Emotionally healthy men and women almost always share their lives with lovers whose happiness is crucial to their own fulfillment — even if they failed to understand the reciprocal nature of mutual satisfaction while they were young. In our youthful years we may be so filled with such intense sexual desires that we forget it really does take two to tango successfully for any length of time. If either lover feels deprived, the music soon loses its ability to charm us. As we learn to love a person deeply, we want both to be personally satisfied — while also becoming a pleasing lover. Our sexual pleasure remains second rate unless the lover becomes a full partner in the intimacy.
Of course, some neurotic persons use sex in a power play for ego benefits that have little to do with love. We insist — all psychospiritually healthy women and men want to please the sweetheart with whom they share physical, emotional, and spiritual intimacy. Anything less is selfishness — is prima facia evidence that one is still an emotional adolescent, grasping what he or she can in a short term relationship. Sexual selfishness and the potential for abuse that follows is always the result of one’s serious emotional and spiritual failures.
Despite the universal need for loving relationships, one marriage out of two fails, with a major cause of divorce being serious sexual disappointment caused by some form of narcissism — satiation or some kind of neurotic power struggle within the relationship. Many of the marriages which survive are such emotional and sexual disasters that the partners are left with a terrible sense of disappointment about the entire affair. Actually, comparatively few men and women actually remain lovers for life with the joy that a sound relationship guarantees. It is obvious that many couples have not mastered the attitudes, activities and relationships needed to make love permanent. We, Roberta and Jard, realize that we have done pretty well — we are still sharing our love for one other and enjoying our erotic intimacy after half a century of love and marriage. We have thought much about all this and have come to the delightful conclusion — We are not yet through! Despite all odds and some glaring mistakes along the way, we have managed to remain lovers because we understand some key factors about relationships:
To begin with:
WOMEN AND MEN REALLY NEED EACH OTHER FOR LOVE TO PROSPER.
SEXUAL AROUSAL AND PLEASURE IS A NORMAL STATE FOR LOVERS.
SATISFACTION INCREASES EXPONENTIALLY AS WE MATURE TOGETHER.
These are attainable ideals that unfortunately, because of narcissism and nihilism, can be crippled enough to destroy relationships. However, since the need for love and intimacy does not end with conflict and unhappiness — even after separation and divorce, most persons with failed marriages usually seek someone new with whom to share romance. We have learned how vital it is to have a loving partner who cares deeply about us; who eagerly and joyfully joins their body, mind and spirit to our own. Unfortunately, some people continue looking for a perfect partner rather than learning how to become a better lover. Nevertheless, most second marriages succeed well enough to be held together. Couples, the second time around, usually have more realistic expectations and attitudes — can abandon the youthful selfishness that comes between themselves and their lovers, and accept the partial loaf of a sound relationship if not a grand romance..
Actually, many marriages fail because the institutions that are supposed to help men and women live together without too much conflict, fail at their tasks. For example, many people tell us that the church must accept a full share of the responsibility for the failure of many relationships. Its emphasis on archaic rules, the condemnation of spontaneous sexuality made possible through birth control, and reluctance to accept lovemaking as a spiritual relationship in and of itself, long after science has separated sex from child bearing, has been crippling to a great many marriages. Too many reactionary clergymen have simply not come to grips with the realities of life and love since neurotic medieval myths and superstitions about sexuality were accepted as basic religious morality. Somalia
Even today in most fundamental and orthodox religious denominations, morality is connected almost entirely to sexuality. In much of the right wing church you can engage in virtually any kind of racism or sexism — condemning minorities and manipulating women — so long as you profess to have been born again and do not commit adultery with your neighbor’s child or spouse. Or at least, don’t get caught committing adultery! We find such practices not only a simplistic view of spirituality but really a mockery of faith, hope and love within the Judaeo/Christian and the Islamic traditions.