The New York Times just featured an interesting piece titled First comes Sex Talk with These renegades of Couples Therapy. Essentially it deals with the issue of the importance of sex in happy marriages and relationships—and it challenges the notion that couples need to first focus on their underlying issues in couples therapy in order to heal and/or strengthen their relationships. Instead this piece is saying that sex is the 600 pound gorilla in the relationship that has been ignored for way too long.
Many new voices in the field of couple’s therapy (my field by the way) are emphasizing the importance of good sex in a relationship—and basically saying that without good sex, the relationship will be in trouble. They are therefore saying that sex should be talked about before any other issues the couple may be struggling with. Now that is new.
Now instead of focusing on infidelity, communication, and chore sharing, these “sex-forward” therapists are talking about sex, and kinky sex at that. One prominent member of this radical group of therapists says that Mystery and distance could benefit long-term monogamy.” This is new thinking all right. She also believe that talking about the trauma of affairs limits the couple’s ability to grow and strengthen their bond. She believes that betrayal is the opportunity for growth—and it’s hard to argue with this. I have worked with many couples who come out of an affair with a much closer and stronger relationship.
Another sex therapist in this movement tells couples to write their own monogamy rules, which can include weekend trysts or trysts that they participate in together. She sees monogamy as something that needs to be regularly renewed, like a license. This can be a slippery slope if you ask me. Once these boundaries get crossed, it can harm the relationship if one partner feels threatened or falls for someone they have been sexually involved with.
One New York psychotherapist meets with her couples individually, asking them to write sexual menus that they can share with their partner later on. Her focus is never to feel embarrassment about your desires or shame your partner for theirs. Everything is OK as long as both people agree. She believes in “GGG” which is based on the column of Dan Savage, a syndicated sex columnist. It stands for a belief that a “person should strive to be good in bed, giving to their partner and game for anything — within reason. She also emphasizes quality over frequency, which is very different than what most therapists advise. The piece also discusses pornography and internet use of it and how couples can come to some agreement on this issue.
Want to read it in its entirety? Click here