Three things you can do to turn things around
You’re reading this because you’re fed up, and need some ideas for how to get more physical intimacy into your relationship. This leaves you, the man, frustrated – not just physically, but emotionally as well; you feel far away from her, and unloved. If you’re willing to read further, I have some ideas you can try that very well might turn things around for you. But first – why doesn’t she want sex as much as you do?
You might be asking: should we even bother with why? It’s so cliché, but still so true – women generally want sex less than their men. Now, this in no means suggests that the man cannot be the partner with less desire; in fact, the cases I’ve seen where this is the situation are particularly devastating to the woman. But typically, it’s the man who wants more sex than the woman.
So let’s look at why for a minute – mostly because the why certainly is important to the woman, and because of this should be important to you too.
As I see it, there are three main reasons why a woman may not want to have sex with her man:
1. She’s angry or resentful.
2. She’s exhausted.
3. She’s not feeling it.
Number one: she is angry or resentful. Actually, this is a good first step in general for all of you gentlemen: ask your partner if you’ve done something to tick her off recently. Though you may get an earful, you might also get more sex…eventually. (This also depends on how you handle her honest response. If you are defensive and argumentative and try to rationalize that you really were NOT a jerk, you’ve just distanced yourself farther from her and from the possibility of having any form of sex with her.)
What can you do? Try to see it from her point of view, and if there’s anything there at all in her perspective that you can agree with, go ahead and do so. I’m not saying blow smoke at her and agree with everything she says just to get intimate. I’ve got news for you: a woman can see that kind of arrogance a mile away, and it can only end in one of two (bad) ways for you. One, she gets even more angry that you are trying to manipulate her and the situation because she knows you are just offering empty bobble-head agreement to her complaints so you can have sex. Be forewarned – the effects of this ill-advised approach may backfire so badly that IT will become the new reason she doesn’t want to have sex with you (and you don’t need to give her any new reasons, do you?).
Two, she sees your false attempts at modesty and peace-making for what they really are (note this is the same as in scenario #1), but here she has sex with you anyway, because she cares about you. Now, this may seems like a win, right? Wrong. This is pity sex, obligation sex: “I will if I have to” sex. And though there can sometimes be a place for this type of intimacy (particularly in long-term relationships where there hasn’t been ANY sex for years, and some is needed just to get things moving, so to speak), in general this is not your best bet. Why? Because your woman is just playing along and going through the motions to keep peace and happiness – yours. It’s a sacrificial act. Kudos to her, but in the long term it will breed resentment and emotional distance, as she wonders if you even notice – or care! – that her heart is just not in it. It basically means you are getting the cheapest version of what you want – kind of like going to the dollar store for the newest iPad. Oh yes, they’ll have one, but is it the one you really want? Wouldn’t you rather have the real thing – a woman who wants and desires you, and is genuinely receptive and participatory in your sexual relationship? If you just said no, it might just be because you don’t know the difference yet – and yes, there is a big difference!
Number two: exhaustion. Men, I know you are rolling your eyes at this one, but the truth is we are tired. There’s a good reason why this is at the top of most women’s lists – it is REAL. And – forgive my bluntness – but, unlike men, who can look down at themselves and realize they are in the mood, we women need to be reminded that sex is a good thing. Our brains are our main sex organ, and on a typical day sex is the last thing on a busy woman’s mind, behind work, home, kids, money, the dog, and getting to the dry-cleaners before they close.
What can you do? Empathize with her. This means you genuinely put yourself in her shoes – try to imagine that you’ve just done all the things she’s done in her day, feeling the way she feels right now, and think of what you’d most want at that moment (no, not sex. Remember you’re thinking like a worn-out woman here.) Maybe it’s a backrub, getting dinner together, or just leaving her alone for an hour. ASK, then DO IT. Put her needs first and foremost – it will not go unnoticed. And even if it doesn’t end in sex for you tonight, believe me when I say that you are putting an emotional deposit in her bank – one that can only come back to you tenfold. A woman who truly knows in her heart that she is more important to her man than sex will always be more willing, ready and wanting to be intimate than a woman who suspects he “just wants sex”.
Number three: she’s not in the mood. See number two for the why, but this too is a valid situation. Since we are born multi-taskers (and research is showing that this isn’t such a good thing), our minds are in an ADHD-like frenzy all day long, trying to accomplish everything on our things-to-do lists. In contrast, it’s pretty linear for a man: he thinks about sex, realizes he wants it, and goes about getting it. He’s the hunter, remember; women are the gatherers. So a woman who’s literally been beating the bushes all day for home and hearth can’t easily drop it all and “get in the mood”. It’s too jarring, too abrupt, and can feel downright invasive, as in “can’t you see I'm busy?!?”
What can you do? Help her transition. Since this is closely tied to number two, any of those suggestions would be a good starting point. But here you can go further – as in, focus on pleasing her. Concretely: this means your pace is slower, you are kissing her more, and overall sending her the signal that you want her to feel good. You are putting her first, and she will feel it. If this is new for you, she might be wary and think it won’t last. BE CONSISTENT. Again, it might not be tonight, but if you employ this approach more often than not, you will have more sex – I can almost guarantee it. A woman sometimes needs to be reminded that underneath the roles of wife, girlfriend, mother, employee, businessperson, student, volunteer (or any of the other eight million hats she wears), she is still a sexual being. Often this part gets buried under everything else – but it’s still there. If you as her man take the time to help her reconnect with this part of her, it can only be good for both of you.
Be prepared – like any goal worth achieving, it takes time and patience to go this route, and it won’t be easy to not think of your needs first and automatically. But your reward will be a deeper, richer aspect to your relationship – an authentic sexual and intimate connection with a woman who desires you back. And isn’t that what you really want?
Tell me what you think. Comment, email or tweet: firstname.lastname@example.org, and on twitter @laurelfay.
Next time: a cheat sheet for women on how to get and stay in the mood – not just for him, but for yourself!