Nadia Bokody: Sex arguments couples should avoid

Nadia Bokody: Sex arguments couples should avoid

OPINION:

I made lots of questionable decisions in my 20s.

One of them was moving in with a boyfriend who, after losing his job, embraced my offer to cover his bills a little too enthusiastically.

Each day I’d return home from work to find him in the same spot on our couch, surrounded by empty take-out containers and Cheetos crumbs, tapping away furiously on his PlayStation controller – the job ads I’d emailed, still unopened.

Unsurprisingly, his lack of contribution to the household became a sticking point, and something we argued about frequently. Almost as much as we argued about sex (he wanted it, I didn’t).

Neither his domestic apathy nor our differing ideas on what constituted enough nookie were ever resolved, and we broke up a few months later.

While we evidently weren’t meant to be (and not just because he needed a mother, not a girlfriend, and I was still in the closet about being gay), we may have saved ourselves a great deal of stress and heartache had we known then what I do now: roughly two-thirds of the things couples fight about aren’t resolvable.

At least, that is, according to research by Dr John Gottman, of The Gottman Institute, who coined the term “perpetual problems” to describe the futility of the stuff many of us battle over with our significant others.

Gottman’s findings essentially confirm something most people in long-term relationships learn over time: it doesn’t matter how passionately you feel about certain shortcomings in your partner – some topics are best left off the table.

View this post on Instagram

And this is backed by a study published in the journal Family Process, which looked at more than 100 happily married couples and how they fought. It discovered content couples sidestep so-called “perpetual problems”.

Strikingly, even though these pairs ranked physical intimacy as one of the most important issues in their relationship, they identified it as something they avoided quarrelling over.

Which actually makes sense, when you consider problems surrounding sex are one of the most cited reasons for divorce.

However, there’s a big difference between communicating your sexual needs and bickering over them; a critical distinction often overlooked.

I know this because, if there’s one question that comes up most in my emails, it’s people asking me how to tell their partners they’re not satisfied in their sex life.

(It’s at this point I usually feel the need to reiterate I’m a columnist, not a sex therapist, or an expert in anything for that matter – except maybe buying shoes I don’t need after I’ve had one too many wines).

I sense these people have the idea the sex won’t improve unless they give their spouse a critical rundown of everything they’ve been doing wrong – or not doing – in the bedroom. In convincing themselves of this, they assign immense amounts of negativity and stress to sex.

View this post on Instagram

The subject becomes something they either resentfully stifle discussion of, or eventually explode about during an argument.

Thankfully, Gottman has an alternative. And that’s having an ongoing healthy dialogue about sex.

“By talking openly about sex, couples can build a thriving relationship inside and outside of the bedroom,” he writes on The Gottman Institute blog.

And if your partner isn’t doing what you like in the sack, or doesn’t initiate sex as much as you want? You might stop the discussion from veering into an argument by focusing on the positives.

Praise your SO for what they’re getting right, instead of what they’re getting wrong. Switching antagonistic terms like “you always” and “you never” up for “I’d love it if we” and “I really like it when you” can also go a long way to ensuring the conversation remains positive.

And look, I’m hardly an expert on relationships, but while most arguments are best avoided, I do think some things are worth fighting for.

Like having the kind of sex you deserve, and (and this one is really just from personal experience) the freedom to come home to a partner who isn’t covered in Cheetos dust.

Internet Explorer Channel Network
News Related

OTHER NEWS

Covid-19 Delta outbreak: Hospitality and retail businesses plead Government to set a reopening date

Auckland retail and hospitality businesses are desperate for the Government to announce an opening date so they have time to prepare ahead of the busy November/December period with the city ... Read more »

Manukau Harbour tragedy: Boaties criticise Coastguard response

Coastguard has been criticised by Auckland boaties for failing to have a vessel near the Manukau Bar on Saturday where three men died, and where hundreds of boats crossed that ... Read more »

Resurrecting an iconic Foxton tourist attraction is a priority for FTDA

There is a very strong desire by Foxton locals to get a long-time tourist attraction up and running again. At the end of August, the Clydesdale horse and tram/buggy combo ... Read more »

Covid 19 Delta outbreak: Person with virus was in Auckland community on Saturday

Another inner-city Auckland apartment block has been identified as a location of interest linked to at least one person infected with Covid-19. New locations of interest released by the Ministry ... Read more »

Covid 19 Delta outbreak: Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern reveals alert level decisions for Auckland, Northland, Waikato

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will reveal Cabinet’s decision on alert level settings for Auckland, Northland and Waikato at 4pm today. She will be joined by director-general of health Dr Ashley ... Read more »

Māngere shooting: Man charged with murder of Misiona Talafu Petelo

A man has been charged with the murder of a teenager who was taken to hospital with critical injuries following a shooting in Auckland. Misiona Talafu Petelo, aged 19, from ... Read more »

Covid-19 Delta outbreak: Most partially vaccinated MPs staying home as Parliament resumes

By Anneke Smith of RNZ The House will resume sitting tomorrow after a two-week recess block, with at least one returning MP partially vaccinated. Two Act MPs have only had ... Read more »

A bleak year: Queen ordered to quit daily martini as health fails

At 95, Queen Elizabeth is showing signs of slowing down. After a tumultuous year marred by the grief of losing her husband, Prince Philip, humiliation around the alleged sordid affairs ... Read more »

Covid-19 Delta outbreak: super results in Taranaki for Super Saturday

More than half of Taranaki is now fully vaccinated. Over 80 per cent of people living in Taranaki have received their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccination. This rises to ... Read more »

Heartbreak: Mum's tragic death sparks change - aortic dissection missed

A woman in her 40s died after being rushed into an emergency room with severe chest pain, and an investigation into her care aims to save others from similar heartbreak. ... Read more »

Herald afternoon quiz: October 18

Test your brains with the Herald’s afternoon quiz. Be sure to check back on nzherald.co.nz for the morning quiz tomorrow. To challenge yourself with more quizzes, CLICK HERE. Read more »

Car carrying dog and woman goes into water near Daly's Wharf in Akaroa

A dog has had a lucky escape after managing to free itself from a car that went into the water in Akaroa. A Fire and Emergency NZ spokesman said they ... Read more »

DWTS icon Nerida Cortese and son Jett shoot to Instagram fame with dance videos

It looks like Jett, the son of Shane and Nerida Cortese, is quite literally following the steps of his dancer mother and boogying into Instagrammers’ hearts all over the world. ... Read more »

MetService Wellington weather: October 18th

MetService Wellington weather: October 18th Read more »

MetService National weather: October 17th-19th

MetService National weather: October 17th-19th Read more »

Five Head Hunters gang members arrested following New Lynn shooting

Five Head Hunters gang members have been arrested following a shooting in New Lynn in which one person was critically injured. A man remains in a serious condition as result ... Read more »

Queenstown's vintage steamship could be set to go green

The owner of the TSS Earnslaw is considering replacing the historic steamship’s coal-fired boilers with an environmentally friendly means of propulsion. Queenstown company RealNZ has begun a feasibility study into ... Read more »

Covid 19 Delta outbreak: Woman who attended illegal North Shore lockdown party hits out at haters, defends actions

A woman who was caught on camera attending the wild illegal influencer lockdown party on the North Shore has defended her actions before making a plea to people to stop ... Read more »

How one American became Bhutan's first post-Covid tourist

Many things can prompt a person to pack up their life and embark on a grand adventure. For Fran Bak, it was the death of her husband of 30 years ... Read more »

Goodies up for grabs in Dannevirke Christmas promotion

The Dannevirke Chamber of Commerce is asking local businesses to contribute towards prizes in a shopping promotion throughout November. There will be three major draws of garden trolleys full of ... Read more »

Ōmāpere murder accused found dead in cell

A man accused of murder after a violent incident in South Hokianga has been found dead in his cell. The 48-year-old was to have appeared in the High Court at ... Read more »

'Good for the soul' gardens on show in Dannevirke

For Lynne Mitchell gardening is a passion. Which is probably a good thing considering how much garden she has at her Umutaoroa Rd property. Known as Te Kiteroa Gardens, the ... Read more »

Setting the record straight: No, there isn't Covid-19 in Waipa's drinking water

Waipā District Council is setting the record straight following misinformation circulating around its wastewater treatment process. Water Services manager Martin Mould says following two positive Covid-19 test results in Te ... Read more »

Rugby: Chiefs, Bay of Plenty Māori All Blacks back Sean Wainui dies in car crash

Chiefs, Bay of Plenty and Māori All Blacks back Sean Wainui has died in a car crash in Omanawa, near Tauranga, on Monday morning. Bay of Plenty police issued a ... Read more »

Power cut after crash on Whanganui's Pūtiki Drive

Two motor vehicle accidents occurred on Pūtiki Drive over the weekend, with one cutting power to hundreds of properties. On Saturday two vehicles collided at 7.36am, Fire & Emergency New ... Read more »

Blake Lively trolls husband Ryan Reynolds' big career announcement

Ryan Reynolds made a surprising career announcement on social media over the weekend, revealing he plans to take a “little sabbatical” from making movies after he finishes up his current ... Read more »

Covid 19 Delta outbreak: Home-based educators protest against vaccine mandate rules

Some home-based educators are going underground and plan to care for children off the books following the Government’s vaccine mandate for education settings, the sector says. Home-based carers have written ... Read more »

Plant proteins to 'meat' changing consumer demands

For many people, nothing beats the taste and texture of a big juicy burger, but how do you recreate that eating experience with sustainable plant-based protein? That is the culinary ... Read more »

At Home With Sam Collett

We caught up with Sam Collett to say goodbye and to wish her all the best for the next chapter of her riding career. Video / LOVERACING.NZ Read more »

Wellington tech firm says 'no jab, no meeting', introduces $1200 vaxx incentive for customers

Wellington tech company Raygun is offering $1200 worth of services free for new clients – as long as they can prove they are fully vaccinated. That’s the carrot. There’s also ... Read more »

Dog only occupant of car that went into water near Daly's Wharf in Akaroa

A dog has had a lucky escape after being the only occupant of a car that went into the water in Akaroa. A Fire and Emergency NZ spokesman said they ... Read more »

Police fail in attempt to seize fraudster Joanne Harrison's KiwiSaver funds

By RNZ A legal attempt by police to collect a portion of fraudster Joanne Harrison’s KiwiSaver funds has failed in the Court of Appeal. Harrison, who defrauded the Ministry of ... Read more »

Covid 19 Delta outbreak: 'The public shaming isn't on'; neighbours of North Shore party speak out

Neighbours of a wild North Shore party involving young influencers and models are calling for the public shaming to stop. About 50 people partied till the early hours of Sunday ... Read more »

Covid 19 coronavirus Delta variant: Retirement village worker tests positive for Covid-19

Residents at Remuera Gardens Retirement Village are being offered a Covid test after a staff member went to work while infectious with Covid-19. All staff are now being tested and ... Read more »

One dead in McLaren Falls Park crash

One person has died after a single-vehicle crash at McLaren Falls Park this morning. Police were notified that a car had crashed into a tree around 7:50am. The sole occupant ... Read more »

The Country - Avocado edition

Today on The Country, Jamie Mackay caught up with NZ Avocado chief executive Jen Scoular to find out why the industry was going through one of its toughest seasons in ... Read more »

Rocktober: Hauraki radio host Tracey Donaldson, on meeting Jimmy Page and flashing tattoo

I met Jimmy Page in 2007, the night after Led Zeppelin had played their internet-breaking reunion gig, the one where more than 20 million fans had logged on to the ... Read more »

NZ tech firm says 'no jab, no meeting', introduces $1200 vaxx incentive for customers

Wellington tech company Raygun is offering $1200 worth of services free for new clients – as long as they can prove they are fully vaccinated. That’s the carrot. There’s also ... Read more »

Covid 19 Delta outbreak: North Shore party - second model dumped by agency

Another model has been dumped by their agency after videos of a party on the North Shore emerged showing it packed with social media influencers and models drinking, dancing and ... Read more »

Wairoa: The Hawke's Bay town that's been without a dentist for two years

By Tom Kitchin of RNZ The small Hawke’s Bay district of Wairoa has not had a dentist for adults in nearly two years. Authorities have found there’s a huge unmet ... Read more »