My girlfriends and I are arguing about whether it’s cool for our boyfriends and husbands to go to strip clubs. I say that my husband and I are secure in our relationship, so I trust him. My girlfriends say it’s never a good idea to encourage your husband to stare at another woman’s naked body. I say, if that’s the case, we better lock the men up, cancel cable and refuse to head out to the movies. There’s a bachelor party coming up in our circle, so we want to know what you have to say.
Strip clubs are like crack for some guys. Men with addictive personalities may have sobered up physically through a 12-step program, but they are often unaware of their underlying addictions. Substance abuse or other compulsive behavior hides the real addiction to emotions like shame or to a need for attention. A man makes a small investment, as much as or less than he would for a real date, and gets a return on his money that beats pre-2008 Bear Stearns in his imagination. After all, strippers are schooled in the “there’s a sucker born every minute” mentality and know which man is willing to suspend reality and pretend she is really interested in him in exchange for a few more dollars in her G-string. Hey, it’s a business!
Since you know that strippers are not really into your man (just his money), should you encourage his field trip? If you ever complain that your man is eyeballing babes or their body parts when you’re on his arm, or that he is chatting up some chick every time you turn your head, or that he has emotional affairs with gals he works with or can’t stop taking care of his ex-girlfriends, or that he has inappropriate sexual conversations with his female “friends” on MySpace, high-fiving his trip to the local bump-and-grind is not in support of his best interests. Psychology points out that most men go to strip clubs to feed a compulsive need for attention that they are desperate enough to pay for. If your man needs attention from other women to feel attractive and desirable, going to a club exacerbates his addiction. You can’t keep him from going if that’s what he intends to do, but you don’t have to be complicit, either.
The other problem is that ogling a naked woman or man reduces that person to an object (since we don’t know them) that we use for our own gratification. Since we are living in an age when people are struggling to understand the basic dynamics of a committed relationship, advocating the separation of sex from intimacy harms our own understanding of relationships, as well as the culture’s understanding. So maintain intimacy in your marriage by keeping lines of communication open; sharing thoughts, feelings and experiences in a nonconfrontational, nonblaming way; engaging in a spiritual practice together; and keeping your sexual connection hot.
My marriage is good but boring. Any ideas on how to heat things up (not in the bedroom, it’s fine there, just in general!)?
A solid marriage provides security and that can feel boring to some people. It’s the trade-off, though, to the insecurity that can accompany dating relationships. Spice up your union by recreating your first date (oh, so romantic!). You can also play truth or dare and spill a secret that you’ve never shared before. Or bet against his fantasy football team and tease him regularly about it. Better yet, try something together that really frightens you, like a flying trapeze class. Biologists say that the thrill of a shared scare bonds a couple in ways remarkably similar to sex.