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  • You grow sexually (and otherwise) by walking into your anxiety, calming yourself down, and mastering yourself in the process.

  • Yes, having sex beyond your sexual development creates anxiety. You're doing sexual behaviors you've never done before. There are meanings to these behaviors you're not used to handling. You're afraid of looking inadequate or being rejected. But this was also true before you were in a relationship, and this didn't stop you then.

  • When you tinker with your partner's emotions to suit your partner, there's the temptation and opportunity to tinker with your partner to suit yourself. And conversely, controlling your partner to tinker with you only as you want to be tinkered with is just asking for trouble. Your partner ends up feeling controlled by you, and you end up trying to protect yourself from your "support system."

  • "Sex is inherently based on intimacy. The problem is that most people have a very misguided idea of what intimacy means," he says. "There's this idea that your partner is going to make you feel good and validate you."
  • A truly intimate connection between adults is less volatile, because couples aren't ticked off about what their partner is or isn't doing to prop them up. It's more solid, because it's based on reality. "Ultimately, you get through gridlock and get to a place of more honest self-disclosure, where the focus is on being known, rather than being validated," he says.
  • You demand that your partner approve of you, and you begin to count on him or her to reassure you that you're normal and that your feelings are valid. This makes it difficult to be completely open or honest with each other anymore. One or both of you begins to feel suffocated, and the intense vulnerability of sexual passion that was so easy in the early days becomes impossible.

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  • Interdependence allows partners who are each capable of handling their own emotional lives to focus on meeting their own and each other's ever-evolving goals and agendas in response to shifting circumstances, rather than on keeping one another from falling apart. It is marked by flexibility and focuses on strengths. Dependent partners, by contrast, spend their lives compensating for each other's limitations and needs.
  • "When we start shading what we say to keep our relationship calm, we destroy intimacy and desire and diminish our sense of security and self-worth," Schnarch observes.
  • Forget empathy. Schnarch sees a better approach in self-validated intimacy. "You say what you have to say, and your partner either gives a supportive response or says, 'That is the stupidest thing I ever heard.'" Either way, you pat yourself on the back, respect your own thoughts and feelings, and maintain your sense of self-worth. Instead of asking someone for a stamp of approval, you do what any grown-up does—approve of yourself. The irony is that when you say what you think without fear of rejection, your partner loves and respects you more, because he knows who you really are.

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  • People who refuse to acknowledge their own hatred, vindictiveness, and punitiveness are the most pernicious people to those they love. You can’t learn to control hostile impulses you won’t acknowledge having. The problem isn't the urge to be mean, because everyone has this at some point. Problems arise when you deny it, because you’re more likely to act it out. It’s better for everyone if you accept a picture of yourself having a malevolent side. Then if you’re wrong, there’s no harm, no foul. When you indulge yourself in a glorified self-perception, other people pay the price when you are mistaken.

  • Managing your own emotions, feelings, and anxieties gives other people back their lives.

  • People reduce the tensions of family interactions by cutting off, but risk making their new relationships too important. For example, the more a man cuts off from his family of origin, the more he looks to his spouse, children, and friends to meet his needs. This makes him vulnerable to pressuring them to be certain ways for him or accommodating too much to their expectations of him out of fear of jeopardizing the relationship.
  • For example, (1) a person feels more like a child when he is home and looks to his parents to make decisions for him that he can make for himself, or (2) a person feels guilty when he is in more contact with his parents and that he must solve their conflicts or distresses, or (3) a person feels enraged that his parents do not seem to understand or approve of him.

  • A person with a well-differentiated “self” recognizes his realistic dependence on others, but he can stay calm and clear headed enough in the face of conflict, criticism, and rejection to distinguish thinking rooted in a careful assessment of the facts from thinking clouded by emotionality.
  • What he decides and what he says matches what he does. He can act selflessly, but his acting in the best interests of the group is a thoughtful choice, not a response to relationship pressures. Confident in his thinking, he can either support another’s view without being a disciple or reject another view without polarizing the differences. He defines himself without being pushy and deals with pressure to yield without being wishy-washy.

  • You have to be able to communicate how you feel in a way that takes complete ownership of those feelings-- "I've been feeling threatened by..." or, "I've really missed doing [thing] with you..." or, "I am hurt because..." etc., and not, "You need to stop..." or, "You don't do [thing] with me anymore..." or, "You're so..." etc.
  • f you're serious about making it work with this woman, get to a place where you truly value a solid, happy, love-filled relationship over the need to protect yourself from potential heartache, or from the pain and effort of change. Get to a place where you would gladly feel shame or guilt if it means your partner doesn't have to feel sadness, or like you're pulling away from her emotionally.
  • Look, different personalities can get along without one person feeling inadequate! If you feel "less" than her, then you've still got work to do and she's not right for you.

  • My wife and I have also been together for 14 years, we've been keeping a calendar for the last 6. Nothing special, just a regular calendar that gets a circle on days when we have sex. We were very close to dead bedroom when we started and it really helped make things a priority when the dead periods would build. Since we started keeping a calendar our sex has increased every year since. We even set goals now.


    As an engineer, I live by the saying, "what gets measured gets done"

  • The key for me was realizing that I am going to get rejected some if not most of the time, but it isn't the end of the world. The log helped worlds in this, because I can go back and see that, yes, she does reject my advances pretty often, but we still have sex. I am not sure this would be helpful in a true deadbedroom situation, but for me it helped me realize just how truly far away we were and how unrealistic my expectations were.
  • She has never been negative towards my sex drive or even any of my requests (which some of them she has thought were crazy/strange but ended up enjoying). In the past when we have had serious discussions about our sex life (or what I perceived as lack of sex life), she seems to often place the blame on herself, which I try my utmost to avoid. I also try to not initiate sex constantly, because she has expressed guilt and anxiety at turning me down (as if she is somehow not sufficient) and this tends to feed into negative views on sex. I am not sure when I realized this, definitely in the past year, but acting hurt or trying to passively aggressively manipulate her into sex was really damaging our relationship (sexual and the rest). I try to be direct about my desire/need for physical intimacy, but also make it clear that she can reject me without feeling guilty.
  • I definitely have a higher sex drive than my SO and it can get a little frustrating at times. I often feel like I'm pressuring him to be more sexual but if it were up to me we'd be doing it at least once a day. I don't ask that often though because I really fear rejection, I generally only ask when I can tell he's at least kind of in the mood. We actually started having a lot more sex recently after I started crying and we had a long talk and then started keeping a sex diary (not nearly as complicated as the OP's though)

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