Monday, November 7, 2011

How to Get Your Wife to Have Sex With You

This just in: Married people never have sex anymore! Seriously though. My friend Dr. Logan Levkoff, PhD, who I met in my Trojan days, has a new book out called How to Get Your Wife to Have Sex With You. The project comes from Good in Bed, a digital sex advice publishing house founded by Dr. Ian Kerner.

The site features works by a number of qualified, intelligent professionals and I really like it. This eBook is Logan's first full-length work for the site, and while I'm not married and probably not a good person to judge whether sex advice for married people is good or not, I asked her if I could review it.

Our culture perpetuates a trope that women, once snugged into the marriage they're supposed to spend their entire young adult lives gunning for, never want to have sex anymore. Maybe that's true. Married people do tend to report greater sexual satisfaction, but the frequency of sex in the majority of long term relationships does actually decline.

Of course, our culture directs a tremendous amount of sex negativity and judgment towards women and when a woman has played all her cards right and engaged in the right amount of sexual subterfuge and has scored the win, she might feel like her job is done and that sex is something she no longer has to deliver because maybe she never really wanted it in the first place. Who knows.

So I read the book on my fancy new iPad and asked Logan some questions.

JS: You seem to agree with Dan Savage's sentiment that sex--to the extent that both partners want it--is a right that people have in marriage, and if one partner refuses to (or can't) meet the other's reasonable sexual needs, they have the right to get their needs met elsewhere. Christopher Ryan, who wrote Sex at Dawn, would argue that women also have a need for excitement and sexual variety, when our culture tends to assume women's interest in sex just naturally wanes over time. Do you think that men who can't get their needs met by their wives have the right to go outside their marriage?

LL: It’s funny, I’ve never really seen myself as being in agreement with Dan on this particular subject. Yes, I think that sex is part of a relationship - an important part of a relationship. However, I don’t think that people in committed, monogamous relationships have a “right” to have their needs meet elsewhere. Relationships take time and while they shouldn’t feel like “work,” you have to work at enhancing (even managing) them. When I say that marital sex is a “right,” I mean it in the larger cultural sense. We have no problem talking about sex within the context of marriage, however, sex outside of marriage (premarital, teen, etc) is still so fraught with negativity and judgment. We don’t feel guilty about having sex if we’re married; it’s our “right.” That being said, I think that Christopher Ryan is on to something very important. Women do have a need for excitement and variety; we don't always want to act on it, but we fantasize all the time. Sadly though, our society hasn't exactly been supportive of women's desires and explorations of their sexuality.

JS: To what extent do you think sexism and gender roles affect women's ability to continue to feel 'sexy' as wives and mothers? What can we do about this? Basically, do women feel like great sex/being a 'sex goddess' is something they have to do to get a man but then once they're married are like, 'fuck it, don't have to do that anymore'?

LL: I think that there are huge pressures on women to be sexy - and in one particularly narrow minded image of “sexy.” This is definitely not how men see women - unless they’re fifteen years old and don’t know any better:) In truth we (women) are often our own worst critics. We stand in our own way. But I definitely don’t think that women go into a relationship thinking that once they’re married they don’t have to be sexy anymore. Rather, I think that the time and energy women have to devote to maintaining their “sexiness” changes. Once you’re taking care of everyone else, you forget to take care of yourself - you may not even have the time. It’s definitely not deliberate.

JS: A recent Huffington Post article highlighted a study that showed that husbands' sexual satisfaction was a strong predictor of marital disruption and divorce, but a wife's wasn't. Shouldn't women be more concerned with keeping their man sexually satisfied so he doesn't cheat to get his needs met?

LL: I think that all people should be concerned with having their sexual needs met, regardless of their gender. Sure, sex changes in a relationship, but there should still be physical intimacy. Otherwise you have a roommate. And well, eventually someone starts to wonder...and potentially wander, too.

JS: Why don't women want sex?

LL: Women want sex. Women miss the sex that they used to have -- we miss the desire we used to have. In many ways we are amazing multi-taskers, but when it comes to sex, we have a hard time prioritizing it. For some reason if we haven’t had it in a while, we start to forget that it was ever important. And it is, important.

JS: Describe, as a professional, your ideal married sexual relationship.

LL: I don’t think that there’s one ideal. However, I do believe in some guiding principles: Don’t buy into all the magazine hype. 425 New Ways to Drive Him Crazy? Have Sex Like it Was the First Time? It’s all bullshit. You can never have sex like you did in the beginning (when it was all new), but that doesn’t mean it can’t be great. The magazine covers contribute to a “Grass is Always Greener” attitude - that’s not good for any long term relationship.
  • Talk to each other as soon as something comes up - before it becomes a bigger issue.
  • If you miss having sex, talk about it. If you are frustrated by lack of desire, speak up about that, too. If you don’t share your feelings, your partner thinks you don’t care or aren’t interested in him/her anymore.
  • Get a vibrator. To use alone and with your partner. Pleasure is important and the more pleasure you have, the more often you’ll want it.
  • I’m less concerned with the number of times a week or month you have “intercourse.” Any physically intimate act that has the potential to end in orgasm counts as sex to me. If we stopped focusing on quantity, maybe we’d get some high quality sex, which actually leads to more high quality sex. See where I’m going with this?
You're going to have to buy the book to get the rest of Logan's advice, people. Download it here.


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