Thursday, August 11, 2011

Sex Myth #1

Let’s start today by debunking one of several myths that many people believe about sex, romance, and passion.

Myth #1: Romance Will Never Ever Change If It Is Real... 

WRONG. On the contrary, we think that it is necessary to: 

Accept that in a long term relationship things will change

It's a fact that couples who are doing well intimately, have accepted that certain things in life are going to change as they live their lives together. Life is a moving target, one that requires adaptation. Just because things change between you, doesn't mean that there is something wrong with your relationship. On the contrary, change can be good.

For example, those of you who are parents know how "different" things become once your baby is born. It's a fact of life that having a child will drastically affect sex, romance, and passion. Couples usually aren’t too thrilled about this prospect, but the smart ones are able to cope with it and accept the changes that come home along with their new baby. 

They hang in there. 

They don't blame the relationship itself. They realize that everyone goes through these same thing once a baby arrives and they actively search for new ways to connect with one another. As a result they become a better team. They share their feelings and frustrations with one another. They talk to other couples who also have kids and learn that everyone is truly in the same soup. Ultimately, they come to understand that it is life with a baby, not a flaw in their partner/relationship, that is responsible for a decreased sex life. 

Weight gains are also common in life, especially during pregnancy, and many women feel unattractive after giving birth. One woman in a study we did said that she felt about as sexy as a potato after giving birth. 

The humorist David Barry said that when your wife asks you if she looks fat in this dress, the only thing you can possibly do is fall on the floor and pretend you’re having a heart attack. Any other response will get you into trouble. 

Our data on couples whose sex lives are going well after having a baby actually supports David Barry’s advice. Even if her body has changed, or if he just thinks that it has changed, the man needs to keep his mouth shut. He needs to not comment on weight gains. He needs to avoid suggestions that she work out, or eat differently, or be more like him. He needs to be understanding and patient.

Our Advice Regarding Change: Accept the inevitability of change in your relationship and work with it. Never comment adversely about your attraction to your partner. Just keep your mouth shut  and instead, continue to be affectionate and appreciative of all the things that you do find attractive about you partner. Remember, all appreciations are foreplay. 

The Gottman Institute


  1. Are there conditions that make discussing the weight gain important to the happiness in the marriage?

    If the man keeps his mouth shut about his wife's weight gain, isn't there a risk of him feeling resentful or depressed? Also, are you referring to modest weight gain or does this include any amount of weight gain, including obesity?

  2. This is Kate, TGI staff, we are working on getting Julie's response to your question. Let me take a shot at it though. Disclaimer: all responses to questions should be considered educational and are not meant to be, or to replace therapy. There are kind and unkind ways to bring up a sensitive subject. If the subject of weight gain is brought up in a critical, harsh or judgemental way, that will be damaging to the relationship. However, if a softened startup is used and support is offered it can lead to a helpful conversation. Example star-ups/questions: Babe, I am so impressed by you and everything you've done to bring our baby into the world. What has it been like for you physically? How can I help make it easier for you to take care of yourself? It's really important to all of us that you take care of yourself as well as the new baby. How can I support you in doing that? - I hope this helps!


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