|Author||Joel D. Block and Kimberly Dawn Neumann|
ways to save
...without leaving your bedroom
Joel D. Block, PhD &
k i m b e r ly Daw n N e u m a n n
Copyright © 2009 by Joel D. Block, PhD, and Kimberly Dawn Neumann
All rights reserved.
This book, or parts thereof, may not be reproduced in any
form without permission from the publisher; exceptions are
made for brief excerpts used in published reviews.
Adams Media, a division of F+W Media, Inc.
57 Littlefield Street, Avon, MA 02322. U.S.A.
ISBN 10: 1-59869-971-7
ISBN 13: 978-1-59869-971-5 (paperback)
ISBN-13: 978-1-44050-431-0 (EPUB)
Printed in the United States of America.
J I H G F E D C B A
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
is available from the publisher.
This publication is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information with
regard to the subject matter covered. It is sold with the understanding that the publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting, or other professional advice. If
legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional person should be sought.
—From a Declaration of Principles jointly adopted by a Committee of the
American Bar Association and a Committee of Publishers and Associations
Many of the designations used by manufacturers and sellers to distinguish their product
are claimed as trademarks. Where those designations appear in this book and Adams
Media was aware of a trademark claim, the designations have been printed with initial
This book is available at quantity discounts for bulk purchases.
For information, please call 1-800-289-0963.
Introduction.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .......................... vii
Anger Gets in the Way.. . ............................ 1
We Have Trust Issues.. . . . .......................... 19
Jealousy Bugs Us.. . . . . . . . . .......................... 35
We Need More Openness.......................... 51
We’re Too Stuck in Gender Roles................ 67
We Don’t Pick Up Each Other’s
Nonverbal Cues.. . . . . . . . . . . .......................... 85
We Don’t Compromise.. . ......................... 101
Work Gets in Our Way.. . ......................... 115
Sex Comes First
We Don’t Handle Change Well.................. 131
We’re Reeling from an Affair. ................... 149
There’s Too Much Criticism and
Blame.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ................... 167
There’s Not Enough Affection................... 183
We Expect Each Other to “Mind Read” Our
Needs.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ................... 199
We Avoid Issues.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ................... 209
We’re Too Caught Up in
Ourselves.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .................... 223
Afterword.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .................... 235
About the Authors.. . . . . . . . . . . . .................... 237
Index.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .................... 239
opulation and coupledom. Coupledom and copulation.
When it comes to a fulfilling relationship, these two, sex
and coupling, are intrinsically linked. In many cases, the correlation is positive (happy couples frequently report healthy sex
lives), but sometimes, it can be a double whammy. Why? Because
the road to being a dynamic duo, for both men and women, is
mined with potential issues that can taint romance. For example,
lack of communication, unresolved anger, and mistrust are the
kinds of problems that may result in a sex life that is mediocre at
best and more likely distinctly unfulfilling.
What it comes down to is that couples with relationship
concerns don’t feel erotically connected. Maybe they have intercourse once a week, but complain the “spark” is missing. Maybe
they haven’t made love in a month, several months, a year, or
longer, in which case sexual awkwardness can be added to the
problems that keep them apart. Whatever the case, there is no
Sex Comes First
doubt that relationship issues affect what is going on between the
sheets as well.
Typically, couples will go into therapy and work on their conflicts with the hidden hope that one day they will get along better
and their romantic life will jump-start. And often this works. Passion is reignited. But it is usually a lengthy process.
These couples are looking to improve their situation by
enacting the typical “Feel something, and then do something”
action plan. Not surprising when you consider that’s probably
the approach most of us take when facing a challenge in our lives.
We’re socialized to follow an isolate-the-problem/find-a-solution
scenario. Trust us, there’s nothing wrong with more romance following better communication and relationship harmony. In fact,
if that’s the outcome, fantastic!
But there’s another approach that will add enormous power
to a couple’s relationship and strengthen as well as hasten the
gains made by talking things out. It’s characterized by “Do something to feel something.” And, it involves sex.
Now, don’t get too excited. We’re not suggesting that you stop
trying to communicate and just get busy. It’s not that easy. However, sexualizing your issue with a specific physical encounter that
is consistent with your issue after working on it verbally can markedly enhance your chances of resolution, because there is a visceral/
muscle memory component that is closely linked to your emotional
state. In short, integrating a “mind” solution with a “body” solution
creates synergy and results in a powerful mind/body experience.
We are suggesting that instead of leaving a problem discussion and letting the words exchanged fade, it will be more effective to reinforce those words with an experience that will literally
get into your skin. In other words, involve your body in the process, and your mind will follow.
The sexual experiences throughout the book are powerful. Consequently, fears, doubts, anxieties, shyness, and other
apprehensions are likely to get triggered initially. These feelings
are common but transient; once the experience proceeds the
emotions will likely become strongly and positively bonding.
Of the many forms of couple intimacy—a smile across the
room, a kiss, a touch—sex has the potential to be the most powerful positive physical experience most of us enjoy. This is especially
true if sex results in emotional fulfillment, better communication,
security, reassurance, and intimacy—and that’s precisely the aim
of this book. We want to teach you to capitalize on the power of
sex not only to help enhance physical intimacy with your partner,
but also to help connect you in ways that allow your conjoined
emotional life to stay on solid footing.
An important thing to keep in mind is that negative feelings thrive in secrecy and lack of acceptance. Integrating couple
issues through positive experiences that feature skin-to-skin
contact is the precise antidote for healing negative feelings.
How so? Well, when you venture into these experiences, you
will be sharing while in a state of naked vulnerability, literally.
The result is that as you lose your clothes you will simultaneously be forced to strip away additional emotional layers that
might be hindering your issue resolution. It’s more difficult to
ignore or deny difficult feelings when your proverbial armor
is removed. This means that your shared experiences while in
a state of undress may be ramped up well beyond traditional
Sex Comes First
Sex Comes First is the first book to combine the traditional
talk approach to strengthening couple relationships with sexuality. Not only will we discuss the most common couple issues—
those that bug almost all of us and sap the erotic energy right
out of our relationships—but we’ll also help you learn how to
use sexual interaction as a means of issue resolution right now
(instead of waiting until it’s “fixed” to return your sex life to redhot status).
Yes, you read that correctly. The right sexual act at the right time
can actually help resolve many of your issues as a couple . . . today.
Think of yourself as an adventurous scientist who is interested
in adding some punch to the usual way of approaching relational
issues. The experiments you will be doing will help integrate the
more traditional emotional tools that strengthen relationships in
a physiological way. Or more simply put, the body is a powerful
tool and involving your entire being in your relationship will get
you further than ignoring the mind/body connection. And as an
added bonus, your sack sessions will get more interesting at the
Get ready to take your sex life where it’s never been before.
Your relationship will thank you.
Anger Gets in the Way
he dramatic slammed door exit. The thrown glass. The infamous face slap. The exasperated flood of tears. Chances are
you know the classic signs of an angry outburst. Unless you’re part
of a couple for whom that kind of volatile back-and-forth serves as
foreplay, anger probably gets in the way of your sex life.
No doubt almost every couple will experience flare-ups in
response to the sporadic squabble. However, little tiffs and even a
fiery shouting match now and then can be helpful if it brings the
real issues into the light for resolution. In other words, occasional
arguments don’t lead to long-term sexual turnoffs. In fact, you’ve
probably even had angry sex before, but the more likely result of
anger in a relationship is that it simmers someplace down below
the surface waiting to find a sneakier way to manifest than an
outright verbal explosion.
The bottom line is that anger is a complex emotion and
straight-up angry sex where that raw feeling is present and recognizable only happens on occasion. More frequently, anger
Sex Comes First
ends up masked as something else. That’s when things get tricky
because subterranean anger is the deadliest kind, not only for
your relationship but also for your sex life.
With that in mind, the first step to dealing with anger in your
relations with your partner is learning to differentiate between
the different types of anger. That involves recognizing that sometimes anger may look quite different than, “Frankly my dear, I
don’t give a damn.”
Straightforward Versus Stealth Anger
When it comes to anger, there are two types: the straightforward
and the stealthly. Figuring out which kind you’re dealing with
can really help you try to work through a meltdown in your relationship with your mate. So, how do you know the difference?
Think about this: What makes you boil? What evokes anger
to the point that you can’t contain yourself and all your feelings
come tumbling out? Do you have that visual? That is probably the
perfect example of visible anger. Usually when anger reaches that
kind of a tangible state, the issue is likely on the table and ready
In many ways, the kind of anger that you see and recognize is easier to handle than other types. Why? Well, when you
actually know what is causing dissension between you and your
partner, then there is a marked improvement in the probability
that you’ll be able to find your way to the core of the issue and
A n g e r G e t s i n t h e Wa y
move forward (for better or for worse). In other words, volatility
may promote velocity when it comes to anger resolution. However, that only holds true if the reason for the anger is authentic
and not an exasperated attempt to deal with another issue lurking beneath the angry surface.
The other kind of anger is the silent and deadly stealth anger
that can absolutely undermine a couple’s emotional and sexual
connection. The reason this emotion gets so complicated has
more to do with these hidden huff-makers than the obvious outbursts. With that in mind, let’s look a little closer at each of these
types of anger.
With this type of hidden anger, the problem stems from the
fact that one or both partners in the relationship are harboring
resentment but do not bring it to the other’s attention. It’s the
everyday equivalent of you saying, “What’s wrong?” and your
partner answering, “Nothing.” You still have a nagging feeling
that something isn’t kosher with you two. Or the opposite, your
partner will start to sense that something is off-kilter in your
relationship and will keep prodding you for affirmation of her
But instead of just speaking up, you put on that happy face
you’ve learned to wear and say, “Everything is fine.” The problem
with the word fine is that when someone uses it, things usually
are not fine. Think about it. When things are fabulous between
you two, do you use the word fine to describe your state of affairs?
Sex Comes First
Not likely. But if things are strained and you’re not speaking up,
the word fine pops out of your mouth.
The problem with unvoiced anger is that it can be sensed.
So, one partner will keep asking and the other will keep denying, while getting more and more annoyed that his partner just
can’t figure it out. Remember this: Except for a very few possibly
psychically gifted individuals, most people aren’t mind readers.
If you don’t speak up and say what you’re thinking, your partner
may never figure it out. Remember that little thing called communication? Like it or not, you pretty much have to have it if you
want your relationship to survive.
The other problem with unvoiced anger is that it tends to
grow over time. It is a mistake to not bring up the issue for serious discussion. Avoiding issues that are troublesome is anything
but benign. If not worked out, even if it is difficult, resentment
will build up and create a major obstacle to openness. After some
time of this behavior, the underlying anger gets between the couple in small increments that eventually become insurmountable.
It is as if she is adding another brick to the wall between them
each time until the wall is impenetrable.
When you or your partner finally voice frustration, it may
come tumbling out in decibels way beyond typical human vocal
Sometimes, the maelstrom brewing inside you is so craftily
concealed even you aren’t able to recognize it as anger, which
adds another layer to unspoken anger. Accordingly, not only do
you keep your feelings from your partner in this scenario, you
keep them from yourself through denial or minimizing (e.g.,
A n g e r G e t s i n t h e Wa y
“I’m not angry, I’m just annoyed.”). Another example would be
that oftentimes what couples call “boredom” is actually code
for a long-harbored hidden resentment. The key word here is
hidden. All too often, individuals don’t recognize that the root
of the emotion they’re feeling towards their partner stems from
Many times people are taught to suppress anger. In so doing,
with practice they get very good at shifting their emotions or
learning to classify what they’re feeling as something else entirely.
This may seem like a prudent way of dealing with extreme emotions like anger. The only problem is that when you are mad
about something and can’t figure out that the emotion you’re
feeling is anger, it will continue to fester. Eventually, like with
unspoken anger, it will have to reach a level that is above boiling point before it is recognized, and by then, the damage may
be insurmountable. This is especially true if the ramifications of
unrecognized anger start to spill over into other areas (e.g., everyday life and in bed), and the relationship starts to suffer on many
fronts as a result of this hidden emotion.
Unrecognized anger will brew—that is guaranteed—until it
is recognized. It’s extremely persistent, so don’t think you can
outwit it just by fooling yourself into thinking you’re happy when
you’re not. It will all come out eventually—be prepared.
Negative feelings do not simply evaporate if left unattended;
they tend to swell and permeate the relationship, sapping positive
energy that could be directed toward romance. We know you’re
thinking: Well, duh, if I’m mad of course it’s going to permeate the
relationship. It’s really not that simple, however. In this scenario,
Sex Comes First
anger may have come up and there might even have been a fight.
So, you’d think that this was no longer in the “hidden” category.
However, if you walk away from a fight still feeling deeply hurt,
uneasy with the resolution that was discussed, or even without a
solution to the issue, then the feelings are still unresolved and the
anger attached to this issue will resurface.
It’s not enough just to get mad and move on. There has to be
some sort of progress towards resolving the anger (and the issue) or
there will be a rebound effect. How so? Well, there may be a slight
respite in the feelings once the issue has come to the surface, but
as soon as either party has had some time to reflect, she will likely
realize she is still angry. But there will be a hesitancy to revisit the
issue with her partner because things will probably already be a bit
tenuous and unless the couple has thrown in the proverbial towel,
they will likely be trying to rebuild from their disagreement. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to recover relationship equanimity when one
or both partners are still holding on to some tension.
See how this becomes a deadly cycle? When the anger is not
resolved, it will continue to loop around until the issue is finally
addressed in a way that allows the couple to break the cycle and
move forward. Until that fateful day, however, this type of hidden
anger is bound to repeat itself.
Frequently a couple may find themselves having a major argument over something that’s not really the issue at the crux of their
anger. In this case, the real issue causing the anger is the hidden
part. You might also call this “Sneaky Anger.”
What would be an example of this? Well, consider the couple
that is really having issues about finances. Perhaps they are trying
A n g e r G e t s i n t h e Wa y
to save to get a bigger apartment but the woman can’t seem to stop
buying pricey new outfits for work, or the guy is spending a lot
of money playing in several fantasy football leagues. Over time,
these little shopping or play habits may start to really bother the
other partner especially if he is curbing spending habits in order
to try and make the mutually set goal of getting a bigger domain in
which to live. But, instead of addressing the issue about finances,
the offended partner starts picking on his significant other about
something inconsequential and unrelated such as how much time
they spend on the computer in the morning checking e-mail. See
The problem with this kind of issue-confused anger is that the
real issue doesn’t get addressed and in the meantime, all these petty
little complaints get added on top of it. The anger will not be effectively dealt with until you’ve then removed all the other issues to
reveal the true problem. The result is a lot of confusion.
Another variation on the hidden anger theme, which may
undermine a relationship, is when resentment has built up and
it leads one partner to consciously or unconsciously retaliate
against the other partner either by doing something that the
other partner doesn’t like, or by not doing something that is
desired by the other partner. Usually, this leads to less cooperation and more hidden anger. In contrast, if the partner whose
actions are retaliatory simply disagreed with the request instead
of striking back (explaining the basis for that dissension), or
offered an alternative solution—“I will get a job to support my
extra spending,” or “I will not use a housecleaning service, but I
want to keep my gym membership”—there is basis for an open
Sex Comes First
discussion. Even if one partner admits to going overboard—“I
just couldn’t resist those Jimmy Choos at that Sample Sale, it
was a great buy and I have a weakness for killer pumps”—it
would be better than insisting that there was full cooperation
when clearly there wasn’t.
While most inconsistencies between word and deed (or
the manner in which a message is conveyed) may seem minor,
they can have a powerful impact. If one partner tells the other,
“You are the most important person in my life and my top priority,” but in daily behavior is selfish, inconsiderate, and irritable, the message that is conveyed is something like this: “Your
feelings and wishes are not as important to me as my own
needs, and you can’t really rely on what I say.” The partner
who is conveying the loving message but is not being loving
is actually setting up a confusing situation for her significant
other. When actions don’t support words, over time it may
lead an individual to feel underlying resentment without even
Fact: It’s difficult to get closer to your partner if you’re fighting all the time. As a result, many people who start to fear intimacy will find themselves starting intentional disagreements to
Sometimes anger is also used intentionally to keep intimacy
at bay. A signal that this is occurring is when things are going
along well in the relationship, then suddenly one partner starts
to pick fights over mundane things that previously had not
caused any strife. However, when tension caused by a fear of
Author Joel D. Block and Kimberly Dawn Neumann Isbn 9781598699715 File size 3.7MB Year 2009 Pages 256 Language English File format PDF Category Sexuality Book Description: FacebookTwitterGoogle+TumblrDiggMySpaceShare “He works too much.” “She expects me to know what she’s thinking.” “We don’t trust one another.” There’s a lot that gets in the way of a happy relationshipwork, jealousy, and communication issues, just to name a few. However, one thing definitely brings a couple together: sex. Relationship experts Dr. Joel Block and Kimberly Dawn Neumann teach couples how to use sex to build and strengthen their relationship. This new approach shows couples how to use sexual intimacy to conquer obstacles outside the bedroom. The authors identify fifteen of the most common problems couples run into and offer their sexual solution to each one. Sex Comes First will leave everyone satisfiedin every way possible. Download (3.7MB) The Sex Bible For People Over 50 Sex Matters for Women: A Complete Guide to Taking Care of Your Sexual Self Erotic Massage: Sensual Touch for Deep Pleasure and Extended Arousal Unleash Her Bad Girl and Get Her To Do Anything You Want In Bed What Your Birthday Reveals about Your Sex Life Load more posts