Talk about Sex before you Get Married

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Talk about Sex before you Get Married

Planning a wedding can be a whirlwind that scoops you up and carries you along. There are so many things to plan and do. But one of the most critical parts of a marriage, your sex life, is often swept aside. Yet, it plays a crucial role. Not only is your sex life important, but the intimacy that stems from it can fuel your relationship and keep it intact for the long haul. But a lack of intimacy can sap your marriage.  Most people expect their married sex life to be phenomenal throughout. Though married people often register higher numbers on sexual satisfaction surveys, the truth is one’s sex life ebbs and flows throughout a marriage. Psychotherapist and sex specialist Vanessa Marin says that those couples who do talk about sex before they get married are more successful overall. It is important for any couple that wants decades upon decades of happy sex ahead of them to discuss it, and come to an understanding about the matter with their partner. Schedule a time to sit down together. It doesn’t have to be stuffy. You can set a romantic mood, get wine and light candles. Or you can just sit down on the couch together and start talking about sex. It’s really up to you, and what style you have as a couple.

The first thing to consider is to ask what your sexual strengths and weaknesses are. Talk about your favorite memories together. Share what the best sex you ever had was. What was it about that time? How did it make you feel? What about it made you feel that way? Ask what theirs was and why. What do you both really enjoy doing together or to one another? What really works for you? Over time, usually couples get better. They get to know each other’s likes and dislikes, and trust builds. Each person should ultimately feel free to open up and express their needs, wants and desires. This will build a great sex life together. It will help build your relationship, as it provides immense intimacy to be able to shed guilt or shame, open up, be understood and accepted, and ultimately be fulfilled by your partner. Ask yourselves how to make intimacy a priority. Marin writes in an article in Psychology Today that she always shares this with clients. They need to set aside time for intimacy. Those clients usually respond by saying, “we didn’t know we had to do that…” Having a fantastic married sex life requires a little bit of care and effort. Schedule date nights, get a sitter and get some special alone time together each week.

Talk about how you feel about the inevitable changes in your sex life throughout your marriage. Are you planning on having kids? You can’t imagine how that will change your time in the bedroom. Menopause and lots of other things will change it too. Discuss how you plan to keep the spark a towering inferno of passion throughout your life together. You don’t want things to get boring. Talk about interests and fantasies together. Marin suggests each person making a list using red, yellow and green lights. “Reds are the things you know you don’t want to try, yellow are the ones you’re unsure about, and greens are the things you feel perfectly comfortable with. Making these lists can be a fun way to keep the chemistry going,” she writes. Talk about what you will do if you ever have a fight about sex. Marin says it is inevitable. Do you have a communication strategy in place? Will you decide to see a marriage counselor or sex therapist if you have to? Know each other’s feelings on these sorts of things. Think about how each of you can nurture your individual sexualities. Lastly, talk about your honeymoon with your soon-to-be spouse. What are the expectations? What will you experiment with? Does the sex take precedence or other honeymoon activities? For more on how to have great sex with your now or soon-to-be spouse, pick up a copy of Marriage And Sex: Marriage Advice On Spicing Up Your Marriage And Marriage Tips About Sex For Married Couples by Suzie Holmes.

If you want a Happy Marriage, be Generous

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If you want a Happy Marriage, be Generous

According to a new study, if you want a happy marriage, both you and your spouse need to be generous. Making someone dinner, a nice foot rub, a little gift or gesture, any of these things and more can be considered generosity in marriage. According to this research generous couples were five times more likely to report their marriage as “very happy” compared to those who reported a marriage that was not as generous. Each couple used in this study did have children. Experts believe that when we are generous we are actually sending the message that our spouse is valuable and important to us. And of course actions speak louder than words.

Though generosity did increase marital satisfaction significantly, one place that raised it far more was the couple’s sex life. Those couples who reported having “above average sexual satisfaction in their relationship” were ten to thirteen times more apt to label their marriage as a “very happy” one. According to this research, these two elements are not exclusive, but in fact are linked. Being generous may make sex better, say researchers. Those married couples who said that they spent more quality time together, were very generous, and had a high level of commitment also reported high sexual satisfaction levels.

Associate professor of sociology at the University of Virginia and a researcher on this project, W. Bradford Wilcox said of this, “What happens outside of the bedroom seems to matter a great deal in predicting how happy husbands and wives are with what happens in the bedroom.” It’s really important that you tailor your act of generosity to fit your spouse’s personality, likes, and interests. As Wilcox said, doing so is “…signaling to your spouse that you know them, and are trying to do things for them that are consistent with your understanding of them.”

This study was part of a bigger project called the National Marriage Project. 1,400 couples were surveyed. They were heterosexual and between the ages of 18 and 46. Researchers boiled down their results to the top five predictors of a marriage that was very happy and satisfying. The first four were the same for both sexes: sexual satisfaction, commitment, generosity and positivity towards the children and the raising of them. For men, the fifth one was spirituality while for women it was social support of friends and family. Remember that generosity is interpreted by different people in different ways. Both partners have to be mutually generous as well. Get to know your partner really well, what they like and what you can do for them. Being generous will only make them want to be generous to you in return. And who doesn’t want that? For more advice read, The Surprising Secrets of Highly Happy Marriages: The Little Things that Make a Big Difference by Shaunti Feldhahn.

Learn from Your Partner’s ex

partners-ex

Learn from Your Partner’s ex

There are all kinds of things that can affect a relationship and bring it down. One good trick is to learn from your partner’s ex. If they are still friends or even an occasional acquaintance, don’t give them the stink eye, befriend them. Learn from your partner’s ex about them and their relationship. You’ll never know what you might find out once you get them to let you in. Otherwise, listen carefully to what your current partner has to say about past relationships. There are grains of truth there. Furthermore, you’ll learn much more about your significant other, what is important to them and how they operate in a relationship. First, how touchy-feely was the ex? If they were too clingy or needy you know why they might be a little squeamish when you call twice in one day or suggest going away for a weekend too soon. If they didn’t kiss enough, or show any emotion you know that contact and being connected is important and not to let those things slide. For women, sometimes a good kissing session shows how you feel about her. But if it always leads to sex she may think you want just her body not really her. Kissing, holding hands, putting your arm around one another, kissing, not to the point of making everyone sick around you, but to make you two feel great and connected, is essential to love’s longevity.

If your partner talks about their ex’s immaturity level, and this can go for guys or girls, take heed. The truth is there is a lot of immature dating activity going on out there in the world. Both sexes and all orientations have experienced this. It’s important to have a good selection process to weed out people who are going to give you a headache. But what’s more, don’t accidentally send the signals that gets your lover’s dander up. If something you do is misconstrued as the same immature behavior their ex took part in, you may find yourself in a silly fight that has nothing to do with your actual relationship. Plenty of variations exist but the same path is clear, make sure, especially at the beginning of a relationship, that you aren’t accidentally portraying yourself as a player, high maintenance, a gold digger or a man-child or woman-child. Of course it’s important to be who you really are. You don’t have to stand on your guard. But just think for a second, especially if this person’s recently gone through a divorce or difficult breakup, think if what you are about to say can be misconstrued as something else. That quick millisecond check can save you hours’ worth of frustration. Watch out for previous relationships where that person picked their family over your partner. In a real, committed relationship the partner always comes first. Lastly, watch sounding like you are criticizing. So many fights stem from misunderstandings. Sometimes that misunderstanding is that we are judging or criticizing when we’re actually not. For more relationship advice, read The Ten Commandments of Dating: Time Tested Laws for Building Successful Relationships by Ben Young.

What Facebook Says about your Romantic Past

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There have been a ton of stories on Facebook lately, one saying Facebook is a reason for divorce, another about an app that uses Facebook to find your perfect match, and now this, a revealing piece of information, something that Facebook says about your romantic past according to one study. How many interests do you have liked on your Facebook page? If it’s a lot then you’ve had more romantic partners, while if you’ve liked less things it means you’ve dated a lot less so says a study in Computers in Human Behavior. This study comes out of Western Illinois University. Lead author Christopher Carpenter, Ph.D., calls this the “self-expansion model.” The idea is that people are constantly trying new things so that they can learn and grow. Dr. Carpenter elaborated, “Even if we walk away from our romantic relationships with some heartache, we generally also gain new interests and activities. Our relationships with others help us become more interesting people by perhaps broadening our horizons.” So if your girlfriend has some video game skills she acquired from her last boyfriend, you may be benefiting from that now, in your current relationship. Facebook is telling in two other ways according to researchers.

Now when it comes to women, guys, you may want to get rid of the “Beer” like that you selected when you first got your Facebook page. Of this Carpenter says, “If all you have listed is an interest in beer and watching television, potential romantic partners may conclude that you have pretty limited interests.” So when things may just start getting interesting she may cut things off. Why you ask? This girl next door sees the writing on your fence. She wants a future with a man and perhaps that man isn’t you. Now you have some extra work ahead of you trying to convince her that you are the exact type of guy she is looking for. There is also positive communication that can help couple’s connect. It also helps if you two can curb jealousy.  As Carpenter says, “Numerous studies have linked Facebook use to jealousy of romantic partners, but a study we’re working on now found that positive interactions with your partner on Facebook reduce the link between Facebook use and jealousy.” We will have to wait and see what fruit that study gives. But moving forward, for your relationship’s sake, use Facebook responsibly. For more on this topic, read Computer-Mediated Communication in Personal Relationships by Kevin B. Wright and Lynne M. Webb.

How to Make your Boyfriend Romantic

Romantic-Couple

Are you with a great guy but whose romance button is stuck in the off position? If you guys hang out, pal around and have fun but never get seriously romantic and it’s killing you, why not teach him? Coax that romantic side out of him. It’s probably there, just latent. To get him to exercise his romance muscle, here are some tips on how to make your boyfriend romantic. First, check your expectations. If you’re thinking he should turn into the leading man in some romantic comedy overnight, or that he should be one already, your expectations may be too high. Hollywood isn’t real life. Start suggesting things you’d like him to do. If you watch something in a movie, mention it to him and how much you swooned for it. He may do it, or something comparable. But he’ll do it in his own way. Not a Hollywood way. But it’ll be genuine and from the heart. He’ll get out of his comfort zone and go out of his way for you. What’s more romantic than that? Don’t expect for him to know what you want or like. Tell him. You don’t have to be so straightforward. Make a little story out of it. Tell him about what another couple did that you liked.

Tell him what you want for a holiday gift, plays, movies or shows you want to see, restaurants you want to go to. If he cares for you, he’ll take you there. Talk about romance together. Ask him what he thinks is romantic. What romantic things has he done in the past? What things has he seen others do, say his parents, friends, siblings and their significant others? Tell him stories about your own background, what you really liked and didn’t. Tell him stories of people you know, too. Buy him thoughtful gifts and take him to places he likes. If he’s a gentleman he’ll be likely to reciprocate. Do little things together that are romantic first and build from there. Try going for walks on the beach, in the park, through museums, art galleries, shopping areas, and so on. Go hiking to waterfalls. Visit fountains. Eat at tiny bistros. Attend a poetry reading or a spoken word competition. Perhaps suggest that you two write each other love poems afterwards, just as something fun to do together as a couple. If either of you are musical, try to compose a song together, or write songs about one another. Why not try to bring out his competitive side? Challenge him to a romance contest. You both agree to do something romantic for one another by week’s end. The best gesture wins a special reward. For more ideas, read the advice of K. M. Ryan in her book, How To Be Romantic: 4,000+ Romantic Ideas For Couples.