Final thoughts of "Say Yes to Sex" - by Jenna McCarthy
EAT DESSERT FIRST
Rarely in the first weeks or even months of a marriage will one partner’s invitation to come to bed be met with a bubbly “Just as soon as I finish mopping this floor!” During the initial phases of courtship, both partners’ brains are flooded with pleasure chemicals that fuel an almost relentless desire, explains psychologist and sex therapist Robert Hatfield, Ph.D., spokesman for the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality in Allentown, Pennsylvania. But eventually, the nervous system becomes tolerant of increasing chemical surges, and the touch, closeness and erotic pleasure that used to be at the top of the priority list get bumped for less libidinous pursuits. “We operate on the belief that pleasure can only come at the end of a day of hard work,” Hatfield says. “The good old American work ethic makes it clear that you don’t get dessert until you eat your peas.” What’s worse is that you may wind up skipping dessert entirely.
There are many simple ways to bank extra minutes for lovemaking: Order in when you have friends for dinner instead of cooking an elaborate feast, and close the blinds if you can’t stand looking at dirty windows. Not allowing yourself to enjoy pleasure until every last sock in the house is sorted and all of the bills are paid is as good as guaranteeing sex will stay on the back burner - permanently. “You have to resign yourself to the fact that you will never have zero items on your to do list.” Berman says. “Be OK with leaving some things until tomorrow.”
You might try sitting down with your list and giving every item an A (must happen today), B (should happen soon), C (would be nice if it happened…someday) rating. If you’re honest, you’ll see that your world will not crumble if you bring store-bought cookies to the kids’ bake sale. Tackle the As and delegate most of the Bs to your partner, who will be more than willing to take them on if he knows what’s in it for him. “Explain to your partner that housework is foreplay,” Berman suggests. “In no time he’ll learn that his doing his share doesn’t only make you more appreciated and cared for but also opens up some time for you to engage in another activity that quiets your mind and puts you in the mood.” Odds are that a few earth-shattering Os will push the Cs off the list altogether. If you think you’ve cut every possible corner and still don’t feel relaxed enough for sex, clearly something’s got to change - it’s time to give your lifestyle and choices a long, hard look. “Sex should be a much bigger part of our lives,” insists Cadell, who lectures to Fortune 500 companies all over the world on this topic. She says that she has observed that people who have a thriving sex life tend to be the same ones who are more creative at work and earn more money. You wouldn’t dream of canceling a date with an important client, but you’ll cancel a date with your partner without thinking twice. Make sex a priority.” Maybe that means skipping your Spinning class one night or getting up an hour earlier one morning. (Who are we kidding? Fifteen minutes are probably plenty.) Maybe it’s hiring a housekeeper or a babysitter - even if it’s once a month, it will help lighten your mental load. Choosing to have more sex is as valid as any other activities you feel you must engage in.
Scientists have discovered that the simple act of smiling can make people feel happy, and the fake-it-until-you-make-it approach applies to intimacy as well. Here’s why: Sex is addictive. The more you have, the more you may want. “We don’t know why, but the body gets used to having sex or not having it,” Cadell confirms. “Even just thinking about and talking about sex will make you want it - and have it - more.
So how do you get started? Personal-development expert Steve Pavlina of Las Vegas, who has spent more than a decade studying habits and what makes them stick, recommends the following 30-day challenge: For one month, agree to a period of 30 to 60 minutes of intimacy a day. “This can include talking, cuddling, massage and, of course, sex.” he says. “That time becomes sacred couple-intimacy time with no interruptions. The commitment to spend time alone together every day for 30 days will create the space for your sex life to blossom.” No strings, no risk, no pressure - it’s just a half hour a day for a month. If you’re not enjoying yourself at the end of the 30 days, you’re free to go back to your monastic ways. Will you want to go back? Probably not. “We all know that getting started and sticking with a new habit for a few weeks is the hard part,” Pavlina explains. “Once you’ve overcome any inertia, it’s much easier to keep going.”
I Corinthians 7:3-5 “The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife’s body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband’s body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife. Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.”