Sex & Relationships

Can More Sex Save a Relationship?

How to remember what made you fall in love in the first place and have as much fun as when you first met.

Last week, Lifetime ("television for women” as they say) premiered a new show called 7 Days of Sex,which promised to get couples out of a sex rut and fix their marriage in a quick commercial-filled hour by having them commit to having sex every day for a week.  

There is certainly a need for such a challenge. In a recent study, 54 percent of men and 42 percent of women were dissatisfied with the amount of sex they were currently having. I was open to the possibility that the show could help couples. Particularly, those that find themselves channel surfing later in the evening — when in reality, they would have a better sex life (and marriage) if they simply turned off technology and shared intimate time together.

Each episode of 7 Days of Sex follows two couples who agree to have sex every day for a week to see if this sex experiment can mend a broken relationship. The series premiere followed Lauryn and Brown who have been married for three years, and had exciting sex when they first met. Now, they’re raising three kids and finding it difficult to be intimate together. Overall, they’re neglecting each other’s needs on many levels. The second couple, Anna and Anthony, have been married for seven years, and once had an erotic sex life. They’re considering starting a family, are dealing with financial strains, and need to resolve his controlling tendencies and her dismissive ways which start when she’s feeling disconnected.

As a sex coach and founder of Ignite Your Pleasure, I think that seven days of sex can be a great strategy for couples who want to have more sex, but are consumed by all the daily “to-do’s.” And, I would say it can make a positive change (although maybe temporarily) for couples who are stuck in a rut. But having served as an expert for an upcoming reality show, I know there’s an unbelievable amount of footage that ends up on the cutting room floor, that reality shows need to create a certain amount of hype, that they have to keep us entertained above all, and that they rely on a positive outcome in order to maintain the fairy-tale, quick-fix premise.

With only a narrator, rather than a sex expert’s perspective, 7 Days is a cross between Blind Date(remember that fun train-wreck of a reality show) and a national geographic special (observing couples in their natural “habitat” whether they are doing things around the house, or summing up their intimate encounter after-the-fact). While the first episode just aired, the formula will likely continue to be a self-help, trial-and-error, band-aid approach, rather than giving the couples tools to sustain a viable, healthy connection.

The common thread for the couples on the show is the same as those for most of the couples I work with: the need for better communication, increased intimacy on many levels including emotional and physical, and a desire to become more sexually confident and empowered. Overall, they need to talk—whether it’s openly addressing sexuality, how they feel about themselves, how they feel about sex, and what it takes to get it on in a healthy, connected, pleasurable way. Couples have to willingly want to do something different to make their life and relationship different.

On 7 Days, the frequency of sex surely increases 100 percent, as the check mark is drawn on the Monday-Sunday chart displayed across our TV screens with a ding for each day.  There’s no doubt this can be a change agent with all the laughter, fun, and excitement outweighing the negative attitudes and interactions of the two couples, but this is probably temporary. At the end of the hour, the couples seem to realize what it takes to be connected — they want to feel loved, understood, respected, appreciated, complimented, desired, and more. But while I think 7 Days of Sex is fun, it lacks three main components that could help these couples (and viewers) get to the eighth day and beyond: An expert coaching the couple to clearly identify their core issues that will resurface, guidance on refining the tools necessary for relationship success, and a process of redrawing the blueprint to make for a solid foundation going forward. 

Still this sex experiment can teach us all a few things:

Remember what made you fall in love in the first place.
Have as much fun as when you first met.
Communication is key.
Get out of your element and try something new together.
Listen to what your partner needs, wants and desires and act on it.
Compliment each other.
Follow your heart, rather than what’s solely in your head.
Be sexually adventurous. (Hint: if you’re experimenting with something new, research it before you give it a try. In the first episode, one of the couples uses hot wax from a regular candle, ouch!, rather than realizing a soy candle is what’s best to pour on the skin, as it burns at a cooler temperature.)

7 Days of Sex is on Lifetime Thursday nights at 10/9c. Interestingly, the new show that airs after it, TheConversation with Amanda de Cadenet, in which the host interviews a celebrity in-depth each week, gives us a richer example of deep intimate conversations.  Of course, you may be better off turning off the TV and {re}igniting your own connection.