Happy and Married?


I’m always on the lookout for happily married couples, specifically those still having great sex.

I often pray it’s not an oxymoron to be happy and married, though I sometimes have to wonder based on what I'm seeing and hearing. … Some might call me a cynic, but for the record, I do wake up every day hoping that a person can indeed be married and happy.

Last week, I grilled a very much in love couple at the W Hotel, together for nine years and living in SoMa, who shared the reasons why their sex life gets better every year.

“We have to communicate. We tell each other everything. She knows all of my sexual thoughts. Even if we don’t act on them, I don’t feel like I’m hiding anything,” said the husband, 34.

“I still find him incredibly hot. I do my best to match my underwear and bras whenever possible, and I make a conscious decision to maintain the attraction because hey, it makes me feel sexy too. We inspire each other sexually. Just last night we had sex in the car after I started to recount a sexual experience we had recently. We never left the driveway,” added the wife, 32.

Both husband and wife have full and independent lives, but they prioritize their marital happiness and attraction above all else.

But then the next day, in rapid-fire succession, I heard these tales:

“We got married eight years ago, had two kids. Now, both kids are in school, and I’ve got more time to focus on our relationship. But that said, I’m finding I'm just not attracted to him anymore. He does this sexy dance thing when he wants to have sex and it just bugs me; it turns me off. Some days I pull out my vibrator when he goes to sleep, but I never share my toys or orgasms with him.” Janie 39, living in Cow Hollow.

I mulled this over for a bit and then asked, “So, wait, you haven’t had an orgasm in front of him for eight years?” (Janie had also told me it’s nearly impossible to orgasm without any battery-operated help.)

“Well maybe longer,” she admitted.

That was it. We'd nailed a major issue for them. Sure, sex is not all about the orgasm, but to never share that peak experience certainly contributes to the loss of intimacy and attraction. Top that with the fact that she’s never let him know the sexy dance is the furthest thing from being sexy or dancing. No wonder the passion has fizzled.

Then I heard this: “We’re hitting the six-year mark, and we live together. I love him; he’s my best friend. I can’t picture life without him, but I just don’t want to have sex with him. We try, but it seems transactional or by rote,” said Betsy, 28, living in the Richmond.

Both of these couples are now in talk therapy. And I’ve seen therapy work miracles for couples. It’s a fast track to breaking up or breaking through.

Therapy moves couples out of the rut of fighting about the tangential issues to the heart of it all. Saying “I hate the sexy dance” could also mean, “You can’t possibly be present with me. Otherwise you’d realize I’m not turned on, not even for a millisecond.”

Say those things you never thought you could—in the direct way you discuss things with your best friend. It’s OK to fine tune. Instead of saying, “You gross me out when we’re having sex,” you can try something like, “Remember when we used to rip each other’s clothes off in the restaurant/office/movie theater? I’d love to experience that again with you. What can we do to make that happen?” Try to remember and rekindle the passion you once had for each other.

Your sex issues don’t have to be the frigid elephant in the living room. After all, communication is lubrication.


Listen to Sex with Emily at www.sexwithemily.com.

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