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.
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