With Valentines Day around the corner, how are you and your betrothed or beloved planning to celebrate? During the middle ages, courtly love began to flourish and this day was linked to romantic love. Lovers sent each other flowers, love notes, and sweets declaring their love. By the 19th century, greeting cards hit the scene and
today we have come to expect something special from our lover on this day.
Helen Fisher, a biological anthropologist at Rutgers University, coined the term ‘love map’ which suggests three specific neural pathways that lead us to be with that someone special over all other potential mates. The three pathways are lust, romantic love, and attachment. Each has a specific neurochemistry as well as specific ways in which partners behave and respond. Valentine’s Day represents this notion of romantic love and a reminder to keep your hearts desire on the one you are attached to and may still have that “lusty” feeling for.
As a sex counselor, I’m always impressed and intrigued when couples know how to keep romance alive in their relationships, especially when still raising children. Meet Julie (name changed to keep confidentiality) married for 10 years to Sam (name changed). Despite them both working full-time and raising 3 children under the age of 8, they engage in regular sexual activity. She describes herself as having a very healthy sexual constitution although she does admit that Sam’s sexual appetite far surpasses hers. Which ladies, is not always the case. Research is finding more men are lamenting about their lack of sexual desire.
While Julie finds their sexual attraction and her desire as very satisfying, she confesses that Sam isn’t very romantic. Each of us have our own romantic style and what we find romantic. Some women and men lavish one another with gifts, candy, flowers, and cards on Valentine’s day, while not much more happens throughout the year. Some people are the true romantics at heart and have a way with conjuring up many ways to show their partner they think of them and love them throughout the year. And, for some, Valentine’s Day will come and go and each year will come and go, and very little, if any romance is displayed.
I’ve suggested to Julie, to share with Sam her desire for more romance and to be very specific about what that means for her. My concern about the lack of romance for relationships is that over time, without romantic love being integrated into a relationship, couples often find themselves very attached to there partner, but the romance and lustiness fall away. When these very potent love centers are not firing in ways that bring rise to sexual desire and arousal, he or she or both, turn away from sexual approaches. So even if you’re satisfied in your sex life, but not getting the romance you’d like to receive, make the request with specific details and enliven your relationship before Cupid’s spell has worn off and the spark of Valentine’s Day has lost it's luster.
If you’d like to suggest a Sex Topic or schedule an appointment for sex therapy, please contact Sherri Aikin at http://www.sherriaikinhealth.com/contact.html.