THE DANCE AWAY LOVER --- AND OTHER ROLES WE PLAY IN LOVE, SEX, AND MARRIAGE by Daniel Goldstine, Katherine Larner, Shirley Zuckerman and Hilary Goldstine. William Morrow and Company, 1977
There are ten sexual "roles" created and dramatized and explained in this book about love and strife, and about the fruitful and necessary interaction of desire and struggle. We all play these "roles", sometimes just one and sometimes shifting among them. Each "role" obeys its own logic and invites its own predictable consequences throughout life-cycle relationships, including pain, distaste, boredom and anger!
The great majority of couples were heterosexual from a private, nonprofit clinic, a county medical facility, and a university. The book is primarily concerned with the stresses and aspirations of men and women whose situations afford them the luxury of separating emotional and economic needs, since their relationships were not fundamentally exacerbated by the struggle for economic survival.
1) The "Dance-Away Lover" (p23-34)
2) The "Anxious Ingenue" (p35-45)
3) The "Disarmer" (p46-47)
4) The "Privider" (p58-71)
5) The "Prizewinner" (p72-83)
6) The "Fragile" (p84-94)
7) The "Pleaser" (p95-111)
8) The "Victim" (p112-125)
9) The "Ragabash" (p126-138)
10) The "Tough-Fragile" (p139-150)
11) A dry interlude (p151-158)
12) Stage 1 (p159-168)
13) Sex (p169-185)
A sense of duty tarnishes many sexual relationships. In the context of the cultural idealization of the sex act, which provides a profusion of evidence in films, books, and photographs about the heights of performance and pleasure that you should receive as a sexual being! Since we know the scale on which we are expected to enjoy sex, and if the actuality does not match the anticipation, we may incorrectly blame ourselves or our partner for the discrepancy. Thus many people are troubled by their inability to enjoy a free-wheeling sex life! (p169-170
The lovemaking that people are apt to enjoy most is the lovemaking that they share in a "Stage 1" relationship. That first carefree rapture can turn good sex into euphoria. If a "Stage 1" couple needs to contend with a substantial sexual problem, they are apt to minimize its significance and overlook what is deficient in order to savor the sweetness of their sexual relationship!
14) Stage 2 (p186-199)
Solidifying the couple relationship takes precedence over correcting the sex problem and both partners ignore the difficulty to avoid jeopardizing the commitment. Usually they hope that they will outgrow the sex problem in tme as they become more comfortable together. But frequently as the relationship changes over time, a couple's sexual difficulties are increased since the passage of time can serve to entrench sexual failure and to extinguish hope that the dysfunction will ever disappear. Disagreements over what is appropriate sexual behavior may prompt value judgments such as what is "moral vs. immoral" or "healthy vs. perverse" or liberated vs. uptight." (p171-172)
In "Stage 2" sexual relationships, the issue of the quality of the sex becomes a casualty as well as a cause of stress between partners. When they are at odds emotionally, the couple often feel unable or unwilling to allow each other sexual intimacy. An established sexual relationship must contend with monotony and boredom which can be associated with various resentments and lead to the lack of spontaneity and enthusiasm for sexual activity. (p172)
The analysis of sexual behavior in this book focuses primarily on the "strategies" that individuals pursue and the "system" that their behaviors create. It is assumed that a couple's sexual relationship cannot be understood without a grasp of the stage of that relationship and the sexual systems that structure it!
Although characteristic sexual roles and sexual strategies do seem to fit predictably often, other variables such as level of sexual self-confidence. The higher one's sexual self-esteem, the greater his or her tolerance for failure --- either in himself or herself or in their partners. Also, the less he or she is susceptible to defensive sexual stategies and dysfunctions.
From the point of view of sexual roles and sexual strategies and systems, it is apt to be more difficult to improve a sexual relationship than many self-help sex manuals imply! This is because from a practical standpoint, any attempt at improvement must deal with the sexually troubled relationship from a "system level" as well as the level of dysfunction. Whether a couple work together with or without a therapist, they must each learn to take responsibility for their own sexual pleasure by asking for what they want and being willing to exchange information about what is pleasurable to them and what is not. (p184-185)
The simplest way for a couple to heighten their arousal and increase the intensity of pleasure of their orgasms is to tease each other. Teasing, the slow seductive gathering of pleasure, is an easily accessible, nonprescription aphrodisiac that can enliven any sexual relationship that is motivated by trust and high self-confidence.
Sexual pleasure can outlast novelty and euphoria or ecstasy and become a deep, shared, and knowing satisfaction that will strengthen the affection and trust necessary for truly mature intimacy! (p185)
15) Affairs (p200-217)
16) Splitting up (p218-237)
17) Stage 3 (p238-251)
Go to: Creativity Issue at Work
Go to: Feelings Issue at Work
Go to: Success Issue at Work
Go to: Leadership Control Essay
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