The people have spoken! It was clear from my last survey that you guys want to read more blogs about sex, and specifically about an unsatisfying, lack-of-intimacy kind of sex life. So, here you go. Part 1 in a 6-part series.
Intimacy Problems in Marriage
Part I: Bad Sex Does Not Lead to Good Sex
Are you having sex with your spouse but finding it to be a monumental task trying to get her to be interested? Are you finding yourself constantly pursuing her and almost begging for sex? Maybe you feel it’s the only way you’ll ever even have sex. Maybe you’re afraid of where this could lead for the two of you. Is she complaining to you about a lack of intimacy and suggesting that if she could feel close to you she might want sex more? Maybe you’ve heard her and tried to increase intimacy, but it still doesn’t change the amount of sex you’re having with each other.
I recently asked a husband who was struggling with intimacy problems in his marriage, “Which kind of sex would you prefer: really great sex once a month, or the unsatisfying sex you’ve been having once a week?” When he didn’t hesitate to answer that he’d rather have the unsatisfying weekly sex, I asked him why. His answer was, “Well, because it has to get better, right?! It’s our only chance!”
He was more than aware of her lack of interest in sex, and he was constantly making moves to try to get her to be interested. From “being nice,” to doing dishes, to bathing the children every night after work, and even to the moves he’d make during sex, he was always thinking of the next time they’d be having sex and what it would take to get her there. And he really thought that bad sex was going to somehow lead to good sex.
When I suggested that he wasn’t going to have good sex until he asked for it, he was perplexed. He thought he’d been asking for good sex, even begging for it all the time. But I asked him, “What would compel your wife to give you good sex if you’re willing to settle for the crap…even beg for it?”
Many spouses in this man’s position will react to this and say that they will never initiate sex again and leave it all up to their spouse. But this is more of the same kind of behavior. It’s reactionary. Just like his constant pursuit of his wife.
Good sex is less reactionary and more dignified. In other words, one’s dignity is in tact. Dignity, in close emotional proximity to our spouses, is sexy. When we’re less needy, we’re more attractive. I’m not saying your wife is going to jump you if you were to develop more of a sense of dignity. I’m not saying that you will ever get the frequency of sex you believe is essential. But if you can work on that dignity thing, you’ll be a lot closer to a more satisfying sex life than you are now.
Sex therapy can help with this and with taking it to the next level. What I’ve described here is simple, conceptually, but not so easy to accomplish. It’s not a matter of changing or “behaving” for a few weeks (or for those of you with real stamina, it’s not about “behaving” for years). It’s about real and sustainable change. Stay tuned for the next post in a couple of weeks about his wife’s position and the possibility of change on her part.