Sexuality and power balance-online counseling

Why it is so hard to be a lover and a nurse at the same time

nurse

The secret of a happy relationship and a fulfilling sex life is rooted in the ability of  two lovers to keep up a balance of power.  If that’s not possible, one of the two partners will have too much power.

This will always backfire badly and have very negative effects on their love and sexuality, since one of the two will lose a part of his love for the other.

This is why couples should be well informed about the psychology of relationship power, should have good skills, a healthy self-confidence, and social competence so that they can even out arising imbalance as quickly as possible.  However, as so often in life, this is easier said than done, and sometimes even impossible to achieve – at least in a short time frame.

It’s easy to disturb the balance of power

If problems arise between two partners, or if their sex-life deteriorates, it is often beneficial if they hire a coach who can intervene and help strengthen the weakened person’s position to prevent further loss. If it is impossible to stabilize a relationship, as the example below will show, it is of crucial importance to prevent it from further deterioration by explaining to the sub-dominant partner (the one who lost power) how subconsciously he will destabilize his position, if he’s not cautious.  This new knowledge can help him to abandon counter- productive (harmful) behavioral patterns and at the same time learn how to apply better ones.

There are many reasons why a loss of balance can occur, and this loss will always affect relationships and sex life negatively.  Usually, either suddenly, or gradually one of the two partners somehow loses status in the relationship, or loves and needs the other one more than he himself is loved and needed.  This power shift will change the entire relationship; the feelings that both have for each other will become newly defined and the stronger one will lose a part of his feelings and passion while he is becoming more and more important for the weaker one.

Dear readers, if you take a look around on my website, you will notice that power balance is a central theme in several different relationship contexts. If you aim at improving your relationship, it is of crucial importance that you understand the psychological mechanisms hidden beneath the surface.

The change in feelings that is subconsciously taking place during a power shift in the
relationship is using emotional tracks in the brain which are dozens and perhaps even millions of years old and which won’t allow the playing out of loyal wife, lover and nurse at the same time.

Panic attacks in the beginning

angst

Joe works as a sales team specialist for a medium-sized company. Lately,  the company has been receiving less orders and rumours have spread that the company will have to dismiss employees.  Joe feels a strong pressure to win more orders.
This has taken a toll on him:  He has been feeling weak and worn out, topped by sudden feelings of panic, palpations and profuse sweating.  Twice he had to call an ambulance while on the road and was admitted into hospital.  But except for a slightly higher blood pressure and an increased heart rate all results were normal.

Taking medication helped to remove some of the worst symptoms, but not all of them.
Joe began to anxiously observe himself; perhaps another attack was lurking around the next corner? Yet, by watching himself for symptoms, he easily produces them.

His wife becomes a nurse

His wife Vera turned out to be a caterpillar of strength in those days and was always able to reassure him and calm him down.  She owns a small flower shop in their house, and can always  leave it for a short while if she needs to pick up Joe, stranded somewhere with a panic attack. Her presence is like a wonderful reassurance for him:  Quite like a nurse, she can take his blood-pressure and calm him down.  Holding his hand and talking to him for a while will eventually help him to relax. Joe is so thankful for her, that he often tells her that he wouldn’t know what to do without her.
Since a little while, however, he has been noticing a strange change in her behavior.  Since the beginning of his illness, when he was expecting death due to a heart attack at any time, he didn’t feel like having sex or any other type of physical intimacy for weeks. Now, that he has a better grip on the situation, thoughts of death don’t arise as often anymore, but other needs have returned…

Disturbed power balance and sex

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How strange! Vera, who used to be a sensual temptress,  now seems to be a bit reserved. Although her loving care is undiminished, they haven’t had sex for quite a while.  Questioned, she will give vague and evasive replies which don’t help him to understand.  He begins to worry if she might want to leave him now, especially when he needs her the most.  And so he tells her about his fear, hoping she will contradict him and she does, but he can’t help but notice some resignation in her voice as well, and it  scares him….his nervous tension increases even more and so do his panic attacks.

On the one side, his concern is justified, on the other side, he needn’t worry:

Vera has reacted with a sexual disorder: she still loves him and feels deeply committed to him, but her desire for sex has vanished. The culprit is the severe power shift in their relationship, negatively affecting Vera’s sexuality.  Unknown to herself, ancient psycho-biological forces are interacting with the psycho-social wiring she received during her childhood,- causing her to feel no desire to go to bed with him.

Childhood and sexuality

geschnittenTo understand Vera’s disorder better, we have to take a closer look at her father image – which is of the greatest importance for women. Her father had three daughters,  and she likes to think to herself that she was his favorite.  Since he worked for a large company, he was often away for days and Vera counted the days and hours, until he was back home again.

He was a fantastic sportsman and all his daughters admired his powerful physical appearance. For Vera, he became a role model for the ideal man which shaped her image of masculinity.

Joe resembles her father very much:  Tall, strong and a good sportsman – and Vera’s erotic motor will only start if a man is like this.

It’s easy to imagine, how her engine begins to hiccup when she sees how a panic attack will turn Joe into a small child. Viewed from an evolutionary angle, Joe has lost status.  His illness cannot destroy her love and affection, but in her brain, it turns off the center responsible for sex. In terms of evolution, he simply lost his right to have sex with her.

This example shows, that it’s not easy to balance all our needs in a relationship. If our sex life is supposed to thrive, then it’s important that we do not over emphasize comradeship, although it is important as well.

Vicious circle and sex

Fotolia_47181737_XS - KopieThis little drama can easily get dimensions that endanger a marriage. Since neither is aware of the forces ruling the scene, they feel helplessly exposed to a situation they have no control over.  Afraid to lose his wife, Joe starts putting pressure on her.  He wants her to reassure him of her love for him, if possible 10 times a day, whenever he needs it.

In this way, he tries to diminish his fear,  but all he actually achieves is to push her into a corner.  But Vera is worried as well.  More than once she has asked herself what their future will be like if her desire won’t return.
Meanwhile, Joe tries to provoke a reaction – more out of curiosity than real passion -, only to get rejected and shamed once again. With each „no” Vera has given him, her aversion against sex is reinforced.

Having to ward off a partner time and again can create a wall between lovers, blocking the free flow of their sexuality for a long period of time, if not permanently.

This problem could be solved so easily.  If Vera knew, why her sexuality is blocked, she would also know that her problem will cease to exist as soon as Joe is back to his normal self and the man she once admired. She would then stop searching within herself for desire, which would be beneficial, as this search only helps to reinforce her present indifference.

If only Joe realized that Vera’s sexuality is paralyzed due to a biological program, which will disappear along with his panic attacks, he would stop begging and bugging her – thus making himself look even more unattractive.
Perhaps then he would hesitate to appeal to her for help when he’s in the grip of another pain attack….perhaps he could learn how to master them alone…