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Keeping the Passion in Marriage
By Peggy Vaughan

Keeping the "passion" in marriage is an issue for almost all couples—whether or not there's been an affair.

Much of the excitement of an affair is due to the very nature of it being secretive and forbidden. This automatically makes sex in an affair seem different from real-life "legitimate" sex in marriage. But the sexual relationship in an affair is not real in that it has more to do with acting out a fantasy than with anything about real feelings between real people.

While it's understandably frustrating to feel you can't compete with the excitement in an affair, that excitement is very superficial and inevitably fades with time (unless a person goes from one affair to another, constantly keeping the excitement that only comes from constant "newness"). So an affair is not a useful sexual standard by which to gauge marital sex.

It's critical to understand that even though marital sex may seem less "exciting," it is not less desirable; it's just different. It has its own unique form of intensity and excitement, both of which emerge from a deeper connection between you and your partner.

Eventually, in the best relationships, the best sex is based on the pleasure of full openness to another person without anxiety, uncertainty, or fear. In fact, feeling fully open and connected to another person (in life in general and in sex in particular) can result in a better sexual relationship than is possible in the momentary excitement from the novelty of sex with someone new.

The best sex does not come from "working on it" or "talking about it;" it comes from feeling free to be totally open to each other so that you really know each other—as each of you shares your hopes, fears, desires, goals. Forging a deep connection based on full honesty with each other and vulnerability to each other allows the sexual feeling to naturally flow as a byproduct of that closeness.

This process of constantly learning more about each other (as each person grows and changes) provides a sense of newness that can allow your sex life to be better than any superficial connection with someone else. So the best way to enjoy life-long "exciting" sex is not from tricks, "spice," or gimmicks, but from really knowing each other on a deep level so you feel free to let the natural sexual feeling flow.

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