"Opaque markets," "coordination failure," "transparency" — these terms may seem best suited to describe a new-product launch, but, actually, they're precisely the concepts that couples need to understand if they want to improve their sex life.
Indeed, 54% of couples say they don't get enough sex in their marriage, Spousonomics reports. Job/kids/housework are a big culprit, but often, it's something else: the "costs" of sex are just too high. Of course, the authors aren't talking about money, but rather the barriers to intimacy that couples create, which make making love a challenge. There's lack of transparency, for instance — the inability of even the most open partners to communicate their needs or find time to fulfill them. Then there's coordination failure: spouses eventually become so out of sync with their partner's libido that they can no longer seem to negotiate a successful romp.
But just like a failing business, flailing sex lives can rebound, Szuchman reassures. Indicate your desires clearly, make a firm plan to have sex, and make sex both easier to attain — and to enjoy. And forget the stereotype of the randy husband or rejecting wife: Spousonomics reports that women as much as men felt their advances were rebuffed.
As for the sheer exhaustion of balancing work with family? To combat the low-energy libido blues, "Do it before dinner, not just after the kids have gone to bed," advises Szuchman. "Our research found that the most common reason for flagging sex lives was couples who were 'too busy' or 'too tired' for sex. Couples who recognized that reality found ways to work around it."
"When the 'costs' of sex go down, demand usually goes up," Szuchman adds. "That might not sound like the sexiest-sounding idea. But then nothing is unsexier than not having sex at all."
Few couples like to think of their marriage as a business, but treating a relationship like a corporation may actually give it the best chance at long-term success. That’s the message behind Spousonomics (Random House), a new book coming out Feb. 8, by Wall Street Journal editor Paula Szuchman and New York Times education reporter Jenny Anderson.