For Men: Initiation
In an earlier post, when we discussed a husband’s need for his wife to respond, we said that her resistance to his sexual advances affects his confidence and his view of himself. If a wife’s responsiveness strengthens her husband’s self-esteem, think about what her initiating sex will say to him. The men who responded to our survey thought about what it would say. Nearly 61% of them rank a wife’s initiation as a top sexual need.
Men enjoy spontaneity. That statement is so important for wives to understand that it bears repeating: Men love spontaneity. A husband needs his wife to initiate so he knows he’s not the only one who cares about their sex life. When she initiates sex, he realizes that she cares about his needs, loves him, and thinks about him. Her initiation allows him to take a break from initiating – and the fear of her lack of response – and enjoy a spontaneous sexual encounter. A wife’s initiation relieves him of the pressure of starting the process of sexual intimacy.
When a wife tells her husband how much she cares for him, his self-esteem is bolstered. But when she pursues him sexually, he feels on top of the world. He says to himself, she wants me! He wants to shout to the world: “She still finds me attractive!”
And isn’t that what you want in your marriage – a husband who is joyful, deeply satisfied, protected, and completed? Fulfill your husband’s fantasy: To be desired and pursued by you.
Kevin Lehman writes, “It is very emotionally fulfilling for a man to have a wife who is interested in him sexually. A man is external. If you want a man to feel wanted and needed, words won’t cut it; you need to pursue him sexually.”
At a recent conference Suzanne told us, “If initiation is important to Greg, then I’ve been blind to this area in our marriage. I enjoy sex. I like to respond to him. A couple of times when we were alone at a business convention, I initiated sex, and it blew his socks off. He walked around with a twinkle in his eye that reminded me of our first year of marriage. But I thought it was a ‘vacation thing.’ Now I realize that I’m sending him the message that sex is important to me only if he wants it, not if I want him. I’m starting to see that he would really be honored if I set the stage for sex by flirting and drawing him in.”
Of all the sex needs, initiation seems to be the most difficult for many wives to practice. As we discussed in a previous post, most women don’t regularly think about sex, so it doesn’t occur to them to initiate something that isn’t on their minds. But when women do think about sex, many figure that being responsive is good enough. In fact, some women think initiation is more a luxury than a necessary part of marriage. Well, they’re wrong.
How to Meet Your Husband’s Need for Initiation
Wives, be willing to step out of your comfort zone and become a sexual initiator in your marriage. Here are some ideas to get you started in meeting your husband’s need for initiation.
1. Remember your husband is a sexual being. Honor your husband by taking seriously his need for sex with you. Consider it a joy and privilege to be the one God has chosen to satisfy those needs.
2. View yourself as a sexual being. “I consider myself a loving person. I love to cuddle, listen, and spend time with my husband,” says Dana. “I even love romance. But I don’t consider myself a sexual person. It takes effort to make me feel sexy; it doesn’t come naturally.” Although some women are more aware of their sexuality than others, most women do not often think on a sexual level. But when we ask women, “When you are rested, when your husband has connected to you emotionally and spiritually and you feel safe, do you feel sexy?” most women respond yes.
3. Refuse to buy into myths about sex. Women often believe that they must be in the mood to initiate sex. Here is how Clifford and Joyce Penner respond to that myth: “In real life, the more preparation, anticipation, talking, guiding and scheduling you put into your sexual times with each other the better they likely will be. If you wait for some mysterious erotic energy to grab you before you have sex, you may not be having sex very often.”
4. Keep sex vibrant in your marriage. Many women think there’s nothing they can do to increase or maintain their sexual desire – it just comes and goes. But remember that sex begins in the mind. Start thinking about sex. Plan for it. Mark it on your private calendar. Initiate sex with your husband at least a couple of times each month. Save energy for sex. Pray about it, asking God to give you a desire to initiate with your husband.
5. Pay attention to your body’s sexual responses. Ask God to help you recognize sexual thoughts and desires more. Even a flicker can be a great jumping-off point. Take advantage of your increased sexual urge during your hormonal cycle. A study published in Human Reproduction states: “Researchers speculate that a woman’s libido may rise during ovulation or that her sexual attractiveness to partners may increase. It could also be that intercourse accelerates ovulation.”
6. Become more adventuresome. One of the biggest reasons women don’t initiate is because they are nervous and afraid. Their fears say, I don’t know what I’m doing. It will be awkward and embarrassing. He’ll laugh at me and reject me. He does it better; it’s not natural for me. Women who aren’t sexually adventurous like to stick with what works. But practice will make it more natural and less awkward. Stepping out on a limb to please your husband will demonstrate your love for him. Even if it’s awkward for you at first, your husband will feel honored and loved if you make the effort.
7. Practice. What’s the old cliché? If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Your husband is not going to laugh at you or reject you for breaking out of the routine to spice up your love life. Hardly. He’ll most likely cheer you on. Sex therapists say that the more a couple have sex, the more they enjoy it. The more they enjoy it, the more they do it. Part of getting it right is enjoying sex along the way. Have fun! It’s an adventure. Take the risk.