Why Playing it Safe Can be the Kiss of Death for Your Sex Life

Many people who contemplate the idea of couples therapy conjure up the image of Will Ferrel and his movie wife in Old School, talking about the "trust tree." Traditional couples therapy of the past, thought to help a couple is to teach a couple how to play it safe. How to make each other feel "heard," and "secure."

Yet, we've learned that a couple can start out every sentence with "what I hear you saying is..." until they're blue in the face- with no different outcome other than a bunch of frustration. Take for instance a couple where one partner has packed on some "love chub." Maybe they've packed on more than their fair share of chub. Maybe they've put on 30, 60, even 100 pounds. Old school therapy would have taught us to "accept our partner," to make them feel loved and understood. The theory was that if we made it warm enough, safe enough, trusting enough- our portly partner would march themselves back away from the pantry and right into a weight watchers meeting.

However, what actually happens is that partners get complacent. It isn't until we find the strength to hold onto ourselves, to take risks in our relationship, to reach "critical mass," as David Schnarch coined it, to enact true change and growth in our relationship. Like anything else in life- for our relationship to grow, we have to be willing to take risks.

"How does that translate into my sex life," you ask? Think about when you were first dating, when you had some level of insecurity, there was no assurance that they would always be there, that they would always say loving and kind words to you, that they would be unconditionally supportive. They were still deciding on you, and nothing turned you on more.

Our sex life, our passion- more specifically hinges on novelty, risk, fear, and excitement. Predictability, monotony, and comfort are the arch enemies of one's libido. The idea is not to "scare" your partner back into sex, but to re-introduce some thrill back into the equation.

Often times, this is best done within the context of couples therapy where you are taught how to self soothe, while taking your relationship to the next level by not always saying the "nice thing," but the right thing.