Dear Dr T,
I have been married for 14 years and have two children: a boy who is 10 and a girl who is 7. My husband makes a generous income and we have no lack for any material thing. As a family we take frequent trips and enjoy all different recreation. Yet over all these years of marriage, my husband makes me feel guilty if I say I would like to take a trip alone with him sometime. Isn’t it important for us to spend time alone? How do I convince my husband?
Feeling Neglected, California
Dear Feeling Neglected,
Let me ask you a couple of questions. Who were the main players in your family before your two little ones came along? And who will be the main players once these little ones move out and have families of their own?
Unless you plan to provide ongoing housing and financial support for your grown adult children, the day will come when the ones who began your family will be the same ones with an empty nest; that is, you and your husband. Many couples today end up in a similar place where the two of you seem to be. They think to have a “happy” family means to turn all their attention to their children sparing little time and effort towards their marriage. In my professional opinion, this mindset contributes significantly to the majority of failed marriages across our country.
I have a few more questions for you. Is it important for a couple to nourish their marriage? How does that look? Do you believe spending time with the children along with your husband is nourishing your marriage?
Quite frankly, I am not convinced that you believe that your marriage ought to take a prominent position in the family. If you did, then what your husband says regarding the children would not “make you feel guilty.” If you believed such efforts would be of primary importance then you would take a fierce stand and not back down. Once you truly believe that you and your husband MUST nurture your marriage on a regular basis a few changes would probably unfold. One, your new conviction may inspire you to plan a weekend getaway for you and your husband alone. With the experience of such romantic loving rendezvous along with your determination not to budge one inch on your new stance, your husband would likely begin to question his previous values as well.
Perhaps you are both afraid of being alone together. After so many years of concentrated devotion to your children, it may indeed feel a bit awkward at first. However just think how much worse it could be if you wait another 14 years to spend some time alone.
A wise man once said, “The best gift a father can give his children is to love their mother.” In my estimation, that quote hits the bull’s eye. A healthy satisfying marriage is like the highest quality soil for saplings. If the soil is devaluated, surely the future of the saplings is in danger. However this is not about what I think…..it is really about what YOU think. What kind of marriage do you want when your youngest child leaves home? What you choose to do today determines what kind of investment is made for your marriage.
Dear Dr T
I am curious to hear your thoughts about a recent occurrence at my daughter’s high school. Apparently last month a female student (a junior) was caught in the boys’ bathroom giving a blow job to a boy while he was pooping in the toilet. I heard about this from one of the teachers who commented that not only is this behavior becoming more common but there is actually a name for this now (I believe she said blumpie?). My wife and I know this girl very well and were horrified to think that she agreed to do this. How very degrading! Are you familiar with this and what causes a girl to do such a thing?
The act you are referring to is called a “blumkin” and most unfortunately is spreading like an epidemic in high schools (and even junior high schools) across the country. As a clinician, I see and hear so very many stories of young impressionable girls who subject themselves to similar degradation. For example, the girls who text naked pictures of their bodies, underage girls who willingly trade sexual favors (such as blumkins) for alcohol/drugs, and girls who do not take measures to guard their precious bodies and end up at parties being sexually mistreated by older boys. In fact, stories such as these prompted me to write my post titled Female Orgasm: It’s Complicated.
The short answer to your question is pretty simple: these young ladies have not developed a value for themselves—in and of themselves. Their self value springs out of a deeply rooted need to be sexually wanted or desired by a male. Without a boy or man drooling or pawing after them, these girls/women feel utterly worthless.
Now this is nothing new. As long as women have had breasts and curvy soft bodies, there have been girls who found their only value in life from the attention such female anatomy elicits from men. What is new is how our society as a whole places male pleasure with greater importance over female pleasure. How this looks is best depicted in my post Kiss, Kiss, Mount Up and Scream.
It wasn’t always this way. That is, where a man’s sexual gratification was considered in high regard over that of a woman’s. Dating back to ancient times, Jewish culture speaks of a completely different order. According to the records of the Torah, the Jewish God set up the rules of relationship for a man and a woman. In Deuteronomy 24:5, God commands a newlywed man to be exempt from military service or official responsibilities as well as outside labor and to spend the entire first year of marriage giving his new wife “pleasure.” The connotation for this word in the original form was related to intimacy—understood as sexual. In these ancient cultures, a woman’s intimate satisfaction was not only valued but men were commanded by their God to prioritize their wives sexual happiness above their own.
In modern history there has been a shifting from this vantage point. I am neither an historian nor a sociologist therefore I withhold comments as to what contributed to this shift. What I am keenly aware of is that in almost all of media nowadays—the movie screen as well as television shows—the male orgasm is given prominence over a female orgasm. That message alone plays a major affect on our societal views of females and their sexual happiness. To be quite blunt the message is that women are made to give pleasure to men. Throughout media, the normal complicated process resulting in female orgasm fades in the shadow of the spotlight on a man’s quick orgasmic gratification. This subtle yet powerfully influential view has not only been adopted by men, but the real danger has been generations of women who have accepted this mindset and keep it in place.
When mothers believe that their own sexual enjoyment is of little or no importance, well, there is no big surprise that daughters end up with the same belief. Then we arrive where we are today—seeing our young daughters treating their own sexual satisfaction as second fiddle to that of a boy’s. Our daughters will value themselves when the role model of women in our society no longer accept the back seat—literally and figuratively—with regards to sexual pleasure.
Dear Dr T,
I am 36 years old and just recently (18 months ago) got married for the first time. I have never even lived with another man before. Well, my husband is 45 and we both—-probably me more—-want to have a baby. We went to the doctor and we both checked out fine. That’s not the problem, now it’s the sex. At first it was fun but now sex just seems like it’s not working out. I know I am a beginner at love-making and not very good at it but I feel like we need to do it anyway because of how old I am (make the most of our opportunities). I keep track of when I am ovulating but with our work schedules it seems the only time we have it is at bedtime. And he has to get up real early so he wants us to get started way before bedtime (since it takes me so much time to get into it). It also seems to take longer because he doesn’t relax very well after work and all and I really want him to be the initiator. But instead of kissing and making love we usually end up griping at one another then he says he feels pressured into doing it and we both get pissed off. I’m so frustrated. How can we get back on track so there can be a chance for me to get pregnant?
Mostly Frustrated, Tennessee
Dear Mostly Frustrated,
Ok, so you say you are “just a beginner at love-making and not very good at it.” I am curious. Who told you that you are not good? You do not need to answer that, just think about it. Do you tell yourself this or has your husband said this or is it that you simply fear you might not be any good at love-making? Shoot, we all feel inadequate as lovers at times, especially when we first start out. That is normal. However, love-making is not about simply accomplishing some new task, like learning how to ride a bike. Love-making is about tuning into each other via your own pleasure.
Of course, it is very easy for love-making to turn into a task when a couple really want a baby like yesterday. That also is normal. Ok, so it seems you feel there are certain days that love-making needs to happen (you are ovulating) and you make these days known to your husband. And then the two of you decide that bedtime needs to be early to help you both get into the mood and get things going. Because that takes time. And it seems your husband feels the pressure that you want him to initiate sex plus he feels you want him to relax more after work and be less anxious while he starts to make love. Wow, no offense to either of you, but you both make the precious gift of expressing intimate love seem like going to work. Like a job. What happened to the fun?
Perhaps you might try a different mental focus. TO ENJOY HOW MY LOVER ENJOYS MY BODY. That’s it. Reread my blog titled To Be or To Do: That is the Question. Not whether the little sperms make it to the egg…no, that is a by-product, not the focus. The focus for both of you needs to be set on enjoyment and wide open pleasure. Use your senses—-taste, touch, smell, sight, hearing—-to train your mind to stay on the track of pleasure and in the moment. Especially what gives you pleasure and what gives him pleasure.
One more tip: every day both of you need to think of fantasies (intimate, sexual) of what you would like to do with the other. Then at some point share these with one another. Remember, sharing these fantasies does not mean that they are commands; you just share them and then let go and see what happens.
Letting go is not passive. No, it is a very purposeful action. You might also want to get the clock out of the bedroom for a while. Give yourselves time but don’t keep track of it.