Monday, September 24, 2012

Sex that Cultivates Attachment, Not Addiction

In my last post I highlighted Gary Wilson’s TED Talk, The Great Porn Experiment. Today I’ll share some other wonderful resources he and his wife, Marnia Robinson, have developed.

Their blog at "Psychology Today" is a  clearinghouse of information and science-based advice on sex and love. They propose an alternative to the myth that's common in our culture: that porn enhances desire and spices up a couple's sex life. The science they cite shows why the reverse is often true. That is, porn sometimes actually dampens the sex appeal of one's partner over time and impedes sexual performance. They show how bonding-oriented sex can strengthen relationship, and how much (and why) sex can improve a couple's sense of connection over time. I found their website years ago while researching the varying effects of dopamine and oxytocin. I'd seen the research on dopamine summarized elsewhere, but they shared such a vivid portrayal of this dopamine depletion research participant, I finally "got" how my addicted clients suffer when they're in the throes of withdrawal. I've found treasure after treasure at (Marnia's site), and I still haven't combed through everything there. Most impressive and inspiring to me have been the entries on their forum from individuals who are kicking the porn habit and finally tapping into the joy only accessible when monogamy is accompanied by mental monogamy.

Marnia's book, Cupid's Poisoned Arrow indicts our culture's pornified view of sex and reveals what's possible in a relationship when the focus of sex turns from orgasm to connecting. It's one of the books I recommend most frequently in my therapy practice. It gives couples an entirely new vision of how to truly love each other physically. As you read you'll think, "No wonder so many relationships fail! No wonder the divorce rate's so high! No wonder, even among couples who stay together, so many end up constantly bickering or cool and distant with each other.” Even if you don't implement fully the practice of Karezza, these books will radically alter the way you think and act between the sheets.

Life can be rough, but your primary relationship doesn't have to be. Amidst all of the other struggles in life, it should remain your refuge. If you don’t enjoy that kind of relationship yet, don’t fret it. Invest the time and energy. I promise: rethinking your time between the sheets can turn the most important relationship in your life into the most satisfying.

1 comment:

  1. I love this.
    "admist all of the other struggles in life your primary relationship should remain your refuge."
    I'm going to a wedding on sunday, I'm gonna write this in the card and claim it. Brilliant way of looking at marriage.