
Now, there are Websites that cater to married people who are seeking to have affairs with others. These sites guarantee anonymity and discretion and they create a feeding ground for people who have no problem with infidelity. What’s worse is that the founder of the most popular site — the Ashley Madison site with 13 million members around the world — is trying to defend the practice of having extramarital affairs as an aid to couples who are having marital problems.
To those of us who make a profession out of helping people solve their relationship issues, it’s like Charlie Sheen telling kids that drugs are good for you. So, if you have a moment, please allow us to dispel some of these inane arguments before they begin to take root and make some people believe that having an affair is just the shot in the arm their marriage needs.
Noel Biderman, the former lawyer and sports agent who founded Ashley Madison, has been making the interview rounds to promote his site. In one interview, he stated that non-monogamy has always been a part of traditional marriage, dating back to polygamists from the African tribes to the early Mormons. This is a false comparison, because that style of non-monogamy was consensual. Women who married men with multiple wives in those cultures knew they were marrying a man with multiple wives. They had full disclosure. An affair is an act of deception, which involves a married partner in a non-consensual act. They did not have a choice in their partner having another romantic partner — it happened without their knowledge of permission. So, that argument is a crock of ca-ca.
In another interview, he tried to indicate that infidelity is good for marriage, because it’s all about sex. His contention is that someone who wants to have an affair because he or she is dissatisfied with their sex life would be selfish to forego the affair and just get a divorce. His idea is that marriages are often also about raising children and life partnerships, and sex is just one dimension. So, why get a divorce over the sex issue alone? Just have an affair and keep the family together.
There are so many things wrong with that argument, we barely know where to begin. First of all, an affair creates a breach of trust, which many families never survive. And if you don’t think an affair will never be revealed, ask Tiger Woods or Arnold Schwarzenegger how that concept worked out for them. Further, if the sex life is unfulfilling, that creates tension that children will see, making them unhappy, too. Moreover, there is another option other than having an affair or getting a divorce. It’s called working with your partner on increasing the quality of your marital sex life. I understand there are even counselors out there who can help them with that. We know a couple who seem pretty good at that, too.
The last argument he makes on the benefits of affairs is that they are actually good for a marriage because they can bring couples together. His viewpoint is that the affair acts like a wakeup call for a couple in crisis, and gives them the ability to come together to fix what’s wrong with their marriage.
What’s wrong with that marriage is that the trust has been broken, and repairing that trust now becomes the focal point of the work they have to do, not their sex life. In fact, many marital sex lives have a hard time recovering from an affair because the image of infidelity is very difficult for partners to overcome. It’s not that it can’t be done, but a couple that chooses instead to work honestly on fixing their sex life has far less work to do than a couple who must work on trust issues before sex can ever even happen again.
Our advice to married men and women who are contemplating an affair is to stop, take a breath, and examine what it would take to fix what’s wrong with your marriage first. If you can make it work, you should. If you try hard, but just can’t make it work, you should separate. But don’t sacrifice your integrity for a fling that will ultimately change your life for the worse.