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Sexual Desires, Turn-Ons, & Turn-Offs

By Russell A. Irving

There often comes a time in marriages (or even long term relationships) when the topic of sexual desires and practices can become uncomfortable, to say the least. - Like most aspects of intimate relationships, there are many different professional takes on this topic. And, which one is correct or more moral than another can lead to heated discussions, ending without consensus.
That said, the following represents my opinion. You, ultimately will need to decide and take responsibility for what you do with the information and views.

Fetishes, sexual desires, sexual orientation... represent different things. A fetish for example might focus on the sexual arousal caused by rubbing their partner's feet or wearing leather. A sexual desire might include having oral sex. One's sexual orientation could be heterosexual, bisexual, or homosexual.

What any spouse will find acceptable depends upon that person.
For example, there are women who find the notion of giving or receiving oral sex to be exciting and pleasurable. While, others are repulsed by this and cannot conceive of being a party to it. Yet, there are women who believe that oral sex is an 'ultimate act of intimacy'. They would rather have intercourse with someone they are casually dating, than have oral sex.
There are men who are aroused by their partner's sexual conversations, while others believe such action is a sign of their woman being 'loose', a 'slut', if you will.

Often, once a couple has married, or they move in together, one or both partners decide to explore aspects of their sexuality that they either have not done before, or not done with their lover. Perhaps they were afraid of rejection and decide that the commitment they have just made will 'protect them' from it. Perhaps, they simply did not feel relaxed enough with their partner to explore new aspects of sexuality.

After couples have been together for years, one often hears of sexual boredom. Even on 'Everybody Loves Raymond' this topic came up! (Brought up by Debra.) She told Ray that she was tired of doing the same things, over and over again. When he asked why she never told him that, her answer was that she thought he should know. - Spouses might fulfill many roles in your marriage, but being clairvoyent is not one of them! And, they say that variety is 'the spice of life', so that this seems to be only natural.

In my opinion, what is sexually appropriate depends mostly upon whether or not both partners willingly agree to 'experiment' with one another or to otherwise please their partner. I do not believe in forcing or even coercing the other person.
Likewise, if your spouse agrees to try something new and says, 'Stop' or something similar during the intimacy, then you should immediately stop what you were doing. Otherwise, resentment and a loss of trust is likely to develop and not be easily rebuilt.

I also believe that when you love and trust your partner, you might find something that was previously on your 'Not To Do' list, to be quite pleasurable and satisfying.

But, what, you ask should you do if your partner requests something that you really have doubts about doing? And, they say that if you truly loved them, then you would go along with it?
Again, it is your decision. For some folks, pleasing their spouse is more important to them than being uncomfortable with an action. Others would not even entertain the notion.

There is the question of what is 'morally acceptable' to do, sexually.
Some folks believe that only intercourse, while in what is called the 'missionary position' (the man on top of the woman) is acceptable. Others believe in only intercourse. Others draw the line at anal sex. Others at oral sex. Some enjoy sexual lubricants or lingerie. Others get turned on by fantasizing about other people, silently or aloud. The list of possibilities is endless. You must make these decisions for yourself.

You also need to evaluate, the best that you can, how important to your lover is their desire? Some spouses have such strong desires for 'something new' to you that if you refuse them there will be great tension in other areas of your relationship, or they might seek a willing partner outside of the marriage. (I am not implying that you do something simply because you afraid of these possibilities becoming real.)

I believe that folks should consider not only their and the others' desires, but health and safety issues, as well.
For example, what are the odds of getting a sexually transmitted disease from your partner? Remember that all of their past partners, in a sense, are going to be your partner, as well!
If they are into sadomasochism, do you wish to risk suffering pain or injury?
Will you feel great guilt or shame for partaking in the sexual activity?

What happens, you might wonder, if you accidentally learn that your lover has been bisexual or involved in threesomes or used to be a transvestite or... ? If you find these behaviors to be offensive, then you need to address them. Perhaps, in the company of a therapist or clergy person.
You would not be out of line to want to know whether or not these were 1-time events. And, what led them to try the situation. If it was 'a habit', but your partner claims that they have since stopped desiring it, you would also not be out of line to question the sincerity of the statement. Especially, if you have found evidence of this, in your home. (They kept photographs of the behavior or former partners, or they maintain close relations with those involved with doing it, or they keep their prior partners' phone numbers on speed dial, or... )
Now, nothing says that these behaviors still represent current desires, but you probably should be cautious.

I can imagine that some of you are perplexed by all of this. You might wonder whether or not I am condoning or condemning any of these urges/ behaviors. The fact of the matter is that I believe that you must be the judge of what you are willing to accept or participate in.

Because sex is such a huge part of a marriage, I urge folks to discuss their sexual past, desires, and the like, before marriage. - Just as love is not enough to justify a life together when there are huge differences in basic moral beliefs, religious beliefs, views on finances or child rearing, or there is addiction or abuse... I believe that strong differences in sexual views and what is acceptable behavior or not, in the bedroom, can be reason enough for postponing marriage or ending a relationship. Especially if you find the thought of a sexual desire or orientation to be repulsive, the odds that your love for the person will more than compensate for it, are not high.

Well, you have some food for thought. My final suggestion is that you face these issues, sooner than later.

Nuff said!
Copyright Russell Irving