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The Health Benefits of Sex

 


The basis of attraction is sex. In the heady days of romance, especially in younger couples, there is a lot of it. In years to follow, sex dominates and will continue like that until both parties call a halt. It is therefore unreasonable to expect a 'normal' relationship to function without sex, because one party does not care for it, or wishes to deny it, for any reason.

Sometimes, whether for hormonal reasons, through illness or through anger, one partner goes off sex while living with a healthy spouse who still values a good sex life. It is highly unreasonable, selfish and cruel in some instances, to expect that partner to do without sex simply because the other party has gone off it, or chooses to use it as a weapon. Denying sex and expecting partners to simply accept it, without discussing options for their comfort, stems from a lack of respect, or a desire to control or punish them by withdrawing affection.

No healthy person can be expected to go without sex as an imposition for the rest of their life, or for very long periods in a relationship. Sooner or later, that partner will look elsewhere. In fact, an affair is inevitable to satisfy that pressing need, unless the parties involved can come to some arrangement for sexual satisfaction through some other means.

Most important, all the latest research points to sex being very good for your health and an active sex life is said to be "crucial to feeling great and staying healthy in old age", according to Intimate Relations: Living and Loving in Later Life, published in 2004 by the charity, Age Concern. Author Sarah Brewer, a UK GP, argues that sex helps to reduce stress, leads to greater contentment and better sleeping patterns. "Sex is often a taboo subject in later life, but physical intimacy doesn't fizzle out and disappear as you get older," she says. "When you enjoy a rewarding and regular sex life, all aspects of life, including the enormous range of benefits to your health, tend to take on a rosier hue."

The book says having sex and doing exercise are crucial to feeling good as you get older. Dr Brewer adds that, while exercise would burn fat and help prevent heart disease, having sex is the key to real health benefits because sex causes the brain to release endorphins naturally occurring chemicals that act as painkillers and reduce anxiety. Research has also shown that sex prompts the release of substances that bolster the immune system.

Powerful Incentive
Intimacy is therefore not negotiable. Sexual bonding is important for partners to remain faithful to one another. In the absence of a satisfactory sex life, some research suggests that a poor marriage is often associated with unfaithfulness. For example, in the latest research in the UK, 86 per cent of men and 60 per cent of women claimed to have had an affair in the past year. With the Internet and the mobile phone at the ready, the field is wide open for clandestine meetings and satisfying sexual needs. In this respect, men appear to seek casual sex and have more outside partners, while women seek emotional attachment and have fewer partners. Working outside the home and having their own income also increase the chances of affairs for women, a situation which has dramatically increased the percentage of women having relationships with people other than their spouses.

Obviously, incompatibility in sex is thus the final invisible force which can destroy relationships, and not the sex itself. It really is about how matched we are and how long that compatibility lasts. If sex has just become really boring between you, to keep your partner's attention you need to spice it up and make a production out of it. Stop being a slob in front of the television, or using outings with the lads or ladies as an excuse. At least once each week, go out to dinner, go dancing, go to a comedy club, or whatever you like. It is entirely up to you. But you must do something different! Nothing kills intimacy more than predictability and sameness. Enjoy an evening with the clear intention of being seductively romantic and then coming home with plenty of time to make exciting love with each other.

At other times when you are at home, try having sex in different places or at different times, perhaps in the morning or right after exercising. Give each other a bath and/or full body massages. Read together, perhaps a book of love poems, or even one on sexual techniques, then talk and talk as required, about your sexual enjoyment and how that can be increased. Talk until words are no longer necessary and action takes over. Sex is the greatest gift of your life. Don't worry about it or ponder upon it or have fears around it. Simply learn to enjoy it!




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Is sex in a marriage an obligation or an act of love?

 


Q. It seems that some men tend to think it that way. What if wife is so tired from doing chores all day and also with the kids and then at night in the bedroom the husband asks for sex and the wife is not in the mood...Should she still do it just to give way to her husband? Or what?


A. Why should sex be an obligation in a marriage? Some men might view it that way because they feel marriage carries certain commitment with it, especially sex. But sex has to be a two-way desire to work. Any relationship is about SHARING and if one person is too tired to give affection to the other, it says a lot about the actual state of the marriage. If that person got some help from her spouse with all the stuff she had to do, perhaps she wouldn't be so whacked at the end of each day. However, there are a few things happening here which need to be examined.

1. Tiredness relating to sex can often hide resentment behind it. Resentment of what the person has to do, the lack of help, the lack of attention and just feeling frustrated because expectations are not being fulfilled. Often many spouses then use denying sex as a weapon because there is nothing else they can use to make their point about how they feel. If this carries on too many times it will lead to disaster, as the spouse might begin to look outwards for what he/she is not getting at home, and that is how affairs begin!

2. Marriage should be no different from dating, and if people really love one another they would want to make love and show affection to each other as often as possible, not just when they feel okay. Sex is not something that goes on the back burner once a couple take their vows. If anything, that's the time most people should move even closer together in their feelings. So if one person is feeling too tired all the time to reciprocate, she needs to discuss this with her partner, especially the reasons why, and how they can BOTH remedy the situation. He might even be able to offer some help she hadn't thought about to ease the chores. Not to wait until the bedroom to then say NO to his advances.

3. Many couples carry their frustrations and resentments into the bedroom instead of discussing them and trying to sort them out, then wonder later on when their marriage goes pear-shaped why things went wrong. The tragedy in most relationships is that the minute people feel unwanted, unloved and rejected, they begin to look elsewhere to be affirmed, which is why there are so many divorces instead of longer marriages.

Sex should never be an obligation between a couple, but it shouldn't be withheld too often either. Otherwise, it means no one is really enjoying it. Sex is always an act of love, otherwise what's the point of getting married with one's free will?




Should a person reveal their sexual past?

 


Revealing your sexual past entirely depends on the two people involved. For many people who are insecure, and desiring exclusiveness, they cannot cope with their partner's past involvement with anyone else. They often get jealous, they are apt to judge that person and it might sow the seeds of resentment. Yet acknowledging that past in some way, and connecting to it when necessary, is very important because only knowledge and acceptance of our past makes us truly whole.

Most important, the past is what makes each of us. We are the proud product of our history, whether good or bad. And every bit of that history has to be recognised, accepted and celebrated, where possible. We would not be who we are if we did not have our unique experiences. The bad and good bits together give us our identity, so we cannot pick and choose what we wish to be associated with from our past. Every person who shared our individual journey added to it and taught us something, whether positive or negative. If we pretend we didn't have those experiences, or we didn't love certain people, or didn't sleep with them, we are immediately denying who we are; hiding our past in order to get approval from someone else. But what would we be ashamed of?

Every stage of your life is necessary to take you to the present time and most of what you do in that life starts with experimenting. That's how you learn. You might have experimented in certain ways which might not make you feel too happy now, thanks to your maturity, but those actions moulded you into the wonderful person you are and were necessary then for your growth. You should be free to express them, free to explore how you learnt, assess what you learnt from a former lover, whether good or bad, and how you dealt with a past relationship. All your former lovers are markers to your development. For example, how I manage my relationships now is far more confident than I did then. I am now able to see quite clearly what was wrong with the failed relationships because I feel free to discuss them, celebrate the good bits, explore the bad aspects, being more knowledgeable now, and am able to use all that experience to good measure.

The greatest relationship has free communication at the heart of it. Any couple should be able to talk about anything in their lives if they feel like it, without being judged or without being the object of jealousy or censorship. If the two people would rather not mention it, that is okay too. However, if a relationship has visible no-go areas in it, because of personal insecurities, that is not a good partnership. It wouldn't be based on honesty and true acceptance of one another. When someone loves us, they will affirm us as we are, not what they wish us to be, and will celebrate our life with us, no matter how we lived it. That's what loving someone else really means: being totally without conditions and with complete acceptance of their past in order to share it with them.






Why Sex When We Are Young is Often Disappointing

 


Sex can be very different when we are young than when we are older because our perspectives are likely to be different, we are far more experienced and mature and our expectations around sex have been mellowed by age. Young men, in general, tend to talk about their sexual conquests but not their sexual concerns. They like to keep up the strong male image, including the impression that they are fantastic in bed and have no problems (except that they "can't get enough"). Males usually feel responsible for the whole sexual process – for approaching the woman, arranging the place, skillfully handling foreplay and producing both orgasms! However, one sexologist believes that too many macho males think sex is all that really matters in a relationship.

Sharing feelings and problems, being tender and caring, doing things together that the woman likes to do, getting to know each other deeply, etc. are seen too often as silly women's stuff. "These men just don't get it," he says. "Good loving is not in the penis, it is in the heart and the mind. If sex was just about coming to a climax, then we'd simply masturbate. Sex is a mental-interpersonal process, not just a brief physical act. With males having all these responsibilities, misconceptions and sexist attitudes, the truth is that men actually have a lot of sexual problems." However, many of them never seek professional advice. They are likely to blame women instead for 'making them feel inadequate'!


Most common female concerns
Younger women today seem to have the least inhibition about initiating sexual activities or having random sex. Being generally more mature than younger men, they seem to know what they want and they also 'dump' boyfriends more easily than older women. The most common female concerns are finding that faithful man and reaching a sexual climax. Sexual experience for many women may also mean many different things like never having an orgasm of any kind, seldom having a climax during intercourse or being able to climax only after "continuous extensive stimulation". It is difficult to say how many women are affected like this, but such experiences are often taken for granted and only become a 'problem' if someone is really dissatisfied through increased experience.

According to various research, about ten per cent of sexually experienced women have never had an orgasm during intercourse and another ten per cent are inconsistent. Actually, only 40 per cent of women claim to have an orgasm through intercourse alone, a figure that our male dominated culture would consider 'normal', and almost 60 per cent of women privately say they are dissatisfied with their husband's sexual performance. However, bearing in mind that a great number of women are inhibited by the sexual process, especially older women, we have to wonder to what extent men are being held responsible for the women's low sexual responses.


Reasons for failing to combine love and sex

One main reason most young couples find it difficult to combine love and sex to really feel good about their life is that the feeling of great sex – which is initially so exhilarating – becomes frightening to them. Young people starting out want the opportunity to just enjoy themselves without too much responsibility or restrictions. As individuals they often fear losing themselves to the other person; of giving too much and then being dependent on someone else. The key is letting go, yet knowing that we can regain control whenever we wish to do so.

For example, many women have a lot of anxieties about reaching an orgasm. But having any orgasm requires emotional release and being completely relaxed. If we are stressed in any way, that's difficult to achieve. Worrying about being 'normal', about conflicts in the relationship, about your job and career, and listening to the cautioning and restrictive voices of parents in our heads about how a 'proper' lady should behave, inevitably cause women to tighten up emotionally and physically; to appear cold and frigid to caring spouses and to miss out on the natural enjoyment of their relationship.

We need to give ourselves full permission to think about sex, to fantasise about sex, to talk about it and to accept that it is natural and right to have personal likes and dislikes. Sadly, many people grew up being taught that it was wrong to have sexual feelings or desires or that the act itself was 'dirty'. This means that there are lots of ambiguities and fears around sex before they even begin to seek a soulmate. Personal embarrassment and religious brainwashing pronounced judgment on a natural act and dictated its effect on us ever since. However, most people will find that their sexuality is actually enhanced when they stop making rules about what they ought to like, or do, with sex and begin to focus on what they actually enjoy.

Telling partners what feels good, experimenting with different positions and focusing only on the moment should increase the couple's enjoyment. Getting rid of certain insecurities relating to jealousy and control should also help sexual enjoyment. One man, who clearly enjoys his sex life puts it cogently, "Sex is about giving 70 per cent and expecting 30 per cent back. If each person aims for that ratio in their relationship, it should be a fantastic experience."


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5 Hidden Sexual Problems Between Couples

 


It is really rather sad when couples, who have been pretty active sexually during their dating and courting phase, gradually stop having sex once married or living together because they feel more secure at bagging a partner. But any relationship should be a forever romance, with the couple constantly striving to value each other. The fact that many people are no longer suffering in silence about sex, and are willing to contemplate affairs, separation or divorce should send warning signals to new couples about maintaining their relationship in a loving way.

There are five signs that problems are looming between a couple and a combination of the five is what leads to frustration, resentment and unhappiness in partners.


A. Communication. The most common problem between couples is a lack of communication about sexual needs, desires and feelings. Men tend to be very thin-skinned about any perceived criticism of their approach or performance, while women tend to be embarrassed talking about it or revealing their true feelings. Thus, open communication about what matters to couples on a sexual level tends to be hampered by emotional hang-ups, cultural and religious conventions, ignorance and self-consciousness, all of which they have to learn to overcome.

Again, couples often find it difficult to take their time making love, the climax seeming to be the main priority. But the best sex can't be rushed. Like a competition, it is the taking part that matters the most, not just who wins! We have to find out what is enjoyable to our partner, what would excite and delight them most, because there is so much to learn, especially how partners like to be stimulated. Communication is vital in this regard.

One of my first sexual encounters involved someone who kept telling me to lie still when we were having sex. Aroused and excited by it, I did not wish to be a passive recipient, but an active giver in return for his efforts, and tried to react in tandem with him. However, with his earlier girlfriend perhaps being passive and unmoving, he found my movements unnerving at first and wanted me to be still. Then he got used to my reactions and wanted me to be even more active, which had a dramatic effect on our mutual enjoyment!


B. Embarrassment. During sex, we may be embarrassed about our bodies, or other aspects like moving, thrusting, oral sex or expressing pleasure. But an active, uninhibited and really excited partner showing appreciation for what we are doing with them is actually the sexiest experience we can possibly have. It may be very difficult to openly communicate about our bodies and what makes us feel good, but it is something we must do if we are going to get maximum pleasure from this unique experience.

Your partner cannot read your mind, so he/she has to be told or explicitly shown. It is important to be realistic and honest, because no one is ever privileged enough to be taught the best sex techniques before they meet their partner! It is all trial and error, with some people learning at a faster rate than others. We tend to be ambivalent about sex because we are in acute expectation of it, yet quietly dreading the outcome if it doesn't go to expectations.


C. Quality. The quality of sex usually depends on how positive two people feel about each other. There is plenty of scientific evidence to show that good sex not only adds great enjoyment to our lives, it also improves our health and may even contribute to our longevity. But many people don't even have any sex regularly, let alone good sex! In his book, Sexual Healing, Dr Paul Pearsall claims that the joys and pleasures of life and loving may provide something called an 'intimacy inoculation' which actually protects us from disease. Dr Pearsall, who cites numerous other researchers, concludes, "Growing numbers of physicians now recognise that the health of the human heart depends not only on such factors as genetics, diet and exercise, but also – to a large extent – on the social and emotional health of the individual."


D. Feeling Unnatural. We are tempted to believe that making love is just doing what comes 'naturally', but, shrouded in secrecy, embarrassment and social conventions, sex is sometimes anything but 'natural'. It can be a very awkward process for the uninitiated and the naive. Feeling insecure or inexperienced, we often carry the myths and rumours (due to ignorance), or the characteristics and expectations of the previous sexual experience, to the next encounter. This sometimes has disastrous results, especially when every partner is different in his/her preferences. That 'unnatural' feeling can be lessened by taking time to know our partners' bodies.


E. Ignorance. There are also many things about sex we do not know. Many people think that having sex is merely penetrative and conducted at a set time of the day or in a set room, but one author suggests, which I agree with, that when people feel deeply close while merely holding hands, they are actually having sex too, in a different form. When they show care for each other through hugs, caresses, and kissing, they are also having a satifying sexual connection. When two people in a crowded room gaze lovingly at each other in their own secret way, they are engaging in sex play, and all these simple forms of tactile sex can be most arousing and emotionally fulfilling.

This constant anxiety, particularly about our sexual expertise, haunts us because, if done well, the act of sex generates the most positive feelings towards our partners. In effect, it 'makes love' and making love is usually a natural, emotional experience and a crucial part of any relationship. Rarely is it just a physically pleasurable act, regardless of some people's attempt to reduce its significance by putting it on a par with, perhaps, eating food! Without it, our species would come to an end and so nature finds the most ingenious ways of linking up men and women to ensure our survival.






How the different gender approaches can get in the way of a good sex life

 


Often both people in a relationship find that, despite a strong chemistry between them, the sex is a bit of a let down. It is difficult to explain why and it is also tempting to blame the other partner for sex not being as expected. But both parties in any relationship, especially when the couples are older, bring a long sexual history, different instincts and preconceptions to the overall sexual experience.

One partner may have enjoyed masturbating regularly since he first discovered his body, and had fantasies of having intercourse with many different people. He might also have heard various stories about sex from friends, movies, parents, teachers, books etc., while the other partner may have been more sheltered and ignorant, or perhaps just stroked herself curiously without any sexual fantasies. Taken together, it means the likelihood of a big difference in self-knowledge and sexual confidence between any one couple. Hence why some men, in particular, often find a huge gap between the reality and their sexual fantasies.

According to one male sex writer, "Most inexperienced males imagine that really good sex consists of getting the woman partly undressed and then thrusting an enormous penis in and out of her vagina until they both explode simultaneously with a fantastic orgasm." But nothing could be further from the truth. The fantasy ends there because of the many hurdles awaiting them before that final conclusion. Being preoccupied with penis size, many men also believe that 'the bigger the better'. But that is a definite myth.

Really great sex is not about penetration or penis size. It is more about what a man actually does with that penis when both partners are fully aroused. Our brain and our hands are far more erotic sexual tools than a penis on its own could ever hope to be! In fact, an inexperienced young woman is unlikely to be turned on by a penis at all and even less by its size! Until she understands and appreciates its usefulness, she may be scared of touching it and might even be repulsed by it, even though the man is likely to think that his penis is the greatest thing in the world, one which no woman can possibly do without!


Romance and the Trimmings

A woman is likely to be more stimulated by the emotion of the moment - what happens before sex: the romance, the attention, the kisses, the caresses, the feeling of being wanted and being greatly appealing. Those are difficult elements to label or put into words. Most women interviewed in various researches insist that warm, loving, emotional connections between themselves and their partners are essential to, and inseparable from, the experience of sexual ecstasy. Thus a well-romanced woman is a well-lubricated one and an explosion waiting to happen! This difference in sexual approach is the first misunderstanding between the two genders.

For this main reason, the first sexual encounters are usually fraught with danger and are often disappointing. To begin with, many women view romance as the biggest turn-on to enjoying intercourse. As a prelude to any sex, a woman may fantasise about romantic settings in which she might be holding hands, talking, laughing, dancing, etc. Later on, the nice-looking, sweet-talking confident lover, with the great sense of humour (not the great penis!) admires her appeal and tells her about his feelings, his need for love, perhaps their future together, etc. She imagines being held tightly and kissed over and over, with perhaps some gentle caressing of various parts of her body. Eventually he undresses her and they have sex, but that isn't the end of her story. After love-making, she imagines being held, comforted and told that sex has brought them even closer. She expects reassurance that she was an exciting sex partner and that he will now want to do many other routine things with her, not just desire her body!

Many men in the same situation are likely to perceive it quite differently, especially if they just want to have 'fun' and fancy a 'quick bonk'. The fewer preliminaries, the better. Wining, dining and dancing are often regarded as necessary preludes that the man wants to conclude, sooner rather than later, in order to cut to the chase and get on with the action. So sex for many women might be an integral part of an emotional connection, and take a long time to master, but many men do not necessarily need to put the two elements together for their own satisfaction! Hence why merely having sex does not necessarily herald a new relationship, but just a good time for at least one of the parties involved.







Some Sexual Problems Caused by Differing Gender Attitudes

 


The sexual process really defines the different attitude of the genders to perfection. This is where expectations are as far apart as possible, particularly the way men view women and expect them to behave in the bedroom, and vice versa. This next statement might sound very trite and obvious, but it really needs stressing. Men and women do not view sex in the same way!

It is amazing how many people try to deny that basic, but crucial, difference in perception. Yet this variance in viewpoint has been the cause of the biggest misunderstanding between men and women down the ages, especially for modern and more liberated couples. Most women expect men to view sex and its consequences with greater respect, while men view it in more functional terms. Let's explain that even more simply.

With their penis being external to them, men tend to view sex more as a physical release and attach less emotional interpretations to it. For many men, most sex they have is likely to be regarded as 'just good shags'. But with women's sex organs being internal, allowing entry to their bodies is often both a major decision and significant event for them. They are more reticent about the quantity and quality of the men who get that privilege. There is also the cultural expectations of women guarding their honour from predatory males. For some women, virginity, in particular, is almost like a prize awarded to the most deserving. Thus sex is closely attached to their emotions, to positive feelings of worth and acceptance.


Moment of Passion


Sex is also the last frontier to making a woman a mother and that immediately carries commitment and loyalty for a long-term mate or for the one who impregnates her. That is part of the reason why a woman might spend ages wondering why her spouse could have a one-night stand and think nothing of it, or expect her not to get upset about it, or why it is perceived as just a 'moment of passion' or release for him. Having attached her own emotional feelings to it, she would see the act itself as representing something far greater, perhaps a switch in emotion and preference for the man.

Men appear to be aroused by almost any nice body while women are affected by charming, successful men in romantic situations. That's a crude generalisation, yes, but most single men would welcome sex without love, while most women desire love and commitment first before having sex. That partly explains why men tend to have so many partners in their lifetime and have less difficulty separating their 'feeling of love' from the sex they have, while most women tend to have fewer partners and associate being 'in love' with almost all of them. It is also the reason why many women are likely to expect a long-term relationship after an enjoyable sexual encounter while most men, especially younger ones, are likely to see that event as part of a routine day, nothing special!

Again, the desire for sexual release, which also releases tension, means that men are almost slaves to their penises! This sexual organ not only appears to have a brain of its own, capable of causing the downfall of the most powerful and iconic (British ministers Profumo and Mellor, American President Clinton, and New York governor Eliot Spitzer, to name a few), it also dictates how men see themselves and their prowess, their appeal and their worth. Men, who often dismiss women on the most spurious of physical reasons, are extremely thin-skinned when it comes to being rejected themselves particularly for sex. They cannot bear that someone they like doesn't fancy them at all, yet can be ruthless themselves with giving unappealing women short shrift!




How do I tell him I have been faking it for years?

 


Q. How do I tell him in a nice way that I have never had an orgasm with him and I have been faking it for five years, and the only time I get off is when I satisfy myself?


A. That's a very good question. The short answer is: PLEASE resist the temptation to do that.

There is no harm in telling him, gently, what he could do during intercourse to extend your enjoyment of it, show him the different ways it would make a real difference to you. But don't mention you have been faking it at all, especially after all those years. That would not only destroy his self confidence in that area, but it would then spoil the act itself because he would never believe or trust you again, especially if you did happen to have an orgasm in the future. The time to have mentioned faking was in the first few weeks while you got used to each other, and while you explored ways of having better satisfaction, not years later when you have grown to accept it.

The problem with sex and why it often fails to be satisfactory to both parties, especially on the first few times, is because people come to a relationship burdened with their own experiences, good or bad, of sex with others. They do not accept that everyone is different and try to get to KNOW the person and their body before they sleep together. Instead some men, in particular, tend to approach sex in a new relationship by using what might have worked with other women without genuinely trying to find out what matters to the new partner. The result is that the woman just goes along with what happens because she might be afraid to say what she wants, and the man thinks what he is doing is great and continues with more of the same. End result: dull, predictable sex with a lot of faking.

If I meet a possible lover, I tell him two things before we are even intimate:
1. That we can expect our first-time sex to be crap because we don't know each other's bodies or needs as yet. But, heck, practice always makes perfect!

2. That there is far more to sex than mere penetration, and if a guy is hung up on just giving an orgasm, instead of really making love and learning about each other, then he can expect to get fake orgasms.

That might not sound terribly romantic at first, but it sure gets rid of the unrealistic expectations that he might bring and allow us to take the trouble and time to know each other well, to enjoy being intimate with each other, and appreciate the joy of being together, without expecting the earth to move on every intimate occasion!

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Sex and the older adult: The Hidden Benefits

 


Having sex when we are older is entirely dependent upon physical and emotional attraction, the 'chemistry' that many people seek and talk about. Yet that is the age when that attraction is often replaced by something else - a desire for companionship. Yet, without that physical chemistry, in particular, sex will be almost non-existent or becomes a chore.

It is difficult to want to make love with people who have ceased to fire our imagination and loins or have stopped motivating us to want them, hence why many relationships among older people go to the wall. Many long relationships, in which the attraction and desire are absent, and where the people have taken each other for granted, tend to be virtually devoid of sex as the couples settle into companionship mode. Being governed by physical and emotional chemistry, sex is difficult to maintain when there is only an intellectual or platonic connection. It needs physical desire to propel it onward.

Making love depends on the level of what I call the PIE attraction: the physical, intellectual and emotional connection between two people. Where this is very high on both sides, they are likely to want to be together as much as possible, to literally be like rabbits around each other and have sex as often as possible. Hence why young lovers tend to have sex the most. But it has little to do with just age. Once we meet someone we like, that raises our blood pressure and makes us feel good. We are likely to feel very warm and sexual towards them, to want to be with them at every opportunity, to talk a lot together and ultimately make love as much as possible.

For example, when I was with the guy I call the love of my life, it was the most pleasurable and enjoyable time to spend whole weekends in bed because the three areas of attraction were so high between us. Yet we were both in our mid-50s. In between lovemaking we would talk our heads off, exploring different subjects while we constantly affirmed one another with loving and endearing compliments, part of the strong emotional connection. We just couldn't have enough of each other because the attraction was so powerful.


Fell into Lust
I remember laughing out loud after reading a survey that said how people in their 30s had sex an average of twice per week. Yet we were making love at least five times per week for the two years we were together, without ever getting tired of each other! In my marriage of 34 years, I always jokingly tell people that we 'fell into lust' when we met because we were so drawn together, my ex-partner and I, we used to just look at each other and wanted to go to bed, and this lasted until the end of the marriage.

With lovemaking being tied to physical attraction so heavily (we often tingle with anticipation just thinking of someone we want), wherever there is erectile dysfunction or too many 'headaches' you can almost guarantee that one or both parties in the relationship have gone off each other, they are no longer attracted enough to desire their partner and so their bodies begin to react accordingly. Once that happens too often having sex will gradually cease because the core part of it - physical attraction - will be largely absent. That is also one of the main reasons why there are so many affairs as people get older. They tend to resign themselves to accepting a broadly sexless life at home while they surreptitiously seek it outside to save the hassle of a divorce or break-up.

Sex is very important for our health, no matter what age we are and the benefits are phenomenal. It increases our self esteem, feeling of empowerment, value and desirability. However, on a practical level, it also relieves stress, burns calories, boosts our immunity and cardiovascular health, reduces prostate cancer risk, improves intimacy between the couple and improves our sleep patterns AND it reduces our weight.

Losing one's desire for sex is not automatic because of age. It is more likely to be lost because of neglect, a loss of attraction, taking each other for granted, a lack of effort and gradual resentment between the couple. To test this out, just meet a new person where there is great chemistry and attraction!




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Sexual Problems With Older Couples: Anxiety

 


In time, sex with the same person inevitably loses some of its wild excitement, which should be expected and accepted, not taken as a sign of any loss of love. In long-term relationships, the emphasis gradually shifts to familiarity and ease with each other. Intense sexual excitement is also gradually replaced by comfort and security, affection and touching. Many people often get 'performance anxiety' trying to push themselves to achieve multiple climaxes, or the simultaneous orgasms they used to have when they were younger. Then they become disappointed and feel inadequate when it doesn't happen. But worry and anxiety are not a part of enjoyable sex. It becomes a chore then, something to be avoided.

Anxieties and distractions are actually intruders during love-making, draining the moment of its passion. Taking them to bed with you squeezes out your spouse and guarantees no enjoyment. Personal questions and concerns about the sex act deserve attention, but at a time and place where a useful answer can be available, not when both parties are trying to enjoy each other. Often anxiety is not caused by the quality of the sex, but by the quality of the actual relationship which reflects itself in the couple's sex life. Thus if there isn't openness, honesty or less inhibition, one cannot really be loving and tactile at such intimate moments. Expressiveness is the key to sexual expression and when that's missing, it is difficult to enjoy the connection.

When we are older, sex is often sabotaged by anxieties. When men have trouble getting or keeping an erection, which can cause a lack of interest, there is likely to be a physical health factor or cause, or it could simply be emotional caused by worry. If sex is not enjoyable, perhaps because a climax cannot be reached, the whole process might then be avoided. However, for most of the time, lack of interest from both partners is likely to be caused by psychological factors such as depression, money problems, being disturbed by the children, feeling tense, fear of pregnancy, stress at work, feeling unattractive, fear of intimacy, anger towards – or a power struggle with – a partner, old beliefs about sex being dirty, traumatic experiences, guilt about extramarital interests, a fear of not being able to perform sexually or, most commonly, 'feeling tired' (Knox 1984; Masters, Johnson & Kolodny 1985).

All such anxieties limit the enjoyment of sex, even though good sex certainly increases the level of love and reduces the tension. It seems that couples who have a more equal relationship have the best sexual satisfaction rating because there is less inhibition, less power play and more respect for each other. Overall, if we engage in sexual intercourse with tenderness, enthusiasm and regularity, if it occurs in a comfortable setting and if both parties are unconcerned about pregnancy or guilt, it can be one of life's greatest joys, a cherished memory and a fantastic way to bond with another human being.

Nevertheless, we need to bear in mind the many couples who love each other deeply and, for whatever reasons, enjoy each other's companionship without having much interest in sex. They tend to be much older, have obviously lost the urge, perhaps have a disability or have been together for quite a long time and accepted each other as mainly companions.







Problems in Older Relationships: Absence of Sex

 


Sometimes, for one reason or another, whether hormonal, through illness or through anger, one partner goes off sex while living with a healthy spouse who still values a good sex life. It is highly unreasonable, selfish and cruel in some instances, to expect that partner to do without sex simply because we have gone off it or choose to use it as a weapon against them. That is a disaster waiting to happen.

No healthy person can be expected to go without sex as an imposition for the rest of their life, or for very long periods in a relationship. Sooner or later, that partner will look elsewhere. In fact, an affair is inevitable to satisfy that pressing need, unless the parties involved can come to some arrangement for sexual satisfaction through some other means.


The basis of attraction is sex
In the heady days of romance, there is a lot of it. In years to follow, sex dominates and will continue like that until both parties call a halt. It is therefore unreasonable to expect a 'normal' relationship to function without sex simply because one party does not care for it, or wishes to deny it for any reason. Denying sex and expecting partners to simply accept it, without discussing options for their comfort, stems from a lack of respect, or a desire to control or punish them by withdrawing affection. No relationship like this can hope to have a future.

In fact, all the latest research points to sex being very good for your health and an active sex life is said to be "crucial to feeling great and staying healthy in old age", according to Intimate Relations: Living and Loving in Later Life, published in 2004 by the charity, Age Concern. Author Sarah Brewer, a GP, argues that sex helps to reduce stress, leads to greater contentment and better sleeping patterns. "Sex is often a taboo subject in later life, but physical intimacy doesn't fizzle out and disappear as you get older," she says. "When you enjoy a rewarding and regular sex life, all aspects of life, including the enormous range of benefits to your health, tend to take on a rosier hue."

The book says having sex and doing exercise are crucial to feeling good as you get older. Dr Brewer adds that, while exercise would burn fat and help prevent heart disease, having sex is the key to real health benefits because sex causes the brain to release endorphins – naturally occurring chemicals that act as painkillers and reduce anxiety. Research has also shown that sex prompts the release of substances that bolster the immune system.


Powerful Incentive

Intimacy is therefore not negotiable. It can be both a powerful incentive and a deterrent to becoming deeply sexual with the partner you know you will eventually lose. In a culture that denies death, it also takes a lot of courage to love a partner for life and wish to be closely bonded with them when you are acutely aware that you could lose them at any time. But sexual bonding is important for partners to remain faithful to one another. In the absence of a satisfactory sex life, some research suggests that a poor marriage is often associated with unfaithfulness.

In the latest research in the UK, for example, 84 per cent of men and 56 per cent of women claimed to have had an affair in the past year. With the Internet and the mobile phone at the ready, the field is wide open for clandestine meetings and satisfying sexual needs. In this respect, men appear to seek casual sex and have more outside partners, while women seek emotional attachment and have fewer partners. Working outside the home and having their own income also increase the chances of affairs for women, a situation which has dramatically increased the percentage of women having relationships with people other than their spouses.

As we can see, incompatibility in sex is thus the final invisible force which can destroy relationships, and not the sex itself. It really is about how matched we are and how long that compatibility lasts. If sex has just become really boring between you, to keep your partner's attention you need to spice it up and make a production out of it. Stop being a slob in front of the television, or using outings with the lads or ladies as an excuse. At least once each week, go out to dinner, go dancing, go to a comedy club, or whatever you like. It is entirely up to you. But you must do something different! Nothing kills intimacy more than predictability and sameness. Enjoy an evening with the clear intention of being seductively romantic and then coming home with plenty of time to make love.

At other times when you are at home, try having sex in different places or at different times, perhaps in the morning or right after exercising. Give each other a bath and/or full body massages. Read together, perhaps a book of love poems, or even one on sexual techniques, then talk and talk as required, about your sexual enjoyment and how that can be increased. Talk until words are no longer necessary and action takes over. Sex is the greatest gift of your life. Don't worry about it or ponder upon it. Simply learn to enjoy it.






Why are intimate relationships so complex?

 


There are all kinds of answers to why intimate relationships are complex, because many people often forget that a relationship initially consists of two complete strangers with differing personalities, expectations, aspirations and desires. It takes a hell of a lot for them to co-exist without angst, with mutual respect and in almost complete alignment with each other's needs.

The most common reasons for the complexity are likely to revolve around four key ones: 
1. A clash of expectations. The biggest killer of relationships are unfulfilled expectations, especially from a gender perspective. People go into partnerships, often with unrealistic expectations, perhaps a desire for perfection, and unaligned objectives, expecting their partner to deliver. Naturally, when those expectations remain unfulfilled, or are ignored, disappointment, followed by resentment and possibly anger, set in. Once there is disillusion, it is hard to get back the feel-good times of the earlier days. Resentment and 'victimhood' take over.

2. Inadequate knowledge of partners. No matter how well we think we know our spouse or partner, we can never get the full measure of them in a hurry, no matter how long we take to do it, because partners are always trying to impress each other, especially at the beginning, or to avoid conflict. So the only time we can ever really understand someone and their true personalities, values and priorities, is during a crisis, and many couples go for years without having any real crises. Hence why years down the line, you are likely to hear a partner saying that famous chestnut, "My wife/husband doesn't understand me!"

3. Lack of expressiveness in intimacy. To be truly intimate means to be expressive, to expose one's feelings and desires in a vulnerable way if the couple are to be really close. Many people cannot do that and some go even further by preserving a barrier around themselves which is hard to penetrate. It means that the couple never really get close together, which leaves one or both parties prone to misunderstandings, misinterpretations, secretiveness and defensiveness, never really open and trusting with one another.

4. Cultural issues. This is a big one because it really depends on how one was reared. If a person grew up in a detached household, for example, where there was not much physical love, and then pairs up with someone who is more tactile, more loving and empathetic, that's a mismatch that will get steadily worse over time. The different expectations will kick in down the line and that can often be the beginning of the end if one person feels short-changed or frustrated and the other is not willing to compromise.

In a nutshell, relationships are complex because human beings are not simple beings. We are complex creatures too, in thought and actions. It follows that any relationship we form will be equally complex and fraught with anxieties unless we are prepared to compromise, to truly allow partners to be themselves and to work together for greater understanding.






Who knows more about sex - Men or Women?

 


That's a difficult question because sex is an area often talked about but is quite different in actual reality. It is very hard to know what goes on in the privacy of other people's homes. On the face of it, my guess would be that MEN know more about sex because they take the lead in things sexual, so they have to know something, at least instinctively, about knowing how to woo a woman.

I know quite a lot about sex, especially why it doesn't work between some couples, but I have gained that from my role as an agony aunt, so I cannot assume that every other woman shares that knowledge. I am also aware than some men think they know but are perilously inept when it comes to interacting intimately, which is also why they keep repeating the same sexual mistakes in their relationships or carry bad habits down the line.

Yes, this is a very tricky topic that has stumped even me. However, if I had to make an educated guess, I would have to say Men, especially the ones who are more givers than takers because gthey would have taken the time to learn about their women's needs rather than just assuming with every encounter.

But perhaps you think differently? :o)