Being able to have a conversation with your spouse about sex is a necessary part of having a successful marriage. You must be willing to mention “the unmentionables” in a respectful discussion. Not discussing sex with your spouse almost always leads to sexual acting out in some destructive way to the relationship. Listening to your spouse’s desires is one of the most powerful things you can do to keep your marriage healthy.
A common problem among married couples that we have observed through our work with thousands of couples in our Life Together Forever Weekends or in our work with hundreds of distressed couples in our marriage saving, one-couple-at-at-time Marriage Intensive, is that couples do not have conversations about what they want and need in their sex lives. The inability to have conversations about requests in your love life leads to hurt feelings, isolation and may lead to sexual acting out in one way or another.
The antidote to the problem of not having a conversation about your love life with your spouse is to have a conversation with your partner about your love life. We are not going to focus on how to have the conversation, but what to have the conversation about and how to talk specifically about your love life. To set yourself up for a successful conversation, use the Crucial Conversation Rules that we have written about in past articles.
In Part 1, we discussed how to have a conversation about frequency. One of the common problem areas in married couples sex life is how we make love. There are many variables to love making including place, time, type of sexual activity, length of sexual activity, whether this is the first time we have done this together or something we regularly do, etc. Talking about the types of sexual activity your spouse would like to enjoy is one of the most important conversations you can have.
One way to think about types of sexual activity is to think about appetite. Some of us like to eat frequently while others like a few large meals with time spaces between them. Discussing our sexual desires with our spouse may be easier while using the analogy of hunger, or appetite.
We encourage you and your spouse to draw a circle and develop a pie chart. The pie represents all sexual activity with your spouse. Each of the four following types of sexual activity/appetites should be represented as a piece of pie within the pie chart. The greater your appetite for any one type, the larger that piece of pie should be in your pie chart. When you have the Crucial Conversation, each should reveal their pie chart and work toward compromise.
How large is each of the following pieces of pie in your pie chart?
- Homestyle Appetite – When we think of having a homestyle appetite, we think about the foods we usually eat. When you have the homestyle appetite, you desire to have the same thing, the same way, about the same time of day, in the same place. You are not wanting variations, but rather are desiring “the way we always do it.” When you have the homestyle appetite you are wanting the familiar, comfortable and regular.
- Fast Food Appetite – Sometimes there is little time between all of the chores of household management, parenting, work, and social life. Connecting with your spouse sexually is desired but time is of the essence. When you have the fast food appetite, you are wanting to connect sexually but not necessarily having enough time for “love making.”
- Gourmet Appetite – When you think about a gourmet meal, all of the senses are involved. There is a high level of thought, attention and effort put into creating the ambience. Delicious aroma feels the air. The scene is eloquent, lit perfectly with candles, accented with flowers, and beautifully decorated. Mood setting music fills the room. And the meal is served in courses, a little at a time, slowly over an hour or more. In order to have a great gourmet meal, you have to make reservations, perhaps beginning the entire process several days in advance of the actual meal. When you have the gourmet appetite, you are wanting love making at its very best.
- Adventure Appetite – If you are an adventure eater, you always check the menu to see if there is an item that you have never tasted before. Roy is an adventure eater who has eaten elk, rabbit, kudu, eel, rattlesnake, piranha, and other wild things. When you have the adventure appetite, you are wanting something you have never tried before, or some place that you have never been, or something dressed up in a different way. (By the way, Adventure only applies to activities between spouses and never involves another person. Read our take on the boundaries of married sex here).
You and your spouse need to take the time to build your pie chart and hear from your spouse about their appetites. Invite them to a crucial conversation. After hearing and understanding what percentage of the pie each appetite type is for your spouse, then share your pie chart. Discover together some compromise of types that you can both commit to for the next couple of months. Commit to reconnecting in another discussion in 90 days to see how it went.
This article was written by Roy and Devra Wooten, authors of “The Secret to a Lifetime Love”. Learn more at www.LifeTogetherForever.com © Roy and Devra Wooten 2015. All Rights Reserved. You may replicate this article as long as it is provided free to recipients and includes appropriate attribution. Written permission for other use may be obtained at Secret@LifeTogetherForever.com.