“I admit it, I am a receiver, not a giver”.  

He nodded with a playful smirk on his face.

We were on our third date from the book Eight Dates:  Essential Conversations for a Lifetime of Love. Date #3 is Let’s Get It On:  Sex and Intimacy.

The scene of the date had been planned a few months prior.  Happy Hour at a cool Portuguese wine bar, followed by Little Shop of Horrors at a local repertory theater. 

Not exactly the candlelit dinner recommended in the book.

But, that’s not us. We both prefer a more casual vibe, so a noisy wine bar was the perfect backdrop for our date.  And I must say, the spicy batatas and spinach artichoke gratin were excellent.

The book suggested dressing in a way that your partner found sexy.   I put on my new high waisted, wide leg jeans and chunky suede sandals with fringe. My husband noticed.  He said I looked like Marcia Brady, a total compliment for this 70s girl.  I was feeling groovy.  

What does a great sex life look like?

As we sipped and noshed, we began discussing the chapter we read earlier in the day.  We talked about The Normal Bara book referenced in Eight Dates.  The authors conducted a study about and sex with 70,000 participants in 24 countries. 

They found that couples who reported having great sex lives did a baker’s dozen of things to keep their love and passion alive, such as saying “I love you” often, public displays of affection, romantic dates and vacations, and talking about sex comfortably.

They also give each other back rubs.

I had to admit I was a receiver and not a giver.  It’s a long-standing joke for us, hence the smirk.

We were pleased that we could check off many of the 13 behaviors cited in The Normal Bar but we made a pact to work on kissing passionately for no reason at all.  We give six second kisses frequently but want to improve on the “for no reason at all” part. 

Let’s talk about sex . . . .

Moving on to the Open-Ended Questions section, the first question is about sharing your favorite sexual memories with each other.  

Hmm, we both had to reflect on that for a bit.  Interestingly, we cited many of the same memories.  

We laughed hysterically about one particular memory from our dating phase.  We both recalled our first romantic trip together to the mountains of New Mexico.

And then there was the conception of our son.  When we were trying to get pregnant I was ovulating and my husband, who is a pilot, was in another city.  I hopped on a plane and surprised him.  We will never forget that crappy Holiday Inn that changed our lives forever.

It seems that the times that stood out were more about our connection than erotic pleasure.

I like that about us. 

We didn’t make it through all of the remaining questions at Happy Hour, so we talked some more on the car ride home.

Question 4 is “What’s your favorite way for me to let you know I want to have sex?”  Research shows that 70 percent of couples ask for sex in indirect ways, but as relationships mature, the bids get more direct.  

My husband couldn’t have been more direct when he gave his Little Shop of Horrors inspired answer.

“Feed me Seymour”.

I couldn’t help but laugh. Gottman says that “every positive thing you do in your relationship is foreplay”, and that includes humor.

For us, it’a all about the connection.

Mary Beth George
Mary Beth George is a Licensed Professional Counselor, Certified Gottman Therapist, Master Trainer for the Gottman Institute and co-owner of Couples Counseling & Psychotherapy Associates. She is an empty nester with a passion for rescue dogs, traveling and spending time with people that make her laugh.