It's been about five minutes since the Stronger Relationships program was introduced by the Minister for Families, Kevin Andrews.
You know, the one where we get $200 to develop our relationships with the guidance of counsellors. For those interested and, as a disclaimer, my beloved and I used something like this in 1985. It appears to have worked. So far.
But already, four weeks in to the Stronger Relationships pilot, there are clear signs that the nation is in trouble, utterly falling apart. The traditional world order has come unstuck. Yes, there is a nation of horny (horny, hmmm, I guess we could repurpose that word) women who want sex and who want it now.
Yes, the women who are attending these courses IN DROVES are telling their counsellors that they aren't getting much and they want it now.
How do I know this?
Yesterday brought with it the news that the vast South Australian branch of Relationships Australia has been running Sex and Desire workshops as part of Stronger Relationships. The organisation's Grant Pearson said men were "under pressure" to perform. "We are finding a lot more women demanding sex and men being put under pressure," Mr Pearson was reported as saying.
"Women feel far more entitled. I think the men are reacting like anyone would ... we've now got women coming in saying: 'He isn't giving me enough sex.' That's standing out to us."
Well, well. Turns out that the classes aren't actually due to start until October but Mr Pearson must have been inundated with women mentioning their increased desires in the regular counselling courses. Very much looking for the real data on how much sex we all want and when we want it.
Because these kinds of conversations drive us all to despair. Conversations which say that one gender has a greater drive than the other will always tear us apart and set us against each other, instead of leading us to a place where we can all have happy shags.
There is certainly a need for happy shag classes. Chris Fox, a senior lecturer at the University of Sydney in sexual health counselling who also has a private practice, would probably be too serious to describe what he does as a recipe for perfect sexual harmony – but he says that when he runs classes like these, they are always full.
"We look at communication, we look at conflict resolution, intimate touch as opposed to sexual touch," he says.
In other words, the first indication of a desire for intercourse should not be an erect poke in the thigh but a chat. Usually.
Fox is right to say that when people seek guidance, the relationship can improve but he points out that how you feel about your partner sexually is about the general health of that relationship. Sex doesn't exist by itself, unless you are existing on booty calls. Which might be sustainable in the short term. Anyone out there used booty calls as the sole source of sex in the long term? I'd be interested to hear from you.
As for tying one set of behaviours to one gender, Cyndi Darnell has news for you. She's been a sex therapist and counsellor for over 20 years. Her view, after years of research, says that individuals have different needs and requirements. It's not about what's between your legs.
"The bottom line is that we don't get taught how to engage with sex ... people are left to make it up as they go along.
"In some cases that's fine but [more often] we don't have the capacity to self-reflect or to come together and discuss."
And as Darnell points out, there is no one recipe for happy sex. The urges might be natural (if you actually believe that anything is natural), but the actions around it are not.
She has a couple of excellent questions for people seeking to make commitments to each other.
What does the relationship mean to you?
What does sex mean to you?
What constitutes good sex?
I reckon having that conversation would sort anyone out – although getting a counsellor or facilitator might be very useful. Because what happens when one of you says good sex is wham, bam, thank you sir; and the partner replies that he wants moonlight and candles.
There is a lot of premarital counselling available and now, of course, paid for by Stronger Relationships. Although money and children are two definite areas where there is a lot of conflict, it seems as if people are happier to have those discussions, whereas the length of time you like your earlobes to be stroked before orgasm is less likely to be in the marital contract.
I love Hilary Guest's idea. She was a couples counsellor and then a civil celebrant but is taking a break from both. She says counselling is a great idea although once is hardly enough. She'd like to see people coming in before any kind of serious commitment and then a year on, for a full grease and oil change. The wedding service.
"It would be good if people spent money on nurturing and nourishing, on the ongoing health of the marriage," she said.
I'm with her. After all, if you are very lucky – and you've found the right person, you might only have to stroke those earlobes for a minute or two.