Sex therapy 101

by Brian Clarey

So let’s talk about your sex life. Any problems? Complaints? Questions?

What’s that… you don’t want to talk about it? Well that’s okay, because this week YES! Weekly goes to the sex therapist so you don’t have to!

Tim Britton maintains an office in a basement on North Trade Street across the hall from a ceramicist who keeps birds in his studio. From here he unravels the mysteries of human sexuality in brief, easily digestible bites (Disclaimer: Not an adequate substitute for an actual visit to a sex therapist).

A large part of his practice is devoted to erectile dysfunction. It’s common! And the cause of it might not be what you think.

A guy walked into my office, and usually the first thing I ask is, ‘Why are you here today? Why today, and not yesterday or last week?’ And the guy told me: ‘I lost my manhood.’ For me that says it all…. Very seldom does anyone walk in who has a strictly biological reason for erectile dysfunction. Performance is related to something. ‘Everything works just fine with my wife, but not with my girlfriend.’ His penis may have more of a conscience than he does.

Why do women care so much what their men do?

Every female of every species on the planet builds a nest and wants to pull [her male] in. Why? Because the female needs the male to protect her while she nurses her young. It’s a biological instinct in women.

Why are men such bastards?

The more women you screw, the higher the probability of producing offspring. [Men] can have the most incredible spouse in the world, and we’re still looking at strange. ‘Strange,’ or ‘new,’ is like Christmas morning. The wife is like Christmas afternoon. [But] I see women all the time, too. One said, ‘You know, I like Chinese food, but not seven days a week.’

What causes the most sexual problems between couples?

Rarely do I have a client who says how expressive and free sexually his wife is. I’m not blaming anybody – most wives, especially with children, don’t have five minutes during the day they can call their own, and sex isn’t always the first thing on their minds at the end of the day. I ask women to take a bath… use bubbles or oil and relax in the tub. Sometimes they laugh: bathing for them is a shower, a fast one.

What do women really want?

The problem is we’re not asking the only one who can tell us. Ask the wrong question and you’ll always get the wrong answer. But studies show that the number-one thing women want is communicational intimacy, to be able to talk about anything and everything, from the heart. What they’re describing is something they feel they aren’t getting enough of. The irony is that intermittent reinforcement is the most powerful form, so saying ‘I love you’ only occasionally is better than saying it every day. That, actually, also explains why women stay in abusive relationships.

How do we give it to them?

Every now and then, look at your spouse and say, ‘Hey, how we doin’?’ It’s a lot easier to say, ‘Where do you want to go to dinner?’ But when [open communication] happens, it frequently happens in the bedroom, and she initiates it – it’s maybe the only time she has [her spouse’s] attention. Bedrooms should be free of television. There should only be two things in the bedroom: Sleep and whoopee. No ironing boards, no negotiations, no bartering. It should be an island you can retreat to.

How do couples keep a marriage alive?

You cherish and adore each other, and not settle for less. ‘You want to hang around me? Treat me like someone special.’ People even prefer hostility to emptiness. Remember the first few weeks you were together… what was special about that? Your constant concern for each other. And here’s my guaranteed, no-win, certain-loss game: ‘I bet you can’t guess what I want and I’m gonna blame you when you can’t.’

Anything else?

A woman having an affair told me about sex with her husband: ‘It’s fantastic,’ she said. ‘But he expects me to be in bed for him. It’s expected. When my lover and I make love, his hands are trembling when he unfastens my bra.’ So what seems to be most important for her is not what we have and where we put it as much as how we treat her. Most women prefer being held to having sex.

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