It became clear reading the diaries that my sometimes knee-jerk response 'Well, it's his fault for pestering' was lacking in compassion for at least one half of the couple in question, and that truly valuable advice should take both their needs into account. Sometimes one isn't in the mood, but does it anyway and ends up enjoying it. But the crucial point is that, unlike men, women often don't feel sexual desire until they're physically touched. He's been waiting eight years so far - but he loves her too much to leave. But what really struck me was the revelation that in long-term relationships, sexual frustration isn't usually about sex at all: But most of my correspondents - and the couples in The Sex Diaries - are just ordinary, loving partners for whom sex is an expression of intimacy and love. And it's not as easy to dismiss men's desires in favour of our own.
And maintaining desire isn't all about hormones and hotel rooms: Where did she go? Piecing together a general idea from letters requesting help with esoteric erotic problems, or bemoaning 'boring-in-bed' boyfriends, it would be easy to think the whole country's at it every night. They worry that a tired cuddle will be misconstrued as a sexual invitation, so withdraw altogether. This may be partially true, but it may also be way too simplistic. He's been waiting eight years so far - but he loves her too much to leave. Several women also express a sadness that their levels of sexual desire are so ill-matched with their partners. The Sex Diaries features honest admissions from many women that unless they simply decide to do it, they'd probably never have sex again. Initially, of course, like some reluctant diarists, I was shocked at the idea that women should engage in a modern version of 'lie back and think of England'. But when the endorphins ebb away, she simply reverts back to normal, leaving her passionate partner bemused, stranded and wondering where the sex went. But as I've got older, my past certainties about what makes successful sex have been challenged by anecdotes from friends, by my own changing feelings and now by The Sex Diaries. Maybe to an ordinary couple that sounds simple enough. Because what Arndt surmises, after reading her couples' diaries, is not that most women are ardent lovers whose passion is gradually crushed by domesticity and boredom, it's that many women don't have a particularly high libido to begin with. A combination of husbands scaling down the pestering and giving more practical help with children and housework, and women simply choosing to have sex, rather than waiting for lightning to strike, was the unexpectedly simple key. My own response might once have been: Sometimes a cuddle is enough. But most of my correspondents - and the couples in The Sex Diaries - are just ordinary, loving partners for whom sex is an expression of intimacy and love. But when they do go for it, the sex is often as good as it used to be. And a timely reminder to me - and my fellow sexperts - that sometimes, feelings are much more important than facts. I understand that we are getting older, but I miss the affection and the closeness. It comes as a poignant surprise, in fact, to discover that the majority are still deeply in love with their wives; they just want the chance to be physically closer to her, and to feel loved and accepted in return, despite their balding heads or round tummies. Share or comment on this article: The sudden awareness that, often, this isn't just about thoughtless men expecting sex on tap has made me far more aware that, as women, we use sex to punish, to withhold and to send coded 'You're not getting it right' messages instead of communicating our true feelings. And, yes, most sexual abuse is still perpetrated by men. But while some women go on an undeclared sex strike through resentment over unwashed dishes, neglected duties, anger or disappointment, plenty more don't understand what has caused their once-passionate desire for their spouses to wither and die. But The Sex Diaries reveals a much more tender, intimate truth about men in relationships.
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Sex in Big Brother
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