by Darcy Luadzers
Hatherleigh Press, 2007
Review by Christian Perring on Feb 2nd 2010
The Ten Minute Sexual Solution is a guide for couples who rarely have sex about how to achieve a more satisfying relationship. The basic idea is to open up communication, explore sexuality in a way that is positive to both, and to engage in more regular sexual interactions that don't aim to be wonderful for both partners but are at least satisfying and not unpleasant. This will have a gradually enhancing effect of reducing the frustration of the partner who feels like they are not getting enough, and since it only lasts for 10 minutes, it won't be a big deal for the other partner. Over time, both people will start to enjoy their sexual relationship more, there will be less tension over sexuality, and with greater communication and exploration, both partners will be more sexually satisfying to each other.
Darcy Luadzers has a brisk and straightforward writing style, and she includes many examples of therapy from her practice as a sex therapist. She is author of Virgin Sex for Girls and Virgin Sex for Guys, which have been reviewed on Metapsychology previously: this is a more interesting and insightful book than those two. Each chapter has boxes with tips and sexercises for readers to follow. Whether Luadzer's suggestions will actually be helpful is a matter of speculation, since she does not refer to any studies confirming the efficacy of the methods. She has used her methods with her own patients, and she reports success, and that's something, but it does not amount to scientific evidence. While she is an AASECT certified sex therapist, and has a good deal of experience, there's still no guarantee that her methods work. Yet they do make a great deal of intuitive sense.
The book provides little support for its many claims about the prevalence of low-sex and no-sex relationships in the USA, and it might be difficult to get reliable statistics anyway. But Luadzers says that a third of couples did not have sex in the last month, and 15% of couples have sex only a few times or less a year. She does not supply information about how this varies with age, income, marital status, number of hours worked each week, number of children, and so the numbers she don't really mean much except to say that a significant proportion of couples don't have much sex. She says that when she has couples as clients, the most common problem is when one partner wants to have sex more often than the other. Her methods would apply equally in relationships where both partners do not initiate sex often but feel that their relationship would be better if they were more sexually active together.
The recommendations by Luadzers could be interpreted as either progressive or regressive. The progressive part is that she is recommending that people rethink what sex is and allow for more variation, so that intercourse is not necessarily a necessary part of every sexual encounter, and that using different forms of sexual stimulation can be a good part of a relationship. Each partner gets to say what pleases them, learns to become more comfortable about talking about their sexuality and asking to get what they enjoy. So sex on this approach becomes less monolithic and more up for personal definition, empowering both partners.
The potentially regressive side of the approach is that Luadzers is recommending that the partner who is not so interested in sex do it anyway to please their partner, with the saving grace that there's an agreement that it won't last too long. This doesn't sound very different from the old fashioned idea that women should perform their wifely duties without complaint. However, it would be unfair to equate Luadzers' approach with this conservative idea, because she emphasizes that nearly everyone is capable of sexual pleasure and enjoys it, and so the task is to work out why people with apparently low sex drives don't enjoy it as much as they could. So she is no means saying that people should just lie back and endure it. She is saying that there may be times when one partner does not aim to get sexual pleasure themselves, but simply aims to give sexual pleasure to their partner, and she emphasizes that orgasm need not be the goal for either partner. Sometimes it can be satisfying to please another person. Obviously the pleasure-giving is always one-way and one person in the relationship never gets any sexual pleasure, then there's a problem that needs solving. Much of the book is about how to solve that sort of problem.
Another welcome feature of the book is its discussion of fighting and arguing, which is often a major cause of a lack of sex in a relationship. Here her advice is the standard fare of couple's therapy with rules such as no physical abuse, no yelling, no name calling, no cursing; take turns with anger; admit when you're wrong; and solve the real problem. This may be all relatively obvious, but it is worth reminding people anyway, because it is so easy to fall into problematic patterns of behavior, and resentment can fester in relationships. Then it becomes practically inevitable that the sex is going to suffer.
There are quite a few books aimed at low sex relationships available and The Ten Minute Sexual Solution is one of the better ones. Sometimes Luadzers writes as if she has invented a brand new of solving couples' sexual problems, when what she is doing is really collecting together reasonably well accepted methods and packaging them under a new title. But in fact that comes as a relief since a new untested "solution" to sexual problems in a fragile relationship is that last thing that most couples need. This book does a good job at explaining the basic ideas in simple terms and making the methods of problem-solving seem relatively do-able, so that both people in the couple might be willing to give them a try, which is what you need if they are going to have any chance of success.
· Dr Darcy's SexTherapy101 site
© 2010 Christian Perring
Christian Perring, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Dowling College, New York.