Whole Life Magazine

February / March 2016

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Page 15 of 43

I was married for at least 15 years before I fi nally started see- ing our sex life as remedial—"intended as a remedy or cure; intended to correct or improve something"—rather than a re- ward. Like so many people, I spent more than a decade holding sex apart from our daily confl icts and fruitlessly waiting for the moments when my husband said just the right thing at the right time, to spark my desire. In truth, as we went from two to three to four kids, desire became a faint memory and we weren't all that skilled at teasing out real confl ict from the annoying minutia of daily living. Looking back on it, I believe that the intentional leap we made to plan and prioritize weekly remedial sex actually saved our marriage. I still remember when the lights went on for me. We had been hav- ing a particularly rough go of it af- ter a recent move. We were short on cash and still trying to fi gure out how to have four kids in a new town with no friends or family. I remem- ber lamenting on the phone to a faraway friend that there just wasn't enough of either of us left for the other. She said, "Don't pull away when there isn't enough, dive in…" Much later that night, I initiated the dive in our bedroom and found myself, post orgasmic release, be- ing heard and listening deeper than had happened in months. Over the years it became one of our standing rules: when things ar- en't working and we can't even talk about it, have sex fi rst. The conver- sation after orgasm is always truer and cuts through all the stories that are easy distractions. Most of all we want to be seen, we need to be heard, we long to be felt. Marital confl icts are almost always about the absence of these, although it is easy for them to look like a million other stories of people not showing up for each other at the moment when it seems most important to one or both of them. Often when we feel invisible (aka unappreciated) in whatever way that our relationship is not witnessing us, we mistakenly de- fend ourselves through distancing, and sadly, the hostage that pays most dearly is our sexuality. We believe we can't enjoy sex unless we are appreciated fi rst, instead of seeing sex as a door- way to fi nding the appreciation we so long for. Using sex as a means of experiencing attachment instead of expecting that attachment will lead to sex seems like an oxymoron, but I can assure you that it works. Here are a few quick and dirty tricks to help you fl ip your sex- uality into a remedy for what ails your relationship: • Think about sex the way you do daily hygiene. You wouldn't give up brushing your teeth because of how you feel in the moment, and treating your sex life this same way disrupts the habitual thinking that limits intimacy. Hav- ing sex regularly—when you are sad, when you are frustrated or annoyed, even when you are an- gry—carries different energy into the act, making the act different and interesting each time. • Disassociate desire from your sexual commitments and cultivate the art of arousal. By learning what wakes up your arousal mechanism in your brain, you give yourself a more reliable access to desire. Keep in mind that arousal is bio- logically connected to the olfacto- ry, so pay attention to scent and use it strategically with intimacy. • Expand your defi nition of make- up sex to include all aspects of relationship confl ict… don't wait until after the argument. Em- ploying sexual attachment to defuse tension works, too, and of- ten will get you to a whole different form of reconciliation—one you couldn't have found without sexual release. —Wendy Strgar, writer, teacher and loveologist, is the founder and CEO at Good Clean Love, makers of Almost Naked 95 per- cent-organic lubricant. healthy living SEX TALK By Wendy Strgar Fix it before it breaks REMEDIAL SEX 16 wholelifetimes.com

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