Thursday, November 16, 2006

Therapy hour

Pretty Lady has, however inadvertantly, struck a nerve with Crom:

Those gentlemen furtively clicking their sperm counts away are compensating for the fact that to try and get her in the mood is only slightly less difficult than neurosurgery or requires a layout of cash on useless jewelry that could pay for the mortgage, handily. The sad part is that many of these men really do love their wives despite the fact that what they would do daily the wife only wants once a week, maybe. Men are wired to want it more often than they do a bottle of Johnny Walker Blue, hence the explosion of all the alternative forms of gratification.

The man with an eager wife is blessed indeed, for the number of women like this are rapidly approaching extinction levels.
Pretty Lady herself has, thankfully, never been married to a porn addict. Although this may seem to discount her from commenting knowledgeably upon the subject, it also invests her perspective with a certain degree of detachment; a lack of overt bias, if you will. Also, in the course of her wide travels and variegated relationships, she has been upon intimate (though not directly sexual) terms with a great number of committed couples, many of whom are in the habit of speaking candidly to her about their sex lives.

Therefore she would like to make a few observations.

1) It seems we are in a situation, here, where each gender is forcefully blaming the other gender, society, culture, feminism, anti-feminism, repression, openness, monogamy, polygamy, religion, atheism, and their parents for the crisis at hand. The only entity one is not inclined to blame, in any given situation, is oneself. This has always seemed to Pretty Lady to be a wilfully counter-productive attitude; see all archives.

2) In the course of her observations of the trials and tribulations of committed couples, Pretty Lady has come to one single empirical truth about intra-coupular dynamics; that it ALWAYS goes two ways. ALWAYS. All other details are subject to infinite variability. Thus, whenever there is a problem, it is both people's problem. That is implicit in the definition of the word 'couple.' Blaming one's spouse exclusively for an untenable situation, then, ensures that the situation will never, never, never be resolved, except in dissolution of the couple. Period.

3) The dynamics of each and every couple are different. This may seem to be so obvious as to be a tautology; however, when enthusiastic crusaders get swept up in a wave of political rhetoric, this obvious fact often seems to be abandoned on the seashore. Thus, mandating a solution that involves a sea-change in the attitude of an entire gender, particularly one that is not one's own, is not only silly, but would not resolve your own personal problem even if, by some miracle, it occurred.

So. What now?

WHEN there is a disagreement about Sex within a couple (and there are ALWAYS disagreements about sex within couples), these disagreements generally hinge upon two factors: 1) difference in sex drives and 2) difference in priorities. The stereotypical situation is that the lady has the lower sex drive, and thus the lower sex priority, but Pretty Lady is here to tell you that this is not always the case. Not by a long shot.

When embarking upon the necessary reconciliation of these differences, three factors are key. 1) Trust, 2) Commitment, and 3) Communication. Without a nearly unlimited supply of these three factors, the relationship is doomed.

Pretty Lady could write an entire saga on the subject of Trust alone; suffice it to say that trust is not something to be bestowed, either rapidly or indiscriminately. It must be earned. And one has no right to demand it of someone if one's actions are not generally trustworthy. That is to say: If you make a habit of lying to your spouse, manipulating this person, controlling them, draining their energy, acting in ways which are contrary to your spouse's best interests, or habitually abusing them in any way, even verbally or emotionally (those 'feminine' intangibles), your spouse has no reason to trust you.

And since mutual trust is the very essence of committed, mindblowing, off-the-charts, body-mind-soul sex, you have shot yourself in the foot at the starting gate.

Thus Trust, as well, generally accompanies Commitment. If you require the first but are constitutionally allergic to the second, please go to hell.

That baseline established, we move onto the third element in our Continued Great Sex Prescription Package; Communication.

Never, it seems, have so many people talked so much to achieve so little. They talk about themselves; their needs, wants, requirements, fantasies, pet moral philosophies, frustrations, and trivial daily incidents. They complain. They whine. They blog. What they do a great deal less of is listening. The times when they listen the least, when they actually seem to reach into their eardrums and hit the 'mute' button, is when a person close to them is telling them something about themselves that they do not wish to hear.

Pretty Lady is here to tell you that this is precisely the thing you NEED to hear. It will be painful. It will be humbling. It will require some thought, some honest soul-searching, and some adjustment on your part. But the results may very well be phenomenal.

And Pretty Lady must remind you, in case you have forgotten, during the course of reading this long, serious, less-than-sprightly post: It goes both ways. If you have been listening to your spouse, really truly, for a long time; if you have been taking this listening to heart, and loving this person, and adjusting for this person, and the time comes for you to communicate your needs, lovingly and responsibly, and this person absolutely refuses to listen, guess what? You do not have a spouse. You are a single person who is legally chained to a narcissist.

The best you can do for yourself, then, is to walk away. You do not have to file for divorce, instantly, when your spouse falls asleep during foreplay; what you can and must do, eventually, after you have put your best efforts into facilitating communication, is to make it clear that an unacceptable situation is unacceptable. You may take a long vacation. You may take another apartment. You may go on a meditation retreat.

If your spouse takes advantage of your vacation to jump into bed with the nearest hottie, THEN you file for divorce. But if the seriousness of your intention finally becomes clear, and your spouse actually starts to listen--well, then.

It has been known to happen.


Anonymous said...

Not exactly a nerve, more an old scar. In my twenties, I was engaged to the woman I described, she was so into everything else that our intimacy suffered. Since this was pre-internet days I did not have the option of downloading anything, instead I spent many evenings reading and/or going to the gym. She was horrified by porn so even renting VHS tapes would not have been worth the hassle.

The worst part of leaving her was the fact that I loved her. I did not leave solely because of the lack of sexual congress, but it was one of the key factors. Communication was the chief issue. She was so into her wants and needs that she had little patience for anything else, including any of my activities that did not dovetail with her agenda.

I accept that some of this was probably my fault, but having put up with this for a while I realized that she was not going to change, and neither was I. So, I sadly broke off our engagement, and left her behind.

So I feel for some, not all - of those guys who get their kicks elsewhere since their wives/girlfriends are otherwise occupied. Likewise, I sympathize with a woman who is ignored by her man since he is too busy chasing girl of the month photos on the family computer.

I agree that communication is critical, and failing to connect on the other levels you are merely sleeping with a familiar stranger.


Anonymous said...

I'm a male, so this is from a guy's POV.

P-rn is usually an addiction that occurred long before the wife came along. What happens, usually, is the guy gets so drawn into the fantasy world that his spouse can never measure up; thus he views her with something akin to contempt. She senses this, and so in a spiral their s-ex life goes downhill. It's usually the guy that had the problem first, and usually therapy - which of course most guys avoid like the plague - is the only way out. Sorry to ramble, but I could write a book on the addictive effects of p-rn.

Pretty Lady said...

My goodness, this IS therapy hour. I have never seen you boys so forthcoming. I am honored.

Crom, I've been there too. It is astonishing, the number of people who equate 'physical presence' with 'relationship,' regardless of the level of real communication, or lack thereof.

The Aardvark said...

They complain. They whine. They blog.

There, you go, repeating yourself again.
I must concur with Scott. Pron predates virtually any relationship. Even "back in the day" it was more available than Real Sex. Many kids literally stumble upon it, too, finding a Family Member's stash, and then indulging their curiosity.

The ability to create the itch, then scratch it, trains the boy into bad attitudes and habits, and future relationships suffer for it.

I have seen no data on this, but my gut suspicion is that early addiction to porn and masturbation (and I am placing no moral judgement on the Solitary Hobby, here, merely a physiological one) trains the body's responses, leading to later problems like premature ejaculation and such.
"Gotta hurry before I'm caught"

k said...

Pretty Lady, you may wish to remove a comment I just put on your previous post. It describes a particularly horrible practice that your readers, perhaps, shouldn't be exposed to.

I'm commenting here because I couldn't find an email address for you.

Pretty Lady said...

Oh, no, k, I'll leave it there.

And you may email me at, any day of the week. ;-)

Anonymous said...

Eh. I don't know that porn is always such a bad thing. My husband was an enthusiastic consumer all through his adolescence; it kept him a virgin, and therefore not a carrier of an STD or someone's baby's daddy, into his twenties. (I will freely admit that I wish I'd spent more of my teenage years spanking it instead of spreading it.) Even though he threw out his stash when we moved in together, I'm sure that every now and then his web browser strays from Fark over to something a bit spicier. But it's never once affected our (stellar) sex life--if and when it does, then it becomes an issue that needs discussion; 'till then, I prefer that it remain one of those things we don't talk about. Whatever happened to discretion?

It's all about moderation, and persective. Just as there are people who can occasionally indulge in a line or two of cocaine at a party and not end up sucking feet for crack three months later, there are those who can enjoy some dirty dirty porn every now and then and not end up ruining their marriages with it. My husband happens to be one of these people, and I'm okay with that. Who knows, maybe he'll get a suprise in the DVD player the next time the munchkin stays with Gramma. . .