Great Sex Doesn't Just Happen

Having sex is a natural physiological practice. People have figured it out on their own since the beginning of time. Without how-to books or online instructional courses, people from every tribe and nation manage to procreate. Because sex is natural, we tend to put it in the category of other natural physical acts like eating and sleeping. You don't have to focus on learning how to master these things – they just naturally happen.

Although sex "just happens", a dynamic sex life does not. Without effort, time and attention, sex can easily and quickly become mundane and predictable and can even turn into a dreaded necessity to place on the "to-do" list.

When couples run into difficulties they tend to give up, concluding, "We're just not that great together." Ironically, they don't expect anything else in marriage to "just happen". They understand that being financially healthy depends on budgets, planning and communication. Even staying healthy requires a proactive approach to food and exercise. Why should sex be any different?

What is the right response to the age-old dilemma of boring sex?

As a couple, have you ever set aside significant time and energy specifically to improve your sex life? Instead of approaching sex as a natural, necessary, physical act, consider approaching it as a gift – an interest and an ability that can be cultivated. You will never be a great cook unless you experiment with new recipes, read cookbooks and practice cooking. You will never be a great tennis player unless you take lessons and play regularly. You will never learn to play the trumpet without hours of practice.

Don't assume that sex is any different. You won't have a great sex life unless you make it a priority to actually work on intimacy together.

Marital intimacy is fraught with hindrances such as poor communication, unmet expectations and resentment, primarily stemming from the vast differences between male and female sexuality. Perhaps you and your spouse have found yourselves frustrated in the bedroom, in which case it's probably time for some continuing education.

Become a student of your spouse. It took me 10 years of school to become a psychologist. Throughout that time, I was exposed to a fair amount of information on human sexuality. Needless to say, I felt more equipped than the average wife to understand a husband's needs. Boy, did I overestimate my sex education!

Regardless of your background, you have a lot to learn about your spouse's sexuality. In fact, much of what you assume may actually be wrong. If you want a deeply satisfying sex life, you must go back to being a student.

Excerpted from No More Headaches: Enjoying Sex & Intimacy in Marriage, published by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. Copyright © 2009 by Julianna Slattery. All rights reserved. International copyright secured. Used by permission.

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