Distancers and pursuers let your inhibitions run wild!

In my last post “Pursuer Distancer Conflict Re-enacted On The Sex Battlefield” we discussed the relational risks in marriage for each opposing side of the closeness continuum: pursuers<—>distancers. Ironically the ability to be happier lies in risking what we fear most. Pursuers must risk the fear of abandonment and losing control and distancers must risk the fear of being smothered or being controlled.

gamblingRisking sexually is also imperative if we are to make love for a lifetime with one person. Pursuers often complain of endless rejection by their partners. Does this mean they should stop initiating sex? No, not exactly. My experience with pursuers who simply wait for sex whenever their distancing partner gets around to it is—no sex. Rather, they must present their need for sex to be regular (within reason) and erotic in the marriage. Without nagging continuously, if over a specified time frame, they observe their partner’s change or lack thereof, pursuers must make a difficult decision about the compatibility of the relationship. Fidelity cuts two ways: we pledge to stay away from all others but we implicitly or explicitly (With my body, I thee worship) promise an alive eroticism with our spouse. The pursuer must decide if they really want a relationship without positive fidelity or are simply dependent. I know this sounds really tough and it is. But in the meantime, pursuers can overcome their own contributions to the lack of sex – inhibition, poor seduction skills, lack of subtlety, inept technique, and/or anxious initiation patterns.

Maybe learning how to truly seduce your high school sweetheart and fifty-year-old wife (presumably the same person) requires putting words to feelings that you bottle up rather than the usual reaching for her under the covers. Maybe the anxious boy-like seducer needs to use a serious man voice, look her in the eyes and tell her, “I want you.” Maybe you don’t really know where her clitoris is or how to give her an orgasm, so you ask. Maybe the woman who desperately wants sex but waits for initiation, dons a blond wig, rents a limo, picks up her husband, and goes for a wild ride around town. Maybe just the wig. Translating pent-up frustration into energy that improves our part of the sexual relationship can transform it.

Distancers often repress their own sensuality or diminish, in their mind, their partner’s desirability in order to devalue their loved one. Distancers who complain that the sex has become so unsexy may have to examine their contribution to the problem, too. Initiating, which may feel like an arduous chore, becomes a gift if this avoider of dangerous intensity digs deep inside to find their own erotic core. Gamble wanting and the inevitable weakness of that position. Perhaps, doing what is dirty, a little taboo or unnerving throws sex just off-balance enough to make it erotic again. Revealing your inner thoughts about sex is as vulnerable as it gets. Maybe for you it’s risky to blow your husband in the car … in the garage. Maybe you taste him or taste her and lick your lips. Maybe you ask her to hold you and stay awake afterwards as you gather your soul back together. Maybe you demo how you touch yourself by candlelight so he’ll really know. Like Rod Stewart sings in Tonight’s the Night, “Ooo baby let your inhibitions run wild!”

“Gracious! So scary, so difficult,” you exclaim, “I couldn’t possibly.” Is it more difficult than a divorce? More difficult than a depressed spouse? More difficult than a sterile relationship in which to raise your children? More difficult than how distracting making the grocery list is when your partner is all over you? More difficult than enduring mind- and body-numbing sex week after week? More difficult than the set distance between the two of you that causes such unhappiness?

We assume that being happily married might mean our spouse should change. When we come up against our own stilted or undeveloped places we invariably face anxiety. We fear that if we change our spouse will do nothing. We claim we’d like to be closer, as long as it’s not messy, out-of-control or nerve-wracking. Well, sorry, it is. Marriage isn’t sanitary, neat, or easy—neither is sex.

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© Copyright 2014 Laurie J Watson,LMFT,LPC, All rights Reserved.
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In 2000, Laurie Watson founded the Loving and Living Center (now Awakenings) to collaborate with the Raleigh-area medical community by providing psychotherapy focused on sexual health and couples’ counseling. Laurie has two decades of experience with a psychodynamic therapeutic approach that assumes people's deepest needs are for connection, intimacy, and relationship. Lasting erotic sexuality in long-term relationships indicates a good balance of closeness and space between the partners. Laurie provides talk therapy for couples and individuals to find this equilibrium and restore (or gain) more happiness sexually and emotionally. Accreditations: Licensed Professional Counselor Licensed Marriage Family Therapist Certificate in Psychodynamic Psychotherapy, Newport Psychoanalytic Institute, CA Certified Sex Therapist with American Association of Sexual Educators, Counselors and Therapists MA, Marriage, Family Therapy, Azusa Pacific University, CA, 1989 Laurie teaches sexuality courses at local universities such as: UNC-Chapel Hill, Duke, and East Carolina University as well being a popular guest speaker for churches, clinical practices and medical specialties. Her first book—Wanting Sex Again: How to Rediscover Your Desire and Heal a Sexless Marriage—was published on December 4, 2012 and is available on Amazon. Laurie was a guest on The Katie Show on July 24, 2013 talking with Katie Couric about her book and discussing advances in medical treatments for low libido in women. Laurie has been married for 25 years and has three sons.