Pick battles big enough to matter, small enough to win. -Jonathon Kozol
Most of the arguments that couples have about their sex lives are not about sex. Sex is the container, where we are most acutely aware of the spaces in our relationship that fail to connect, that make us feel small, unloved, invisible, and that reflect our deepest conflicts. It is a little ironic that our potential for our deepest pleasure also contains our most intense turmoil, but not that surprising when you consider the “sexophrenic” culture we live in, which is split between shameful prudishness and the blatant exhibitionism that occupies media, music and mainstream advertising.
Perhaps the most universal of sexual arguments is the one that involves conflicting desire. This issue is often a precursor to many relationship endings and, while there is an extensive laundry list of medical reasons that explain low libido issues, there are probably more mental, emotional and spiritual issues that are expressed through the divergence of sexual desire. My new book, Love that Works, examines and breaks down sexual conflicts to its basic elements.
The drive to create and sustain an intimate fire is based on what I call the ground of the relationship. The ground is reflected in the kind of thinking we engage in about our partner and our relationship. It is the foundation for our fire. Even if you don’t express your doubts or resentments aloud, you can be sure that your partner feels the effect of negative thinking and the resulting sexual relationship is like trying to start a fire in a swamp.
Taking the discussion out of sexuality and expanding your questions is a good way to broaden the conversation and gain a wider perspective. When you talk about wanting more sex- consider what that means to you. When you turn away from sex, consider what you are refusing.