Seems the world is giving me all kinds of inspiration lately.
When Betty and Carlin invited me to blog it was with the idea that I would have a different voice than others on the site. I was single, I was 65, and I was a psychologist who worked with sexuality and intimacy.
I’ve kept most of my blogs over the years to personal observations and opinions. I’ve been blasted and I’ve been treated with care. What I have not done much, and what this great website, has not done much with either, is talk about sex in Long Term Committed Relationships (LTCRs). What we generally read here is either sex ed, sexual politics, lots of fun stuff. The website’s pledge to inform and accept with love, all forms of humanity and their sexuality is legend.
But what about those who have been , I have, in LTCRs.
The movie, out now, with Meryl Streep, Tommy Lee Jones and Steve Carrell called “Hope Springs,” is worth some comment.
The couple, married 31 years, has lost their mojo. They have not had sex, or slept in the same bed, or touched much at all for 6 years. (really much longer) The wife, this time, has had it. She sees an advertisement for a therapist in Maine who says he can help. It will take a week of time and $4,000/it’s called “intensive therapy.”
So hold on, a shocker I know, but that’s some of what I wanted to comment on. His baseline theory is that if ingrained, hardened patterns are established, they cannot be broken gingerly. They require a sledgehammer. The metaphor he used is like a “nose job.” Gotta break the nose first.
But it is the entire list of ingredients that saves this marriage. The money first, an enormous sum. These are not wealthy people and she used her savings to buy the tickets.
But it does ensure that folks take it seriously.
Then there’s the time away, 2000 miles away, with no cell reception in a tiny town where you don’t know anyone and have only yourselves to bump into.
And then you have to begin to connect – with structure and arguments and honesty –and in this case, a facilitator.
Both people in this case do love each other. They have crossed wires, faced rejection and shut down. Turns out that years ago the husband was so wounded by his wife’s discomfort with oral sex that he stopped trying. She never knew how to give him oral sex and he never knew how to teach her, or even bring it up.
I won’t give out the details but it does make a very good point that folks can bring back their sex lives, it may never be too late, and even a sex therapist can help. Yes, even a sex therapist.!! One who doesn’t teach the Kama Sutra or bondage or a lot of technique. A sex therapist who also teaches about the feelings related to intimacy and how those hurt feelings can destroy sex is often worth every penny spent.
The combination can be remarkable.
A Long Term Committed Relationship can end up with albums and framed photos of memories. It can also, and too often does, end up with separate bedrooms and people longing for touch and tenderness. Marriages are difficult . The sexual part of marriage very often becomes a land of silence and sadness and only for the young.
The best part of the movie, besides the actors, is the effort to provide a public service. If you want to be close to your partner, and you’re not, get help. Where there’s hope and a willingness to really act, a roll in the hay, with the same dear playmate, may still be in your future. HoHHoH