Real Sex

Sexual Scorekeeping
I think my sex drive is normal, and I love having sex with my husband. But lately I feel turned off because he seems to expect sex as a reward for everything. If he fixes my car, if he spends time listening to my problems, if he takes me out to dinner, he expects to be rewarded with sex. I hate feeling obligated. Do I owe my husband sex?

Louis: The question of whether you're giving to your spouse out of love or from a sense of obligation is a pivotal one—and not just in the area of sexual favors.

Married life works best when both partners focus on ways to express love and meet each other's needs. However, few of us are so emotionally and spiritually mature that this comes easily.

Several marital habits get in the way of unselfish giving. One is the propensity to keep score. Based on a keen sense of fairness, this outlook maintains a scrupulous internal tally sheet ("I did this, so he owes me that" or "He hurt my feelings, so I won't be overly concerned about his"). This legalistic ledger replaces the healthy give-and-take of a loving relationship.

A second intrusive pattern is the expression of desires or needs as demands. If your husband communicates his sexual desires in those terms, no wonder you resist. But it still would be good for you to try to change the way you interpret his interest in sex. Try to see his desire for frequent sex as an opportunity for you to show love. Of course, we hope your husband will start communicating his needs in a less demanding way, but you can still choose how you want to interpret those requests.

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May 25

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