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How did you respond?
At first pretty shocked at the question out of the blue, cant get to vocal in the middle of a restaurant. I asked lots of questions and did my best to assure her she was wrong. I agreed to go to marriage counseling since we needed it anyway (dead sex life for a long time). She thought it would give me an opportunity confess. It dragged out for months where I eventually found out she was in at least an EA (did know what one was back then). At that point I shut down the counseling and the entire discussion about my supposed affair. Told her if she wanted to end the marriage fine, but I was not discussing the affair that never happened any longer.

The discussion stopped we had some hysterical bonding for a while and we moved on. I was not a reader here then and not wise enough to dig into her EA further than putting an end to it. She claimed to be getting anonymous info about my non affair which I believe was her EA partner and I have some proof of. She refused to admit it was him.
 

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I love Esther Perel. I haven’t read any of her books but I’ve watched a lot of her ted talks and YouTube videos.

I learned a lot from her and I agree with her on many things. I personally am not into the non monogamous thing. I respect her opinion and think it will work for some people, but that’s not personally who I want to live my life. I don’t let that discredit her from the amazing things she has taught me.
 

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I actually think Esther has some concrete ideas in her book, but as many of you noted many people are not ready to hear what deep down they know to be true. The institute of marriage has not kept up with the changes in technologies, social interaction, and longevity. we are living longer, we have more free time, and we are inundated with senor over load of social interactions, these three things have impacted an institution of marriage where the average lengthen of those marriages were counted in years not decades due to death of one of the spouses. Maybe we are asking marriages to last longer than they should, longer than we are capable of handling.
 

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I actually think Esther has some concrete ideas in here book, but as many of you noted many people are not ready to hear what deep down they know to be true. The institute of marriage has not kept up with the changes in technologies, social interaction, and longevity. we are living longer, we have more free time, and we are inundated with senor over load of social interactions, these three things have impacted an institution of marriage where the average lengthen of those marriages were counted in years not decades due to death of one of the spouses. Maybe we are asking marriages to last longer than they should, longer than we are capable of handling.
And I think she does a good job at talking about desire in a marriage because it’s definitely not normal or natural to desire your spouse of 20+ years.
 

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Discussion Starter · #26 ·
And I think she does a good job at talking about desire in a marriage because it’s definitely not normal or natural to desire your spouse of 20+ years.
In my opinion I think "not normal or natural" could have a better choice of words. Perhaps "not easy or guaranteed" might work better.

From all my reading from Schnarch, Nagoski, and combined with work on my own marriage it is often the inability for one to learn how to embrace and love their own personal imperfections. This inability to love yourself is what causes problems. We all want to be a better person for our spouse, and that better version of oneself is often the one that is desired. In reality it is always an imperfect person that is present and we teach ourselves and spouse to reject that person. When we fail at becoming a better person the result is that desire in the relationship fails as well.

So the beginning of the battle is learning to love and appreciate yourself as imperfect as that may be. Then you have to help teach your partner how to love and accept your true self as well.

I am curious how Perel addresses this aspect of relationships. Most often a relationship consist of four people. An imperfect couple that each keeps hidden from the other and the better version of themselves that never seems to really materialize. Who loves and desires who in that relationship...

Anyway, I am enjoying reading this weekend! :)

Badsanta
 

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I believe the lies and deceit Perel advocates indirectly for in affairs is overshadowed by the death of trust. If my WW has asked to open the relationship, I would have considered her offer and responded with a counteroffer of divorce. Her PA provided her that validating, risky sex. If your partner is bonded deeply to you and values integrity, this betrayal cuts to the bone ... forever. As Nietzsche said, “I'm not upset that you lied to me, I'm upset that from now on I can't believe you.”
 

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I find that EP does a lot of word salad. Too much emphasis on sex. In everyone's life sex becomes less and less important. loyalty, reliability and other qualities become more important. If all EP can talk about is eroticism and the like, she's ignoring the main reasons why humans are monogamous in the first place.

Take for example this weekend, I can't imagine my husband being here, helping me to lift my mother and cook for her if I were shagging some other guy. I certainly wouldn't be doing it for him and his mother under the same conditions.

I have looked over past relationships. A couple of them happened because I was (younger and) horny. boy, do I regret the time effort wasted on them.
 

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Everytime we bring up EP people shut her down because she doesn’t think cheating is the end of the world. She doesn’t encourage it. Anyways I don’t want to get into that. What about the other things she talks about like the OP was trying to talk about?

I agree with the desire needs distance. I also remember her talking about being at a party or whatever and seeing your spouse being themselves from a distance and how attractive that is. I can’t agree more with that!

The democracy of unfairness.... I haven’t read much about that, but it does make sense. We can’t always be equal, we need to constantly work to make things good. And I don’t mean work as a negative thing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #31 ·
Another think Perel touches on that is interesting, is the concept that when a spouse sees the relationship as being that of a caregiver, it quickly becomes non-sexual.
This is an interesting one as I did read the chapters on parenting over the weekend. What I digested from this portion of her books is that the parent that serves as the primary caregiver for the children in a marriage tends to be the one that looses all their desire for sex with a spouse.

She theorizes that this happens because parenting is both physically exhausting and emotionally fulfilling. At the end of the day for the primary caregiving parent there is nothing left to give energy-wise nor does that person need/desire anything else emotionally. While I have not yet digested her solution for that, from what I understand she advocates that parents need to make each other a priority. There is a book she advocates reading and leaving out on the nightstand called "Hot Mama" so I think I will give that a read as well.

Regards,
Badsanta
 

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Discussion Starter · #32 ·
The democracy of unfairness.... I haven’t read much about that, but it does make sense. We can’t always be equal, we need to constantly work to make things good. And I don’t mean work as a negative thing.
From what I gather "unfairness" is one of the critical ingredients needed to build anticipation and desire. Perhaps it can be used both constructively and destructively depending on the couple.

My theory is that what ends up excitingly unfair for one serves to be upsettingly unfair to the other. Thus a dynamic that serves to build desire for one spouse while gradually destroying it for the other over time. An example might be spontaneity versus anticipation. One partner enjoys carefully planning and anticipating only to see that desire compound when plans fail, while the other misses spontaneity and adventure and gets anxiety and guilt by repeatedly cancelling anything that is too routine or planned.

Flip that around and if sex is always spontaneous and in the spur of the moment, the person that enjoys anticipating and planning will not have had a chance to build any desire or excitement for what is about to happen.
 

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Discussion Starter · #33 ·
There is a book she advocates reading and leaving out on the nightstand called "Hot Mama" so I think I will give that a read as well.
Well I was trying to find her reference to that book and now I can't. It may be "Sexy Mama." I need to find it to make sure I get the author right as the books listed on Amazon by these titles are not readily available or that well reviewed.
 

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This is an interesting one as I did read the chapters on parenting over the weekend. What I digested from this portion of her books is that the parent that serves as the primary caregiver for the children in a marriage tends to be the one that looses all their desire for sex with a spouse.

She theorizes that this happens because parenting is both physically exhausting and emotionally fulfilling. At the end of the day for the primary caregiving parent there is nothing left to give energy-wise nor does that person need/desire anything else emotionally. While I have not yet digested her solution for that, from what I understand she advocates that parents need to make each other a priority. There is a book she advocates reading and leaving out on the nightstand called "Hot Mama" so I think I will give that a read as well.

Regards,
Badsanta
There is also another element to the "caregiver" scenario, which is when a spouse sees themselves as the "caregiver" to their spouse. For example, if a wife sees her husband as someone who requires her to care for him, it can draw away from the sexual interest. It was explained that it is very hard to look at someone from both the view of their caretaker and as a sexual interest.

I honestly fee Perel is onto something that is about human true carnal nature, and how that differs from what may seem logical and what society wants relationships to be. True raw desire comes from a very carnal place within someone, and does not always align with what that same person may wish things to be or what they think society is expecting.

I found the applies sexually to what people crave in their sexual life. It often differs from what they would say logically. My wife is a great example of this. She is a life long believer that sex is designed within a heterosexual monogamous marriage. She values PIV sex first and foremost as the ideal. She will say that over and over and over....and I believe her logical mind truly does feel that way......but what will get her panties wet and cause her to run into the bathroom and rub one out....an illicit lesbian encounter she sees on tv, reads in a book, thinks about. Her carnal mind and her logical mind don't actually align at all.

What Perel tries to bring forward, is the realization of how the carnal mind actually works, and removes the stereotypes of logical thinking we all assume should be the case. It is the same thing with the "girls attracted to bad boys" situation. Many stereotypical women state over and over of their dreams since children of the handsome man who will romance them, be stable, have a good job, be an awesome dad to their children, love them unconditionally......but that does not necessarily equate to who they want to f&%k. Not picking on women, men do the same in their own way, and I also know not all men or all women follow the pattern, but I firmly believe what a persons logical mind thinks they want and what they really want (sexually speaking) are often not one in the same.
 

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Discussion Starter · #35 ·
Well I was trying to find her reference to that book and now I can't. It may be "Sexy Mama." I need to find it to make sure I get the author right as the books listed on Amazon by these titles are not readily available or that well reviewed.
The book Ether Perel recommends on the topic of Parenthood and caregiving is "Sexy Mamas" by Cathy Winks and Anne Semans.
 

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Discussion Starter · #36 ·
...It is the same thing with the "girls attracted to bad boys" situation. Many stereotypical women state over and over of their dreams since children of the handsome man who will romance them, be stable, have a good job, be an awesome dad to their children, love them unconditionally......but that does not necessarily equate to who they want to f&%k.
I once did a poll here regarding if people fantasized about their spouses. It was deleted as that violates the rules. My discussion point was that my wife historically refuses to believe that I fantasize about her and claims that she is not attractive. I wanted to understand why she did not believe me.

Well the poll got interesting. Most husbands claimed that they do fantasize about their wives. Most wives said they needed something... well... a little more powerful to get them going than solely fantasizing about their husbands. It was a discussion that was very polarizing with regards to women versus men and the ability to enjoy fantasizing about one's own spouse.

Perhaps at the root of this difference is that men (unlike women) need nurturing. Men more often need a spouse to help clean, cook, and tend to our health than vice versa. Much like their mother did for them at a younger age. Thus the tendency for the wife to become a "caregiver" and loose her desire. If she needs to awaken her desire then she likely needs something more exciting than a pile of messy thoughts associated with her husband's dirty cloths everywhere that she just washed.
 

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My wife and I have a couple we socialize with often and are fairly close with. I know both the husband and wife well, and we talk very openly about our marriage and sex.

The husband and I were chatting recently, and it was the story I have heard some many times (myself included for many years).

He is a healthy good looking fit guy, has a good job, provides for his family, is a good dad, involved in his kids life, helps equally around the house and with the kids, peruses his wife romantically, good communication.....all the things most people expect in a good marriage. He and his wife both agree they really love each other........BUT.....she often does not feel sexual towards him or about him. She feels he is handsome, clean (no hygiene issues), she loves him, feels close to him, cares about his well being, but just does not feel that the idea of sex with him makes her "horny". She said she just rarely feels any urge for it. She is close to typical age for menopause, so hormones may be a factor, but she said she DOES get horny, it is just often about other things. Since I was looking at this from the outside and not being directly invested, I felt some clarity that it was very inline with Perel's book. The bottom line was there just was not risk and excitement..,.there is no unknown, no anticipation.

They do have sex, but seems mostly driven from the interest in feeling close and connected, and not much about erotic desire or sexual feelings (from her side). I told them about Perel's book and Schnarsh...hope they take me up on it
 

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Discussion Starter · #38 ·
The book Ether Perel recommends on the topic of Parenthood and caregiving is "Sexy Mamas" by Cathy Winks and Anne Semans.
So this is going on a bit of a tangent for this thread, but I'm just starting this other book and here are a few things that "Sexy Mamas" gets into surrounding the issues of parenthood and marriage which most are obvious. These are my take aways reading as a husband and may not be reflected directly in this book (as it was written for women by women):
  • For parents the notion of having children drastically changes one's sense of self and what the female body endures for creating children (women are often uncomfortable with how their body changes after childbirth)
  • Most women feel the idea of being sexually desirable as something that conflicts with being a mom. They struggle to reconcile that they can be both a desirable wife and a mom as something that only rich people can afford by having personal chefs, trainers, and nannies.
  • Women need to keep in touch with their sexuality through masturbation and enjoying sexually explicit materials.
  • A woman that us offended by sexually explicit materials should recognize that it is a result how she was raised to find sexually explicit things as dirty instead of enjoyable. Being raised this way by your parents and church is something that can kill desire. Sexually explicit materials should be viewed as something fun and adventurous that compliments one's joy of self exploration.
  • Great sex is not bound by age or body size and should be something that can be enjoyed throughout one's life and at all stages. If anything the body's ability to have an orgasm is the same regardless of if you are overweight or not.
  • Great sex and enjoying one's libido are healthy for the body.
  • Being a parent is more effective in an marriage where spouses enjoy desiring one another and make that a priority

...that is about as far as I am and I am enjoying reading this book.

One of the reviews on Amazon harps on the fact that if a woman is struggling with her self esteem and body image, that bringing sexually explicit content into the home with porn stars that have perfect bodies is absolutely NOT going to help. I would tend to agree with that, but that is not how this book presents that topic. This book is trying to address the topic of confronting one's tendencies toward sexual disgust and not allowing that to take over upon becoming a parent. Parents should rents just as many "R" rated movies for themselves as they do "G" rated movies for the whole family. Unfortunately once people become parents, it is mostly the "G" rated movies present in the home that help everyone feel safe. We forget about the joy and adventures of being an adult and as a result it destroys desire between a married couple. If there is an "R" rated movie playing, parents often feel uncomfortable with that even when watching alone.

I guess a comment like, "Wanna go on a fun date and we can watch that new Disney Princess Fairytale Movie with the whole family" would pretty much hit home as to what it feels like to be a married couple with a family. Couples tend to forget how to be adults and have fun as adults. We all become overprotective and embrace sexual disgust to stay safe.

Badsanta
 

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One of the reviews on Amazon harps on the fact that if a woman is struggling with her self esteem and body image, that bringing sexually explicit content into the home with porn stars that have perfect bodies is absolutely NOT going to help. I would tend to agree with that, but that is not how this book presents that topic.
So,....there is a twist on this. I think the book may be suggesting that the women use sexual explicit content alone (hence the masturbation reference), therefore it takes SOME aspects of body shame away. I know for my wife, she can feel jealous of how women in movies look, but it is more because she would be jealous that I may find them appealing. If she were watching alone, it still may spark feelings for her that she "does not compare", but less so than if we were watching together.
 

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  • Women need to keep in touch with their sexuality through masturbation and enjoying sexually explicit materials.
  • A woman that us offended by sexually explicit materials should recognize that it is a result how she was raised to find sexually explicit things as dirty instead of enjoyable. Being raised this way by your parents and church is something that can kill desire. Sexually explicit materials should be viewed as something fun and adventurous that compliments one's joy of self exploration.
As long as the level of use fails to reach addiction. Use of erotic material is not keeping my wife in touch with sexuality, it has replaced it. There is nothing for the sexually explicit materials to complement. Women are not all immune to the problems with porn that men fall into.
 
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