When WE tv started to promo their new show Sex Box, I loved to hate it. It seemed like another reality show trying to shock people for high ratings, and while the concept is still pretty shocking, I have to admit I love this show. I’ve been converted.
It tackles some really common issues all couples face on different levels, so even if your sex life is not necessarily at rock bottom, you may find the show still gives you an ah-ha moment.
Take the most recent episode where we meet a woman who struggles to communicate openly about sex and what she wants. She feels guilt and shame for being sexual because her mother was a preacher. Her mother isn’t standing over her shoulder telling her she can’t have a healthy sex life with her husband, but it obviously stands in her way.
Dr. Fran Walfish, relationship psychotherapist and author on the show’s panel, explains to SheKnows that those feelings of guilt about sex come from messages we get early in our lives. “Most messages were not said blatantly, although some were. Most were observed indirectly and subtly absorbed by our parents’ comfort level with their own nudity.”
Every couple on the show can point their problems back to some emotion that they have learned to associate with sex, and Dr. Fran confirms that guilt, shame and fear are the three most common emotions that interfere with our sex lives. Next on that list: Stress. And now we can all let out a resounding “duh.”
But, they don’t have to define them. If you learn one thing from this show, it’s how important healthy sex is to the foundation of a long-term relationship and if you’re willing to, you can make your bedroom (or kitchen, or living room, or office) a really exciting place again.
First step to can’t-stop-thinking-about-it sex? According to Dr. Walfish, give yourself permission to enjoy healthy, wonderful sex as an adult. Say it in the mirror every morning if you have to. And then follow these rules:
1. Your needs shouldn’t be a dirty little secret you keep to yourself — know what works and talk honestly about it. This goes for both partners.
2. If you notice your sex life starting to struggle, don’t wait until the sex is completely gone to admit there’s a problem. Talk to a therapist if you need to.
3. When you talk about it, don’t blame your spouse or accuse them of not giving you what you need. Use “I” instead of “you” — it goes back to that whole “treat people how you want to be treated” mantra.
4. Be accountable for your part of the equation. Many couples go on the show thinking they know the problem and it’s his or her fault, but there is are always two sides to the story. It’s a vicious circle of cause and effect. If you can get on the same side, you can begin to solve the issue.
5. Learn to be comfortable with asking for what you want, specifically.
6. Do other intimate things as a couple, like send romantic texts and even the cliché things like showering together or taking a bath with candles everywhere. Great sex trumps fire hazards, right?
7. Be careful about sharing your fantasies if there is risk they will put your partner down or make him/her jealous if they can’t fulfill it for you. In some cases, it may be better to think your fantasy and you can still reap the benefits. For example, your husband will probably never be Chris Hemsworth. Sorry, you can’t ask him to be a totally different person. But, you can imagine it.
8. And my personal favorite quote from Dr. Walfish: “Put your worries in a locked box and leave it outside the bedroom. If she’s worried about the kids she will not have an orgasm. When the stock market goes down, so does his erection. Free yourselves to enjoy the moment.”
You can watch Sex Box Fridays at 10:00/9:00 p.m. Central.