I would like to make one thing clear from the beginning: I do not begrudge any couple who has sex with each other. And that for the entire length of their relationship. Unreservedly!
I would especially like to congratulate all those couples who, after many years of living together, not only have sex with each other, but have good, satisfactory and pleasurable sex with each other. Such couples really do exist.
Nevertheless, I would really like to meet this legendary couple – the one that has not only continued to experience sex “just like the first time” throughout the years or decades they have been together, but whose sexual relationship has become better “from each time to the next” and more intensive “from one year to the next”.
Do you doubt – as I do – the existence of such a couple? Do you think that this ideal is exaggerated? If you believe the professionals of love, these expectations have by no means been overstated.
Supposedly, couples can achieve long-lasting, all-embracing love if they know its secrets. At any rate, this claim was stated as a matter of course in a recent newspaper article entitled, “The Secrets of Long-lasting Love”. Allow me to quote the text since it perfectly illustrates the list of demands placed on relationships today. So, what are these secrets of long-lasting love?
According to the American psychologist Adam Jackson, affectionate thoughts should come first. Love cannot exist without respect for one’s partner; it must be unconditional. Only so is love possible. Touch and tenderness demonstrate love; honest confessions are the ties that bind the couple. If you love someone, you must be willing to let them go and still remain faithful. Passion must continue to reignite love with unwavering trust as its foundation. 1
At first, these words sound great and quite enlightening. “Yes, exactly,” we want to cry enraptured and, “That’s just what we’ve been looking for!” How could anyone possibly object?
Only on closer examination is the text strangely absurd. How else can one explain the following contradiction: First, unconditional freedom is demanded, then such conditions as respect, tenderness, openness, faithfulness and passion are listed one after the other. Even the expectation of unconditional love represents a condition – in fact the greatest one of all.
In addition, all sorts of different terms are jumbled together. Faithfulness is demanded but at the same time passion should continue to reignite love. Unfortunately, the author doesn’t tell us how this is actually supposed to work. And experience shows that in the long run couples have the greatest difficulty with this combination of faithfulness and passion.
Love should be reignited by passion. What kind of love are we talking about here? Love based on mutual trust or erotic love? Or romantic love? Is it possible that the psychologist believes that these and all other forms of love are the same? Honest confessions are the ties that bind the couple together. Really? Is the couple bound together regardless of the subject matter of the confession? What would a confession of unfaithfulness do to this kind of relationship? Would the unwavering trust required be broken, eroding the foundation of love?
Basically, in answer to the question “How can one achieve long-lasting love?” this psychologist has answered, “By making love last”. Oh, so that’s the secret. Thanks a lot!
You might be shaking your head in the face of such confusing and contradictory statements, but this article in particular expresses the customary expectations placed on our relationships. Relationships today are supposed to include everything: love, respect, passion, faithfulness, freedom, trust, friendship, intimacy and tenderness.
Thus the situation today’s couples find themselves in is characterized by enormous demands – demands which contradict reality.
In light of their own experiences, most people can image what couples go through when trying to convert the ideals described above into reality. Some of these ideals are relatively easy to fit into a relationship. But as soon as the couple tries to put the others into practice, the first conditions no longer seem compatible:
On the one hand, while mutual trust and affection increase over the years, passion decreases. While reliability and trust increase, sexual and erotic tension diminish. The more faithful the couple is to one another, the more strongly their desire for passionate encounters grows. The more intimate they become, the less honestly they are able to discuss the quandary in which they find themselves concerning increasing.ties and decreasing desire.
The couple is therefore caught between demands and reality and unable to find their way out of this dilemma. In this situation, the advice and guidance given by experts are of no help either.
Just the opposite: The couple could possibly deal with the disappearance of desire and passion in a long-term relationship if this process were commonly recognized or even valued. However, feeling guilty, ashamed, false or inadequate regarding the decline of passion in a long-term relationship truly causes misery. And experts continue to assert that declining desire can be reversed.
Many couples would certainly be able to find individual solutions in their own situations. But the fact that others (and even more tragically, they themselves) consider them incapable of relationships, unfaithful, traitorous, lecherous, immature, psychologically disturbed or even ill and needy of treatment is more than most people can take.
Since they are unable to meet their own high or contradictory expectations or those borrowed from experts, sooner or later couples in a long-term relationship ask themselves, “What is wrong with us?” or “What are we doing wrong?”. They regard themselves as failures, develop feelings of guilt and at the same time feel an aversion toward their partner. They try to discover the cause within themselves or their partner instead of actually asking themselves, “What’s wrong with our ideals and conceptions of relationships?” or “What is wrong with the advice given by the experts?”
Questions such as these are seldom, if ever, asked because most people share the high demands and expectations of their environment. After all, many of the couples in one’s circle of friends create the impression that they are doing just fine. In addition, every day the media single-mindedly makes a big affair out of perfect couples. Conversely, the fact that these same couples often make headlines again a few months or years later with their mudslinging or divorce is valiantly or stubbornly left out..
Couples, after all, consider as truth things they are deluded into believing. They believe what the following quote assumes is obvious:
Good sex is the basis of a good relationship. Happy couples have a satisfactory sex life. 2
The reverse of this is made perfectly clear: “If you don’t have satisfactory sex, you have an unhappy relationship.” With this statement, we come across a variation on the sex lies.
Sex lies construct an allegedly natural, inescapable, obvious connection between relationships and sex, love and passion, commitment and desire. They present as reality ideas refuted long ago. They do this by setting up such an almost inseparable, entangled complex of truths, half-truths, fantasies, desires, fraudulent misrepresentations and even outright lies, that hardly any couple could understand it.
The core of these sex or love lies exists in romanticizing, sexualizing and pathologizing relationships.
These lies and the variations thereof described in this book have buried themselves so deeply in our conception of relationships that millions of couples suffer in the futile attempt to make the fairy tale in which both mutual trust and passionate love are permanently combined come true.
This phenomena has a history. For more than 2000 years, a desperate attempt has been made to tie sex and relationships together. These efforts, however, have not only failed, they have achieved the exact opposite effect: Instead of strengthening relationships, they have led to their premature demise. The consequence of romanticizing and sexualizing marriage and relationships appears in the increasing depreciation and contempt of long-term relationships. If only passionate, sexual love is esteemed, long-term relationships are no longer valued against the backdrop of decreasing desire.
Anyone believing the promises of sex lies and their exponents, can hardly be satisfied with his or her marriage or relationship in the long run. In the search for help and assistance, couples eventually turn to “love experts”, whose continuous promotion of the attainment of their ideals never ceases.
When I refer, often ironically, to the “experts” I do not mean all psychologists, therapists, theologians, politicians or researchers.
The “experts” referred to in this book are advocates of relationship ideologies, those who define common moral standards, do research, give advice, offer counseling or sell therapy for the purposes of their own vested interests.
The work of these experts, their ideals of relationships and sexuality, is not a modern invention; it is a direct outgrowth of culture and for this reason can only be understood in an historical context. If we look closely at historical developments, we can make some astonishing discoveries.
These developments show that:
- historically politics, religion and society have created an ideal of relationships that people have never been able to fulfill;
- men and women have been affected by the conflict between relationships and sex for more than two thousand years;
- the term love has meant something completely different to couples in different eras;
- in the Middle Ages, marriage was only allowed with the permission of the church and the state; and that this permission was only given to the wealthy;
- passionate love between married couples was frowned upon and ridiculed;
- the idea of romantic love is only two hundred years old.
In addition, historical overview also conveys the realization that the “apostles of purity” have never been able to live up to their own requirements in any historical period. Even today little has changed.
Politicians extol moral integrity and uprightness. Bill Clinton is certainly not the first liar. Was it coincidence that the german minister Franz Josef Strauß’s briefcase was stolen by a prostitute? Is it only coincidence that tarts and call girls can be found at large political and scientific congresses? Why do hotels offer pay TV porno channels directed at managers?
Theologians preach faithfulness, modesty and abstinence. Were the sexual excesses of bishops and church dignitaries in the Middle Ages pure fantasies? Were the bodies of dead children buried purely by mistake in the graveyards of convents? Did the church become the largest payer of child support out of pure altruism? Are gays and lesbians in the robes of priests really saboteurs sent by the devil to hinder the divine order?
Psychologists disseminate advice and remedies. However, they cannot be seen as a living example of their ideal of long-term, passionate love. Most of these advicegivers have been divorced at least once. Is it a coincidence that even psychologists and therapists are victims of stressful relationships, sexual boredom or serial monogamy? What did they do wrong? Have they not spent enough time on the couch to unlock their father/mother complex. Are three hundred or five hundred therapy sessions actually too few? Do experts use incorrect techniques to achieve orgasm? Are they unable to find the G-spot? Do they need to read their own self-help books? These and other contradictions show that psychological, scientific and theological experts are no different than anyone else. And yet they never cease propagating their ideals and continue to receive enthusiastic support in their endeavors by the media.
The media spreads the experts’ ideals and solutions. To increase circulation, they publish articles on quick-selling subjects as can be seen by the “secrets of love” quoted above. And this is often done with a few tricks. A perfect example of such a case happed to me personally a few years ago. A journalist called me up and said, “Mr. Mary, I need your help. I need to write an article on couples in a long-term relationship with a thriving sex life. I’ve been looking for weeks but with no luck. As a relationship counselor, could you perhaps put me in contact with any such couples to interview?”
“I’m sorry but I can’t help you. But if you meet anyone like that, please let me know. I’ve been wanting to meet them for a long time now.”
Two months later the expected article was published in a popular magazine. It goes without saying that the couples quoted there had great, passionate sex with each other, and of course it was no problem even after 20 years of marriage, and naturally each couple had their own secret or solution detailing their approach to everlasting happiness. They were doing “something” right. Whatever this was, was never really mentioned, but the implication was unavoidable: Whoever fails to achieve such infinite success is doing something “wrong”.
This is yet a further variation of the sex lies. The media feeds the hopes of those seeking advice. Along with experts from psychology, politics and the church, they single-mindedly continue to propagate sex lies.
It goes without saying that so-called experts are not selfless, but rather the representatives of political associations, scientific movements, denominational factions or, especially in today’s world, schools of therapy and economically-oriented media groups.
They use one instrument of power in particular, a method which was refined by the church. The church has always acted according to the principle of divide and conquer. It is a simple, but effective technique.
First one must alienate people from themselves, to more or less divide them internally. The fulfillment of an obviously unobtainable ideal is thereby required, such as the ideal of long-term passionate love in a relationship. A wedge is driven between intellect and emotions, between desire and ability. If the person begins to doubt him or herself, and has become a sinner from the point of view of the church, or a failure from the point of view of psychology, he or she can be saved by the grace of God or by the saving grace of a therapy concept.
Psychologists and theologians have thereby become the modern means of salvation. At a time of material and legal equality between men and women, when divorce rates are rising and long-term relationships are increasingly difficult to sustain, they single-mindedly continue to propagate true love and perfect relationships. “Everything is possible if you do everything right,” they vow and claim in hindsight that, “It’s only impossible because you’ve done something wrong.”
Marriage counseling, communication training, NLP or family therapy are only a few of the methods and applications which supposedly aid those seeking advice in fulfilling their desire for the ideal relationship. A truly ingenious method of selling counseling, therapy and advice and simultaneously serving one’s own – especially financial – interests.
But even experts can only go as far as they are allowed by the couple themselves. Couples also participate in the spread of sex lies by pretending to have an intact and ideal relationship, by believing the experts and allowing their desires to be used.
In other words, we all more or less participate in preserving and maintaining sex and love lies. Over time, the result is a tangle of lies which paradoxically do not benefit relationships but rather place them under more stress. Proof of this can be seen in the divorce of truly good marriages for reasons of alleged sexual incompetence. The relation between intended support and the actual damage caused to a marriage will be gone into in more detail later in the book.
Relief and real support for our long-term relationships requires that we uncover the myths and expose the lies surrounding sex and relationships.
This will take place in the following pages. Let us now take a specific look at the complex of sex lies.
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