Part I: Sex and the CityPart II: Confusion in your sex life?
odern marriages aren't doing much better, alas. After the first few years, sex becomes functional, a 'duty ***' with very little emotional investment. Couples go through the motions mechanically, without bothering with niceties like ambience, mood, or even a readiness for physical intimacy. 'Sometimes, we do it with the TV blaring. My husband's attention is on cricket scores or something on the news. We rarely undress. My mind is on domestic matters -- whether the tadka has been given properly to the dal. There's nothing romantic about our love-making.' When I say there can be, most couples laugh!
'Forget romance-shomance. Where's the time for all that -- we can barely manage sex, with all the load we have taken on. We worry, worry, worry constantly. Car loan, house loan, credit card bills, tuition fees, travel expenses. God! The last thing on my mind is romance. Sex is okay. We all need sex. But forget the frills!'
I want to scream, 'It's the frills that count, stupid! Ignore the frills and what you're doing is copulating, not making love. Discover the difference.'
The biggest challenge in most Indian families is to deal with numbers -- the joint family is perhaps the equivalent of a really, really cold shower for an amorous couple in search of romantic sex. How the hell does one create an appropriate mood, with assorted in-laws milling around a restricted space? Kids may indulge in persistent knocking, right when the big moment is imminent. Aunts, uncles, visitors may be right across the paper-thin wall separating your room from the hall. Nights in white satin? Candles? Lounge music? Fragrant oils? Chocolates? Forget it. These are fantasies for most couples looking for that stolen hour in which to get transported to another plane. Aaah, we've got the right word. We've hit it! Fantasy! When reality intrudes and inhibits you from living out your sexual adventures, you can always fall back on fantasy.
It's a matter of training your brain, your imagination. It's not just possible, it's worth doing. It's not such a tough technique, once you get the hang of it. Focus your mind on any image you find sexually arousing -- no taboos, no restrictions. Concentrate on that image while shutting out your actual environment. Once you get the mental picture you most enjoy, the rest is easy. But for it to work, you need to know your own body as well as your partner's. Unless the two bodies are 'friends', they cannot be in sync.
It's equally important to set time aside -- not as in 'Let's pencil in sex for Wednesday night between 10.30 and 11 that's providing we don't go out, or my meeting doesn't get extended,' but as something you both look forward to. A mutually desirable activity that isn't linked to any other.
Marital sex is known as the world's greatest stressbuster. Apart from several health benefits, it has been established that couples who maintain physical intimacy over years are generally better adjusted and happier all around. Besides, sexologists will tell you, sex can only get better with time, if your attitude is right. Don't let humdrum routine and boredom ruin your loving. Recognise the importance of sex in your marriage. Never underrate or take that aspect of your married life for granted. Stay in tune with your partner, mentally and emotionally. Only then can sex become an exciting, enjoyable, pleasurable, fulfilling journey.
Excerpted with the publisher's permission from Spouse: The Truth About Marriage by Shobhaa Dé, published by Penguin India [ Images ], Rs 250.
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Part I: Sex and the City
Part II: Confusion in your sex life?
Tomorrow: Tips to keep the sexual magic going
Illustration: Uttam Ghosh