Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Sexual Arrangements

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by Aidan Maconachy

Are you in a loveless marriage? Has the thrill gone out of it? Sex once a month if you're lucky?

If you live in a small community, cheating is often more of a risk than it's worth with neighborhood gossips on the prowl.

In the UK there is a burgeoning internet business that focuses on putting married people in touch with one another for discreet affairs.

A number of these services go out of their way to ensure the comfort levels of clients who don't want their extramarital affairs to interfere with the routine of family life. Some even offer tips on how best to avoid being caught and provide counseling on how to handle emotional fall-out such as guilt. Stress is laid on confidentiality, and there is an undertaking to safeguard clients' identities. Often sexual partners meet and make-out while using pseudonyms. That could get a little weird. Saying her name at the crucial moment wouldn't have the same resonance.

Services that help the married with discreet encounters are becoming quite popular in the UK. Not all of these clients are cheaters, some have the permission of their spouse. There are many people trapped in loveless marriages with partners who aren't putting out. This can effect personal worth and self-esteem. In one story I reviewed, a spouse came second to her hubby's porno habit . Just to rub it in, he would occasionally compare her unfavorably to the lookers on the web. She stayed in the marriage for the sake of her kids. When she finally worked up the courage to date someone she met through an online service, it gave a huge boost to her flagging sense of worth.
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It is legitimate to argue that the refusal of intimacy is potentially damaging to the health and well being of the rejected partner. Fact is, sex is good for you. Provided it's safe and legal it should be a source pleasure and empowerment. It has a therapeutic aspect that is often overlooked. According to some medical opinion a healthy sex life boosts the immune system, increases blood flow, lowers cholesterol, promotes prostate and genital health, boosts testosterone and estrogen counts, improves sleep and relaxation ... and even according to some ... is a life extension factor.

Dating services offer interpersonal connections, unlike pornography which is in high demand these days. There are some 40 million users in the US annually. Porn revenue for 2005 topped 12 billion, exceeding the profits of pro baseball, basketball and football franchises combined. Despite its popularity, a sex life that makes masturbation the primary outlet is rather sad and in the end, isolating.

Real sex of the therapeutic type involves a polarity between partners - the give-and-take of love, emotion and all the other human energies that help to make us whole people. At root the healing power of sex is about intimacy and sharing.
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