Monday, January 28, 2013

More Sex through Cooperation and Communication

A thought provoking article below by Dr. Stephanie Buehler, Director of The Buehler Institute.
Thought you would enjoy! - Amy Hooper, Director, Another Look at Healing, LLC 
Yes, Dear:  Sexy Words?  You Bet! 
Long ago, a friend told me his secret for a long and happy marriage, two little words that made a huge difference in his relationship.  Those two words were "Yes, dear."  I know, it seems so simplistic that you're wondering if you're going to spend the next 3-4 minutes of your life reading this article.  But hear me out.  There's actually science behind this.

John Gottman, an internationally renown psychologist and couples therapist, taped couples to detect patterns in those who stayed together, and those who split.  What he noticed is that cooperative couples tended to have the longest relationships.  For example, if a husband noticed his wife was cooking dinner (and vice versa), he would set the table without being asked.  A woman who asked her partner to empty the dishwasher would be told it would get done, and it would, without any discussion or argument.

More science:  Men who do chores get more sex.  It's true.  In a study of male partners, those who took out the trash got laid more often.  We might take it a step further and imagine that when asked to do such chores, instead of a groan, they responded by acting cooperatively.

Look, we all have tons of stuff to do.  We all have our pet peeves.  And we all want to get along.  When your partner asks you to do something, do you argue?  Do you think your partner is a nag?  Do you respond with, "Why don't you do it yourself?"  Do you cause a fight?  Do you criticize your partner for wanting you to get your wet teabags out of the sink or running your banana peel down the disposal?

Let's go a little further.  What do you suppose your partner thinks when, after asking you to do a few small things and getting barked at, when you come around looking for sex?  That's right, they don't feel like cooperating with you!

Maybe it's not little things, though.  Maybe it's big things, like where to live or whether or not to have children.  Such discussions still require cooperation, not a bulldozer.  In such cases, cooperation takes the form of listening.  What is your partner trying to say?  Go deeper:  What is your partner FEELING?  Is there panic?  Dread?  Excitement?  You become more cooperative when you tune in, not just to the words your partner is saying, but their feelings.  Something else happens, too.  Your partner feels HEARD.  Now they are more likely to listen to you in return.  And there it is, a cooperative discussion instead of a fight.

What if you are the person who is always asking for things to get done and getting resistance?  I would still invite you to look at whether or not you are cooperative.  Are you, for example, overly controlling about finances, holidays, or family visits?  Are you unable to stand up to others to protect your partner's feelings?  Do you do things for your partner that you don't especially like, just because you feel loving?  Or do you dig in your heels, roll your eyes, and cross your arms while you grudgingly accompany him or her? 

You see how being cooperative is a big deal now, right?  Can you see how resolving to be more cooperative can improve your relationship quickly?  Can you also see that even if you think you are angelic in the cooperation department that there is room for improvement? 

I could go into all the reasons we might stop being cooperative, but that would miss the point.  I think it's best to simply resolve to act in a more loving and cooperative way with your partner in 2013.  Now what do you say to that?  That's right:  Yes, dear.