For two years my personal coach enthusiastically recommended Dr. David Schnarch's Passionate Marriage: Keeping Love and Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships as a staple in my sex library. Finally fed up with my procrastination, he bought me a copy which went promptly to the bottom of my ten foot high cue of on-the-go books.
My coach was right (as usual). I am sorry it took me this long to "discover" this brilliant gem of a book. By no means an easy read, it is in my opinion one of the best books out there on how to keep a deeply committed relationship on track.
One of the many concepts Dr. Schnarch writes about is how we treat sexual drive in the same manner as we do eating, like it is a basic biological drive. In his twenty-some years of marriage counseling, many a couple has come to him with the complaint of their relationship being sexually anorexic. That is their sexual needs were being starved within the couple.
An apparent contrarian, Schnarch turns this concept of sexual anorexia on its head by writing, "Superficially, the common idea that sex is a natural biological drive seems reasonable. After all, isn't sex drive a function of hormones? Isn't sex encoded in all animals? If sex drive weren't 'normal,' wouldn't our species die out?"
Okay, I was intrigued by his statement. Reading further Schnarch enmeshes me in a sexual whodunit, "We don't realize that seeing sex as a 'drive' makes us focus on relieving sexual tensions rather than wanting our partner."
At this point I am a little confused but bravely press on, "...if that's the only reason you think your partner wants to be with you it tends to kill sex and intimacy in marriage. Focusing on desire as motivation for sex overlooks the many couples who struggle to increase desire (passion) during sex."
I had to read that last sentence over a few times to let it sink in. I suggest you do the same.
Now I am really bewildered. Could Schnarch believe that equating sex as a biological drive mean getting your rocks off with any old person will do because it is simply fulfilling an urge? And that sex in this ideal diminishes the ability to find true vulnerability (i.e. passion) because it is about an urge and nothing to do with intimacy. Hmm. Interesting.
"Sexual Anorexia" »