Bob said they hadn’t had s e x in 10 years. Debbie disagreed. She told me that she’d touched him sexually in some way or another at least every year. I asked if that included intercourse. She wasn’t sure. Maybe not.
Their story is sadly typical. They got married right after college. They loved and admired each other and had a good connection in many ways. They shared values and interests. Unfortunately, the sexual part of their relationship was a little bit off - even when they first met.
And then there was the fact that he’d cheated early in their marriage which hurt her deeply. They got counseling after she found out about the other woman (she was just a random friend & he confessed because he felt terrible) and they moved on with their lives.
In a couple of years, they had a couple of kids. The kids were adorable, of course. They did their best to stay connected with date nights twice a month, but dinner at the local pizza place never seemed to do the trick.
He had a busy job as an engineer for a big firm. Their life worked in many ways, but the s e x got worse as time passed. She was easily embarrased. He said things that hurt her feelings and made her tense when he brought up the subject.
She never felt adequate and worried that he might cheat again. So even though she really didn’t want to do it, she started having duty s e x with him. She started “checking the box” sexually.
She did the family chores. Including Bob. She did Bob.
At first, she did it because she wanted a good marriage and she’d read that good marriages included an active s e x life. An active sex life was regular “penetrative sex”. Plus he was always in a bad mood if they didn’t do it often enough.
So, for a long time, she had that kind of s e x with him twice a week. He seemed to like it but she was terribly unsatisfied - even though sometimes she had orgasms when they made love.
But, honestly it never felt like making love to her. It was too quick and too hard. She knew that he wanted to please her, but she had a hard time getting turned on. The s e x they’d been having wasn’t stimulating enough to get her mind off all the things she needed to do at work and around the house. She wanted something like what she’d experienced with a previous lover. Something that made her feel excited and sexy.
He thought she liked the s e x pretty well because he made her climax sometimes. He didn’t know that s e x can be deeply unsatisfying even for women who have orgasms.
Duty sex is that type of thing, kind of getting it done,
checking it off the list - even when you’re not turned on.
S e x shouldn’t be a chore. It’s intended to be a moment of connection between two people who want to be close, share pleasure, and touch each other with love and passion.
When s e x becomes a chore - like laundry, something’s wrong. Nobody expects you to be joyous when you do the laundry, but you get the laundry done.
If you're like Debbie (and LOTS of people - men and women - are exactly like her) you’re having duty s e x because you want to feel like it's working. If this is you, you’re not alone. There’s a better way.
Maybe you’re embarrassed about s e x and don’t even know where to start. When you don’t know what you want, it’s hard to have s e x you actually enjoy.
If s e x isn’t working, you’re robbing your relationship (and yourself) of something that could be literally amazing.
You can have great s e x in your life even if it’s been years since you kissed passionately. It takes mindfulness and understanding of yourself as a sexual person. It takes allowing, and cultivating a creative sexual energy in your own life. It takes willingness to ask for very specific things from your partner.
Unfortunately, for Bob and Debbie, physical intimacy felt so awkward that they pretty much stopped having “real s e x” altogether. She still “took care of him” but it wasn’t the same. He felt like even touching him was a chore.
Finally, they found their way into my virtual office. She was lonely, resentful and hurt. She’d lost trust. But, they loved each other and wanted to stay together, They both needed the s e x to change.
They created a completely new way to be together - to rebuild trust and to relearn how to touch each other with affection and passion. Eventually, during our work together, they rebuilt a relationship that they both loved. No more duty sex. No more resentment.
Like my clients Debbie and Bob, when you figure out how to find a way to touch and love each other that you BOTH enjoy, your sexual problems will disappear and you’ll get more love and connection in your life than you could ever imagine.
Yup. That’s the truth.
PS: YAY! Great news! For a limited time, I’ll have some openings for couples to book individual sessions with me.
PSS: If you’d like to talk with me about how working together might help you stop having duty
s e x and start feeling all the good feels right now, book a virtual coffee chat with me using this link: https://www.howtofixmysexlife.com/coffeedate.html
PSS: All client stories are inspired by actual client interactions. The specific personal details have been changed but the sexological issues presented have not. xoxo