My last blog, What the NO card is doing to your man, created a little buzz. I
had numerous emails and messages from women sharing, what about when your man is the one saying no.
First, I want to clarify that my last blog was written for those women who struggle to be connected to their sexual being.
For most of these women, it is no fault of their own.
No one taught them. No one set them up for success.
Although there are many sexually healthy women out there who do enjoy intimacy and the connection it creates in their marriage.
There are also different stages of life as well.
Maybe you are one who enjoys intimacy but has had times it wasn’t at the top of your list.
Understanding how most men relate to sex will allow you to be more aware of how you act or react towards his desire for you.
You can read more about this here.
That being said, let’s chat about when your man says NO.
What We Think When He Says NO
It is painful.
On so many levels (it’s not very different from the pain they feel when we say no).
For women, when we finally decide to initiate sex, and we get turned down, it can often put us in a very negative place.
We have allowed ourselves to be vulnerable.
Asking for a need (which many of us already struggle with asking for any needs) and to be told no, often will initiate a battle going on in our heads.
That negative voice in our heads that sits and waits for moments like these starts going crazy.
Why doesn’t he want to be with me? What did I do wrong?
Why don’t I turn him on anymore? Is he not attracted to me anymore?
I must not be beautiful enough.
My body has changed so much, and he doesn’t want to see me.
I’m never going to ask again. I don’t know why I even tried.
That was so dumb. I feel so dumb. This sucks.
Am I not good enough. Does he even love me?
Is he thinking about leaving me? I feel so alone.
Have you felt this pain before?
It is real.
But the negative narrative in our heads is a lie.
We have to recognize that and choose not to allow ourselves to go there mentally.
Understanding why men say no, will help you to process this in a much healthier way.
WHY Does He Say No?
The most common situation I have come upon is that of an aging man and his testosterone lowering.
This is part of life. Yes, there are medical options such as taking testosterone, but many do not want to go that route.
Here is the problem I have found though. I am going to speak very candidly here.
Some men struggle to want to create desire.
They are so used to being able to take their engine from 0 to 60 in a matter of seconds.
This slower speed kind of freaks them out. And they don’t like to talk about it.
I imagine because part of his natural DNA is a pro-creator and now, all of a sudden, it feels broken to him.
And talking about it only reinforces that he isn’t working like he used to.
We Should Be Talking About It!
Have any of you wives out there struggled to get your man to talk about how to create more desire and intimacy in your marriage?
Have you tried to get your man to read a book on increasing intimacy in a marriage, in hopes to learn something new?
And has he dragged his feet or just said no?
Society has taught that sex is natural. It should just come naturally. Always.
This is not true.
Genuine long-term intimacy is created.
Women often have to learn how the sex thing works. Men often have to learn how his woman works.
It’s knowledge. It’s created. It isn’t just natural.
The infatuation we felt when we were younger and couldn’t stop ourselves, was a phase in our life.
Mind you, a great one, but it doesn’t last forever.
Real intimacy takes effort from both sides.
I think some men struggle with thinking “If you have to work at it, then something is really wrong”.
When in all reality, it is normal to need to work on intimacy in your marriage.
Working on Intimacy is Natural
NO one talks about this!
Most women have to work at it, and they have for a long time.
Now the roles are reversed as we age, and some men are willing to settle and say, “Well this is my lot in life, I guess the good years are over”.
If we rely on DESIRE to create enough intimacy for a healthy marriage, no one would be having enough intimacy for a healthy marriage!
Hormones change. Our bodies change.
It is not a sign of weakness to discover these changes and decide to be proactive.
It’s actually on the contrary! It is taking control of your life and choosing a better way!
It is not a weakness.
You are experiencing changes, you have NO control over.
Just as women need to take responsibility for their sexuality and to connect to their sexual being, husbands need to be willing to discover how to keep that connection going too.
Even when their testosterone isn’t revving its engine.
Will there be adjustments as we age? Of course. Each couple will have their own story.
I have heard of couples who kept each other going until the day they died.
Other couples will have health challenges that will create obstacles to get through.
But the most crucial piece is that each partner is willing to do their part to assure their spouse feels that intimate connection with them.
What You Can Do To Change This
“Sex starts in the mind. The mind is the most powerful sex organ.”
(Laura M. Brotherson, LMFT, CST, CFLE Her book; Knowing Her Intimately Pg 23)
There are healthy relationship based things we can choose to do to create and increase our desire.
But it is going to take a conscious effort. You will need to stop relying on testosterone to get you there.
It’s you choosing to be intentional.
Did you know talking about sex often creates sex?
Husbands, sit down with your wife and read a book on intimacy together. (Purchasing these books needs careful research to find real, genuine, non-pornographic, marriage building material)
Discuss ways you can create that desire. Set her up for success, and wives set him up for success.
Flirt. But it can’t be one-sided.
What You Can Do As a Husband and Wife
Husbands, it will help you if you take the initiative to flirt with your wife.
Talk to her. Allow her to share with you.
In your younger years, it was easy for you to send a message/text from work saying you’ve been thinking about her.
Because chances are, your desire for her broke through your single-task focus and it was a natural longing for her.
Now you need to choose to create that consciously.
Think about your wife during the day. Wait till a feeling arises and then share that with her.
Otherwise, you will continue to go through your days and weeks, missing out on those moments you could have created.
Wives, we should be doing the same thing.
I have enjoyed Laura Brotherson’s book, Knowing Her Intimately; 12 Keys For Creating a Sextraordinary Marriage.
It is an excellent resource for wives to understand how to connect to their sexual being. But it also sets husbands up for success understanding their wives sexually.
I’ve had younger wives tell me that they have a higher sex drive than their man.
I imagine some men think to themselves when they hear this, “You lucky son of a gun!”.
No doubt hormones could play a part in this as well.
He may not have as high of testosterone as he would like, but sometimes it can come down to the chase.
Sometimes It’s About The Chase
Does he even have an opportunity to want her? Or is she always the one hunting him?
Roles can be reversed here too.
When men are always on the chase, never allowing their wife to have an opportunity to approach him, it can shut down her desire as well.
But ladies, if your man is willing to back off a little bit, you need to follow through with being the initiator, or he will struggle to trust you.
And vice versa for the men.
If your wife’s drive seems to drive you away, set her up for success.
Ask her to let you want her, and then follow through.
Once again, all I shared up above with lowering testosterone, applies to this situation as well for the spouse who struggles with desire.
Desire is created. Relying on our libido will set you up for failure.
You will be missing out on lots of opportunities to create this connection.
Society’s View On Sex
Pornography distorts a person’s reality of sex.
The effects of it often don’t come for awhile. And can linger long after the participation has stopped.
But it is such a battle because society shares that it is okay, and will add to your love life.
It actually robs you of your love life, for both the user and the partner.
But it is hard for men to accept this, because society paints pornography as normal and healthy.
And if they stop doing it, why are they still struggling?
Luckily science is finally proving the effects of masturbation and pornography on individuals and marriages.
The research coming out now and for a while is showing how damaging it is.
Dr. Sue Johnson shares in her book Love Sense, “The growing craze for internet porn is a catastrophe for healthy love relationships precisely because it negates emotional connection.”
Pornography is now one of the leading causes of erectile dysfunction.
70% of young men who struggle with ED admit to using porn.
Laura M. Brotherson shares in her book, Knowing Her Intimately; 12 Keys for Creating a Sextraordinary Marriage, some of the damaging effects research has found on the emotional connection in intimate relationships(Pg 9):
- Rating partners as less attractive.
- Being less satisfied with their partners’ sexual performance
- Greater desire for sex without emotional involvement.
- More sexual callousness.
- Trying to get partners to act out scenes from pornographic films.
- More likely to have an affair.
- Using more sexual terms to describe women.
- Less child-centeredness during marriage.
- Engaging in more behavioral aggression.
- Engaged in marital rape.
The good news is, it’s never too late to decide we want to change.
What Can You Do?
Clinicians are finding that if men can abstain from porn for a period of time, their physiology eventually recalibrates, their sexual performance improves, and their libido rekindles. (Love Sense pg 144 by Dr. Sue Johnson)
If this is your particular situation finding a sex therapist who specializes in sex addiction will most likely be your best option.
I would advise you to find a good referral.
As well as approach the situation with love and kindness for both partners.
Shaming and anger will only resort to creating a more significant challenge.
Intimacy in Marriage is Created
Long-term relationships have the ability to share a level of intimacy that cannot be recreated elsewhere.
It’s the longevity of the relationship that allows for this pure form of connection.
Dr. Sue Johnson shares, “For secure partners rigorous studies and surveys show that the thrill can last indefinitely. This excitement is not the explosive lust of first infatuation but a deeper exhilaration that rises from knowing someone profoundly.” (pg 130)
“Science today is offering us a new understanding of sexuality: mature sexuality grows from and flourishes in a secure sense of attachment to others.”(pg 145)
Sexual desire is created.
We have to make the conscious choice that we will make this a priority in our marriage.
If you are still waiting and hoping for the “natural” infatuation to kick in one day, you will be sorely disappointed.
We both play a part in this.
You have to choose to be intentional.
That great saying from Hockey Hall of Famer Wayne Gretzky fits this situation well, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”
The shots don’t make themselves.
You have to choose to take the shot!
What are you doing to create more intimacy connection in your marriage?