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Sex and Family Law

As you can probably imagine, in my family law counselor's chair I hear much of everything. The most intimate details and intricacies of relationships are fair fodder for my analysis and determination about the approach and direction a case should take.  None of the details and intricacies I hear are any more intimate than the couple's sex life.

How, how often, with whom, and with what are often significant parts of the discussion, analysis and approach as I develop the case.  It is frequently important to the client and is therefore key to me to understand where the client is coming from, where the relationship has gone, and how the power in the couple finds expression.

Sometimes sex is expressed as a direct power play.  Sometimes it is all but (and even sometimes is) spousal rape, demands on a scheduled basis, acts of a basal nature, unwelcomed and unwanted.

Sometimes sex is expressed as an indirect power play, witholding intimacy to gain leverage, intentionally creating a void, a sexual form of anorexia.  

Sometimes sex is a seemingly impossible to fix miscommunication. The couple can't get on the same page well enough to find out that they want the same thing. They may be too busy arguing to just shut up and get together.

Sometimes sex is just flat out non-existent.  "It's been years."  "It's been decades."  This circumstance is never expressed as "It's been far too long," for it isn't anything that either of them wants anymore.

But in my 25 years of practicing family law, I can't recall a client ever telling me that they want a divorce even though the sex is great and frequent.  "We have sex like animals.  How soon can I be divorced?"  Are just not phrases that seem to go together.

There may be something there.

I may be out on a limb, but perhaps a fair part of marriage counseling (in that esteemed profession) might ought to include a fair bit of sex counseling.  Get the couple on the same page, in the same space, in the same bed.  Kindle that fire.

I invite the world to try out my theory.

Michael Manely  

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