Sexless marriage? What are you to do?

Sex in a marriage can be a touchy subject, especially when you aren’t having much—or any at all.  According to a 2002 Newsweek article, 15 to 20% of couples have sex no more than 10 times a year, which is considered a sexless marriage. There are many things that could lead a couple to this situation. Daily stressors like kids, jobs and finances can make it difficult to connect, while decreased libido for hormonal reasons, depression, and a whole host of other day-to-day challenges can make sex the last thing on your list of priorities. So what do you do if intimacy is waning in your marriage? 

Here are a few simple steps you can take to invite more intimacy into your relationship:

Dress to impress. Put a little effort into your physical appearance at home. Do you put on your comfy, worn in Pjs as soon as you settle in for the night?  Think about what your partner finds physically attractive and put a little effort towards looking and feeling attractive.

Schedule It! When time slips away and you find yourselves letting intimacy fall off the radar, put it on the calendar.  Spontaneity has its place, and so does a well-planned roll in the hay.


Increase Positivity. Keep negative comments (especially ones about physical appearance) out of the conversation. Express gratitude; the more positivity you create the greater the warmth and tenderness in your relationship.

Disconnect to Connect. Turn off the television, computer, Kindle, and iPad. Media in the evenings can be a real intimacy killer.  Instead, find an activity you can share; talk, listen to music, or go for a walk. Spending quality time together can help you reconnect.

Go to Bed Early (and together).  Rather than watching television until you are both tired wrecks, go to bed when you still have some energy left for you spouse.

Sleep Naked. Climbing into bed in your birthday suit shows you’re interested.  It also increases feelings of sexual desire.  In addition, skin-to-skin contact causes a release of Oxytocin, the love hormone!

People often differ in their preferences, both for the frequency with which they desire sexual activity and what it takes for them to feel aroused.  Avoid the sexless marriage trap by understanding what makes your partner tick.  Learning some communication basics, as well as some good tools for talking about sex, will go a long way towards keeping things running smoothly in the bedroom. 

The bottom line is a little bit of effort will go along way towards getting that spark back and welcoming more intimacy into your marriage!

Is it OK to be married and flirting?

No matter how in love we are with our spouses, anyone who has been married or in a relationship knows that you don’t stop finding other people attractive. You may even have a crush or two over the years. But is it OK to be married and flirting?

If your spouse approaches you because he or she is upset that you have been flirting, it’s easy to become defensive. Flirting is innocent, you argue. We were only talking. It wasn’t going anywhere. I’m not seriously interested! Do you think I would cheat on you? How could you think that! This can easily turn into an argument.

But is flirting really so innocent?

Continue reading Is it OK to be married and flirting?

10 Aweseome health benefits of sex

When you fool around with your honey-bunny, you do more than have a good time: you’re making an investment in your health! Here are ten wonderful health benefits of sex that should inspire you to write yourself a prescription for sweet, sweet lovin’.

1. Lower stress levels and blood pressure

Several studies have suggested that sex can lower your stress levels and your blood pressure.

Participants in a Scottish study logged their sexual activity and were then put in stressful situations such as speaking in public and doing math out loud. When their blood pressure was measured, those who had had intercourse showed better stress response than those who engaged in other sexual behaviors or were abstinent. Continue reading 10 Aweseome health benefits of sex

10 sure-fire date night ideas

Post-holiday winter: the time of year when everything falls into a rut and feels uninspired. Well  it’s about time to start brainstorming date night ideas! Date nights are a tried-and-true way to connect with your partner and keep the romance alive, especially from the chaos of busy work lives and raising children.

At the same time, date nights can be their own kind of trap. Going out to dinner every weekend can start to seem like drudgery and lead to frustration and resentment. It can also be, well, boring. The key to a successful date night is to make you feel like you are really on a date. It should leave you excited about each other, having learned something or seen a new side of your spouse, and of course, having had fun. Here are 10 quirky and sure-fire date night ideas for this chilly January. Continue reading 10 sure-fire date night ideas

The question of non monogamy

For thousands of years marriage has implied monogamy. In fact, marriage developed because monogamy was crucial to confirm paternity and establish lineage rights. In all but a few polygamous or polyandrous societies, non monogamy is not tolerated and often punished harshly. But how does the idea of sexual faithfulness to one person play into modern and/or non-traditional and non-religious marriages?

Non monogamy is, by definition, not being romantically exclusive to one partner. It may also be referred to as an open relationship. Non monogamy includes all sorts of arrangements from allowing kissing, flirting or non-sexual dating, to one night stands, to full-blown outside relationships, to polyandry (a relationship between more than two partners). Non-monogamy groups claim their arrangement makes everyone happier, reflects more realistic expectations about marriage, and can prevent divorce. Pro-monogamy groups argue that relaxed standards of fidelity are exactly what are causing divorce and only lead to broken hearts. Both sides have statistics and studies to back their cases. Continue reading The question of non monogamy

The 10 best love songs of all time

Love: wanting it, getting it, loosing it. It’s the subject of songs since the beginning of music. In fact, I can’t think of a single artist who hasn’t written a song about love at some point. However, all love songs are not created equal. Here is my list of the best love songs of all time, the most well written, romantic, and/or heart achingly sung tunes from the past 60 years.

10. Christina Aguilera-Ain’t no other man

All of a sudden he or she is there–the person you want to spend the rest of your life with and you don’t want anyone else. That contentment is a big part of married life, and it doesn’t have to be boring as Christina shows in this sassy, sexy, womanly tribute to her man.

9. Eric Clapton – Wonderful Tonight

Being love makes the rest of the world seem that more beautiful. On a simple night out Eric Clapton communicates to his partner how much he loves and appreciates her. Definitely one of the best love songs ever. Continue reading The 10 best love songs of all time

Body Language: Fantasy Photoshopped Celebrity Couples

Ever shared which celebrity you would date if you could? While your friends answered Brad Pitt or Megan Fox, did you answer “Waterfront-era-Marlon-Brando” or 30s Bombshell Veronica Lake? While now neither is impossible! At least for each other…. Thanks to modern technology (which has reached a new level with the use of deceased celebrities’ holograms) , here are 10 impossible but amazingly classy combinations of celebrity couples regardless of era.

Beyond the brilliance of the photoshop job on some of these pictures, what do you think about the premise? Would these relationships work out? We might be able to tell just by looking at the posture of the couples…and in this case, how well the photoshop artist mimicked the postures of real, loving couples.

I’ve written before about cute couples photos and how pictures can both reveal and hide the reality of situation. A smiling couple isn’t necessarily a happy couple. Beyond looking cheerful, the position of our hands, the tilt of our head, and our stance towards our partner reveal subtleties about our relationship with our spouse. Celebrity gossip magazines like to capitalize on these hidden clues by bringing in body language experts to analyze couples photos for potential marital problems. Sometimes they’re spot on–the couple is going through a rough patch. Other times the picture taker simply caught the couple in motion or at a bad angle.

Body language cues are subtle and complex, and good to know about. Some communication experts believe the up to 90% of what we say comes in the form of non-verbal communication. WebMD has a useful article on the most common body language indicators for communication in relationships and in the office.

Synchrony: Synchrony is when your body language mimics your partner’s. This is a subtle yet important way we express empathy and agreement with the other person–you “sync up” physically as well as mentally and emotionally. The more we mimic, the more likely we are to have a similar opinion, and to feel positive and supportive emotions. This can be indicated by copying your partner’s crossed arms, or arms on hips, or tilt of the head. It’s kind of fun to catch yourself doing it! On the other side, if you are projecting opposing body language such as facing away, avoiding eye contact, or fidgeting, it may be a sign that you are feeling oppositional.

Always, if you’re picking up unspoken negative body language from your spouse, act on it and ask directly if anything is wrong. Never just assume wordlessly–sometimes our interpretations are way off!

One last fun tip from WebMD is for dinner with the inlaws:

“One of the most important body language signs you should convey during your first encounter with your partner’s parents is eye contact with your partner,” says [Patti Wood, author of Success Signals: A Guide to Reading Body Language.].

Your partner’s parents want to know that you are interested in and care for their child. The best way you can tell them that you are “the one” is to look at your partner with love and affection.

With this new knowledge, enjoy these photos and have fun creating story lines for the couples based on their body language.


Paul Newman and Scarlett Johansson
Marlon Brando and Penelope Cruz
Demi Moore and Paul Newman
Catherine Zeta Jones and Robert Vaughn
Ann Margret and Tom Cruise
Humphrey Bogart and Drew Barrymore
Elizabeth Hurley and Clarck Gable
Vanilla Ice and Veronica Lake
George Clooney and Grace Kelly
Elvis and Angelina Jolie
Gary Cooper and Scarlet Johansson
Kirk Douglas and Halle Berry






Should I get a divorce? 5 reasons to go and 5 reasons to stay.

Have you ever wondered, “Should I get a divorce?” Sometimes it’s hard to tell if your marriage problems spell doom for your union, or, if it is possible—and worth it—to salvage your marriage. Power of Two is founded on the principle that most divorces can be prevented by learning the skills for strong, healthy marriages. At the same time, some relationships have toxic and dangerous elements that make divorce the best option for everyone involved. These behaviors can be hard to face, and they should never be ignored.

The following are Dr. Heitler’s “Top Five reasons to Divorce”:

  1. Your spouse is controlling. He/she attempts to manipulate you and/or control your friends, activity, behavior or money by the use of threats, put-downs, criticism, excessive guilt or anger.
  2. Your spouse has cheated repeatedly. One infidelity does not necessarily spell doom—with lots of work, your marriage can recover and be stronger than ever. However, repeated affairs mean your spouse unlikely to change his ways no matter what.
  3. There are unaddressed addictions. You should consider leaving if your spouse has damaging problems with gambling, drugs, alcohol, or other behavior and refuses or continues to avoid getting treatment.
  4. There is an unaddressed mental disorder. Many couples live with mental disorders and have strong marriages. At the same time, if your spouse refuses to get treatment for a damaging or dangerous disorder, you should consider ending your marriage. It is the best for both of you.
  5. Your spouse is violent with you or others, or mistreats children. This is the most resounding “YES” to the question “Should I get a divorce?” Remove yourself and your children from this situation immediately and seek professional help.

The good news is the most common reasons for divorce these days are not the ones above—and this means they are fixable!

“Should I get a divorce?…“ Consider couples counseling over divorce if the following sounds like you:

  1. We just don’t communicate very well and can’t seem to resolve our conflicts. Communication and conflict resolution difficulties are the most common complaints of divorcing couples.  Luckily, they are also simplest to change. You can learn the skills to handle these problems at any time and they will help you in all areas of life, from your spouse to in-laws to the office.
  2. I just don’t love him anymore. Love is a cornerstone of marriage and feeling “out of love” can be frustrating and confusing. At the same time, the quality of love is constantly changing; sometimes hot and passionate, other times a cool, subtle bond. Do you really not love each other at all? Passion, intimacy and positivity can be revived!
  3. Because it’ll be better for the kids. It’s true that having fighting parents is hard on kids. At the same time, so is divorce. Also, if you keep fighting while you’re divorced, it’s still bad. The solution? Learn to stop the fighting. Marriage education can help you replace your arguments with positive dialogue and win-win problem solving!
  4. He/she’s just not the same person I married. We all change and grow as we go through life together.  What’s important is knowing how to support each other on our personal journeys. Counseling can teach couples how to turn differences into powerful tools instead of a source of marriage problems.
  5. I don’t trust him/her anymore. He lied and made a stupid deal, she gambled or cheated… Sometimes people do make mistakes.  At the same time, most mistakes are repairable. Get the skills to analyze your errors and prevent future repeats. Sometimes the sourer the lemon, the sweeter the lemonade.

In the old days, and in many places still, divorce is a difficult, lengthy process that is highly stigmatized. This has the potential to trap spouses, especially women, into dangerous and unhappy marriages that fall into the category of good reasons to divorce, listed above. So, in many ways, it’s a good thing that we can quickly leave marriages we are uncomfortable in.

At the same time, this gives us the responsibility to think about our choices very carefully. And I don’t mean to imply that anyone takes divorce lightly! It’s just that marriage isn’t easy, and divorce is not necessarily the answer to your marriage problems. Consider this: If you don’t learn the skills for a healthy relationship now, you are likely to find yourself in the same situation with simply a different person in the future.

If you feel your marriage getting rocky, don’t hesitate to talk to a therapist or try a program like Power of Two. Problems are solved most easily when they’re caught early. And it certainly never hurts!


From an interview with Dr. Heitler, 10/11

What’s your style of intimacy in relationships?

You enjoy holding hands when you walk down the street and you can tell that your spouse doesn’t like it. In fact, she doesn’t seem comfortable with much physical intimacy outside of sex. Is your marriage in trouble? Turns out you may just have opposite styles of intimacy in relationships.

According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, we tend to settle into relationships with our intimacy style opposites. Giving types shower their spouses with loving gestures and cuddle time. They enjoy drawing out reactions from their more reserved partners. Their Reserved spouses secretly enjoy the commitment and loving gestures of the givers–they just aren’t comfortable with reciprocating.

Much of our preferences for intimacy in relationships comes from our early family environment. Some families are very “touchy-huggy-kissy” and display affection through physical intimacy. Other families express love and caring by spending quality time together, planning adventures and meals, and helping each other out. These experiences frame our expectations for what a loving relationship will look like. Falling in love with someone of the opposite style can be confusing and unsettling when our expectations aren’t met.

"A kissy-wissy for my wovely Wifey-poo!"

Marriage problems arise when these differences go unacknowledged and un-discussed and assumptions are made about the causes of the behavior. If you are a reserved or avoidant type, make sure your spouse knows you love him/her very, very much, and just have a different way of expressing it. Also be clear on how to communicate in a relationship about when you are upset or feeling down. This way your spouse won’t have to worry that your normal reserved personality is a sign that something is wrong–he knows that if something is wrong, you will tell him.

In the end, making marriage work between intimacy opposites takes adaptation on both sides. Your intimacy style is part learned and it can change. Be open and accepting of who each of you are and what you need, and also stay willing to experiment with new ways of being. At the same time, marriage counseling can help you work through underlying issues that may be causing trouble. For example, you may be reserved and avoidant because you have experienced a traumatic relationship in the past. Delving into these issues with your spouse and marriage counselor will help increase understanding and compassion, and strengthen your relationship!