Sexual relationships are important to healthy marriages. But not every healthy marriage is the same.
Sex therapist Laurie Watson, author of Wanting Sex Again: How to Rediscover Your Desire and Heal a Sexless Marriage, has helped thousands of couples rekindle their desire. Recently, I interviewed her and was surprised by how much I learned.
Can you discuss what I call the myth of the large penis? (Admittedly I am a small woman, so is it just me who is underwhelmed by oversize?)
I receive 10 complaints about a man being too large [for every] one complaint [about] a man being too small.
The clitoris is the center of a woman's sexual universe. Only 15 to 20 percent of women reach orgasm through the vagina. And even in such cases, it is not necessarily a literal vaginal orgasm; it could be that a given woman's clitoris is unusually close to the vagina.
Keep in mind that what governs a women's sexual desire is fantasy and sense of connection to her partner. What governs men's sexual desire is testosterone.
What if a sexual experience does not meet expectations? How can a couple use this moment to find sexual passion in their relationship?
The first thing you need to do is to have a conversation. Be sure it comes from an open and loving place rather than a complaining and blaming one. Say, "I want to feel closer to you." Don't say, "How come you never want to touch me anymore?"
The ultimate goal is not sexual intercourse, but finding a level of intimacy that pleases both partners.
How can couples who have grown apart sexually regain pleasure from physical intimacy?
Start slowly with physical touch. Lie naked together.
On the next night give each other sensual massage that avoids erogenous zones.
After that, on another day, plan some time for sensual massage that includes erogenous zones and genitals.
For the next encounter, try working your way to mutual orgasm but without intercourse.
And then, on yet another night (or day), go ahead and have intercourse, keeping in mind that intercourse is not necessarily the end goal. Sometimes the man can't perform due to age; sometimes women as they age experience pain with intercourse.
Men often feel, "If I can't perform then what's the use?" Honest, open, non-blaming conversation will help address these issues. Again, the goal is not necessarily sexual intercourse, but sexual joy.
Many women take on too much and are simply tired. What tips do you have for them to find the physical and mental energy to have sex at the end of a long day?
This is where a woman needs to use her mind for fantasy. We need sex and love and autonomy and fulfillment at work. Because we are not driven by testosterone, women need something to feed their desire.
When we are young, we shave our legs, we put on pretty panties, we flirt, all that leads to becoming aroused and lubricated. We use our minds to excite us.
Women need to collect sexual fantasies. Notice how you feel from a stranger's glance, a song, a TV show (or these days, a TV commercial). Accumulate these fantasies.
When you get into bed at night, it doesn't have to be the first time you thought about sex.
Is it okay to feed your sexual fantasies by thinking about someone other than your partner?
Attraction to someone outside of our relationship reminds us that we are sexual beings. Attraction is an exciting, fun part of being alive. On the other hand, if you have an ongoing fantasy with intent, that can get you into trouble. But just thinking such and such a guy is hot is fine within a monogamous commitment.
Many couples have loving relationships, by cuddling and other forms of contact, but without intercourse. Some women simply worry that they ought to be having more sex. How does someone know whether or not there is a problem?
A problem exists if there is a discrepancy between the woman's and the man's levels of desire.
What should a woman do if her husband shows no interest in having sex?
There are lots of men with low libido. Have his testosterone levels tested. Low libido in a man can result from too much pornography -- because without that overdose of stimulation, he is no longer motivated to enjoy the complications of lovemaking. He may find it more efficient to do it himself. Married men's masturbating has become more common with ready access to porn on the Internet.
Visit also my blog, Confessions of a Worrywart and at susanorlins.com!