Sometimes Big Guy would say, “I want you to be more passionate. I want you to desire me.”
Huh? I can’t be something I’m not or make myself feel something I don’t.
I imagined how“passionate” would look; several images popped into my head. I pictured a woman who wanted sex all the time, just like my husband seemed to—and not only did she want it, she was aroused and ready to go at the very thought of sex. And she completely enjoyed sex, too. Unlike me, she had no stray thoughts pop into her head.
She was a tigress.
She most definitely was not me.
He wanted me to be something I was not, with a nature far different than my actual nature—kind of a female version of him.
Why can’t he accept me for who I am? I would wonder. Why does he want me to pretend I’m something I’m not? What’s wrong with the way I am? Why can’t he love me anyway?
I thought my body was broken because it didn’t get aroused at the drop of a hat. I thought our marriage was fundamentally flawed because the sight of my husband didn’t “do it” for me, like the sight of me did for him.
His desire for me to be different was a source of hurt for me. I felt unloved and unaccepted as I was.
When I began to change my approach to sexual intimacy, the first thing I accomplished was to become more engaged during sex. I figured this would definitely count as “passionate.”
When a stray thought popped into my head, I would push it away. I made myself relax. I focused on being content with how close I felt to my husband. I began to relax and enjoy our time having sex.
Eventually that enjoyment translated into thinking about sex when I was away from the bedroom. I didn’t crave the sexual release, and I certainly wasn’t walking around in a state of arousal—but I was definitely feeling more passionate in terms of wanting to have sex and looking forward to it.
Even when I’m “meh” about the prospect of an orgasm, I often crave the physical connection because of the emotional connection that will result.
I initiate a lot of the sexual teasing in our marriage. Surely, this is part of passionately desiring my husband, I would think.
A Matter of Desire
Over the past few years, I’ve been intentional about approaching sex enthusiastically. “Do you feel loved?” I have often asked Big Guy. “Yes, I do.”
Recently I was part of an online discussion that had veered into wives showing desire and passion for their husbands. The discussion prompted me to ask my husband if he felt wanted by me; he said he did.
The next day, I asked him again, saying, “Do you feel desired by me?” He hesitated, and then he said no.
Huh??!!! After all the changes I’ve made and all the sexual teasing I initiate . . . no?
He explained that he equates desire with a physical need for sex and that he simply doesn’t see that from me much–although he knows I love him and enjoy sex with him. Sigh.
I have come to feel more passionate. I desire my husband. I think sexually, and I express my sexual interest in him often.
Yet . . . he was not seeing this at all.
Once again, I was feeling like I was being asked to be something I’m not—but then I realized that to an extent, it is a matter of translation.
I read my husband a list of suggestions from other men about what speaks desire and passion to them. He really liked those ideas, which basically were examples of ways to initiate sex assertively enough to communicate, “I need you now.”
It wasn’t quite what I’d pictured in the past, of a woman who wanted sex all the time and who was constantly aroused. Instead, the picture was of a woman who experiences moments of needing—urgently—to sexually connect with her husband.
She is a tigress—just not all the time. I can work with that.
I cannot pretend to be what I am not. I can, however, translate what I am feeling emotionally into a sexual expression that will speak to my husband. I can communicate what I am feeling honestly, and in a way that speaks desire and passion to my husband.
- I may not be aroused at the sight of my husband—but I can train my mind to let the sight of him remind me how much I enjoy sexually connecting with him.
- I can truthfully tell him I want him—even though my body may not yet be aroused.
- Even without the urgency of needing a physical release, I can communicate a need to feel one with him.
- I can honestly specify an activity that I want him to do to a particular part of my body, even if I will need his help getting me to a point where I’m ready for that.
- I can express my desire for sexual connection in a way that communicates urgency.
All these things are true. They do not require me to be something I am not, or to pretend something that I don’t feel.
Now that I know what his need is and that I can do so in a way that is authentic, I will make some changes. I told him that I will try to integrate some of those ideas into my interactions with him.
To See and to Accept
Expressing my desire for Big Guy in a way that he perceives as passionate is something I can do for him.
However, our sex life is not just about him. Our conversation included changes I will try to make, but it also included something for him to work on.
I pointed out the many things I do to express my desire for him—all of which he has observed and appreciated. I said, “Every time I’ve done one of those things, I have been expressing my desire for you. You’ve missed seeing a lot of what I’ve communicated over the years. Maybe you could work on seeing these things as I intended them.”
Intimacy in marriage includes knowing and accepting each other. My husband needs to accept that my sexuality is different from his, and he needs to accept that what I will give him in the form of my expression is the best way I can translate my feelings into his being desired.
At the same time, I need to accept that my husband needs to feel sexually desirable to me.
We have a sex-positive marriage, yet this is an area where we were completely missing each other. Now that we know what we’ve been missing, we can both move in the right direction—toward each other.
Image courtesy of anankkml at FreeDigitalPhotos.net