Thursday, March 12, 2009

Negotiating Sex with your partner part 2

Last week I saw a tremendous response to Negotiating Sex With Your Partner. Many of you emailed me saying you have tried everything I mentioned in my first article but are still having problems. So if you're like many others who've tried to talk to their partner and still have issues, this article is for you.

That first article was an introduction into the basics of negotiating sex in your relationship. If you have shared your likes and dislikes and are still having problems, the next step requires a bit of hard work and honest discussions with your partner and also with yourself.

Some relationships are not focused on sex because they are rich in other ways, such as shared values or emotional connections. Consider the importance of your sexual request. Are you willing to live without it? In looking at the whole picture you might have to agree not to engage in the behavior. This is often the case in 'kinkier' types of sexual behavior. If you absolutely are unwilling to live without the type of sexual behavior, consider the next two ideas.

If your need or desire is important enough that you choose to not live without it, you and your partner need to negotiate an alternative way to get your sexual needs met. This can be difficult and elicit significant fear, jealousy and raise other issues. It may or may not require changes in the type of your relationship. For example, if your partner loves BDSM and you don't, would you be comfortable if your partner visited these kinds of websites in order for him to chat with others so he can indulge in the fantasy? Or, if you are both "bottoms" you may have to incorporate "toys" into the relationship.

In my experience, ongoing and significant issues regarding sex can be symptoms of underlying problems with the relationship. While no one likes to hear it, the failure to arrive at a solution might suggest the relationship may not be a healthy one. A hard and honest look at your relationship may reveal it isn't healthy and may need to end. An example of behavior in an unhealthy relationship might include saying things like “Yes I’ll do it” but never intending to follow through. Or constantly trying to persuade your partner to engage in a behavior is also manipulation and not a healthy sign. If you are both stuck in this area and don't see a solution, seeking outside professional help may be the best and possibly the last option for you.

Sexual satisfaction is a major component of overall relationship satisfaction. Research has repeatedly stressed overall health is connected to relationship satisfaction. If you continue to struggle in this area, I strongly recommend seeking additional help from a qualified professional.

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