By Lindsey Palmer
Can taking a break from making love actually improve your sex life? Sex
therapist and REDBOOK Love Network expert Ian Kerner, Ph.D., proposes just that
in his new book, Sex Detox. Here, Kerner explains how it works:
I'm a 36-year-old straight woman, reasonably successful in my
career, with lots of friends of both genders. My love life, however, has been
an unbroken series of disasters. I meet a lot of guys and date a lot, but after
a while interest flags on either his side or mine. In the past two months, I've
been through both experiences. One was a great guy with whom I seemed to have
everything in common, but who just stopped calling; later I heard he'd found a
new, younger girlfriend. The other started out as a wonderful romantic, cooking
me candlelight dinners and sending me sweet notes, but then told me he
"didn't want a romance, just a sexual friendship," which didn't
I haven't had a serious relationship in five years now, and I'm
starting to think there must be something on my end to create such a constant
pattern of disappointment. I went to a therapist, who said I seemed pretty
emotionally healthy to her. I've asked my friends to tell me straight on if
there's something I'm doing wrong, and they say no, that I'm a kind and warm
and likeable person and that I've just had bad luck, that the guys I've met
have just been turkeys.
Still, the only constant in this long, long string of losses is
me -- the guys are from all different backgrounds, age groups and professions,
and all of them seemed like reasonable people when I met them. And I've met
them in all different ways -- everything from eyes across a crowded room to
trying to turn an old friend into a lover, from work colleagues to the
Internet. Nothing has worked out.
What the hell is wrong with me, Dan? I'm so tired of being
single. I just want a guy to call my own.
Here is Dan's response:
I'm not sure what's wrong with you, nor can I offer much advice
beyond the conventional wisdom that floats around out there for single people
who want partners: Keep your spirits up, don't wallow in self-pity, there's a
guy out there for you, do things and go places you're interested in and you're
bound to meet him. That's the advice Ann and Abby have been giving both men and
women suffering from your particular problem for, well, for ages and ages. And,
as is often the case, conventional wisdom became conventional for one very good
reason, i.e., it's true.
So don't wallow, get out of the house, and try keep your
spirits up, OK? And you knew that already, right?