What do you do when you're sexually out of sync?
The first time I made out with my husband we had been dating about 3 weeks. I remember the first night we got naked together. His clothes came off and he was on top of me and I thought to myself, "Oh no, this is not going to work." I was not attracted to his body; I was used to being with hot, young guys with muscular, sculpted bodies. I was like a guy in that way: I needed a hot body. We ended up having sex and it was just "meh." I was disappointed — everything else about this man was just so wonderful. He was handsome, sweet, mature, confident, fun and he seemed to worship me. It was the first real thing I had felt in a long time. I just wished the sexual chemistry was more potent. But I told myself not to despair, and that sex can always be improved with practice and discussion. The next few weeks went by and the sex got a little more exciting. We were definitely lustful for each other and it was fun to be with him, but the mechanics were sorely lacking. I didn't like the order he did things, I didn't like his lack of attention to certain areas, and I didn't love his motion in the ocean. But I was determined not to worry since everything else with us was so great. We were falling in love.
From the outset it was clear to me that our psycical bodies were just not in sync sexually. But then a few months later I started to notice differences in our libidos, too. We would come home drunk from a fun night out and I would want to start making out before we'd even made it through the door. He was easily embarrassed and would push me away in public and then when we got home he would want to order late night pizza rather than eating me, so to speak. It was extremely frustrating. Similarly, on weekend mornings when I would want to reach over and touch him first thing, he couldn't help but reach for his Blackberry instead. These were huge red flags, and though I knew it was a big deal, I ignored them. I had a great guy who wanted to marry me, I hadn't really had that before. And then, when he proposed to me shortly thereafter, I said yes. How could I say no? I knew we had sex issues or work on, but I thought that if I didn't accept his proposal, I would lose him forever. So I just figured we could work on the sex while we were engaged.
During our engagement I decided to be proactive. One night during sex I stopped and asked him if he would change positions. I started to give some instructions on how I would like things to go down — this did not go well. Offended, he stopped and rolled over. He lost his desire to continue. I knew he was sensitive but, my god, was he so sensitive that I couldn't even talk about sex? My previous boyfriend loved any sort of commentary or instruction. It felt so normal and natural to me to be able to talk about what I wanted sexually. But now I was learning that I couldn't, and I was devastated. I rolled over away from him and cried silently, wondering what I had gotten myself into. I knew in that moment that I was making a huge mistake and not being true to what was important to me. Yet the next day I moved on and continued with the rest of my otherwise lovely engaged life.
As time wore on, the fact that we were sexually incompatible made itself more clear.
Read the rest over at Elizabeth Street: I Am In A Sexless Marriage
More juicy content from Elizabeth Street: