The topic of sex dominates our pop culture. We are a society that seems driven by sex. The lust for more. Yet when it comes to affairs the solutions hardly ever mention sex. I find this very confusing.
In the case of an affair one partner felt the need to stray outside of their marriage for sexual satisfaction. The experts pin reasons on many things from lack of emotional connections to poor communication within a marriage. They look at things like depression and sharing of household duties. Very rarely, however, is the topic just about sex. What if it was about the sex? Is that not an important enough reason? Why is it not first in the list of reasons considering how much it dominates our culture? What about non-monogamous relationships? Is there not a need for sex in those?
I heard this joke recently (sorry can’t recall the source) where they were laughing about how no one in the mattress world uses sex to sell mattresses. They use science; bowling balls; medical diagrams of spines; cutting them in half. Nearly every other product being sold uses sex to sell but not the one thing that people are usually using for sex! It struck me as pretty funny. Then I got to thinking, are affairs the same way? They are all about sex, but when analyzed sex always drops out of the list of reasons.
Considering statistics of late showing that most people have some form of non-normative sex it would seem that types of sex could be an issue. Not all sex or sexual partners are created equal. Perhaps for a large majority of people there are common threads about communication and other factors leading to libido and availability to their partners, but being available does not cover types of sex.
When you look at personalities it really concerns me. On the Myers Brigg types, guardians make up a large percentage of the population. In some cases, such as the type my wife is, the percentage of just one type is so large among women as to have a large cultural influence on what is considered acceptable in society. On the other hand my type makes up less than 2% of the population. Are people like me even being represented in these assumptions on things like sex and affairs? I fear we are not.
Looking at how my wife views sex, and then reading these solutions to affairs I can clearly see how they would work for her. It’s a no brainer. She doesn’t need sex. She needs an emotional connection. She needs me to listen to her and make her feel special. Then she will give me somewhat more sex. She will at least acknowledge she should even if she can never seem to find the time. But you see it’s not the frequency of the sex I’m concerned with.
Also consider spouses who are not very into sex. Maybe once a week/month is all they really desire. If both partners don’t feel that way who is supposed to give?
Now consider both cases. The case of one spouse wanting non-normative sex while the other doesn’t, and the case where one spouse wants much more frequent sex than the other. In both cases is it right for the spouse who does not want those things to give in? Would that not build resentment over time? Or worse, for the spouse putting the pressure on, a feeling of guilt and shame for pushing their partner beyond enjoyment. Because I have to tell you, although I want my wife to do all kinds of sexual fantasies with me, on the rare occasions she actually tries, it feels so absolutely shitty to me afterward. She didn’t want it. Her heart wasn’t in it. She played a role without feeling any of it. It was empty for both of us – driving us apart rather than together.
Now I turn back to the original question because I am very confused. How important is sex? When you think of your marriage, your spouse or your ex-spouse, how much of an impact does sex have on you two being together or not together? If communication were perfect, if you felt an emotional connection, how much of your problems would be left to sex alone? Because at the end of the day the only person we are allowed by society to have sex with regularly is our spouse. Just that one person.