Wednesday, June 6, 2012

SEX or INTIMACY?

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Let me start by saying that perhaps I'm old fashioned, but I believe that a couple's sex life (or lack of) is their own business & doesn't belong being broadcast to the entire world (or even just your small circle of friends on Facebook).

There are two reasons I'm writing this 1) b/c it's an important topic that people don't talk about enough (especially when there are issues) and 2) because I honestly cannot stand to read "Sexually Deprived For Your Freedom" one more time (either on Facebook, Twitter or on a bumper sticker around post). I saw quite a few tweets about it tonight which led me to start writing this post.


My thoughts about being "sexually deprived" are this: If your spouse is deployed, I would hope you are "depriving" yourself of sex since, if you weren't, you'd be cheating on your spouse. Also, I feel bad for you that you need to get some attention so you "announce to the world" that you are missing something that should be kept between you and your spouse in the privacy of your bedroom. Perhaps you should try to have more respect for your relationship, your spouse and YOURSELF & not "put that out there". I'm sorry to say this, but it has been my personal experience that those who were all about being "sexually deprived" were the ones who were the first to NOT deprive themselves when the opportunity presented itself while their spouse was away.

Those relationships that are solely based on sex (or MAINLY based on it anyway) are those that tend to have the most problems during a deployment. That makes sense doesn't it (since they are physically separated & have nothing other than sex to talk about)? And before you say I'm a prude, I'm not trying to imply that relationships shouldn't include sex nor do I pretend that sex doesn't exist. I know it does, and that it plays a role in "adult" relationships.

Intimacy, on the other hand, is something quite different so I'm very happy to talk to you all about that tonight/this morning. By definition, intimacy is so much more than just the "physical act" of sex. It's the whole connection you have with your significant other (I'm probably going to end up using lots of pronouns saying he/she, but please interpret/translate this as you need to fit YOUR relationship). There is sex (of course), then there is communication, romance and just having an overall understanding and closeness to the other person.

I believe that the thread that holds a relationship/marriage together is the entire intimacy "package". Sex (I prefer to call it "MAKING LOVE") is just a part of that - it can play a big or small part depending on whether you are together/apart have no kids or 3. As you age it's natural for the sex to become a smaller & smaller part of your connection to your "mate". The rest of the connection will fill in to play a bigger & bigger role to take it's place.

If your only/main focus is on the sexual aspect of your relationship, you're in for a big disappointment when it is later in life and one or both of you can no longer "perform". What happens then? Will you have things to talk about? Or will you sit across the room, silently ignoring each other, resenting your lack of a sex life? Is that the kind of "relationship" you want? How do you see yourself "growing old" together if sex is EVERYTHING?

My advice is this: instead of focusing on the sex (or lack-thereof during a deployment), spend time getting to KNOW your significant other - what do they like to do, their favorite author, music, indoor activities, outdoor activities. Communication during deployments can be sparce at BEST, but it's is CRUCIAL to maintaining your relationship being so far apart. If you can't video chat (Skype) or call regularly, consider emails - and don't keep them short (this goes double for those "down range" - your loved one at home WANTS to hear about your day - even if it seems trivial to YOU).

That being said, there is also nothing quite like good 'ole SNAIL MAIL! A letter is a powerful thing! When you go to the mailbox & see that letter without a stamp that your husband touched your heart skips a beat (& then a few more). You get goosebumps as you open it and you read it before you even reach your front door. You re-read it again & again over the next hour and hold it close to your chest. Knowing his hand touched the paper that your hand is now touching - AMAZING! That feeling right there alone is a great replacement for "sex" during a deployment.

If you don't know what to write or talk about - find some random suveys online - you've seen them all over Facebook or on "HonestyHour" on Twitter. The list of 25-1,000,000 things you could ask someone. Make a list and make sure you each have a copy. Take turns asking each other the questions (and write out all your answers) and you can learn much more about your husband/wife.

I guarantee you that if you spend those 6 months or 9 months or 15 months communicating like that and learning more about each other, you will be closer and feeling more "in love" than ever before when you are reunited again at homecoming. And THAT will make your love life only that much MORE amazing (& worth the wait)!

So just think about that when you see those tweets, shirts, bumper stickers and online graphics saying how someone else is "Sexually Deprived For Your Freedom"!

Later Taters!

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