What is it about sex that makes it so fascinating yet difficult in so many relationships?
F looked at B and said “we should do this more often! Why don’t we do this more often?” B responded that he had no idea. He too had enjoyed their love making. They had both felt elated and whole in their intimacy but in their post-coital state, a sense of sadness and loss seemed to descend.
In the beginning of their relationship they simply could not spend enough time locked in each other’s arms. As their lives became more routine and fell into an expected pattern of child care and domestic demands neither of them seemed to notice the lengthening of time between their love makings. It was not clear whether they had become too comfortable, too familiar in their physical relationship to find sexual excitement in each other or were there more deeply rooted hidden difficulties. Their mutual excitement for each had faded and they were left with difficulties that their uninhibited desire had hidden.
So why don’t F and B simply get on with it and enjoy the experience?
While it is true there are those fortunate people who continue for their life time to experience sex as a powerful way to enjoy intimacy, to express a passionate longing, to give and receive pleasure, it does not have such an appeal for others.
For some people going to bed and making love is a pleasant enough way to end a demanding day but given the option of watching another episode of their favourite box set the latter often wins. The daily demands of a busy life may be exhausting, energy may feel shot and sex becomes just too much.
At an extreme end of this question making love may be too difficult to even think about, perhaps may even be a source of dread. Difficulties may be a result of damaging experiences in the life of either or both partners.
Delayed reaction to sexual abuse can be profoundly damaging and may make the sexual relationship a frightening reliving of a childhood experience. First sexual encounters can be traumatic and leave a legacy of fear, even disgust.
The experience of getting pregnant, of processing the powerful emotional and physical demands of the actual birth and the subsequent adjustments that both partners have to make may profoundly intrude on their sexual experience.
Sexual difficulties are successfully treatable and couples can find a way back into each other's arms. Recognising the problem, accepting it and keeping the channels of communication open are basic to beginning the healing process.
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