Does Sex Before War = Peace?
Janet had a very long day at work, lots of problems needed her attention and she also got a call from school, that Toby – their 9-year old – had bitten a girl in his class. Her head was spinning, by the time she came home.
Rick – Janet’s husband – had made plans for them for the coming weekend with his parents, told Janet and got an angry, negative reaction. Janet did not want to join. Rick, knowing full well that Janet does not get along with his mother and sees meeting with the in-laws as a task, thought of this a lot. He was busy preparing dinner when he saw Janet walking in the door. He sensed she wasn’t having a great day. Rick decided to stop cooking, Toby was at soccer practice and would not be home for the next hour.
He invited Janet to take a bath and some time for herself. He then went upstairs, sat by her side, and rubbed her shoulders. Janet visibly relaxed. Rick assured her Toby was fine, and that he wanted to softly touch her where she stored her tension. This bathtub-massage moved on to an eyes-open sexual encounter. Both of them felt very connected and with Janet’s orgasm, the tension that was built up during the day, flowed away.
Janet felt good and grateful for some me-time in the bathtub and also for Rick’s understanding. She realized she’d not been the nicest person to be around. Rick approached the topic of the coming weekend again, the meetup with his parents. To his surprise, Janet responded she would join. Grudgingly. Janet still did not feel like going but was able to see the importance to them being there together, from Rick’s perspective.
Sex before an argument is a good idea.
Sex is an intense experience and a powerful tool for strengthening your relationship.
In my practice, I often see couples who have become stuck in their communications and are on the verge of divorce. They come to my office, for purposes of delivering the other to me, ‘to be fixed’. This is becoming something of a pattern; couples who have become caught up in verbal battles and whose focus has shifted from love… to charging or defending. Though they only wield words, these are sometimes as sharp as knives. This creates an almost constant state of alertness and, consequently, a move away from feeling and into their heads. To be specific; the rational part of their brain.
When this happens, I suggest they stop their verbal battling – at least for a while. Words are not going to solve the battle at this point. Most fights between partners are a symptom of a desire for more intense contact. I slow them down. And shift languages. From verbal to non-verbal. And I encourage them to feel – with all their senses. With their eyes, for instance. I tell them to look at the other person and to truly see them. And to touch each other, gently, in order to really feel the other. I even suggest they use their sense of smell. In other words, I encourage them to use anything but the rational mind. During this process, I gradually move the couple towards the reptilian part of the brain. To see if they can connect with each other through their intuition, their instinct – which is often what attracted them to each other in the first place. This takes effort and time, but eventually, I get them out of our heads and into their bodies. From this point on, I help couples reconnect. To move from ‘me’ to ‘we’. To use touch and sight, instead of words. As Gary Chapman taught us, touch is one of the five ‘love languages’. In therapy, I help activate the couples’ other senses, as this will lead to a greater awareness of one another.
Easier said than done.
So, are we supposed to ‘get it on’ and have sex when there’s an argument ahead of us? Well, would that it were that simple. It bears no explaining that if couples fight, or are heading towards a fight, it is a challenge for them to touch, or to have sex – let alone to enjoy it. Because when we are heading for a fight, we are not tuned into each other, and our heads will not leave us alone, bombarding us with all kinds of negative messages – about our partner, ourselves or our relationship. And also because letting ourselves be touched, or trying to apply touch, requires showing our vulnerability. And it just so happens that, when we argue, vulnerability is often the last thing we want to show. Instead, we become angry or resentful, or we avoid each other, or stiffen. And that is when we become stuck, unwilling to have sex because there’s no emotional connection.
The solution is to connect first.
Here’s where my thought comes in – when you are in this type of situation, try to turn it around. Start with touch or sex to rekindle that emotional connection. Do you recognize that after you’ve had sex, you have a sense of heightened intimacy, where both of you experience the benefits of the feel-good hormone oxytocin and feel truly connected? The trick, however, is to not disengage after the sexual act, but to remain engaged and to talk about your differences from a place of vulnerability. To find that sense of connection that’s often lost in battle.
So why be sexually engaged when you’re emotionally out of tune? In other words; why have sex before you fight? Because:
Arguments are more constructive after sex – after love-making, when the rational brain gets to go on a break and the reptilian brain takes over, a better balance is achieved.
You let go of the stories in your head and learn to communicate through touch and sight; finding a different path to greater intimacy and trust.
It allows you to change your perspective and shift from ‘me’ to ‘we’, and to mend the bond that once connected you both.
Waiting for the intellectual, emotional and physical synchronicity to happen is not very realistic. Instead, you may be surprised at what you can achieve when you start with a non-verbal one.
If you challenge yourself and try ‘eyes-open’ sex, looking into your partner’s eyes will deconstruct those stories in your head – that’s a promise.
Touching, being touched and having sex relieves stress and anxiety, and can change your mood.
When you have sex – or better said; ‘when you make love’ (love being the operative verb), your bond feels more secure.
You’ll feel more like a team that can tackle things together.
You can and will bridge the emotional distance with this non-verbal approach
“People with a stronger sexual afterglow – that is, people who report a higher level of sexual satisfaction 48 hours after sex – report higher levels of relationship satisfaction several months later,” Meltzer said of the study, which was published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.
It’s all about attachment . . . and oxytocin.
So how do you go about making this happen, when sex is the last thing you want to do with that very same person you are about to argue with? How do you have sex before an argument? Chances are that at that very moment, you feel insecurely attached in your relationship. Activating your attachment system during a time of distress sounds like a contradiction in terms – and perhaps it is. But by realizing that attachment is the basis of both suffering and healing, you can try to turn your feeling of detachment into a desire for connection.
That’s the kind of sex I teach; it may start out as an impossible task but eventually the aim is for it to turn into something good. By communicating through touch, you shift away from negativity to a different perspective and to a place of softness. This becomes the starting point for a conversation – with the aim of helping you avoid an argument altogether. Having said that, in order to minimize the risk of not feeling good about yourself after having sex under these circumstances, I take the time to explain a few things to my clients. I talk about the mental benefits of sex synced with human biology. Sometimes I use the ‘going to the gym’ metaphor; going to the gym may not be on the top of your list, in fact, it may be the last thing you feel like doing. But have you ever met a person who regrets having done a work-out? It almost all cases, it is the same with deciding to have sex; when you move out of your head and into your body, you connect with your partner on a different frequency. I can assure you; you won’t regret it. Like “SAM and SALLY” you may even enjoy more peace.
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