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Going without sex may help relationships

By Darlene Dunn
Published On: Dec 07 2011 09:31:56 AM CST
Updated On: Feb 13 2013 08:25:33 AM CST
Romantic couple kissing, love

iStock/Pinopic

Kordell Crawford believes that sex changes the dynamics of a relationship.

"Women are much more emotional than men and sex is a very personal, passionate, affectionate act that brings out many different emotions on many different levels," Crawford said. "To a man sex is just that -- sex. To a woman, sex is so much more that men can't rationalize the impact it has on (women)."

When Crawford heard about a sex detoxification program that may help him find a lasting relationship, his curiosity was piqued.

Ian Kerner, the author of "Sex Detox," says in his book that abstaining from sex for 30 days will enhance the experience for couples and help singles put an end to negative behavior in order to focus on other important factors to establish lasting relationships.

Kerner said the book improves "self awareness and sexual confidence" for married people. For singles, it provides an understanding of how they handle themselves when dating.

Crawford said he is not sure why his relationships do not work out. He wanted to try the program to see if it would improve his situation.

"(I'm) not sure if I have a commitment phobia, but I can be very guarded at times," he said. "I'm not really sure where that comes from but I've been told on several occasions that I have a wall up."

Should Singles Detox?

Kerner's detoxification program includes completing daily assignments, learning breathing techniques, journaling and answering numerous questions. While the book is divided into sections for couples and singles, Kerner said people without a partner will benefit from reading the couple's section.

Kerner writes that it is necessary for singles to liberate themselves from negative patterns and find a "healthier way of dating and relating."

"Too often, casual sex is a potent reminder of the relationship we're not having, the intimacy we would like to be having and the fact that we're merely having sex when what we really want is to be in love," Kerner writes.

To understand if you are out of whack, Kerner asks 10 questions.

They include: "Have you ever cancelled plans with a friend because of a last-minute date?" and "When someone you went on a bad date with doesn't call for a second, are you bummed out?"

If the person answers yes to more than half of the questions, he or she may have bad dating karma, Kerner says.

Crawford said he found the questions in the book interesting and thought-provoking.

"I actually brought up a couple of the questions amongst friends for some lively conversation," he said.

Relationships Need Evaluating

Patrice Hamiter does not understand why a couple or singles would be interested in a sex detox.

"I don't see the point in doing it," she said. "If you are in an unhealthy sexual relationship, maybe you need to evaluate the whole relationship."

Hamiter, who admits she is commitment phobic, added that the questions in the book were not thought-provoking to her at all.

"I thought the questions were stupid," she said.

She added that people should also recognize relationships for what they really are, and sometimes a relationship may be just about sex.

Married With Bad Sex

Kerner said sex is important to any good marriage. He said he finds that many couples argue about an unsatisfying sex life more than money or housework.

"Stress can take a major toll on your sex life," he writes. "For men, work-related stress is particularly likely to inhibit desire, while women are often more susceptible to stressors that originate at home."

Although most couples experience stress, the couple's section contains a list of 40 true-or-false questions designed to determine if there is a lot or little positive energy in the relationship.

They include:

  • Little arguments tend to escalate into bigger fights.
  • After we fight, one of us tends to hold a grudge.
  • Even if we sleep in the same bed, I feel like I'm sleeping alone.

Kerner said that the exercises in the book help couples understand their feelings about sex, gender stereotypes and even how parents shape one's sexual behavior.

"Good sex, connected sex, is about the mind, body and spirit," he said. "It is about being on a connected journey with a person. It can sometimes get taken for granted."

Kerner said it is important to understand who the program is likely to help.

"It is not for the couple having great sex, or for the couple heading to divorce court," he said.

Chores Connected To Sex?

In the book, Kerner uses stories about various types of couples.

With one couple, the wife, Lauren, did all the chores while her husband, David, happily watched TV. She started to view sex as another chore.

"Lauren tried to talk to David about pitching in more around the apartment and though he nodded as if he heard the words, his actions didn't change," Kerner writes.

Lauren grew resentful, so she went through the detox, hoping it would bring about change. After Lauren allowed David to cook and clean for himself, he started to understand her feelings.

Finally, he tried to pitch in more around the house.

David, who had grown up in a traditional household, had expected the same type of home life with his wife.

Feedback

In addition to the couples and singles in the book, Kerner said he has helped many others with the sex detox. Some of feedback has said the book has given a couple the jumpstart that they needed to get back on track.

Positive feedback from singles included individuals saying they stopped negative dating behavior and sustained good relationships, Kerner said.

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