Sexual Myths and Your Relationship
Myth #9a: If my husband looks at another woman, or at porn, it means he doesn't want ME
Myth #9b: If my wife doesn't make love with me it means she's over sex

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Communication Is Central

Please refer back to Myth #5 concerning the importance of talking with your spouse about your sexual relationship! Many people indulge in a great deal of hypothesizing and guesswork about what their partner's behavior means. A compelling hypothesis can stir strong emotions, which may have little basis in fact.

Much of the work of couples counseling is about unpacking these interpretations, and helping each partner to express the truth about themselves in a way that can be understood. Without talking to each other there is simply no way to be 100% correct in your guesses about what is going on with your spouse.

The Temptation of a Simplistic Hypothesis

Myths 9a and 9b are common interpretations of one spouse's behavior by the other. While they may be correct, it is very likely that they are incorrect, in whole or in part. When a man takes notice of another woman's charms it does not follow that he no longer desires his wife. He is not necessarily planning an affair. Watching porn on the internet and masturbating may be simply an efficient way to obtain a few moments of pleasure. Few men are likely to feel that looking at another woman or masturbating is a satisfactory alternative to a meaningful sexual connection with their wife. These behaviors could represent disappointment or anger about the lack of a mutually satisfying sexual relationship, but you can't really know until you talk about it.

A husband's pessimism about his wife's lack of desire may lead him to an overly simplistic conclusion - she's over it. If they were to talk about it openly, he might discover any number of other realities. Perhaps she is hormonally challenged by menopause, or perimenopause, and lacks adequate estrogen or progesterone or testosterone to feel fully sexual. Perhaps their sexual technique needs modifying for her to be completely comfortable in her body - alternative positions, additional lubrication, more time to relax and become completely aroused, more support for her head or her neck. Perhaps she experiences deep pelvic pain due to vestibulitis or overly-tense pelvic floor musculature. Maybe she isn't feeling close to him because he never talks to her anymore about anything of the heart. But it's a big stretch to leap to the conclusion that she no longer desires intimacy or closeness with him.

Talk to Your Partner. Listen to Your Partner.

It's vital that you check out your conclusions with your partner to see if your interpretation of their behavior is correct. It's highly unlikely, given the complexity of sexuality and relationships, that what is going on is simple. Patience is an important virtue in opening up to your intimate partner. Listening is a critical skill in your sexual relationship!

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