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Thread: Searching for more passion in the bedroom

  1. #1

    Exclamation Searching for more passion in the bedroom

    I saw this fascinating discussion on sexless marriages on Dateline NBC last night. Click here for the transcript and video:

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/13865371

    This is part of the transcript that you should all read:

    So what’s going wrong in these two marriages and in millions of others?

    Absolutely nothing, says Dr. David Schnarch, author of 3 popular books, including “Passionate Marriage.” This clinical psychologist has counseled thousands of sexless couples, taught hundreds of sex therapists around the world and practiced what he preaches in his own 18 year marriage.

    Dr. Schnarch isn’t surprised Jack and Tammy’s special dates, hormone creams or conventional therapy have failed to solve their problem. He says they never work because those fixes are based on a myth.

    Dr. Schnarch: We have to stop thinking that sex is a biological function that happens automatically and if it doesn’t you are screwed up.

    Dr. Schnarch says intimacy can be revived whether a couple has been sexless for 5 years or 50. But first, you must avoid a prime sex killer in marriage. That is, allowing what your spouse thinks of you to determine how you feel about yourself.

    Schnarch: Your lives are so entwined and what literally happens is over the course of time, in most marriages, your partner becomes too important to show the hidden sexual side of yourself.

    And so over time, spouses decide it’s too risky to be brutally honest about their desires or deepest feelings and chose to protect the status quo with years of compromise. Sex is lousy and soon come the fights about who wants sex and who doesn’t.

    Schnarch: The assumption has always been the low desire partner is frigid or doesn’t like sex the reason they are the low desire partner is they know the sex they’re having isn’t worth wanting. It’s the high desire partner you really gotta wonder about because the sex is so lousy and they want two helpings of it.

    >>Guess which books I will be reading? It's never too late to keep trying.

    GG
    Last edited by General Gonad; 07-15-2006 at 02:20 PM.

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by Daringly
    ... in my own opinion 90% of all couples who are married 10 years or more at some point reach this stage and this is why the divorce rate is around 50%. That's not a pretty picture.
    The point is that all relationships require work. There is no such thing as an "effortless" relationship and those who believe this are doomed to fail. Also, before you reach for the exit route, you need to try and ask yourself some tough questions and listen to your partner's concerns even if you do not like what you're hearing.

    GG

  3. #3
    One woman for the rest of your life.
    She will most likely lose her looks within a few years.
    You can no longer look at other women.
    You must buy her the world.
    You must constantly work on the relationship.
    She gets half or more of everything upon divorce.

    Thanks, but I'll pass.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by bond_james_bond
    One woman for the rest of your life.
    She will most likely lose her looks within a few years.
    You can no longer look at other women.
    You must buy her the world.
    You must constantly work on the relationship.
    She gets half or more of everything upon divorce.

    Thanks, but I'll pass.
    Well, put Bond. Studies show that higher earning women are less likely to get married. Higher earning men are more likely to get married. Think about that.

    I realize I'll offend a lot of people with this, but as far as looks go, sometimes it's not just age. Look around America in the summer. Look at the married women. Some are still attractive or in some kind of shape. But many have just let themselves go, as though being married is a license to stop caring. Shows how concerned you are with keeping your mate happy, doesn't it? Men do this too, but it seems a little less often, or maybe men, with more muscle mass and different body types just hide it better? But if you marry someone, man/woman, doesn't matter, and they then let themselves go and gain 100lbs in five years, IMHO, that ought to be grounds for divorce. If you care about your partner, and your partner loves you, why not take care of yourself better?

    And GG, I realized long ago, that towards the end with my wife, I was the one who didn't want sex. Why? Too much work to please the same woman over and over and over and over and over
    Last edited by btyger; 07-15-2006 at 03:33 PM.
    Why are homely people discriminated against...we're the majority

  5. #5

    Hey all you marriage bashers...

    Guys, stop being so negative on monogamous relationships. With those attitudes, you'll never attempt to get married. But what if you truly loved your wife, had kids, and everything was perfect except for the sex? This is exactly what is going on in many marriages today.

    This clinical psychologist has helped many couples rediscover the joy of sex. I am happy to report that I have made progress on this front but I need to keep working a lot more. We both do.

    If you believe in family and kids, then a marriage is definetely worth it. Read all the transcript to understand how this therapy works.

    I agree with him that sex is not bioligical but more mental. In other words, it's not a hopeless cause to try and revive your sex life.

    GG

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    GG, I don't wish to get personal and I don't want to insult you, but...if you're the leading proponent of monogamy, that doesn't bode well. You're as far from monogamous as Canada is from Tehran. If marriage is so great, then why are you seemingly in turmoil? Why are so many in turmoil?

    Half of them end in divorce, and the other half are so far from perfect and require so much work, I think it's valid to question the institution.
    Why are homely people discriminated against...we're the majority

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by btyger
    GG, I don't wish to get personal and I don't want to insult you, but...if you're the leading proponent of monogamy, that doesn't bode well. You're as far from monogamous as Canada is from Tehran. If marriage is so great, then why are you seemingly in turmoil? Why are so many in turmoil?
    btyger,

    You are getting personal but I know you do not mean harm. Why do the majority of marriages fail? Is it money,sex, or both? I think it is all about miscommunication or no communication.

    BTW, regardless of what you or anyone else feels, my marriage is far from being in turmoil. I am not telling people to be monogamous but I am not going to tell you that marriage sucks and you should just pay SPs for the rest of your life. This is silly nonsense.

    There is more to life than hobbying...a hell of a lot more.

    GG

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by General Gonad
    btyger,

    You are getting personal but I know you do not mean harm. Why do the majority of marriages fail? Is it money,sex, or both? I think it is all about miscommunication or no communication.

    BTW, regardless of what you or anyone else feels, my marriage is far from being in turmoil. I am not telling people to be monogamous but I am not going to tell you that marriage sucks and you should just pay SPs for the rest of your life. This is silly nonsense.

    There is more to life than hobbying...a hell of a lot more.

    GG
    Of course there is. I wish you nothing but the best, and if you say your marriage is good, good. I didn't mean to take a personal shot.

    As far as marriage in general goes, well, caveat emptor.
    Why are homely people discriminated against...we're the majority

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by bond_james_bond
    One woman for the rest of your life.
    She will most likely lose her looks within a few years.
    You can no longer look at other women.
    You must buy her the world.
    You must constantly work on the relationship.
    She gets half or more of everything upon divorce.

    Thanks, but I'll pass.
    No more dating, hooking up, or clubbing.

    So will he most likely lose his looks also.

    She is expected to be perpetually "ready" and find all other men uninteresting.

    She must beware of his ego if she earns more than him.

    and most divorced women are currently living well below the poverty line.


    Women have a lot to lose if the relationship is not strong either!


    Ronnie,
    Naughtylady
    They will forget what you said,
    they will forget what you did,
    but they will never forget the way you made them feel.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daringly
    GG
    I myself am not married my longest fling about 7 yrs. However i have all kinds of friends who are married and this is the harsh reality. The ones that have been married for longer then 15 years they are either miserable, wish they were single or they go thru the motions of being a couple but in my own opinion 90% of all couples who are married 10 years or more at some point reach this stage and this is why the divorce rate is around 50%. That's not a pretty picture.

    Yesterday I spent the evening with a couple celebrating their 23rd anniversary.

    Average looking couple. (I found them good looking but I like a little more meat on the bones than the current standard of beauty according to the media) Clearly still in love with eachother.

    When it is good it can be really really good.

    Ronnie,
    Naughtylady
    They will forget what you said,
    they will forget what you did,
    but they will never forget the way you made them feel.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by naughtylady
    No more dating, hooking up, or clubbing.

    So will he most likely lose his looks also.

    She is expected to be perpetually "ready" and find all other men uninteresting.

    She must beware of his ego if she earns more than him.

    and most divorced women are currently living well below the poverty line.


    Women have a lot to lose if the relationship is not strong either!


    Ronnie,
    Naughtylady
    All true. I just realized my earlier post on looks is way off. The best looking people are those most likely to get divorced. Don't believe me? Look at Hollywood

    Hell, my wife and I are both still young and attractive...she was just married to a jerk
    Why are homely people discriminated against...we're the majority

  12. #12
    Well, the divorce rate is 50%, and who knows how many existing marriages are happy ones.

    Take your chances if you wish, but with those kinds of odds, I'm playing it safe. If you end up divorced, you end up worse off than single. Single again, but with an alimony payment.

    I just wish society would respect your personal decision to remain single. Higher taxes, dirty looks in restaurants while dining alone, harder to get security clearances, extra attention when crossing the border, etc.

  13. #13

    Back to the thread, not debating marriage...

    Some more from the transcript:

    Our couples will see Dr. Schnarch three hours a day for four intense days.

    Dr. Schnarch: You canít agree to disagree about sex. You either have it or you donít.

    Each spouse will face the truths about their own sexual desire, and secrets theyíve been keeping from their spouse.

    Then the hard part begins.

    Schnarch: Now the question is what do you wanna do in real time now that changes your life so that the past doesnít run you?

    Those answers may make or break these marriages.

    On the first morning, Jack and Tammy tell Dr. Schnarch what they told us.

    Jack: I have a much higher level of sexual desire than she does. And, itís something thatís been going on for about six or seven years now.

    Tammy: Well, I feel like he doesnít understand how much I donít want to have sex.

    Schnarch tells our couple how they have sex... or avoid it reveals everything about their marriage. When Jack and Tammy describe how they make love it sounds, like a war zone.

    Jack always initiates and Tammy almost always gets defensive.

    Jack: I canít roll over and put my hand on her arm without her arm sort of clinching up to cover the breast. Because sheís afraid, ďOh well, heís trying to start something.Ē Thatís the the feeling I get.

    Schnarch: Like your wife is defending herself against you?

    Jack: Yes, sheís defending herself.

    Tammy is so reluctant to have sex, Jack admits he resorts to sneaking up on his wife while sheís falling asleep.

    Jack: Since she never wants to do that when sheís awake, itís either when sheís asleep. Or I will give her a full body massage and as part of the massage, kind of work that in.

    But then Dr. Schnarch asks Tammy how she feels when the massage stops and the sex begins. Itís the first clue about how little Jack knows of his wifeís sexual desires.

    Tammy: I turn over and he starts doing the front. Once he starts stimulating my genitals, then Iím there and Iím interested and Iíve forgotten, ďOkay, I donít want to have sex.Ē

    Schnarch: So this certainly doesnít fit the stereotype of the frigid woman who doesnít like sex. The sex part you like.

    Tammy: Yeah, yeah.

    This is a big revelation to Jack. Tammy likes sex but not the way she feels when heís doing the romancing.

    Tammy: Well, itís just (starts to cry)-- I feel like Iím always under pressure. I feel like heís blamed me for years. And that itís more of my problem not ours.

    But Tammy and Jack quickly realize this therapy is not about whoís at faultóitís about facing the truth. And the fact is Tammy shares the same bed with Jack during sex but thatís all.

    Schnarch: Itís not really, ĎOh weíre together, this is about you and me.í

    Tammy: No. Thatís not it

    Schnarch: You have an orgasm with your husband by yourself?

    Tammy: Yeah I guess so (laughs)

    As for Jack, he hears that heís using sex with Tammy to calm himself and ease his own insecurities. His wife knows it and that dampens her desire for him.

    Schnarch: Youíre getting hurt because youíre beginning to realize the lack of emotional contact between the two of you. Itís not the lack of sex. Itís the lack of contact. How does that picture sit with you?

    Jack: Itís painful. Before, I felt sort of physically alone. And now, I feel completely alone.

    In just one session, Tammy is reassured that she has plenty of sexual desire - the problem is right now, itís not for her husband. Jackís wondering, if this therapy will fix that?

    Our second couple, john and kee start their first session by listing all the reasons they donít have sexóa busy life, the pressures of raising three small children, and those extra pounds. Doctor Schnarch doesnít buy it.

    Schnarch: Weíre gonna die if we stick with just the story that we have here that this is just about body weight and kids.

    Keye admits she doesnít want sex because lovemaking with john is ďdull.Ē

    Keye: For him itís like ďO.K. lets have sex (claps) right now.Ē

    John: I donít think itís quite that abrupt.

    Keye: Thatís what it feels like to me.

    She wants more erotic sex, but sheís reluctant to tell john what she needs.

    Schnarch: What youíre saying to him in code is ďI donít wanna have to teach you what turns me on.

    John: That is the message.

    Keye: That is the message.

    Yet John admits itís more than that. He says the real problem is he feels inadequate and worries he canít measure up to her expectations in bed.

    John: I had only one partner before her which is pretty I guess rare. But, Iím just worried that I canít really satisfy her.

    This is the first big revelation. John came to therapy believing he had the greater desire for sex. Now heís hearing he had the problem backwards.

    The conversation has hit a nerve.

    Schnarch: Weíve got to get you settled down.

    John: I donít think I can.

    Schnarch: Thatís fine.

    John grows more and more anxiousóuntil he is moved to tears.

    Johnís emotion makes Keye very uncomfortable... and she quickly moves in to comfort John.

    Keye: Oh honey

    Schnarch: Donít do that. That wonít help him that will make it worse.

    Keye: Itís hard not to.

    Keeís reaction tells Dr. Schnarch even more about the marriage. Keye is mothering John, trying to quiet him down, because she canít bear to see him upset. But Dr. Schnarch says sheís got to learn to tolerate Johnís anxiety not try to stop it.

    Schnarch: Yes. So hereís the deal. If you want to be helpful to your husband, you need to regulate yourself. So we need you to take a deep breath too. Ok? No, Iím serious. The way that youíre acting itís like your husband is weak and vulnerable and heís gonna fall apart.

    Keye: Huh, I never thought of it like that.

    Schnarch: Right now youíre doing a full-time job of trying to keep his ego afloat.

    Keye: Thatís probably true.

    Schnarch: And one of the reasons Iím proposing she may not be interesting in having sex is because women very often do not wanna have sex with the guy that they feel theyíre propping up.

    John: I need her strength.

    Schnarch: Yeah, but this idea of your strength is gonna come from her, itís only gonna get done because youíre gonna push yourself to do what you need to do on on your own.

    Seeing John break down and confront his fears, doesnít make him weaker in Keyeís eyes... in fact itís just the opposite. Sheís impressed that heís being so honest.

    Keye: I mean heís probably the strongest Iíve ever seen him right now.

    John: I would never believe that.

    Schnarch: The question is do you believe it now?

    Is this a huge turning point for John and Keye? Willing to be brutally honest and saying things that have gone unsaid for years?

    Our two husbands have taken a battering on day one. Day two will make the wives wonder why they ever agreed to undergo therapy.

  14. #14

    Day 2 of the therapy

    Day two of the therapy:

    The doctor asks for more details about how they make love.

    Keye: Itís been very rudimentary.

    John: Rudimentary is a good word.

    Schnarch: How do you know when youíre done?

    Keye: When someone has an orgasm.

    That someone is always John, who admits itís a problem.

    Schnarch: Johnís orgasm is controlling when sex is over.

    Keye: Uh-huh (Affirms).

    Schnarch: So, youíre letting your body make the decision. As opposed to whether your head is done.

    John: You are really good.

    Schnarch: Well, you have a very common difficulty.

    It may be a common problem, but Keye resents John for stopping lovemaking too soonó yet she never tells him.

    Keye: Uh-huh (AFFIRM). The funny part about it is that if he werenít my husband, Iíd probably just say. Just that. JustóďI need more.Ē

    Schnarch: But the fact that heís your husband, all of a sudden you canít say the truth? Why not?

    Keye: Maybe a fear of losing him, or if Iím telling him Iím unsatisfied, maybe heíll find somebody else that will be satisfied with what heís doing.

    But John says he now wants Keye to tell him the truth. Back at their cabin, John showed her just how serious he is about facing his fears. He shed some inhibitions, literally, by going naked in front of his wife.

    John: Just walking around naked. I would never have normally have done tható

    Keye: Yeah.

    John: --ever.

    Stafford: Whyíd you do it?

    John: To see what it felt like. To see if I could do it. Could I not be who I was a day ago?

    Stafford: So what did you learn?

    John: I could do it. And I didnít feel apprehensive.

    But Keye doesnít know what to make of the ďnewĒ John.

    Keye: Itís making me a little insecure about what my role is and like who I am in this relationship. I donít know what to do. (Keye breaks down and cries.)

    The session leaves Keye feeling as drained as her husband did the day before. She barely makes it out of the driveway.

    Keye: I cried like Iíve never cried before.

    But by the time they get back to their cabin Keye and John are ready to go places they had never gone before.

    If Keye and John were becoming closer, Tammy and Jack were moving apart. Literally.

    Jack: Last night I laid as close to the edge of the bed on my side as I could, sort of secretly hoping that maybe she would sense that and sort of reach over and touch me or something. But no, the entire night (laughter) I was just over there by myself.

    Schnarch: Did you notice the difference in the way that your husband was sleeping?

    Tammy: Yes, I did. And I slept very well. (Laughter)

    Still, thereís a theme going on in the sessions today. Just like Keye, Tammy is rattled now that her husband is making progress.

    Schnarch: It looks like youíre beginning to tear up...What are we talking about thatóbrings you to tears?

    Tammy: I guess I just feel like, you know, if we continue this way, maybe I wonít give him a hug. I donítóoró

    Schnarch: Yeah. Maybe you wonít.

    Tammy realizes now that Jack is keeping his distance, itís up to her to initiate sex. And thatís something sheís never had to do.

    Schnarch: Like most low desire partnersóyou get to have all the sex you want without having to want it.

    Tammy: Yeah.

    For Jack, itís a light bulb moment.

    Jack: I felt like a little jealous when you framed it in terms of her getting all the sex she wants. I never really thought about it (Laughter) that way.

    Dr. Schnarch tells Jack heíll never get emotionally satisfying sexóuntil he stops accepting the mercy sex Tammy provides every six or seven weeks. That change puts Tammy on the spot.

    Schnarch: Because my understanding is, as much as sometimes you may not want to have sex thereís something that you want less than sex. You donít want to want him. And you get to have sex without wanting him.

    Tammy: (CRYING). Yeah, I mean, it hurts. But thatís kind of the way Iíve always felt towards anyone else. I donít want to be-- (CRYING) I donít want to need anyone.

    Years of dammed up emotions break loose. This is getting to things sheíd buried and sheís not sure she wants to face...

    Tammy stops the session, she says itís for a bathroom break. But itís just an excuse.

    Tammy: I was getting away. I was running away. I thought Iím just not just going to the bathroom, but Iím walking out of here.

    Jack has no clue whatís really going on with Tammy or that she came to therapy ready for it to fail.

    Tammy: Iíd gotten online and looked up what the child support rate was for Wyoming. I was also thinking about where I wanted to live, if I wanted to stay with my friends in Wyoming or go back to Texas with my family.

    But now, despite her anger and confusion, Tammy makes herself rejoin the therapy session.

    Schnarch: What are you afraid of? That this will fail and Jack will leave? Or are you afraid that this will fail and Jack will stay?

    Tammy: I donít know.

    Schnarch: What if this fails? What are you going to encourage him to do?

    Tammy: I guess Iíd probably say that you should go get your needs met somewhere else.

    Schnarch: Truly? You really believe that thatís what you would do?

    Tammy: I think so. (**really teary***)

    At the end of the session, Tammy and Jack are at a turning pointÖ the future of their marriage more uncertain than ever.

  15. #15

    continuation..

    Thatís the way this therapy works. Itís not about hormone creams, date nights or how-to manuals. Couples are encouraged to face their personal fears on their own, then decide what move to make in their marriage.

    Tammy has decided itís worth the risk to share her deepest desires with jack. Dr. Schnarch believes these are the crucial moments for all couples trying to transform mediocre sex into the passion they both want.

    But Jack is struggling.

    Jack: This morning when I saw Tammy, I wanted to come up and put my arms on her shoulders and say ďmorningĒ and I didnít. And weíre not talking about going a month and a half without sex. Weíre going on two days without just a touch you know? Itís driving me nuts.

    Itís a very fragile point in the therapy. Dr. Schnarch encourages Jack to keep his vow not to pressure Tammy or heíll risk losing this chance to eventually have great sex with his wife.

    Schnarch: You can screw it up but you canít make it happen. Itís only going to happen when your wife is ready to do it.

    Jack: I feel like you know somebodyís reached in and pulled my heart out.

    Schnarch: Torn your heart out?

    Jack: Torn it out, stomped on the sidewalk and threw it in a garbage can. (they all laugh)

    Next upóour couple from Texas. From the moment they come into the room itís obvious Keye has undergone a transformation.

    Keye: Thatís where Iím sitting now. Comfortable with who I am. Displaying my power if someone has a problem with me being confident and secure and strong then thatís maybe a person that I donít need in my life.

    Itís a stunning change in the wife who now sees she was killing her sex life by mothering her husband.

    Schnarch: So let me ask, what been happening since I saw you last?

    John: That is a little harder to talk about.

    Keye: No itís not.

    Itís seems sex is back. The wife who used to just say no is now telling John exactly what she wants in bed.

    Keye: I like John to bite me. I like him to scratch me you know dig his fingernails in. Iíve never opened up to him like that before. Because Iíve suggested alternative things to do (laughs) and heís been resistant.

    Not anymore.

    John: It was fantastic. She became incredibly emotional just because.... of the experience was what she had been missing for so long.

    Keye: And being able to do that and have him reciprocate and be strong and not be weak about it and you know be a man and enjoy it as well was completely overwhelming for me.

    Dr. Schnarch is pleased for them, but cautious.

    Schnarch: That scares the hell out of a whole lot of guys so Iím real interested in what happens to a man where his wife is showing him something heís never seen before and he hasnít done.

    John: Itís amazing. I feel like an idiot for sitting here all this time five years across from her, and I had all that right there.

    Thereís still time left in this session, but things are going so well they leave early for more ďprivateĒ time in their cabin.

    But on this last night in Colorado, something unexpected happens, one of our couples makes a stunning decision that Dr. Schnarch will hear as the final sessions begin.

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