We fall in love, and can't wait to get in bed with our man, right? Why does that drop off?
This is chapter 8 in the novel about Grace learning about sex in the bedroom and in the classroom. Here she interviews women about their lack of interest, and explores what might be going on with their men in the bedroom and how they can rekindle interest! Read the rest of the Transformational Fiction novel, Bring Love and Sex Together, on Kindle. Find more fiction and podcasts at www.AnneStirlingHastings.com.
I wondered why women seemed to adore sex early on in a relationship, and then find themselves less interested as time went on. People assume that it is something about women and sex, but I suspected it had to do with the relationship, too. I mean, really, sex feels good. So why would someone lose interest? So, I told my psych teacher that I would interview women about how their men introduce sex and luckily agreed to give me independent study.
It was exciting. There wasn't much written about the non-spoken communication of sexual disinterest. When I started, I put a note on a board, to get volunteers for my study and had asked teachers to announce what I was looking for in their own classes.
Amazingly I quickly found twenty five interested women. This would be a real pilot study. I arranged for a room in our building to hold all of us where we could speak privately.
Talking with a lot of women was amazing. All were older than I was (by a few years) and all had been in sexual relationships for a lot longer. I saw a common element right away. In all relationships the amount of sex wanted differed between the partners. Twenty-one men wanted more sex, and in four the women wanted more. Now of course my sample was biased because they choose to come for the interview. Maybe those with great sex didn't volunteer. But maybe they would. I would have to ask for people with great sex next.
The stories were highly varied, but with the one similarity; conflict over sex. It was usually never spoken. The man didn't sit her down and say, you have to do it more often, or you have to blow me, but somehow she got the picture. The touches with a sigh as if he felt victimized by her lack of interest. Or pushing her head toward his penis with an attitude of knowing she didn't want to but he wanted her to do it anyway. Or pleading for it, like a child who needs a hug, instead of a man who wants to make love.
The ways their men implied they weren't getting enough had the opposite effect of what they said they wanted. Was this accidental? Did they just have bad form? Were they not romantic? Or was there a missing piece of information here.
The four women seemed to lust for sex, and wanted their partners to watch porn and have sex at least every day. I wondered if they were sex addicts, which would throw off my shame theory. Some other time I would have to study shame and the sexually addicted. Perhaps the addiction to sex overrides shame. Maybe the same way addiction to food overrides eating late at night with the shame showing up the next morning.
I turned in my paper about the ways that men introduced sex. But I didn't feel done with this topic. So I asked the women who wanted less sex if they would come to a meeting to talk more about it. Hopefully they would have questions and reactions to each other that would bring up more information.
It was amazing. The twenty women went on and on. They talked over each other. Again and again a woman would respond to what someone else had said, saying, "Me too, that's what my man does." They became such a supportive group that they chose to meet several more times. I was glad to lead.
Lead? I didn't lead. I didn't even call the meetings to order. They were delighted to see each other again and share stories.
I was concerned, though, about the shaming nature of their criticism of their partner's sexual behavior. But gradually they became empowered as they realized that they were being blamed for something for which they had no responsibility. They sounded less and less like victims, and more and more like powerful women who weren't going to be put down.
I had suggested that they read Anne Stirling Hastings' book, Reclaiming Healthy Sexual Energy: Revised where she proclaims that you can't really say "yes" to sex unless you can say "no." I don't know how many of them read it, but they were learning together how to stop taking the blame for the lack of frequency.
After one meeting they agreed that they would all start initiating sex every day and see what would happen. One woman cautioned the others to not be pushy or demanding. In other words, don't give him an excuse to put you off.
The next week I was needed even less. They almost couldn't sit still as they told each other how the men had responded. Some started out delighted with the idea, but pulled back before the end of the two weeks. Several women talked about how they made a point of telling him how they wanted to give him oral, and again the men seemed delighted—at first.
They had all kinds of excuses. Too tired. The kids would hear. Saying once a week is plenty, don't make yourself do it just for me.
The women talked about how they felt from their man's rejection. Some were hurt. Others angry. Once they realized they weren't to blame, and that most of their men got them to not want sex, they were upset. They wanted to shame them, but abided by the agreement to not act on it.
They planned their next step. Would they keep initiating for another two weeks to see what would happen next? Or come up with a new plan?
I felt overwhelmed by the excitement that ran through the room in these conversations. They had unleashed their power. Of course they had responded to an announcement from a student (me) who wanted to learn about their sex lives, so they were more than likely a group to make change when it became possible.
The women admitted that they, too, were hesitant to have sex. It wasn't just the way the men set them up. They shared the common story of not wanting sex, but when they finally did, wondering why they didn't do it more. It was so pleasurable. The stimulation, the arousal, and the orgasm all feel wonderful. Really. Don't we all agree on this? It feels good!
So why don't we always look forward to it? I had come to believe that if we had no sexual shame, we would get in bed with our lover and automatically stimulate each other. Why not? We enjoy our morning shower, brushing our teeth, our breakfast, our conversation. Why wouldn't that include sex? Maybe because those other things don't carry shame. And we can talk openly about them. They aren't placed into a separate, secret compartment.
I hoped I could follow these women's conversations for a long time, as they seemed to be freeing themselves from sexual shame by talking and exploring and sharing. How would this change their sex lives?
Join Grace as she explores sexuality with her women’s group, and in her own love life in the Transformational Fiction novel, Bring Love and Sex Together, on Kindle. She educates readers as she walks through her own healing, and helps others heal, too. Find more fiction and podcasts at www.AnneStirlingHastings.com.