I was recently emailed by a reader who asked me if I thought that the “Dead Bedroom” phenomenon that we see so often today has always been so common. Back in the “good ol days” of “Man works and wife stays home and depends on the man for her livelihood” … did we see just as many dead bedroom relationships back then?
What an interesting and multi-faceted question.
What exactly is the reader asking? Could be one of couple of things:
Did women back then just have sex with their men out of obligation? Was there plenty of action in the bedroom, but only because she didn’t want to lose Mr. Provider Extraordinaire? She wasn’t turned on in the slightest… but that was okay. It was just an understood relationship dynamic. Woman performs in the bedroom… or else.
Were women back then genuinely way more turned on by their man than women are today? Were yesterday’s “manly” men able to tap into a wife’s primal desire more easily than the milquetoast “weak” men that we see today?
Guys… the Dead Bedroom is nothing new. It’s a relationship dynamic that is as old as time. Our bodies and our sexual brains have been screaming at us for generations: “Ummm… shouldn’t you kind of… you know… move on from this one and go procreate with other people? You know, spread your DNA around?”
We’re engineered to procreate with others. We’re engineered to look for an upgrade. But… we fight this programming. We work hard to ignore our animalistic urges and instincts. We prop up the family and society in general over our stupid lustful impulses. That’s the only we can make this whole “family” thing work, right?
Well, sounds great on paper… but we know that ignoring those impulses and instincts is not easy, and it comes with consequences. Enter sex-workers, pornography, affairs, and yes… the dreaded “dead bedroom”.
Yes, your grandma and grandpa probably went long periods of time without having sex with each other. Grandpa may have fooled around here and there with secretaries at work. Grandma may have had a little fling with that starving artist heartthrob she met at her friend’s wedding. Great-grandpa may have been caught with a couple of hookers back in the day, but nobody said anything about it. Uncle Joey may actually be the offspring of grandma and the mailman… but nobody mentions how Uncle Joey has jet black hair and a nice tan but all of his siblings are pasty redheads.
The reality, in my opinion, is that we’re just now openly talking about these things… at least in a much more open and less-shameful manner. What’s interesting to see is how, depending on your politics and worldview, different media approach the issue and look for resolutions. In an understood and somewhat troubling surprise twist, we see that many mainstream media sources are telling women that their day has come… that open marriages are the key to unlocking their sexual needs.
And you know what… they’re right! Nothing will get a woman going faster than going out and playing the mating game again with all new partners. The brain and body send her instantly into sexy “must procure new mate” mode. She’ll be one firecracker of desire. Problem: She has a husband and kids at home. They just want wife and mommy back. She may claim that this is just for fun and point out that it’s a more “natural” way of exercising her sexuality, but it usually doesn’t end well… at least not for the marriage and family as a whole. I’ve spoken to countless men who gave open marriages a shot. The result? The wife bonded with another man, dropped the open marriage concept completely, and settled with her new beau. Mating game over. Time for husband 2.0.
I think the answer to all of this is pretty simple:
Monogamous long-term relationships are tough. They ain’t for everybody. Let’s stop kidding ourselves.
Want to be a in a relationship with one person and make it fun and sexy long-term? It’s going to take a bit of luck to make sure you find the right person. It’s gonna take work. It’s gonna take some savviness and know-how. You have to know some “tricks” to keep that energy going in the right direction.
This is the way it has been and always will be. It will be work. Many know they shouldn’t be in the marriage game, and yet many do it anyway. Many have dead bedrooms. Many are depressed. Many cheat.
So… were there dead bedrooms in the good ol days? Of course. It’s the nature of the game.