Tag Archives: marriage

Anniversary Time

It didn’t seem like that big of a decision.

Sitting around with a couple of dudes in the Phi Delta Theta fraternity on the University of Florida campus in Gainesville, FL, during my original senior year in 1986, I decided it was about time I went to Jacksonville to enjoy my first Florida-Georgia football game.

I wanted to enjoy the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party* and see if a football game did, indeed, break out as had been rumored.**

Besides, I’d had a good time the night before at a fraternity social with the ladies of Kappa Alpha Theta, met some nice gals and laughed a lot.

So my brothers and I headed out to Jacksonville. We got there and decided to hit a bar, have some fun, drink some beer and get into the mood of the party.

Which would have been a good idea if anyone in my group had ever been to Jacksonville before while also also being sober. We got lost. Really, really lost. Which meant we had to drive around for a long time (this was before cell phones) before finally arriving at the bar near closing time.

While there, I ran into one of the ladies I met the night before. She was cute. She was funny. She knew how to have fun. And she wanted to hang out with me. She asked me to go with her to a Theta social in a couple of weeks. I said yes. We agreed to talk more in the meantime and then parted.

Over the course of the weekend, we accidentally saw each other two more times. The second time, we ended up walking on the beach for the night, enjoying the sunrise together. She then put her head in my lap and fell deeply asleep, snoring loud enough to wake the others passed out on the other couches.

We met nearly three decades ago, but today is the day we celebrate our 24th year of marriage. There are times when it seems like 24 seconds and times when it seems like 24 centuries.

A series of coincidences, a nudge from the universe here and there, a helpful bit of directions from a nosy friend and. . . twenty-eight years later, I’m still hearing that snoring every single night. Still seeing that smile. Still hearing that laugh. Still feeling the love.

Today is a good day and I plan on enjoying it.

 

Footnotes & Eratta

* That’s the unofficial nickname for the game and it’s one that both school administrations hate because they are (putting on serious stentorian voice) “serious research institutions.” (voice off) I say unofficial because most of the students don’t call it that. They call it “blargaherhiiaen chiehlhauile.” Apropos of nothing, did you know drinking a lot of alcohol inhibits your ability to enunciate properly?
** It did. Florida won 31-19, but I had no idea. I had to look it up, mostly because more important stuff happened. Not that I was too drunk to remember.

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Raw, Naked Desire

I must have you.

I don’t care what stands in my way. I will break down any wall. I will smash any window. I must have you.

No naked bodies, only raw, naked desire, stronger than sense, stronger than inhibition. The man must have that woman.

Consider that scene. Consider the legalities. The social niceties. All those things thrown to the wind in the face of raw, pulsing, surging lust. Watch that scene with any woman (or at least any woman I’ve ever seen it with) and she will tell you that this is one of the hottest movie scenes she’s ever seen.

What she might not tell you is that she’s envisioning herself as the Kathleen Turner character. She sees herself as that woman, the sight of whom is enough for a man to throw away his reputation and his sense, just to have a night with her.

This sort of desire is something most married or long-term couples seem to be living without.

Dan Savage, the sex therapist, says he thinks a little raw desire will win out over kindness and compassion and sensitivity almost every time.

People have to learn to compartmentalize. We all want to be objectified by the person we love at times. We all want to be with somebody who can flip the switch and see you as an object for an hour. Sometimes sex is an expression of anger or a struggle for power and dominance. They work in concert. People need to learn how to harness those impulses playfully in ways that are acceptable in equal relationships. 

A little of what I thin is going on is that the woman becomes excited when a dude does something like this because she sees his desire for her and it excites her that some dude needs her that badly. Turns out, I’m not just speaking out my hat this time.

I got a lot of that from a recent book called What Do Women Want: Adventures in the Science of Female Desire by Daniel Bergner. These women, and I’m paraphrasing here, want consensual force.

By which I mean that these ladies want to be with a partner they trust and then they want to surrender control to that partner, allowing the partner to decide what, where, who, how, when and how rough. Again, this is what I’m taking from that book and that is backed by science, not just blathering.

I think all this relates back to yesterday’s post about the chores study (in which men who do traditionally female chores are seen as less manly and less desirable by the women with who they live) because of the stereotypical gender roles assigned by society.

Dudes, in this role, are take-charge guys. They are the ones who decide what happens when, where, with whom, etc. Sound familiar. Do manly chores, be seen as manly. Be seen as manly, stir up impulses of that consensual surrender.

Let me stress a couple of things. Firstly, this is consensual. I’m not suggesting it’s against anyone’s will. Secondly, I’m also not saying that a woman’s natural place is in a subordinate position.

A thinker named Pepper Schwartz says that while women may have always had these types of fantasies, now they have permission to give voice to them because of how much power they have in real life. “The more powerful you are in your marriage, and the more responsibility you have in other areas of your life, the more submission becomes sexy,” Schwartz says. “It’s like: ‘Let me lose all that responsibility for an hour. I’ve got plenty of it.’ It’s what you can afford once you don’t live a life of submission.”

Obviously, there is a lot more to be said about this. Probably why there are hundreds of books about the subject. If you’re interested in learning more, I’d really recommend What Do Women Want. It’s a great book, full of good information and very readable.

For a shorter read (only barely, though), I’d suggest the article from which I took a bit of direction and some quotes. It’s in the NY Times Magazine and by Lori Gottlieb,  a psychotherapist in Los Angeles. She is the author of “Marry Him: The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough” and a contributing editor for The Atlantic. When I last checked, there were almost 1,000 comments on the article.

It’s definitely touching a nerve. Go give it a read. I’d love to hear what you have to say about it.

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Does Equal Work In A Marriage Mean Equal Unhappiness With Sex Life?

Go ahead, guess. I’ll wait.

And while I’m waiting, I’ll just sit here and mope about how science seems to have it out for me in a major way.

No, really. Don’t worry about me. Go ahead.

*sigh*

I don’t know why I try. I really don’t. I mean, come on, dudes and dudettes, I should know better. And so should you. Just look at that stupid headline. Any question that is that specific and is so counter-intuitive . . . The answer has to be yes, even though it goes against the other rule of headline questions.

But, yes, the answer is yes. According to a some interesting new research, couples that come close to doing equal work around the house both report significantly less satisfaction with their sex life than do other couples with less equal shares.

A study called “Egalitarianism, Housework and Sexual Frequency in Marriage,” which appeared in The American Sociological Review last year, surprised many, precisely because it went against the logical assumption that as marriages improve by becoming more equal, the sex in these marriages will improve, too. 

Now, this next part is the bit that killed me. Well, not literally, you understand. I was speaking figuratively. At least, I assume that’s the word. I find that my vocabulary has taken a prodigious hit from all the laundry fumes and accidentally ingested dishwashing soap.

It found that when men did certain kinds of chores around the house, couples had less sex. Specifically, if men did all of what the researchers characterized as feminine chores like folding laundry, cooking or vacuuming — the kinds of things many women say they want their husbands to do — then couples had sex 1.5 fewer times per month than those with husbands who did what were considered masculine chores, like taking out the trash or fixing the car. 

Can it get any worse? That was a rhetorical question. Of course it can get worse. Much, much worse.

It wasn’t just the frequency that was affected, either — at least for the wives. The more traditional the division of labor, meaning the greater the husband’s share of masculine chores compared with feminine ones, the greater his wife’s reported sexual satisfaction.

Just. . . Just let me take a minute here. I’m. . . I need. . . Just a minute.

. . .

Okay. I’m back. Barely holding in the tears and massive waves of self-disgust, but I’m back. Needed to move some wash to the dryer.

Moving on.

I wish.

I need to apply the standard bit of weasel speak here. Truly, correlation does not imply causation. Which means that, just because two things happen closely in time, that doesn’t mean that one thing caused the other thing to happen. And let’s not forget House’s Law: Everybody lies. And people lie about sex even more.

But, good FSM, this doesn’t look good.

Let’s assume here for a minute. Let’s assume that this correlation does, in fact, have some sort of causation. Men doing the traditionally female chores around the house have less sex and satisfy their spouses less than most. It’s a big (although not as big as I once thought) leap, but let’s assume it’s true.

That leaves us with the big question. Why?

Julie Brines, an author of the chores study, proffered this sad supposition. The less gender differentiation there is in the chores, the less sexual desire is generated.

On that sad note, I’m going to leave you for today. It turns out I’ve got a lot more to say about this. Mostly because I’ve been reading books on the subject in preparation for helping a couple of female healthcare professionals write a book on the subject. I’ll probably disqualify myself with this one, but sometimes a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do!

*Grunt!*

Did you hear that, dear? I’m a manly man! Dear? Honey?

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