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QUESTIONS & ANSWERS:
Relationships Department

Please remember, this column is designed to help the consumer seeking behavioral-health information, and not intended to be any form of psychotherapy or a replacement for professional, individualized services. Opinions expressed in the column are those of the columnist and do not represent the position of other SelfhelpMagazine.com staff.

Question

I have been married for 6 years. My wife and I are having difficulties in our relationship. I feel I need more sex and more variety in the way she looks, i.e., I would like to see her dress up sexy occasionally, or act out fantasies in various outfits (e.g., nurse, secretary, etc.) She refuses saying I am just trying to control her. I have recently become involved with a 20 year old co-worker who seems to be able to pull all the right strings for me, and feels the same way sexually as I do. I love my wife and want to work it out. I try to avoid the co-worker, but I find her difficult to resist.

Answer

It sounds like you may feel that you missed out on your sexual conquest days and want to re-establish them now. You say you want things to work out with your wife, yet your behavior does not suggest that you are committed to doing that. You seem to want your wife to pretend she is someone else in order for you to feel sexual toward her. It sounds like your idea of sexuality is based more upon what you have read in Playboy or Penthouse than it is based upon intimacy between two people.

There is nothing wrong with wanting variety in sexuality and learning how to be sexually playful. Nor is there anything wrong with just wanting a sexual relationship. However, sexuality within the context of an intimate relationship is an entirely different experience. What you describe suggests that you want, and seem to get from your affair, is purely a sexual liaison without the intimacy. What your wife may want is intimacy first and then add the playful sexuality. A marriage counselor, with a specialty in sex therapy, might be helpful for you and your wife. This would give you both an opportunity to explore the nature of your relationship and the role of sexuality as well.

I also suggest that if you truly want to work on your marriage, stop the affair, pronto. If your wife should discover it, your credibility will no doubt suffer and the entire marriage could blow up on you. If you find it difficult to just say "no," I suggest you seek professional help immediately for yourself and then seek marriage counseling. You cannot go into marriage counseling carrying the secret of your affair nor can you tell the marriage counselor without also telling your wife. To try to do otherwise would compromise the integrity of the counselor; s/he cannot be a party to your secret.

3/5/98

Dr. Edward A. Dreyfus is a Clinical Psychologist, Marriage, Family, Child Therapist, and Sex Therapist. Dr. Dreyfus has been providing psychological services in the Los Angeles-Santa Monica area for over 30 years. He offers individual psychotherapy to adolescents and adults, divorce mediation, couples counseling, group therapy, and career and vocational counseling and assessment.His book, Someone Right For You, is available in the Amazing Bookstore Catalog.

Dr. Dreyfus can be reached at: (310) 208-5700.

 

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