I watched the first episode of this show called “Sexual Healing” on my Netflix Watch Instantly (I finished season 1 of Bones, and that was so emotionally upsetting, I didn’t want to jump into season 2. “My name is Temperance Brennan!”=*tear*) The show is simple: Dr. Laura Berman runs the Berman center/institute/something where couples who are having problems in their sex life come and participate in one week or two week intensive counseling sessions and homework assignments to get the mojo back. There were three couples–one married sixteen years, one married ten years, and one couple that had been dating two years. (**Note: I do NOT condone fornication of any kind, but they were on the show. Get mad if you want, but in a perfect world (of my creation), they wouldn’t be on there–probably why I’m not a TV exec and have a blog instead :D)
There were a few things that stood out to me. First, the men’s issues were we aren’t having sex and the women’s issues were varied but mostly emotional. The men wanted to have sex for diverse reasons, sure, but they assumed the wife didn’t want to. One man was upset he always had to initiate sex, one man showed love and caring through making love, and felt hurt his wife didn’t want to have sex to connect with him, and one guy was young and stupid (I’m 22, I’m supposed to be having sex everyday twice a day and she’s at her sexual peak [she was 31], so what’s the hold up? That was his attitude). The women felt like they gave more than they got sexually and emotionally, had childhood traumas, had hormonal changes that sapped physical desires.
There was one husband in particular that gave me the chills, because I could very easily marry a guy like him and be stuck in a relationship like that. This guy had a good job, he was neat, he was very logical and practical and sensible enough to raise a family–but he had up an unscalable emotional wall. He couldn’t let go, couldn’t give up the tiniest bit of control, didn’t display any emotion, even when he was hurt by something his wife said (until days later). She would say things and it was like a stone in lake–there was a brief surface rippling, then back to calm, undisturbed smoothness. She had no idea how to connect with him anymore, and she seemed almost too tired and beat down to try anymore.
People tend to think I’m insensitive to some of life’s realities, dating and marriage-wise, because of my beliefs. I believe there are very few reasons for divorce (and even those are not commandments for it), that people should abstain from fornication, that people shouldn’t live together before marriage. (I had a coworker browbeat me to death on that last one and say she thinks ALL couples should live together before they even think of getting married. I told her it was against my religion, but I think she thought I was saying that to be funny or it was just a phrase to show how opposed I am to the idea instead of actually being against my religion). But I’m not unaware of the fact that some things we are supposed to do are easier said than done. Just because I manage to do something doesn’t mean it was easy. Just because I say I was able to doesn’t mean I’m bragging. Sometimes it’s positive reinforcement, stating facts, a mental talisman and power thought: I can do this, I can do this, I can do this. But back to insensitivity.
For the most part, little Black boys are taught to be tough. They are not to cry or show their feelings. Little Black girls are raised to believe that men that cry are wimps and not really men; these men are easy marks for women who are only out to use men to get what they want/need. Some of us are blessed with parents who teach us better than that, but not all. I’ve run into a lot of “robotic” men, Black, White, and other, men who have been taught not to feel for so long they don’t consider feelings at all. Feelings aren’t important. They don’t show them, they don’t tolerate them in other people well. We are raising me to be sociopaths. (I think that’s the word…hang on let me look it up: yep, that’s my word) Okay, maybe that’s a little dramatic, but certain symptoms fit: incapacity to love; superficially glib and charming; pathological lying; lack of remorse, shame, or guilt; shallow emotions; infidelity/promiscuity; lack of empathy. I know plenty of people who have dated this man, and so often, it’s so hard to tell when you are falling in love.
Then there are those men like the 22 year old, who don’t seem to care what you may or may not be going through–they just want to be sexed on the regular. If I don’t feel connected to you emotionally anymore, so what? If you don’t kiss me or show affection except when you want sex and that’s not enough for me–oh well.
There was only one couple that had issues that had to do with sex itself. The woman needed hormonal treatment. Her husband, meanwhile, was supportive. Why did he want to have sex with her? To show his feelings for her (not to do what amounts to scratching a biological itch).
Most of the exercises weren’t that “saucy”…they were merely to build trust, intimacy, affection, to reconnect the couple. The sexual reconnection took care of itself once both partners felt loved, respected, & trusted in the union.
I’m more than interested to see where else this series is going to go, what other issues it will tackle and what other exercises/tips Dr. Bergman has to give couples. I am absolutely an advocate of marital counseling for your problems should you need it.
I would recommend Sexual Healing, at least from the first episode!