Being careless. Not having enough knowledge. Something being a misunderstanding. Being confused. Things seeming like an illusion or delusion. Neglecting something (or someone). Over or underestimating something (or again, someone). Making a false move. Guess what all of these things have in common? They all define what it means to make a mistake.
Now humor me for a moment. If you're currently in a long-term relationship with someone, first, how's your sex life going? If you're not able to give me a firm "great!", here's my follow-up question—if things could be better in the bedroom department, could a part of it be due to the fact that some mistakes are being made? Are you or yours being careless? Are one of you under the illusion (or delusion) that something is working when it actually isn't? Do one or both of you have a tendency to overestimate the impact you're making on your partner? Yeah, it's not the most comfortable self-reflective kind of conversation to have (even if it's just with yourself), but sex is too important in a relationship to not put some thought into whether you—or they—could possibly be making some pretty serious sexual faux pas.
Mistakes like what? Let's start off with these right here.
1. Being Way Too Predictable
Always at night. Always missionary style. Always in the bed. You see the operative word in those phrases, right? I'd say that when it comes to about half of the couples that I work with, the issue they're having has something to do with sex. And one of the things that comes up the most is how bored one or both of them are. One of the best definitions of bored (as it relates to this topic) is "tedious repetition". When something is tedious, it is monotonous and tiresome. Who wants sex to be like that?!
Whenever I think of boring sex, I think about people who do it, just to say that they did it. There's no creativity. There's no spontaneity. There's no real forethought put into the experience at all. Then sex ends up becoming predictable, stale and even lifeless.
A healthy marriage includes a healthy sex life. The more energy and effort you put into making sex fun and exciting, the more of a reflection that will be on your connection with your spouse overall.
2. Always Expecting the Other to Initiate
Sometimes, I'm tickled when I hear what some wives want. On one hand, they give side-eye to submission (even the Christian ones which is interesting if you check out Ephesians 5:22 and Colossians 3:18) while on the other, they think that a man should be the sole provider and the sexual initiator because "that's a man's job".
No time to get into the blatant contradictions here. I'll just say that when it comes to initiating sex, it should be an equal effort for both parties. That's because both men and women want to feel wanted and like their partner can't wait to jump their bones.
There's a couple I know right now who hasn't had much sex in (count 'em) five years. Whenever I ask either one what the problem is, they say it's that they are waiting for the other to initiate. Five years, y'all. SMH.
3. Not Tending to Each Other’s Emotional Intimacy Needs
A few years back, Durex conducted a sex survey that revealed (surprise, surprise) sex is best between two people who know and trust one another. In other words, sex is the most fulfilling when there is a solid emotional connection established. Thing is, when you're trying to keep your relationship strong, you and your partner may have different needs or similar ones but at different times. What you can know for sure is doing things like becoming fluent in their love language, being affectionate in ways that aren't sexual, going out on dates, showing support and admiration, being open and available to pillow talk, expressing sentiments throughout the day—all of these are examples of doing things to keep you and yours emotionally connected.
Don't assume that just because you and your significant other are official or that you share the same address and/or last name that you're emotionally in a good place. The only way to know for sure is by asking your partner. Do that tonight, if you can.
4. Losing Their Sense of Humor
Surely this isn't a surprise, being that most of us desire a sense of humor in our partner, but did you know research reveals that a part of the reason why we want someone who makes us laugh is because it displays humor, wit and timing? Someone who has a sense of humor also knows how to not take themselves too seriously and are able to bring relief to stress-filled situations.
As far as bedroom action goes, sex tends to be more fun when both people can laugh at each other, themselves and even sex-related slip-ups. And ladies, it also doesn't hurt that (reportedly) the more a man has the ability to make us laugh, the more orgasms he can give us in the process.
Knock knock joke, anyone?
5. Being (Sexually) Selfish
DJ Khaled and Tip Harris. These are the two men who immediately come to mind when I think of men who are sexually selfish. DJ Khaled for that ridiculousness thing he said a few years back about expecting oral sex but not giving it (to his wife, y'all). Tip, not for what he does or doesn't do in his marriage (Tiny gives me the impression she's pretty held down in the bedroom department), but what he once said in a song with Justin Timberlake—I hate to have to cancel my vacation so you can't deny/I'm patient but I ain't gonna try/You don't come I ain't gonna die.
T.I. is a cutie pie; especially back in those days. But ain't nothin' hot, sexy or appealing about a man who only cares about his own pleasure. Unfortunately, this doesn't only happen over radio airwaves. It's going down like this in bedrooms all over the world too. Maybe one day I'll pen an entire piece on sexual selfishness. For now, I'll just say that sex is sooooo much better when both partners get off on their partner getting off; when they are not focused on their orgasm so much as their significant other's.
A person who thinks like DJ Khaled or has Tip's song philosophy is making so many fumbles in the sex department, it ain't even funny. It really isn't.
6. Slipping on the Body Maintenance
Bad breath. Not body-scaping. Skipping out on the pedicures (scratchy feet in bed are the worst!) and smell goods. Yes, when you're in a long-term relationship, your partner should love you just as you are. At the same time, you should respect them enough to want to keep your hygiene and body presentation up.
One of my favorite married sex stories is about a couple where the wife was giving fellatio and the husband was skimping on the cunnilingus. After we had a full-on counseling session about just how selfish/ridiculous he was being, he said he would give doing it more often a shot. Fast forward to about six months later, when I asked how it all was going in that department, the wife was thrilled. I'll never forget what the husband said: "It's a lot easier after the jungle becomes a golf course." Need I say more?
7. Failing to Regularly Try New Things
Kev On Stage and Mrs. Kev On Stage have a series called The Love Hour. Their episode "I'm a Freak. My Spouse Isn't" touched on everything from sexual incompatibility—or "sex drive gap" as they call it—which they believe is very common in marriage to coming up with ways to make the more sexually conservative and/or lower libido partner interested in trying new things (i.e., exploring their spouse's freakier side). It's an hour and a little bit of change long, so if you want to get to the meat of it all, check out 21:00-31:00 then 41:00-48:00 then 52:00-1:05. The appreciated bottom line of the episode is if you want your sex life to not get old, it's important to be willing to try some new things.
8. Having Sex with an Agenda in Mind
Agenda. Sometimes it can be such a dirty word. In the area of sex, I hate it because there are far too many people who make the grave mistake of only engaging in copulation if they are able to get something out of it; and I don't just mean orgasms and intimacy.
Sex is not supposed to be an applied tool of manipulation. It shouldn't be used to get your partner to do (or not do) something. It shouldn't be used as a way to deflect an issue (you misspend money and rather than own it and apologize, you distract them with sex). It shouldn't be used, period.
If the only time sex really interests you is when you want to get—or get out of—something, you are definitely having sex with an agenda. You're also making a huge mistake because you're sending the message that sex is more about control than love. That kind of mentality is something, sooner or later, you will live to regret.
9. Not Making Their Partner Feel Desirable
When Ayesha Curry did her Red Table Talk, she caught quite a bit of backlash for sharing her insecurities (goodness y'all. How are we gonna tell someone what they have the right to be insecure about?!). Kev On Stage's Righteous and Ratchet show provided an interesting male perspective on it all. Anyway, when Ayesha shared that she sometimes wished that men would notice her more, what I took from that is sometimes she struggles with feeling desirable.
I don't think that means she's unhappy in her marriage or that Steph ain't taking care of business in the sex department. I think she meant that most married people remember the butterflies and the feeling of not being able to keep their hands off of their spouse during the beginning stages of their relationship. The flirting, the staring, the wondering if they'll ever come a day when you'll get enough of them. The feeling of insatiable desire.
Newness brings forth one kind of desire. But the acknowledgement that you've got someone who has your back, loves you to hell and back and knows your dirty secrets and habits and still wants to give you the business? That is desire on a whole 'nother level! Do you and your partner project that to one another? It's a big mistake if you don't.
10. “Forgetting” to Make Sex a Top Priority
One of my little love brothers (someone who isn't a blood relative, but I love him as if he were one) recently told me that he was engaged. During our two-hour conversation about it, something that I shared with him is the fact that something singles sometimes underestimate about sex after marriage is how much of responsibility it is. What I mean by that is it's something that should be treated as a top priority because it's a huge part of what keeps a couple emotionally and spiritually connected.
The couples I work with who are seemingly on their last leg, the one thing they all have in common is the sex is seriously slackin'. There's actually one couple I know who've been together for well over 15 years, but they haven't had much sex almost half of that time; they can count how many times on less than two hands and, as far as good sex, they can count that on only one. There is nothing good or even remotely healthy about that.
When something or someone is a priority to you, it means that it (or they) precede other things. It also means that they are given special attention. Since one of the main things that sets marriages apart from all other relationships is the fact that sex is involved, don't make the mistake of sending the message to your spouse that intimacy with them is on the bottom of your list or that you're not willing to set aside time to give it your complete and total undivided attention.
Out of all the sex mistakes you could make, this is probably the biggest—the one that ultimately can lead to a break down in your connection and possible a broken marriage too.
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