Today’s thoughts come from longtime Friend of the Newsletter™ Sheila at To Love, Honor, and Vacuum and is written by guest poster Keith Schooley.
Psst… hey you. Yeah, you, the guy reading Sheila’s girl blog. I know, I know, I read it too. There’s good stuff there, right?
Okay, so you and I both know why we’re here, right? Because Sheila likes to talk about sex. And what guy isn’t interested? And she gives tips for making things better…. aaaaand it’s not always perfect in paradise, right?
But she’s a woman’s voice, talking mostly to other women. So I thought I’d come and, guy to guy, talk about the nitty gritty with you. Some of what I’m going to say you’ve heard before, including from Sheila. But maybe a guy’s voice can persuade you that this stuff is in your own best interest. And maybe you’ll find something new. Who knows?
Before we get started, though, I want to make clear: this is about more-or-less functioning marriages that might have hit a dry patch. I really don’t have anything to say about completely dysfunctional relationships where someone’s been withholding sex for long periods of time. You’re not going to get those answers in a blog post, and there’s no point in starting a comment war about extreme cases. But even in those cases, the first few ideas couldn’t hurt….
One last thing: this list isn’t going to start out seeming very sexy. Don’t worry, we’ll get there. I know you want a big finish.
1. Talk with your wife
I’m not talking about in the bedroom, not that there’s anything wrong with that. I’m just talking about normal, everyday, general conversation. Notice I said talk with her, not talk to her. This is about listening as much as talking. The main thing we guys need to get between our ears is that for our wives, sex is relational. The more you build up the relationship, the more open she’s going to feel toward sex. And relationships are built up when people feel heard and when they feel shared with. It’s doubtful that many bickering couples or silent couples are creating many fireworks in the bedroom.
2. Share the Load
The usual way this is phrased is “Help with the housework.” But that suggests that maintaining the home is the wife’s responsibility, and anything her husband does is a bonus. That’s the wrong attitude: this home is yours together, and together you need to make it work. Now, that’s going to look different for different couples: if a husband is working two jobs and his wife stays at home, it’s a little unfair to expect him to come home and do half of the housework. On the other hand, if you both work but every night you plop down in front of the TV while your wife takes care of all the cooking, cleaning, and laundry, you’re just flat-out being selfish. Or maybe not selfish enough: I mean, if she’s worn out from everything she’s been doing all day, she’s not going to have much energy for you at the end of it, right? KnowwhutImean?
(For you ladies—yes, I know you’re listening in—can I give you a couple tips on this? #1: If your husband is trying to do stuff around the house, try not to micromanage how he does it. Think about how you would respond if your mother-in-law were critiquing your housekeeping in the same way you critique your husband’s. #2: If your husband deals with repairs and heavy lifting, give him credit for that. Splitting the everyday chores down the middle isn’t quite fair if your husband has solo responsibility for fixing the dishwasher and changing the oil in the car and mowing the lawn. Of course, if that gets balanced off by you nursing and changing the baby and stuff like that, that’s also a different story.)
3. Touch outside the bedroom
I’m talking about non-sexual touching here: a hand on the shoulder or elbow, squeezing her hand. Just like talking, touching is a powerful relationship-builder. It silently tells your wife, “I appreciate your presence here, now, in this moment.” I am not talking about grabbing your wife’s boobs or butt out of nowhere—that is not sexy to most women. Write on a chalkboard a hundred times if you have to: “I will not run the bases backwards.” But gentle, non-sexual touching at random times during the day, when you’re not looking for sex (this is key) can pay off handsomely in the bedroom.
The real issue here is crucial, and if you get nothing out of the rest of this list, get this: the main obstacle getting in the way of your wife’s responsiveness to you is her not knowing whether you want her or whether you just want it. If she feels that you are just using her to get it, that’s going to shut her down. That’s why you need to touch her when you’re not looking for sex. If she feels that the only time you ever hold her hand is when you want to get busy in 15 minutes, that defeats the whole purpose. The more she feels you value her and want her, the more open she will be to physical intimacy. And that’s a win for both of you.[clickToTweet tweet=”Husbands: The main obstacle to your wife’s libido is her not knowing if you want HER or you just want IT.” quote=”Husbands: The main obstacle to your wife’s libido is her not knowing if you want HER or you just want IT.”]
4. Warm up before the game
Yes, I’m going to talk about foreplay. The way this is usually approached is to tell guys, “Look, your wife just takes longer to get warmed up than you do. You need to give her some time and take things slow, no matter how badly you want to get to business.” This makes it all about denying yourself in order to please your wife. Let’s look at in another way. I want to let you know what’s in it for you.
To be plain, foreplay isn’t just good for your wife. Foreplay is good for you too. For two reasons: #1: The more aroused your wife gets, the more uninhibited and adventurous she’s going to be willing to be. You might not understand why she’s not as quick to jump into gear as you are, but in the moment, the best way to get her there is through foreplay. #2: You’ve probably figured out that even for you, not all orgasms are created equal. Don’t you find that when you have to wait and get teased for a while, the actual orgasm is more powerful? Doesn’t it, in the long run, make it better, even for you?
5. Remember that sex is a team sport
You and your wife are on the same team. So the object is to get a win for the team, not just for you as an individual player. When you were a kid, did you ever play ball with a ballhog, a bigger kid who wanted to make every play and every score himself? Was that any fun for you? So if you make sex all about yourself, you can’t be too surprised when your wife isn’t too enthusiastic about it.
Now, it’s entirely possible that you never thought about it that way before. You may not have meant to be selfish. You just did what came natural, you figured she was doing what came natural, and it all seemed great to you, and you had no idea why she wasn’t as crazy about it as you were. Well, now it’s time to think about it. If you orient your thinking around trying to please your wife, you’ll find that she will most likely be more enthusiastic about pleasing you. Everybody wins. More than likely, everybody wins better, and more often. Just sayin’.
6. The more she enjoys it, the less inhibited she will be
There’s a lot of overlap between this point and the last one, but the central idea bears reinforcement. Men often want two incompatible things: we want to focus on our own pleasure, and we want our wives to be wildly enthusiastic and uninhibited.
How’s that working out for ya?
They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result, right? So take a night and decide it’s going to be all about her. Make a point of doing what she likes. Find out what she likes—ask her. (And ladies: if he asks, please tell him! I know you feel weird about it. But seriously—this “If he really loved me, he would just know” stuff really doesn’t work.) And that’s going to lead into….
7. Ladies first
Okay, I know all the romance novels and, er, other media (ahem!) celebrate the joys of the rapturous simultaneous orgasm. Supposedly, if you hold back enough and do it just right, you’ll both reach The Big O at exactly the same time and you’ll see fireworks over a princess castle.
But we live in the real world. Simultaneous orgasms are a rare, happy accident. But they’re not the norm. And the deal is that if you are first, that’s pretty much it for her. It can leave her feeling frustrated, and probably wondering what is wrong with her that she can’t get there. (And shame on you if you reinforce that message.) So it’s not so surprising that she isn’t as excited about repeating the experience as you are.
On the other hand, if you stimulate her (yes, we’re talking foreplay again) and let her reach her climax first, she doesn’t have the same need to cool down that you do. As a matter of fact, she might lose her inhibitions and really be into you at that point. Don’t ask me how I know this. I just do.
8. Enjoy the postgame celebration
One of the least cool things you can do after sex is to roll over and start to snore. It’s like the MVP of the big game walking off the field and not celebrating with his teammates. You need to have respect for the people (or person) who got you there.
Remember I said that the biggest obstacle for your wife is not knowing whether you want her or it? One of the biggest ways you can telegraph that you just want it is to ignore her afterward. Now, once again, you may never have thought of it this way. You probably didn’t intend to be selfish. You might have thought that you both had a great time and now it’s time for sleep. Well, it’s time to wake up to the fact that your wife probably sees it differently.
During the cool-down phase it’s great to say the I love yous, kiss, snuggle. Make her feel special. That’s a feeling that she’s going to want to come back for. And this is kind of the goal, right?
9. Ditch the porn
Okay, so you’ve read what Sheila has to say about porn, you know it’s wrong. Let me try talking to you from a different angle. Porn ruins sex for you.
Basically, porn sets up a bunch of expectations that are hopelessly unrealistic and selfish. It makes you dissatisfied with the reality that God gave you and makes you demand endless youth and variety, makes you hunger for things you wouldn’t even have thought of if porn hadn’t planted them in your mind. It makes you think that women are rapturously excited about things that they actually find disgusting and degrading (and you thought they couldn’t act). And it focuses on nothing but the physical. It can’t portray (and doesn’t want to) the wonderful emotional and spiritual union that God intended sex to be within marriage.
If what you’ve seen in porn is what you’re trying to get out of your marriage bed, you’re doomed to a lifetime of disappointment, frustration, and misdirected anger at a wife who should never have had to act like a prostitute for you in the first place. And you’ll completely miss out on the deeper, richer, much more satisfying passion that your marriage could have had.
10. Stop making her the villain in your sex life
Final point, guys. If you’re struggling with frustration in the bedroom, it’s probable that you’re blaming your wife for all of it. Here’s the thing: blame and resentment are not going to fix your problem. They may give you a feeling of vindication, like the weird pleasure you get from picking at a sore, but they’re actually creating a wedge that makes your wife less responsive.
It’s not really that profound: people do what makes them feel happy and valued and secure. They avoid what makes them feel frustrated and demeaned and unconfident. If your words and actions are making her feel like she’s responsible for your sexual fulfillment and she’s not measuring up, she’s going to retreat from the situation. If your words and actions tell her that she’s precious to you and that you want to contribute to her sexual fulfillment, she’s going to embrace the situation. And I think we’re all looking for a little more embracing.
Bottom line, guys: if you want it, then you need to decide that you want her. If you can’t say honestly that you want your wife as a person, then you need to take that to God. Because anything else is just selfishness. And the truth is that selfishness actually gets you less, not more, of what you’re looking for in the first place.
But if you get to the place that you want her, and she knows that, and your words and actions demonstrate it, then you’ll find that you’re getting a lot more than it. You’re getting a lifetime of love and satisfaction and partnership and friendship that finds its expression in emotional and spiritual and, yes, physical ways. That’s what God wants us married couples to have. Don’t settle for anything less.