Willingness is the entry point.
Podcast from Amanda Louder episode 136 found HERE
I talk to women all the time about how to feel more in the mood and increase their desire. But what happens when you aren’t in the mood and your partner says “Hey, do you want to have sex?” And at that point, you have two choices; do you want to say no and risk your partner feeling rejected or hurt, or say yes even though you aren’t in the mood and possibly resent him for always asking. Well, I would like to offer a third choice. Even if you aren’t in the mood, be willing to try and get there.
When you were first falling in love, you had an amazing amount of desire that led to arousal. But often, especially after you’ve been married, the arousal doesn’t always come naturally, especially for women. Men, with testosterone driving their bodies to want sex, can get aroused very easily. But as women, most of us don’t have the physical drive that men do. Maybe once a month when we ovulate do we get that physical hunger. But most of the time not. So, can willingness replace desire? Can you be willing to enter the sexual realm with the hope that your body will respond? This is often a great starting place, but we don’t even think about it. We think that we need to have that hunger first. But often, if we are willing, our body does respond with arousal and you can end up enjoying the experience. But you have to be willing to try. Willingness can get things moving in the right direction. Willingness is the entry point.
So, now that we understand that we can be willing as an entry point to the sexual experience what does that look like? Let’s say your husband asks you if you want to have sex tonight. Instead of responding with:
“I’m not in the mood” or “I’m tired” or “Not tonight”
Try these ideas:
“Let’s start and see what happens” or “Convince Me” or “Entice Me”
Now, I never want you saying yes when you really don’t want to. When we have sex when we aren’t going in with a willing attitude – this teaches our body not to engage. Not to get turned on. So we have to make sure that our heart and mind are on the same page and then see if our body comes along. So really think about if you are at least willing to try. Are you willing to be enticed? And there is a difference between enticement and coercion. Enticement means to “attract or tempt by offering pleasure or advantage.” Coercion means persuading someone to do something by using force or threats.” Coercion involves a lack of consent, which we NEVER want in a marriage. Enticement means you are doing something that the other person will want. Think about what might entice you. A back massage? Some light kisses or making out? Maybe a bath? Maybe a foot rub.
We’ve talked on the podcast before about creating space for yourself to get out of caretaker mode and into a space where you can feel more like yourself. This process of enticement is part of that. What entices you to at least be willing?
One of the things to look at is, what is you and your spouse’s goal when it comes to sex? That can often change your willingness. If the goal is mutual orgasm, that can often be more than you are willing to do. But if your goal is connection, emotional bonding, pleasure, that can be very doable. You can also let your partner know what you are up for and what you aren’t. “I’m not really up for intercourse, but I could give you a hand job” or “I’m not in the mood for an orgasm, but I don’t mind if you have one.” Or “Would it be ok if we just cuddled naked tonight instead of intercourse?”
We often get in ruts about what sex and intimacy need to look like. By expanding our definition of sex and putting lots of different options, besides intercourse, on the menu, we can find things that both parties will enjoy and can bring you closer together. Adding things, other than intercourse, to your sexual menu, will really help you as a couple as you age and certain things aren’t possible or become a lot more difficult. When sex becomes more about connection than an orgasm, it opens things up.
Now, what happens when you are willing to try and it just doesn’t happen? Your body doesn’t respond in the way that you hoped it would. It’s ok! Really! What’s important is to be honest with your spouse. Be willing to talk about what isn’t working while it’s happening. If he’s touching you in a way that isn’t working, you need to let him know lovingly. Guide him. Direct him. Take his hand. Or do it yourself. You know what you need better than he does. For him, it’s just a guessing game. And if you aren’t feeling it, let him know. Be gentle. Let him know that it nothing that he is doing or not doing, but your body just isn’t responding as you’d hoped. Or, if it is something he needs to do differently, let him know that too. Again…gently. Sometimes it can be very frustrating for us women when our body doesn’t respond in the way we are hoping it does.
We also need to be consciously aware of what is going on for us. Why it isn’t working and share that with our spouse.
- Did you have anxiety?
- Too much on your mind?
- Worried about orgasming?
- Worrying about the house, the kids, something else?
- Worrying about your body image?
And just be curious without being self-critical. Criticism makes desire and arousal even harder.
So, if things don’t work, the higher-desire partner can kind of be left hanging. So have a protocol or an understanding of what can happen if you aren’t able to get turned on. Does everything stop? Can you finish him off by hand? Does he finish himself off? Can you keep cuddling while he does to keep that connection?
And if this is the case, don’t make it the new normal. Keep working on finding different ways of doing things that will help.
Often women aren’t good receivers of love. They are so used to being the ones who take care of others, and so when they don’t get turned on they quickly make it about their spouse. But slowing things down and spending more time on the one who has a harder time. It’s the higher desire partner’s job to move towards where the lower-desire partner is and slowly bring them up the arousal scale and not expect their partner to be where they are.
I see too many men who quickly jump to – well it’s not working for you, ok, let’s do me then – and their wife never gets there.
Men, even if your wife is saying “ok, it’s not working, let’s just do you and get it over with” then that’s your cue to slow things down again and focus on her more.
This process is a way for the two of you to get closer and more connected as you learn and discover more about each other and what works. It requires a lot of vulnerability and intimacy for the lower-desire partner to voice why they aren’t feeling it or how it’s not working. They tend to feel broken. But then it’s also up to the higher-desire partner to not take it as a rejection of them and try to get curious and understand what is going on for their partner as a way to bring them closer together.
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