Sometimes sex requires gymnastics—not during sex itself, but in my mind before I can even have sex.
Learning to have sex when I didn’t feel like it was a huge part of my process of change. When I began to make the effort to change myself in the marriage bed, so many times I would lie there waiting, having to talk myself through what was coming:
It’s just sex. It’s just a few minutes. Your marriage needs it. You will both be glad you did it. It’s okay if you don’t know what to say or do. Let it happen.
Frankly, even since I began to change, I’ve had sex plenty of times when I haven’t really felt like it.
I don’t feel like having sex when . . .
- I’m preoccupied with something.
- My stomach or sinuses are feeling icky.
- I haven’t had much emotional connection with my husband recently.
- My sex drive just hasn’t been happening.
- I’m tired.
- I feel frumpy and unsexy.
However, I understand that sex is important—not just to my husband, but to me as well. I know that the connection we experience will help me feel closer to him. The post-orgasm hormones will help with pain relief for a while. It’s a good way to get my mind off something worrisome. I can help me fall asleep (when it doesn’t wake me up, that is).
I know sex is good for me, and I know that it is good for my marriage—but when my husband is interested and I’m not, it’s still a tough transition from whatever I’m doing in my head to sexy lady of the bedroom.
That’s where the mental gymnastics come in.
When I don’t feel like having sex, I do it anyway—with cheer and generosity, not just a sense of duty. My mental gymnastics move me from “I don’t feel like it” to “let’s get it on!”
It isn’t always easy. We had a day recently when I’d been feeling emotionally disconnected from my husband. Our sexual frequency had been down (which makes it harder rather than easier for me to want to be sexual), and my husband gave me several indications throughout the day that he wanted us to do something that night.
Without even being aware of it at first, I began to go through the same old thought process I’d gone through for years:
Sex. I so do not feel like having sex. I just want to go to bed and read my book and not have to use any energy at all. Hmm . . . I wonder if I can talk him into watching another episode of this show instead. He insists on getting to sleep at the same time every night, and that would put us too close for him to want to do anything. Have I said anything yet today about feeling bad that I can use as an excuse?
At that point, I realized what I was doing. So I began the gymnastics routine I’ve developed for myself.
- I closed my eyes and took ten deep breaths to relax myself.
- Instead of thinking about sex, I brought to mind the positive, loved feeling I have after sex.
- I thought about how nice it was to feel that way and how it had been a while since I’d felt it.
- I reminded myself that sex was the best way for my husband to experience an emotional connection with me.
- I thought how nice it was that he wanted that connection with me.
- I thought about how loved he would feel—and that reminded me of how loved I would feel as well.
- I reminded myself of some of God’s truths about sex.
- I told myself that sex is for me, too, even when my husband is the one who makes the request.
- I thought about what I could do during sex that would make my husband smile.
- I smiled and realized I had just made a perfect landing. My routine was over, and I was ready.
When we’ve avoided sex for years, “I don’t feel like it” is such an automatic response to a sexual advance. Fortunately, we can overcome that response and get ourselves ready to have sex anyway.
It’s rare these days that I don’t feel like it, but the gymnastics routine is worth it every time.
Image courtesy of Vlado / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
For more on this subject:
- Overcoming Sexual Objections: He Wants a Wild-Cat in Bed. That’s Not Me.
- “Sex is About You Too,” Calm.Healthy.Sexy.
- “3 Reasons Not to “Give Your Husband More Sex,” Calm.Healthy.Sexy.