October 4, 2020

Why sex is important in a marriage with Dr, Laurie Watson



Ever wonder how sex impacts your relationship?

Have you been concerned about how to maintain the spark in your relationship despite long distance or deployment?

In this podcast episode, Elizabeth Polinsky interviews Dr. Laurie Watson on the importance of sex in marriage.



  • There is only one problem in a relationship which is the difficulty with balancing autonomy with needs for closeness. 
  • Vulnerability and curiosity about our partners perspective heals everything in a marriage. 
  • Women need to “show and tell” to help their partners know what they want sexually. 
  • For long distance relationships and deployment, flirting helps keep the eroticism there. In the flirting, lean toward the spicy side. ​


1. We all need support for our individuality in our own endeavors but we also need love and closeness and sex.​

When people get married, one partner tends to want more closeness and connection, whereas the other person may want to focus on their life purpose and autonomy. Often times women want to talk to feel emotionally close before they want sex; whereas men typically want sex to feel emotionally close because men often feel emotional closeness through their bodies. Men may want sex to feel emotionally safe enough to talk with their partner. While this is a stereotypical gender normed example, it is an example that commonly happens.

It doesn’t have to be a power struggle, we can come to each other in vulnerability and talk about our needs and our feelings”. — paraphrased from Dr. Laurie Watson

2. Couples can feel very differently about the importance of sex in a marriage.

​For many people there is a huge discrepancy for how couples rate the importance of sex in a relationships. For those with a lot of testosterone, their emotional connection is formed from the body and felt physically in the body. The big problem is when people are mismatched–and women and men are often mismatched in sex drive. Women’s sex drive is often formed in their mind and imagination. They allow themselves to transform sexual energy throughout the day and transform in into a readiness for sex. They store up the energy in their mind, or actively cultivate sexual feelings through mental fantasy, in order to be ready for sex with their partner. Women tend to be able to take that energy and store it for when it can be released with their partner. For women it is important to be able to do this–eroticism has to be actively developed, it does not happen naturally. Women need to learn how to be able to communicate directly about the mood and context needed to feel sexual. Women need to “show and tell” to help men know what they want because the messages men get from porn are not accurate for what feels good to most women. Most women have orgasms through clitoral stimulation. Only about 4%-20% of women can orgasm through sexual intercourse. Women need to show their partners what they like even though it’s vulnerable and scary.

“Knowing what blocks you and what turns you on is really important in developing an erotic core.”

Dr. Laurie Watson

    3. The majority of times during sex, women need to orgasm or they wont want to keep having sex.​

    Men very rarely learn that the cliterous is analogous to the penis in men. Most men want their partners to orgasm, but men and women have different bodies. For women, vibrators can be helpful in decreasing the time if needed, especially for a weeknight quickie.

    The 20-20 solution: It takes women 20 minutes of foreplay to get ready for sex and then 20 minutes of direct clitoral stimulation to reach orgasm.”

    paraphrased from Dr. Laurie Watson

    4. How to keep things erotic over long distance and deployment?​

    There has to be a great deal of intention about maintaining emotional and physical connection while they are gone.  About 70% of soldiers have PTSD and have been traumatized. If you have PTSD, then you are likely changed and traumatized sexually; this is because sex requires us to let down our guard to be merged with someone else. But the military trains you to be vigilant and on watch, which is the opposite of sex where you are supposed to let everything go and merge.

    The difficulty is how do I let go, and let my guard down, when all my training says that that’s going to be dangerous for me”.

    paraphrased from Dr. Laurie Watson

    Maintaining connection at a distance needs to have an agreement about regularity–texting, sexting, talking dirty, and talking about the longing in your body are all helpful. This can be hard for women who were socialized to not talk about sex.  Women particularly need to feel desired. But men tend to need to hear that their partners want them sexually. It helps men to know that you want them in the way that they feel it the most–which is often physically. This is what helps them feel desired. All humans need to feel desired. ​

    Men need explicit talk about how she desires him too.” — Dr. Laurie Watson

    Words of Wisdom from Dr. Laurie Watson:

    You can listen to Foreplay Sex Radio to help you and your partner understand female orgasm as well as maintaining sexuality after a traumatic event! Listen to the Foreplay Radio Sex Therapy here  https://www.foreplayrst.com/ .

    Working with Dr. Laurie Watson:

    Dr. Watson the Director of Awakens Counseling and is the host of Foreplay Radio Sex Therapy. For more information on Awakens Counseling, see https://awakeningscenter.org/therapists/laurie-watson/ .​You can listen to Foreplay Radio Sex Therapy here https://www.foreplayrst.com/ .

    Liz’s Useful Links: 

    Podcast Sponsor: The Relate Assessment is the most comprehensive relationship assessment in the world and is based on 10 predictors of marital stability. It’s supported by the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy and is the one my husband and I used during our premarital couples counseling. To get 20% off the assessment, go to https://relateinstitute.com/ and enter “POLINSKY20”.

    Thanks for Listening!


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      About Author

      Elizabeth Polinsky is a Certified Emotionally Focused Couple Therapist (EFT) providing EFT marriage counseling in the states of Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Arkansas, and Nevada. She also provides EFT training and supervision to therapists looking to become certified in EFT Couple Therapy. As a military spouse, she has a special passion for working with military and veteran couples, and is also the host of The Communicate & Connect Podcast for Military Relationships.


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