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Location: Great Falls, Montana, United States

I have been married for almost seven wonderful years now and have made my parents and in-laws the proud grandparents of a chow mix named Hagrid and a three year old baby girl, Miss T as her goddess mothers would have her known.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Sex Life in the Fast

Sex Life in the Fast Lane
Dear Ian:I’m a sexual thrill-seeker, and for years I was married to a party-pooping limp noodle. After my divorce, I played it cool, but now I’m hot and heavy with a sexual daredevil. On the one hand, it’s thrilling to be equally matched in terms of desire and excitement, but I’m scared where it might lead. Any suggestions?--Cautiously Curious
Most couples get bored of sex at some point in their relationship -- usually sooner than later -- and endeavor to make it hot again -- all the while envying those hot-and-heavy couples who can’t keep their hands off each other. But even the hot and heavies are not immune to potential pitfalls as they try to cross the sexual high wire.

In general, everyone has the capacity to experience sensation at some level, but there’s a range in the degree of intensity that we’re receptive to and seek out. In terms of sensation-seeking and sex, people tend to fall into two categories: the highs and lows.
The best relationships are those in which the couple is evenly matched on the sensation-seeking scale, which isn’t always easy to know in the beginning of a relationship because we’re being fueled by so many potent sex chemicals. When we’re in the infatuation stage, or honeymoon period, the relationship itself is the new experience, so we don’t need to seek out more.
It’s after the initial period that differences start to manifest themselves. Some studies have shown that ideally it’s best when we’re matched at the low-sensation level: Expectations are even, and we’re less likely to grow bored or get habituated to sex. This is the less-is-more crowd, and a great, satisfying relationship can be built and sustained at this level.
But then there is the matching at the high sensation-seeking level -- the sexual bungee-jumpers. This is better than a mismatch, like high-low, but has more dangers than the less-is-more group. This is the more-is-more group!
Some of the dangers facing the more-is-mores:
  •   These are people who often crave stimulation and sexual novelty and are more easily bored. As such, they’re more liable to cheat.

  •   In general the more-is-more crowd gets a rush from sex, associated with the brain’s production of dopamine, a near-cousin of adrenaline. Dopamine is produced when we do novel, exciting things together, and it fuels the infatuation stage for all new lovers. But the dopamine rush is addictive -- it’s interesting to note that FMRI-scans of the brains of people head over heels in love show high activity in the same areas as those of drug addicts and alcoholics. High sensation-seekers are literally operating under the influence

  •   This group is also more likely to push the extremes of sexual experimentation -- exhibitionism (lots of PDAs), voyeurism -- which could have practical repercussions (for example, losing track of a homemade sex video) or emotional repercussions (for example, hurt feelings caused by the fallout of a threesome or other sexual adventure). Everyone has sexual fantasies, but the high sensation-seekers are much more likely to turn fantasy into action, sometimes with unwanted consequences. This group might also become more dependent on external triggers -- porn, sex toys, risky behavior, etc. -- than the low-lows.

  •   In terms of priorities, the hot-sexers often put excitement ahead of intimacy. Crudely put, it becomes more about the sport of having sex than making love. So hot-sexers might start to feel emotionally out of step with each other, or feel bereft of genuine intimacy.

  •   Hot-sexers may develop a pattern of solving relationship issues through sex, and become dependent on sex as a way of coping.

  •   Hot-sexers may also be more prone to the fighting-then-sex pattern of stimulating the dopamine through a fight followed by an intense make up.

  •   Hot-sex couples often have a lot of sexual confidence, but they may also have more ego invested in their sex lives. As a result, they may get more easily bruised when one person doesn’t want to have sex, or get even more insecure than the average person when dealing with common dysfunctions, such as erectile disorder or low desire.

  •   Hot-sexers may also develop problems as their relationship naturally changes and starts to include other things, like a family. Most couples need to struggle to make a separate place in their lives for sex, but hot-sexers often have the opposite problem -- they need to create a life outside of sex.

  •   Sex often defines the relationships and eclipses personal growth in other areas of life.
Hot-Sexers (the sensation-seekers, the more-is-mores, whatever you want to call them) are off to a great start in that they don’t need to kindle desire, but the risk is an out-of-control blaze.


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