Fifty shades of boredom
MANY years ago a group of friends and I did something wild. Instead of meeting for a drink, we hired an S & M mistress to teach us a few tricks. It was all in aid of keeping our partners happy. Being a sex and relationships journalist for many years had taught me one thing: the only long-term relationships that work are the ones where sexuality remains hot.
In these times where the Fifty Shades of Grey film and books are turning on millions of women, who wish they had such passion and kinky freedom in their lives, domesticity doesn’t cut it unless an effort is made to keep things spicy. Women claim the books saved their marriages — giving them permission to be erotic and to explore possibilities within their long-term partnerships, rather than slipping into complacency.
It’s clear to me people don’t want to end up alone. But they don’t want to die of erotic boredom either. In short, we’re all desperately searching for ways to have it all — the comfort of marriage, the thrill of illicit sex.
Relationships Australia says one of the main causes of breakups is sexual unhappiness. And in a survey commissioned by News Limited several years ago, well-over a third of respondents admitted to adultery.
US religious author, Rabbi Shmuel Boteach, is an unlikely ally in the war against domestic drudgery. In his books he preaches turning marriage into an illicit affair. He claims it’s “lust not love” that’s the glue of relationships. During an Australian visit, he said: “Make your spouse come alive for you as an exciting sexual object. By persuading your spouse to expose their full sexual nature you transform your partner from a mundane husband or wife into a seductive man or woman.”
So there my group of friends were in one of our living rooms, with a Mistress in thigh-high boots, fishnets, a PVC corset, and a slave lying on the floor looking sumptuous and ready to be our experiment. I won’t go into detail, but that night I learnt a lot about male anatomy and how it responds, but more importantly I learned about my own sexuality and how exciting certain things were.
So how does one turn fifty shades of boredom into an erotic affair? Experiment, I say.
Couples are now responsible for an amazing 75 per cent of money spent on toys, videos and sex industry services, according to Eros Foundation. Once the exclusive domain of “dirty old men” watching porn makes up a good part of this. Says a friend with kids: “We used to roll into bed and sleep. One day I found pornography on his computer. I was very hurt but then I realised it actually turned me on. Now we watch porn in bed with a glass of wine and have sex regularly. It isn’t true that women only want romance,” she laughs.
Then there’s using sexual fantasies to amp things up. When I had a syndicated sex and relationships newspaper column, I asked readers to write to me with their secret fantasies. In a couple of weeks I ended up with 10,000 letters, they became my best-selling book Burning Urges.
Just under half the correspondents were married with kids. One Queensland father with several children wrote: “My wife and I are mainstream Christians. We are very happy together. We enjoy a completely wholesome, active and satisfactory sex life. My wife likes fantasies about her being forced to submit, to be taken (by other men). I sometimes enjoy fantasising about taking part, but often prefer to fantasise about being overwhelmed, tied up, and forced to watch.”
A happily married, professional woman and mother wrote of her husband: “When I first found out his passion for lesbians, I was shocked. And (became) … unsure of his feelings for me. I had no need to worry though. He loved me like I did him. Over the time I watched videos with him, read letters in magazines about threesomes … I guess I just got to like it.”
The fact we like dirty things isn’t bad. Pornography is a matter of definition, Melbourne psychologist and expert on brain chemistry, Marta Frid, told me at the time. “I don’t call my inner world filthy. I call it glorious.” And famous psychologist Sigmund Freud said: “One doesn’t become a pervert, one remains one.” Experts agree fantasies are often cathartic, and balance us psychologically. For instance, if we feel powerless in real life, we can grow strong in our fantasies.
Then there is exhibitionism and voyeurism. In her book A Commonsense Guide to Sex, Sandra Pertot, says that exhibitionism can often start in adolescence. People who are voyeuristic can visit swinger’s clubs such as The Couple’s Club in Sydney to show off or watch. Middle-class visitors have increased sharply in recent years.
As for homoerotica, the Kinsey Report claims human sexuality can be mapped out on a continuum of 1 to 5. You can be a 1 (straight) at one point in your life, and a 3.8 at another, as determined by social factors, emotional needs and circumstance.
Sexuality is much more fluid than we think. At a dinner party I gave I was surprised how many “straight” men under the influence of alcohol admitted they were at least once in their lives attracted to a man, or had even experimented. So too did the women who are weaned on beautiful female bodies in glossy women’s magazines.
Which leads me into Australia’s number one turn-on: the threesome. Followed by group sex and swapping. Behind the picket fences, people yearn for close encounters of the third, fourth and fifth kind.
One woman told me: “We share two children and love each other very much. But I had the five-year-itch recently, wanting an extramarital relationship. My partner was very understanding and solved it by saying, let’s share the experience (with another woman).
“It saved, rather than destroyed, two individuals as a couple.”
And curious couples are visiting traditional massage parlours. “We are seeing more and more women accompanying their men in here,’’ says “Gloria” a madame of a Sydney eastern-suburbs parlour that offers “happy endings”. Then there are classes in erotic dancing, or S & M-rope classes, pole dancing. Everything is available on the internet: just Google it, and it’s yours.
As for the psychology of keeping marriage hot, a dash of jealousy can be great chilli in the dish. A wise adage says: “It doesn’t matter where you get your appetite, as long as you eat at home.”
This has to be one of the dumbest articles I have ever read.
If you want to wreck your marriage, follow the advice in this article.
Pornography destroys love. To rekindle passion in your marriage, try loving your spouse, get to know them, talk to them, care about them, share things with them, love them – passion will return.