The Case for Putting Out
by Lisa Hayes

I have heard it at least a dozen times this week. A woman
explaining to me that she doesn't feel like being intimate with
her husband, meaning she's not down for having sex, until she
feels a stronger emotional connection with him. Maybe he's
distant and stressed. Maybe there's been hurt that has left
lingering resentment. Maybe communication is stalled and
misunderstandings are plentiful. That said, for whatever
reason, or no reason at all, she isn't feeling "connected" and
she isn't putting out. How can she be expected to be physically
intimate when she's missing emotional intimacy?

Joel and Katie had been married for six years. In the last twelve
months they'd had sex exactly two times. The longer they went
without sex, the more distant Joel got. The more distant Joel
got, the less Katie wanted to be around him, let alone be
touched by him. Needless to say, the romance was completely
dead and the relationship was hanging on by a hair. Katie got
three relationship coaching sessions as a gift from her sister. At
the beginning of our call she informed me she didn't think there
was much that could be done in three sessions. She was pretty
sure her situation was much more dire then that. After listening
to her describe the situation on the home front I bet her $100
dollars we could fix things, or at least dramatically improve them
in one session. I had only one condition, she had to do her
homework assignment period - no questions asked - no
cheating - no bull.

Her homework - Katie had to agree to have sex with Joel at
least six days out of the next seven before our next call. There
was a very long silent stall on the line before she hesitantly
agreed and took the bet. At the end of the week I was $100
bucks richer, and Katie had been showered with affection and
attention. Joel had taken her out for two romantic "dates", sent
her flowers at work, and had been more then willing to hang on
her every word in conversation. He was quite attentive. Was it
the sex? Sort of but not really. What created the connection
was Oxytocin.

Oxytocin is a feel good brain chemical. It's often referred to as
the cuddling chemical or the love hormone. It influences all
kinds of behaviors including, maybe especially, "pair bonding".
Though men do generate Oxytocin naturally, they don't match
the production levels in women. The one time both men and
women experience higher levels of Oxytocin is immediately after
sex, resulting in, you guessed it, "pair bonding". Simply put, sex
leads to the emotional intimacy women crave and by "holding
out" until intimacy happens, it makes intimacy much, much
harder to get.

The bottom line is sex is not optional if you want an emotionally
healthy marriage, at least if you're married to a man. It's part of
the reason there is usually a very high degree of connection in
the beginning stages of relationships. There is usually a lot of
sex. So, ladies, no excuses, no cheating, no bull. Do your
homework, then get back to me. Chances are very good you'll
be glad you didn't bet me $100.00.

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Lisa Hayes is the author of HOW TO
She is a mother of two, yoga instructor,
hypnotherapist, and internet project
manager. Lisa likes long walks on the
beach and naps. You can contact her at