Bruce Fountain - Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist  

Bruce A. Fountain
101 Redlands Blvd
Suite 200
Redlands, CA 92373
(909) 792-9797

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Bonding Helps Create Intimacy


Couples argue about a variety of issues. Child rearing, finances, and household responsibilities are a few. Sex is a major source of upset for many couples. A warm, loving relationship can be greatly enhanced by a satisfying sex life. However, without safety, respect and support major arguments and painful distancing can occur.

One of the reasons that couples have problems negotiating a happy sex life is that men and women often look at sex from different perspectives. Women seem to look at sex from a process point of view and men see sex from a results point of view. To explain this we need to listen to what some women have said about sex. Some have said they have felt like objects. It seems that their partner is only interested in them when they want sex. This usually leads to feeling used and unloved and ultimately to the rejection of sex all together. In turn, men feel rejected and angry.. Women seem to be much more interested in sex when they feel safe, supported, and respected.

I know there are exceptions, but men do not seem to need to feel the same support to be interested in sex. They tend to feel close, loved, and cared for during sex whether or not they felt emotionally close before sex. Most men do love their spouses and respect, support and care for them. However, they forget to pay attention to the process and instead focus on the end result.

Women have said often that they need a lot of non-sexual affection before they can feel interested in sex. They need to see a demonstration of love through actions. They are interested in a process involving communication, eye contact, date nights, hand holding, cuddling, laughing, fun and shared responsibility. One women said a big turn on for her was when her husband took charge of their date night. He planned where they were going to eat and what show they were going to see. It frustrated her when they went back and forth. “Where do you want to go?” was followed by , “I don't care. Where do you want to go?” When she was able to tell him that taking charge allowed her to relax and feel taken care of, it made a huge difference.

Unfortunately, men and women often have a hard time discussing sex and what they need. What results is resentment and distancing which can harm the relationship. When a man is able to ask a woman what she needs and then tries his hardest to give that to her it leads to clear understanding and closeness. One couple found it very helpful to develop a menu of things they need and enjoy. From back rubs to reading to each other, each item on the menu was mutually agreed upon and helped form the basis of a very healthy sex life. Sex was one part of the process. It was not the end result. It was an appetizer not the main course.

Stress can have a negative affect on sexual desire as well. Some households split chores and responsibilities fairly. Both couples have duties that contribute to the smooth operation of the household. In a large number of relationships, the woman works and does the majority of the housework, and child-rearing. One woman said, “At the end of the day the last thing I want to do is one more thing for someone else. I would feel more interested in intimacy if he would help out more around the house.” Folding clothes, helping with the homework, vacuuming, washing dishes, and putting the kids to sleep may lead to a happier sex life.

You may not always agree with each other but you can find mutual solutions. Remember to express your needs and ask for them clearly. Work through your differences gently and keep a positive attitude.

Bruce A. Fountain, MS is a licensed marriage and family therapist. He has a practice in Redlands, CA and can be reached at (909) 792-9797 or via e-mail at © 2006-2010