My husband considers himself sexually blessed these days. He gets to have sex as often as he likes. Every act, position, and “prop” he’s requested, he’s gotten. There are a couple things I’m having a hard time with doing, but I’m working on them and he certainly isn’t suffering from my efforts to improve! He has a wife who expresses her desire for him frequently. He knows he is wanted. He knows he is loved.

It’s good for us, and it’s good for him. But for me? Eh, there’s still a way to go.

He used to want sex every single day because he wasn’t experiencing it nearly enough. Every day, he was still trying to get caught up from his starvation diet. Now that he is fully fed, so to speak, we’ve learned  what his natural preferred rhythm would be for this time in his life.

During all the years when I was caught up in the rhythms and energy of gatekeeping and refusing, I never learned how to ask for anything sexually. Ever. Very early in our marriage, I would sometimes touch his hand in a certain way, and that would be my way of initiating. Or I would sometimes offer, “I guess we could go have sex.” But I never asked for anything specifically to please me. For the first year and a half of our marriage, I wasn’t experiencing orgasms (a post for another day), so I didn’t figure there was any point. How can you ask for what feels good when you don’t even know? After that, I was so caught up in sleep deprivation and the physical exhaustion of parenting young children that I wanted sex to be quick most of the time—and when it wasn’t, my husband was doing a good enough job of giving me what I needed that it never occurred to me to learn to ask.

So here I am, wanting more. I still struggle with initiating sex at times, especially when my husband is in a low T slump of low desire and I don’t want to give him an occasion to feel less than a man. (He’s said that’s how he feels sometimes when I ask and he doesn’t have the desire or when his body doesn’t seem to want to cooperate.) I initiate a lot. After all the years of being selfish in the marriage bed and working so hard to change that selfishness, I now struggle with the ability to think of what I want and know that I should be able to ask for it. And sometimes, he isn’t interested or he doesn’t have the energy to do something just for me. He’s going through some difficult medication changes and has recently started a new job. I know that’s draining, and I can see that he’s truly tired. Even though I understand it, it still hurts when I crave a connection with him (and yes, I want an orgasm, too) and am told “no.”

And when it comes to asking for a specific act or touch once we get going? Even now that I know what I want, I still have a hard time asking for one particular thing. Here’s something my husband did for me that helped. When I redirected him in some way or let him know that something he did felt good, he described it in words so I would get used to hearing it voiced. (“Do you like it when I abc  you on your xyz?”) After I got better at that, he would pause and have me fill in some of the words. Just last week (you’d think I could do this by now), he had to say the words so I could repeat after him. And when I finally tried to put the whole sentence together by myself, I still buried my face in his shoulder because I felt so shy about it. Certainly, there are times when I have no trouble being very demanding and very explicit, but I’m not completely comfortable all the time, and I want to be.

Clearly, I still have work ahead of me. I need to get more comfortable with being able to understand what I want and be able to ask for it without embarrassment. And my husband and I need to figure out this new rhythm between us—how to handle different paces of desire and a daily need for connection.

I suspect that we will never be done figuring this all out, and that’s probably a good thing. The process of figuring it out will continue to draw my husband and me closer together as we figure out what it means to be one flesh.

Image courtesy of Ambro /

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11 Thoughts on “Learning to Ask: The Transformation Is Not Complete

  1. livinginblurredlines on April 23, 2013 at 5:28 pm said:

    I have a hard time asking for specifics in bed for my pleasure because literally every time I work up the gumption to, hubby gets upset and sarcastic at me. I have asked him why and he won’t give me a straight answer. I have never refused him. I am adventerous and enthusiastic in be. He’s the gatekeeper. My heart is broken that despite discussing this with him, he doesn’t get it. I can’t get it through his head, so I pray God gets it through his heart.

    • I’m so sorry. Asking and being turned out, especially without an attempt at kindness, must hurt so deeply.I will add my prayers to yours for a heart change in your husband.

      • livinginblurredlines on April 24, 2013 at 9:06 am said:

        Thank you. It is so weird because over all he is a great husband and enviable father. He obviously finds me attractive, he compliments, cares for me, we have fun together, tells me I am beautiful and very sexy, he’s always looking at me, touching me…he dances with me, kisses me, hugs me many times a day, he tells me he loves me many times a day….he praises me no end to other people. But we have this hang up….and it is nothing unusual and in fact acts he introduced into our relationship. In turn I have spent our marriage in prayer and practice being a generous, loving, forgiving wife, always praying for God to remove beams in my own eyes. The rejection hurts. The lack of caring and wanting hurts, even when he does take care of me that way. But it also hurts that he doesn’t feel pleasured and blessed giving me pleasure. I want him to feel that freedom! No matter how much it hurts to give to hubby in bed the way he wants where only he gets climax/release, it still blesses me to bless him. I believe this is a stronghold Satan has on our marriage because it affects me so deeply and can drive a wedge in our marriage. I appreciate your prayers.

  2. Janna94 on April 24, 2013 at 10:35 am said:

    I just wanted to share with you that I recently just saw a link to your blog via the-generous-wife. I have been checking out different “marriage” blogs this past year and have been trying to change. When I read yours, even though I had never heard the terms “gate-keeper” and “refuser” used in these terms, I knew that those words were me. I have found that I relate more to you then the many other blogs I have read, and this blog has been eye-opening to me. I have made the decision to say “yes”, to no longer refuse and be the gate-keeper I have been in my 18 1/2 years of marriage. I know that there will be days that this will be very difficult, I’m just praying that the Spirit will be the reminder and strength I need when those time arise. Thank you for sharing your journey and Blessing to you and your marriage.

    • Thank you for your comment. Sadly, I think there are many wives who can relate to all this. I’m so glad you’ve decided to make some changes. What is your next step? Stay encouraged, be patient with yourself, and extend some grace to your husband as he, too, begins to heal and move forward. Blessings to you.

      • Janna94 on April 24, 2013 at 11:23 am said:

        So far my next step has been to say “yes” when he’s made advances, and not just in the bedroom but even to the hugs and kisses when he leaves or returns home from work. My tendency has been, when I’m not in the mood I keep all physical affection away so he wouldn’t “get any ideas”. I have talked to him some and he definitely sees a change but I haven’t come right out and said, “I won’t say no.” What is the next step after that?

        • That sounds like an excellent beginning! I don’t think there’s any one “right” next step. How long have you been saying “yes”? One thing might be to just stick with that for a month or six weeks until it becomes automatic, something you don’t even have to think about. Once you are engaged in sexual activity, how involved are you? For me, the first step was to at least show up 100% and fully participate when we were having sex. Saying “yes” all the time was my second step.If you are pretty passive during sex, you could try being more involved. Another idea would be to make a point to initiate once every week or two. Or make a point to touch him outside the bedroom. Instead of just accepting his hugs and kisses, offer yours to him. One of the first things my husband seemed to notice after I began to make some changes was that the next day, I would talk about our sex the night before. Even “I had a nice time with you” was appreciated, as in the past, I would insist on not even talking about sex the next day (because, you know, I wouldn’t want him to get any more ideas or anything).

          It sounds like you’re already making some progress, and that is wonderful.


  3. Good post. It is amazing all the ways we communicate in unintended ways. Love what you said.

  4. Bluemoon on May 2, 2013 at 2:07 pm said:

    I think it’s wonderful that you recognize your limits, you had the courage to communicate them to your husband and expressed a desire to grow beyond your limits. There is something very loving about giving your spouse what they have asked for in a very intimate way. It’s a confirmation of being loved and desired. I pray that your confidence continues to grow.

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