"I'm too tired to come," "I feel miserable," "He will think I'm frigid," "I
can't keep this up, I hope she comes soon," "My God, she wants
more!" and so on. Will has a climax and Carol fakes one. After telling
each other how wonderful it was (while hoping the other is ready to
sleep), they struggle to be affectionate and provide a little after play.
This leads to more intercourse which neither wants and both fake a
climax this time. They weren't honest. The experience was much less
satisfying than it could have been. By pretending, they set a high
sexual standard to live up to in the future, and they increased their
own feelings of sexual inadequacy. If Will and Carol do not become
secure enough to be frank with each other, they will become stressed
and irritated. Their relationship may be headed for trouble.
Later in marriage a common complaint is "I ain't gettin' enough."
But Masters, Johnson and Kolodny (1985) say frequency is almost
never the issue. What is the problem then? The complainer may feel
neglected or lonely or that something is wrong with the relationship.
The partner being complained about may be anxious at work, upset
about adding weight, disgusted with his/her lover, or depressed. The
tasks of a couple who "ain't gettin' enough" are to recognize what the
real underlying problems are, talk about solving those problems, and
express loving concern for each other. The freer one can talk to
his/her lover about sex and other concerns, the better the sex will be
(Levin, 1975). Many books discuss intimacy and communication in
marriage (Gottman, Notarius, Gonso, & Markman, 1976; Rubinstein &
Shaver, 1982b; Rubin, 1983). Below are guidelines for communicating
Be honest, open, and direct. Don't pretend, be genuine. If you
don't know what your partner is thinking, wanting, or feeling
(and you probably don't), please ask, don't assume. Don't be
overly eager to impress, like Will and Carol.
Forget the nonsense that men know or are supposed to know
all about making love. No man knows how a woman feels or
what she needs to climax; each woman is different. Talk to
each other, DON'T AVOID DISCUSSING PROBLEMS. Both the
male and the female have to let the partner know what feels
good and what doesn't, what acts are appealing and
unappealing. If there is a problem, just say "I'd like to talk
about our love-making," then find out when is the best time to
talk, i.e. after making love, before, or at an entirely separate
Forget the notions that men should take the initiative, that the
man is responsible for making sex good, and that the woman
just lies there, letting the man do things to make her feel good.
These are outdated Victorian ideas. So are ideas like: "a man
never gets enough" or "most women want to be loved but
aren't really interested in sex." The best sexual adjustment
(80% satisfied) is achieved when each spouse takes the lead
equally often. When the initiative is one-sided, only 66% are
satisfied (Blumstein & Schwartz, 1983). A wonderful
aphrodisiac is an excited, active partner.