You learn so much on this beat. I’m informed, for example, that April is “Couple Appreciation Month.” No doubt you already have big plans.
If the idea of yet another contrived opportunity to fall short of your partner’s expectations — one with a duration 30 times that of Valentine’s Day — infuses you with a certain familiar dread, I can assure you that you are not alone.
Sex therapist Teesha Morgan, online host of the K-Y Intimacy Experiment, tried to allay my panic by explaining the difference.
“Valentine’s Day is more of a singular day that has a lot to do with the female, you know, wooing the girlfriend or the wife, or buying her flowers,” she says. “I think Couple Appreciation is more of a joint thing for the man and woman. And longer lasting.”
The K-Y Intimacy Experiment, despite sounding to my dirty ear like a euphemism for particular uses of its product, is an attempt to help couples rediscover what got them together in the first place.
It began in December with a survey of about 1,000 couples in relationships of three years or more. Of the respondents, 56 per cent reported their sex lives had taken a dive over time. Fully 90 per cent said they’d be willing to try something new, but few knew what.
That’s where Morgan’s experiment comes in. She takes three couples through a 12-week course of exercises designed to get them out of their usual routines and, hopefully, back into each other.
Watching the episodes online, I’m struck first of all by what doggedly good sports the participating pairs are, willing to point out the potholes of their relationships and try to reconnect while a camera hovers nearby. In one surprisingly naked moment, Lindsay, discussing her doubts about her future with Brandon, has to stop as she suddenly tears up. This is serious. She’s scared.
Mostly, though, it’s light, fun viewing, employing many familiar reality TV tropes as couples take dance lessons, learn massage techniques and go shopping for lingerie together.
“Sometimes we get in little ruts in our relationships and throughout life, and being able to spice things up with even something simple like buying a new type of lingerie and going outside of your box can make huge strides in a relationship,” Morgan tells me. “Bringing back that little spark of something new I think is really important. You can’t do the same thing over and over again and expect different results, right?”
You can check out the K-Y Experiment and download homework assignments for couples at youtube.com/ky.
Steve Collins offers his best guesses on relationships for Metro every two weeks.