Resolution, Not Conflict

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Sexual Intercourse and Talking Together: What's the Same?

Connecting via sex and via words succeed by the same principles.

sex and talking have a lot in common

Sex and talking have a lot in common.

Sexual and verbal connecting are two of the main ways that two people experience being one couple in a long-lasting relationship. Shared words and shared sexual feelings both can provide a glue that bonds two into one.  At the same, similar factors during these bonding activities can loosen instead of strengthen the bonds.

When people talk together, equal airtime creates a relationship in which both people count.  Same with the symetrical pleasuring of sexual activity; equal attention to both partners' satisfaction conveys that both partners care about each other.

When people talk together, being considerate of the other person's likes and interests leads them to enjoy talking together.  In sex too, responsivity to indications of what the other person enjoys or prefers to avoid matters hugely.

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When people talk together, if he listens when she talks, enjoying the conversation by finding what's interesting in what she says, and vice versa, odds are good that these folks will enjoy being together.  Similarly, both partners in sexual activity need to be open to receiving what the other offers.

When people talk together, it's hard to both talk and listen at the same time.  Same thing in sex.  Best when one person is doing and the other receiving.  On the other hand, singing together is fun.  Especially in the higher intensity later phases of sexual intercourse, both partners can be active if they move in harmony with each other.

When people talk together, if it's all about just one of them, that's narcissism partnering with excessive altruism.  Another word for excessive altrusism is enabling, or co-dependency. These terms all describe folks who allow inbalances to continue as if the inbalance is normal and acceptable.  In sexual interactions, if one person gets all the attention, there's similar narcissism and excessive altruism/enabling/co-dependency.

When people talk together, if one tells the other what to do, that gets old quite quickly.  That's controlling behavior, and takes the fun out of a relationship.  Same in sex.

When people talk together, criticizing each other puts toxicity and negative energy in a relationship, tarnishing love.  Any criticism of a sexual partner is sure to poison the relationship, and the sexual enjoyment, probably for both. By contrast, sharing information in the form of feedback ("I get anxious, uncomfortable, etc when you ...) is vital.  So is gratitude, enthusiasm, and appreciation.

Some say the world will end in fire, some say ice (as the poet Robert Frost writes in one of my favorite poems).  Ice in relationships is cold disinterest with withdrawal from interactions and from the giving of positive vibes to each other.  Couples who rarely talk beyond day to day logistics, rarely share their concerns and fears and joys, or rarely share sexual delights, these couples are at risk for finding themselves on a pathway to disconnection. Better look for how to save your relationship!

May all your intercourse, verbal and physical, be loving...

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Susan Heitler, Ph.D. is author of the website PowerOfTwoMarriage.com, which teaches the skills for relationship success.

The following blogposts by Dr. Heitler are relevant to the article above.

Skip the Criticism Altogether; Give Feedback Instead

Does Gratitude Matter in Marriage?

10 Ways to Radiate Positivity

Is Your Relationship Toolkit Sufficient?

Susan Heitler, Ph.D., is the author of many books, including From Conflict to Resolution and The Power of Two. She is a graduate of Harvard University and New York University.

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