"Life today seems to travel at such a high speed and most of us are having to juggle several things at once, like work, family, finances, health and much more. Its understandable that through all of this our relationships with our spouses/partners are put on the back boiler and neglected. Your relationship should be nurtured, have a regular date night away from your usual surroundings. Set new goals, act out fantasies, lighten up with each other again, enjoy the company, it will pay dividends in the long run. Try the "naughty pause", you might like it". - Susan -
The Sexy Happy Hour
In France, a different kind of happy hour is reportedly celebrated during the week. It’s called “le cinq à sept" and it’s also referred to as “the naughty pause.” It is a special time, between 5 and 7 at the end of the work day, that is devoted to romantic trysts and lovemaking that may or may not be illicit. Hotels, even nice respectable ones, offer special deals on day rentals. Questions are seldom asked about “who’s zooming who,” apparently. Not surprisingly, results from a Pew Research Study from 2013 indicated that France was the country that was least upset by marital infidelity -- less than half of the respondents there agreed that affairs were morally unacceptable. In the United States, however, about 84% of people believe adultery is morally wrong.
What does that say, though, about the American culture that is awash with sexualised imagery and innuendo designed to sell everything from chewing gum to “gentlemen’s clubs” to radio stations? It probably says that our country’s puritanical heritage has instilled an enduring polarity of voyeurism coupled with inhibition. Some people have suggested that it is that historical “Pilgrims’ Pride” that led our country to be so squeamish about the human body, nudity, and, of course, sexuality.
Sex & Shame
Shame and humiliation are too often the tools that parents might use to censure their children’s early curiosity and questions. Not giving children a safe place to ask the questions leads to a tacit condemnation of even the desire to ask the questions. The human body and sexuality become taboo topics and most of us know that if we can’t ask a grown-up, we will likely seek answers from a peer. Today, though, there are more visual aids available to kids to share with their friends than just a crumpled copy of Playboy magazine that an earlier generation might have used as a guide to anatomy. The internet is a minefield of images that can reflect and broadcast everything from the sanctity and sacredness of sexual union all the way to the most depraved and revolting extent of the human imagination.
So, in a country where we frown on infidelity, yet see our national heroes and media figures be outed for their role in child pornography or sexual assault, or read about religious fundamentalists sexually molesting young women, or any number of unexpected sexually-tinged crimes, it seems that our desire to keep our clothes on and our mouths shut on the topic of sex leads to uninhibited debauchery behind doors that are kept shut tight.
Money & Sex
In a study that explored the relationship between breadwinner status and infidelity (Munsch, 2015), or to put it more bluntly, money and sex, some interesting facts were revealed. Breadwinning males were more likely to be unfaithful than wives who were the primary breadwinners. Dependent spouses, especially husbands, were also more likely to engage in adultery. This reflects the relationship to power that money and sex may hold. For men who earn the lion’s share of a family’s income, it appears that this also gives license to greater sexual freedom. For breadwinning women, it was hypothesised that staying faithful would be one way to mitigate what might be an already strained relationship due to the unexpectedly unbalanced gender/income disparity. Dependent spouses may be using extramarital sex as a way to express a sense of power that lower income may preclude in the relationship in other ways.
Conflict & Sex
Results from a study of women who strayed (Jeanfreau, Jurich, & Mong, 2014) indicated that there were three basic themes expressed as reasons for adultery:
- Need for more attention than being received from their spouses
- Lack of “quality time” spent with their spouses
- Conflicts that could not be resolved
Spouses need time, attention, and the willingness for a partner to work through conflict. What may be especially frustrating for women reading this is that another study showed that one of the best ways to maintain marital satisfaction involved wives being able to “down regulate” their negative experience and behaviours. Sounds like women, a group that research has shown to be more amenable to exploring and processing emotions, need to “get a grip” in order to ensure that both partners feel better about the relationship. Perhaps “getting a grip” would help solve the conflict aspect of the infidelity equation. Seems like men are getting off easy?
Sex: Getting your Weekly Dose
Reliably weekly sex has been found to be “enough” for most people to feel is adequate for a satisfying sexual relationship. In fact, it was found that weekly sex was better than monthly sex for both partners to feel positive . about their marital relationship. In fact, the degree of positive difference found between weekly and monthly sex was actually greater than the influence of income size in happiness! Seems like there’s not much difference within a relationship if the couple brings in $15-25K or $50-$75K a year.
Making Time for the Naughty Pause -- AKA Weekly Sex
Even if Americans seem to be more prudish, overall, and more likely to believe that intimacy belongs behind closed doors while “sex-for-sales” belongs on billboards, it might be a worthwhile investment of time and resources for couples to integrate that “naughty pause” into their weekly calendar. The excitement might be less for some than hooking up with a stranger or an illicit partner, but the long-term rewards of sexual connection between spouses on a regular basis include marital satisfaction and relationship longevity. It doesn’t get any better than that.