When sex and connection is good, women rarely say no...
As a couples therapist, I talk about sex a lot throughout my day. How much sex is happening in relationships, what kind of sex is happening in relationship, what kind of sex is being fantasized about in relationships…but mostly what kind of sex is NOT happening in relationships.
Disclaimer: I am a card-carrying feminist (I have a master’s degree is Women’s Studies to boot) and what I am going to say I mean in the most power-should-be-shared-not-wielded kind of a way. And, although I will be using terms like “husband” and “wife”, these monikers are used to describe roles in a relationship and can be applied to same-sex couples as well. Also, I am talking to those of you in healthy, committed relationships free from emotional and physical abuse who are yearning for something more or bored to tears by what your sex life has become.
Sometimes your wife wants you to do her. Not make love, not have sex…but do her. And sometimes your wife wants to do you, too.
Recently, I was re-reading a favorite relationship book, “Intimacy & Desire: Awaken The Passion in Your Relationship” by Dr. David Scharch and there it was in black and white…”the hardest person to fuck is your spouse”.
Dr. Scharch talks about high-desire sex partners and low-desire sex partners…and you are one of the two in your relationship. Usually, we think that the low-desire sex partner doesn’t have a sex drive but this is not necessarily the case. Often, the low-desire partner is…well, as Dr. Scharch puts it “A fire-breathing momma who looks sexually uninterested, but who is frustrated, angry, and misses being done.”
All of this can feel very confusing because on one hand your wife may be saying, “I need you to connect with me emotionally” and “I am too tired to have sex.” These are probably true…AND it can also be true that when sex is good…when it is really really good, most women (and men) are not going to turn it down.
To show up and do your partner, there needs to be equal parts of confidence, connection, passion, and intention. Fear of rejection, fear of being good enough, and fear of not performing like her last partner do not make for a rockin’ sexual experience. If you are having these fears then it’s a good time to do some of your own emotional work so that these fears are contaminating your relationship.
This also requires enormous vulnerability and courage from both of you. It necessitates that you both show up in new ways and throw out the well-worn scripts that you have used for years in bed. If you want to devour your partner sexually, she needs to have the capacity to be exposed to this kind of passion and intention (read: you must have some healthy trust going on). Similarly, if she turns the tables and takes the power-role in bed, are you able to receive and allow yourself to be taken?
Esther Perel has written for years about the relationship between danger and desire and the ways that our relationships and marriages by design are safe and predictable. This predictability serves many functions of the business of long-term love but not does not always serve our sexual expression. Sexual desire often is piqued by what stretches us outside of our comfort zones (why do you think “50 Shades of Gray” was such a success?), by what feels edgy and new…and sometimes what is off-limits (affairs are a popular outlet for this).
The take home message: do your own emotional work, be willing to throw out what you think you know about yourself and your partner, and create a little bit of healthy danger to get things revved up.