Archive for ‘Sexual compatibility’

September 1, 2010

Acts of love

by Rod Smith

1. Refusing to lie for you.
2. Allowing the consequences of your actions to hold you accountable.
3. Allowing you to fail.
4. Getting out of your way when you are angry so you may deal with whatever is upsetting you.
5. Refusing to rescue you from your moodiness.
6. Telling you the truth as I see it.
7. Resisting the urge to let your self-made issues pull me down.
8. Keeping my phone, Email, messages private, unless I choose to share.
9. Allowing myself to be happy and fulfilled even if you are not.
10. Supporting, loving you, while allowing my uniqueness (and your uniqueness) to blossom.

July 13, 2010

Can abuse stop?

by Rod Smith

“Can abusive behavior like controlling behavior, badgering, jealousy about other relationships, monitoring things like a partner’s phone, and physical pushing, shoving behavior and even more violent outbursts stop?”

[Yes – but often not within the same entanglement. With close counsel and strong third party monitoring (at least for a period of time) the perpetrator can gain insight, grow, and self-monitor his or her use of unhelpful and destructive interpersonal behaviors.

While it is NEVER the victim’s responsibility (no one is sufficiently powerful to make another abusive) a lot can hinge on the degree of “fed-up-ness” within the victim.

Abuse (all categories) continues and intensifies when the victim covers for the perpetrator, “rewrites” the behavior, excuses it, or when the victim feels he or she deserves to be poorly treated.

Most perpetrators will back off (at least temporarily) when met with a sound and early refusal to allow an abusive repertoire within the relationship’s behavior cycle.

It is never the victim who causes the abusive behavior, but the victim must immediately remove him or herself from the abuse (which is seldom easy because people are attracted to persons who are similarly relationally mature or immature) or the behavior will intensify.

April 8, 2010

Reader has lost all interest in sex….. your response valued…….

by Rod Smith

“I’m in my early thirties and married for two years. I have lost all interest in sex. My wife has been trying to help but now she is angry, frustrated, and hurt. I feel more and more depressed. I love my wife and it hurts to see her cry. When she kisses me I shut down. I tell her to stop; I laugh it off, or pretend I’m busy. I am trying to figure this out and I can’t. The best conclusion is that I am very stressed. I have a lot of anxiety right now. I don’t know why but I went from being the ‘alpha male’ to avoiding confrontations. I don’t know who I am anymore. My wife has been an angel and I seem to be getting worse. I don’t want to go out of my marriage. I am being 100% honest when I say that my wife is very attractive and fit, and sexy. I am frustrated and angry with myself. I am at the end of my rope and I think so is she. I am not gay. The worst part is we want kids and just the thought of having to have sex. I am just considering going to the doctor and getting anxiety pills to help me.” (Edited)

November 9, 2009

How soon can a person have sex after the death of a spouse?

by Rod Smith

Your brief question leaves many unaddressed variables. That you desire sex might be considered a positive thing in the wake (no cheap pun intended) of your loss. Yet, if you have used sex in the past as an escape, rather than as a means to contributing to a mutual, respectful, and equal relationship, you will be furthering behavior that is ultimately destructive for you. Then, if you adhere to a faith tradition which precludes you from engaging in sex outside of marriage, you might find some short-term relief in sexual behavior, but you will ultimately self-inflict emotional and spiritual discord.

But I will assume you, an adult who has endured a significant loss, are understandably reaching out for love and affection.

Three things:

1. You are not betraying the deceased.
2. You and your faith tradition decide on when is acceptable to you to have sex (it is not up to anyone else).
3. You will take into account that sexual behavior is never purely recreational.

It is impossible to do something so profoundly intimate with your body that doesn’t also impact every other aspect of your emotional and spiritual life.

October 29, 2009

Ritual dialogue for a healty couple….

by Rod Smith

“I will not get in your way. You may work where you choose, worship where you choose, and have all the friends you need and want. If you want to further your education I will do all I can to support you. You are absolutely free and do not require my permission for anything. I know the trust that we have developed between us gives me the confidence to know that you will always choose well and wisely, and when and if you do not choose well and wisely, I know your unwise choices do not arise out of an intentional desire to damage yourself, our relationship, or me.”

“I, in turn, will not get in your way. I will create space for our mutual benefit, work hard for our mutual enrichment, and honor the respect the trust we have built up over the years we have known each other. While I know I do not require your permission to enlarge my life through developing my career, and by developing many meaningful friendships, or enjoying a life of discipline and worship, I will willingly use the freedom that is inherently mine for our continued and mutual benefit.”

“Lighthouse” – friend, and reader, develops the theme —: “I will not (covertly) get in your way. I will collaborate with you prior to committing significant time, money, emotional resources and/or physical effort to ensure that our expectations are aligned with our mutually beneficial goals. I will do what I say so your trust in me is earned. When we have not explicitly agreed something, my actions will honor our relationship nonetheless. I will encourage you to uphold your agreements and thank you for your efforts every day regardless of the results. I will engage when reality doesn’t match our expectations so we may learn from the experience, forgive those that failed to keep their word and forget the situation. I dedicate the time to talk with you because it is the exchange of such emotional intimacies that differentiates our deepening love from that of my love for family and friends.” (Thanks, “Lighthouse,” for your valuable and beautiful contribution)

June 3, 2009

Handling emotional affairs

by Rod Smith

Let's talk

Let's talk

An emotional affair (a non-sexual inordinate attachment with someone other than the spouse) will be very tough on a committed spouse. If this affair is full-blown you will probably feel as if you are living with someone who is absent in every manner but physically. He or she would really rather be elsewhere.

Calling attention to this hurtful inordinate attachment will probably result in flaring tempers and/or in further distancing which are designed to silence you. Consequently you will find yourself watching every word you say lest every encounter results in a flare up and/or in your spouse walking out the door.


1. “Steel” yourself. Remind yourself that you are strong, deserving of the very best in all your relationships, that you are unwilling to tolerate “sharing” your spouse. This is a reasonable position to hold.
2. Do not keep it a secret. Draw attention to the emotional affair even if it disrupts the peace in your home.
3. Be prepared to take radical stands. Be willing to ask your spouse to move out and do not cooperate with the affair any more than you would were it fully sexual in nature. That the affair is non-sexual does not make it acceptable.

March 8, 2009

A woman reader writes to the frustrated husband regarding his wife’s loss of interest in sex…

by Rod Smith

Since you know what you are lacking, try working with her to find what she is lacking. Women often don’t have the same high sexual needs as men but that she will want to reach an accommodation with you to enable a happy marriage to continue. Suggest that you want to explore with her what she needs from the relationship and to do that you will take off the pressure of sexual demands for three months while you try to do what she needs since she is what matters to you. Women often feel that they are simply sex objects and that their husbands don’t really ‘see’ them but simply want a convenient and regular sex partner. So woo her and listen to her. Work from what you know she likes and hear what she says about things she enjoys. The fact that you are a good father and provider does not re-assure her that you love her and will go to whatever lengths are necessary to convince her – you have to walk the talk.

Try to create the space (with your wife) for easy discussions about your combined dreams, fears, enjoyments, so that in time she will be able to confide in you what she hasn’t been enjoying about sex. If she wants a back rub don’t regard it as a prelude to sex, if she suggests a weekend at the Berg don’t regard it as a second honeymoon: it is simply time for shared enjoyment. Certainly if you have been pressuring her and insisting on sex when she just wants it over with that is something you don’t want to repeat. Women tend to lose interest in sex as they age, they may still enjoy it but could live without it much more easily than could most men. Don’t expect her to initiate sex even when you get to the point of resumed sex and always honour the fact that circumstances (a quarrel, worry, tiredness) may make her unavailable. There may be a physical problem, quite easily resolved once she has the confidence that you love her, which she will talk about if your exchanges of confidences have been sufficient for her to be re-assured.

Certainly it is not your wife alone, who would need counseling, but both of you together. It is perfectly possible that you can work this out without the need of outside help since you appear to once have had a successful sexual relationship. But remember, even when things improve, constant harping on sex, excessive fondling beyond what she happily responds to, and nagging about not getting enough, will continue to be a ‘put-off’ for any woman. Please be clear that I’m not suggesting she gets to do whatever she wants in return for giving sex. I am suggesting is a ‘ceasefire’ during which good communication is re-established after which a consensual balance of relative needs is established with open communication.

December 26, 2007

He needs sex to maintain any kind of decent mood…

by Rod Smith

“I love my husband but he is sending me into an abyss. He’s become more and more jealous, insecure, and needy. He requires sex to maintain any sort of decent mood. I pay the emotional price if I don’t have sex every two or three days. He never admits to being controlling and I don’t think he believes he is. I have lost most of my sex drive. I am constantly fearful of crossing his moods. He says his mood cannot improve without sex. I feel it’s abusive to submit to something sexual when I am feeling hurt, sad, and exhausted. Are we in a catch-22? Is it unusual to have one’s libido destroyed by a requirement to provide sex?” (Edited)

Until you, not your husband, govern your internal (emotional, sexual, spiritual) life, things won’t improve. Control and love cannot co-exist within the same relationship.

Your husband’s belief that he needs sex (from you), more than you need kindness (from him), demonstrates his distorted, immature understanding of sex. It is this very misunderstanding which reduces sex into something cruel, divorcing the act from anything resembling love.

Of course your libido is diminished: you’re in an abusive cycle that won’t improve until you find and use your voice. I don’t doubt you THINK you love him (you believe you love him and cannot, at this point, conceive of NOT loving him) – but can you love him enough to stand up to him? His controlling behavior (and your submission to it) does neither of you any good.

November 29, 2007

The power of human love…. is in you…

by Rod Smith

It is in us to love. It’s human. We have the capacity for it. Even hurt and rejected people can love. Once a person accepts that love has more than romantic connotations, as powerful and valid as these of course are, he or she will be able to see its broader power.

Love is unleashed through simple, but not easy, human acts of seeking the highest good both for oneself and for others. Acts of offering unearned forgiveness, of reaching out to the estranged, of welcoming a stranger, of letting go of all prejudice, of rejecting dishonesty – all begin within the individual human heart.

When a person intentionally facilitates others toward finding and enjoying and exercising the full range of their humanity, he or she will know and see and experience the powerhouse love is.

Even people with reason to reject others, having themselves been rejected or treated inhumanely, have it in them to love, if they dare to muster the courage for it. It comes quite naturally to the courageous person, and when it is unleashed, the purposes and the meaning of life surge into the heart of all who have the courage to hear and respond to its powerful call.

If you want a bound edition of all 400+ columns GO TO: and follow the directions on the right of the page…….

November 25, 2007

His ex doesn’t want to meet me and he wants to remain friends with her….

by Rod Smith

A few readers have asked what letters look like BEFORE I publish them. Here is a FULL and UNEDITED letter. My response is in BOLD. (Since newspapers limit columns to 220 words, this will not run in any paper “as is”…..

“I have recently started going out with a man (5 months ago). He has a female friend (K) who also happens to be a recent ex of his. They dated for approximately ten years with a break in between of about 3 years where he was with another woman (L). After breaking up with L he then returned to a sexual relationship with this ‘friend’ (K).

[Clearly this is a very deep connection between the man and K. Ten years, you will probably agree, is a long time to be together.]

“He had not been seeing K sexually for over a year when I started going out with him, but had continued to see her very regularly (3-4 times a week) on a friendship basis. This has continued even after I have started seeing him.

[So you knew this going into the relationship and this was something about him no one was hiding from you. Yet three of four times a week is a lot of time with a friend, even a “best” friend. Most people would suggest this is more than a friendship even if it is not a sexual connection. Be sure, if there was anyone in my life I was spending this amount of time with other than my immediate family others would expect it to have more meaning than simply a good friend.]

“Once I started going out with him I requested to meet K.

[This is a healthy and legitimate request and I commend you on making it.]

“She said that she did not see the need.

[She did not make the request. You saw the need and you made the request. You did not ask her because of what you thought she needed but based on what you need.]

“She says that as the ex she does not want to meet the present girlfriend.

[Correct. She is the ex and she doesn’t want to meet you, BUT you want to meet her and she is important to HIM and therefore meeting her is important to you. A good friend to HIM will also want to be a good friend to YOU if she knows YOU are important to HIM.]

“By chance we met her twice at two different restaurants but the meeting was very strained and uncomfortable.

[Of course it was. I trust you were friendly and gracious since they are only friends. If you see where the discomfort was coming from you will know where the issue is.]

“I do not have a problem with him continuing a friendship with her but I do not wish this to be exclusive of myself.

[So you DO have a problem if it excludes you but you do not if it somewhat includes you – this is perfectly reasonable.]

“I trust that he is not engaged in more than a friendship at the moment with K but would still like to understand more about the dynamics between them and to feel more secure in my position in his life.

[Your security in HIS – life – whatever this means, has nothing to do with their relationship. I am more interested in your security within YOUR life.]

“I feel that at the moment she has the benefits of both the anonymity of an ex and that of a friend who can see him at any time. She refuses to come to any functions when groups of our friends are going to be there. Rather she chooses to see him with her own friends or on her own. I feel excluded from a part of his life and this is creating conflict between us. We rarely fight about much else.

[You are correct. She is getting what she wants but is not concerned with its impact on her friend or on you – she says she is a friend of his but is not behaving as one.]

“To be fair to him, he has requested that she meet me and has explained that it upsets me to be excluded from their friendship. However, as she has categorically stated that she does not wish to meet me and sees no need, he feels that one should not force her to do so.

[Bingo! She sees no need! It is not her needs you are talking about or trying to fulfill. It is your need to meet her and this is the issue. If she were just a friend to him she’d willingly comply. I go out of my way to meet people my friends really like. This is normal friendship! You are trying “to be fair” to him and he is trying to be fair to HER and it seems to be at the expense of being fair to YOU.]

“He feels that his friendship with her pre-dates me by a long way and that he does should not have to sacrifice this friendship for my benefit.

[Well that is something each of you gets to decide for yourselves. You get to decide if you can be with a man who hangs onto past relationships and can’t seem to move on or include past people in his new life. He gets to decide which relationship he really wants. You get to decide if you can share him in this way. If he wants a long-term relationship with you – like marriage – believe me he is going to have to give up a lot more than friendship with a former girlfriend. When you have children the children will demand he give up a whole lot he perhaps thinks he can hold onto. Here’s the essential truth: love means making choices that help each other live more fully and he is helping an ex at the expense of helping you. You get to decide if you can live with this or nor.]

“He often reads the Natal Mercury (Independent Newspapers) South Africa, and has often commented that he thinks your advice is very sound. I wonder whether you could provide us with some of this wisdom in how to proceed with our relationship from here.”

[I am delighted he reads The Mercury and I am very grateful for all the readers in that part of the world. I trust you will share my thoughts with him and with her. I do not seek to be RIGHT – just helpful and I trust this helps you. You get to decide how you will be treated and therefore you get to decide where this relationship goes from here. It is up to you. Not him. Not her. It is up to you.]

Have a great day,

Rod Smith, MSMFT