When it comes to sexual dysfunction and its treatment, however, the Brodys' best success story is their own.
Lisa taddeo’s last book, three women, chronicled the sex lives of real women in astonishing detail. now she has written a novel about a ‘depraved’ heroine. by janice turner
And the best weapon in their personal therapeutic arsenal is the same advice they give others. If you want a better sex life, they say, find the courage to share your sexual secrets -- to talk about what you want and don't want, sexually speaking. Because it's not the orgasm that's the goal, it's the intimacy.
One thing couples can actually do when they're lying there is talk about it and say, 'We can try this instead. Millions of Americans find it hard to talk about sex. Medical and behavioral scientists have said this for years, based on their clinical experience.
And a recent survey of people conducted by the Midwest Institute of Sexology in Southfield, Mich. Nearly 9 in 10 men in relationships with women reported serious problems articulating their needs and desires. Of the women respondents in heterosexual relationshipshalf reported some difficulties articulating their needs and desires when talking to their partners about sex. The findings cut across all agefrom teens to seniors. In sharp contrast, most men and women in Do you need some secret sex relationships said it was easy to discuss sex. The institute's survey, conducted on its web site, included questions that probed the frequency with which people told their partners what they wanted sexually and asked them to identify the reasons when they felt they could not.
Seven of 10 gay men said sex was easy to talk about, and 2 in 3 lesbian women said the same, making the gay and lesbian respondents dramatically less reluctant to communicate sexual desires than the straight respondents.
Survey imitates life
While critics and the survey takers alike say the study, because of online data gathering, is not scientific, the findings do reflect what therapists hear in practice. The good news? Shortcomings can be remedied and the lines of communication opened, experts say, if both partners are willing to work on it, change some bad habits, and talk, talk, talk.
First, it's vital to understand why it is so difficult to talk about sex in the first place.
What i learned talking to women about their sex lives and desires
Co-authors of Renew Your Marriage at Midlife, the Brodys make it clear that learning to talk intelligently about sex is doable, not impossible. But deep down, most people are conflicted, at least a little. Though many of us try, strenuously, to make it appear that we don't, we do. On one hand, he says, everything in our culture is greatly sexualized.
On the other, we feel profoundly guilty and ashamed about sex and think that talking about it in detail is despicable in personal relationships. Why do gays and lesbians fare better than straights when it comes to straight talk, at least in the survey?
Slideshow: 18 secrets guys wish you knew
Barratt ventures a guess, but stresses that it is pure speculation. If your sexual orientation and preferences are those of the minority, he says, you may learn to speak about your sexual wishes as you develop them.
You have to work out your shame and guilt. This attitude of course, probably applies most to those who are "out" and comfortable with their orientation. Those who are just beginning to realize they are gay or lesbian may think about what they want but not speak openly about it.
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Heterosexual men, on the other hand, may find it more difficult to communicate their wishes because they may be afraid of what they'll hear in response, says New York City psychologist Elyse Goldstein. Chicago psychologist and online relationship counselor Kate Wachs says that heterosexual men are often conditioned from an early age to shut up and perform.
Whatever your orientation and level of discomfort, the Brodys say you can become better at talking about your needs and desires. Married 29 years, the Brodys have learned to communicate their sexual desires very effectively. He's 53 and she's 49, but there are times, Cathy says, when Steve makes her feel like a year-old in the back seat of a car. Cathy: "Or saying, 'Let's have sex on the floor instead of the bed. There are many ways to improve your sex-talk skills, say the Brodys and other experts.
Among them are some tips that sound obvious -- but are often overlooked. Sometimes the truth hurts, but you can always look back and laugh. I thought it was supposed to drive her wild.
Finally Cathy said, 'That doesn't really do anything to me. Says Cathy: "I thought if I grunted loud enough when he got to the other places, he'd sort of get the hint! Now they both know not to leave their sexual wishes and desires to guesswork and grunts, but to communicate them clearly. Scott Winokur is a San Francisco Bay Area journalist who often writes about health and human behavior. From the WebMD Archives. Survey Imitates Life While critics and the survey takers alike say the study, because of online data gathering, is not scientific, the findings do reflect what therapists hear in practice.
What's the Problem? Easier for Some? More Difficult for Others? The Brody Success Story Whatever your orientation and level of discomfort, the Brodys say you can become better at talking about your needs and desires. Simple Self-Improvement Tips There are many ways to improve your sex-talk skills, say the Brodys and other experts.
Is your partner doing something that pleases you? Tell him or her. It's called positive reinforcement.
Secret to good sex?
It works on lab animals and it works on humans, too. Make concrete requests, such as, "Hold me and kiss me. When stating your preferences, begin by saying something like "I like it when. Could I have CAD? Missing Teeth?