Fifty Shades of Grey is a number one best seller. Although the book is considered erotica because it traces the relationship between a virgin college student and her kinky boss, it has found a crossover and prominence in mainstream reading that is rare.
According to Time’s Nick Carbone, part of its popularity has to do with its readership, which he cites as: “thankfully for sex-starved middle-aged women everywhere, the novel was recently picked up for a large imprint by U.S. publishing giant Random House.”
But, sex-starved and middle aged oversimplifies many women’s actual life scenarios.
In my practice, I often see women who are unhappy and having affairs outside of their marriage. Many complain that they have been telling their spouse for years that that they are unhappy, but until divorce is mentioned, the problem is ignored or often diverted. The reality? This often leads to unfulfilling sex.
In the Time article, “Help for Sex-Starved Wives,” Andrea Sachs questions whether “women blame it on their physical appearance…the reason for unfulfilling sex?”
Men and women both complain that their partner doesn’t take care of themselves—by not eating healthy food, not exercising, wearing sweatpants, or just not caring. Dressing better and improving one’s physical appearance can be easily addressed, especially with designers who make style easy and fun for men and women, but many times the problems are deeper.
Often, a dysfunctional cycle is set up. For example, recently a couple complained that there is no time for sex. He has followed her and her career to several states and she is driven by the belief that if she works hard, everything will be alright. He has developed boredom, is drinking more, and recently started his own business, which she resents because he didn’t include her. Yet, he feels unsupported because he put his needs aside for years, so he is angry. Verbal fights have increased and important issues are unresolved.
By acknowledging and interrupting this dysfunctional cycle, they have been able to avoid “hot volatile topics” until they are in their counseling sessions. She has reduced her work hours, and both have acknowledged their addictions: her to work and his to drinking recently. Low self-esteem and lack of support and love underlie most addictions, so together they are learning to create short weekend vacations together and are learning to respect each other’s needs and placing priority on quality of life versus their addictive behaviors.
Their commitment to this has brought them to better communication, deeper level of intimacy, and more respect and support in their career and life choices. It is possible to bring a sex-starved relationship back.
Marriage counseling can help couples to reconnect and stop the unfulfilling sex cycle quickly if they are motivated and place a high priority on regaining the love and commitment they once had.
See more about creative marriage counseling at www.emdrcoach.com.
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