“Do you feel like having sex?” he would ask me.
Most times, I would seriously think about it: Do I feel aroused in any way? Is there something else I need or want to be doing instead? Do I feel connected to Big Guy right now? Do I at least not feel disconnected from him? Do I feel like having sex?
And out loud, I would tell the truth: “No, I don’t feel like having sex right now.”
Big Guy stopped at the grocery store on his way home from work a few days ago. As he was putting groceries away in the fridge (yes, I know how fortunate I am to have a husband that does that!), I broke away from putting dishes away to scratch his back.
He stopped what he was doing and completely melted.
He hadn’t been expecting a back scratch. He hadn’t even particularly wanted one—but as soon as he was in the middle of one, he experienced the deliciousness of having his back scratched and he wanted more.
Walking into the house, he didn’t have a particular desire for a backrub—but as soon as I evoked that desire in him, he enjoyed it immensely.
Sex is similar with a lot of women. We don’t go around in a state of arousal thinking about whether we’re in the mood for sex. We are so busy multi-tasking that sex isn’t the most prominent thing in our minds. It may not even be on the mental back-burner.
When our husbands ask us if we desire sex, the answer quite truthfully is no.
Sex should be mutually desired by both parties—but perhaps we need to be a bit more generous about what that actually means.
For most of my marriage, I thought desire meant this: if I’m not already somewhat aroused when he initiates sex, then I am not in the mood. Therefore, we shouldn’t have sex.
I know first-hand that this attitude can hurt a marriage.
Marriage is a sexual relationship. Sex isn’t the only part of marriage, and it may not be the most important part of marriage (although I’ve seen vigorous debate about this). However, sex is a vital part of what makes a marriage a marriage.
Our sex life revolved around my sexual arousal and interest. This was unfair to my husband. “No” was the default answer.
It likewise would have been unfair for our sex life to revolve around my husband’s sexual arousal and interest, with “now” being the default expectation.
I was loving myself more than my husband. I was self-centered and thought only about what I wanted at the time.
Certainly there were times when my “no” was a reflection of exhaustion or illness. I confess, though, that more often than not, my “no” was simply because I didn’t feel like having sex.
If I wasn’t already in the mood, sex simply didn’t happen.
What if I had changed how I thought about what it means to be in the mood and feel like having sex?
When Big Guy would ask me if I felt like having sex, I was thinking of all the wrong questions.
Instead of Do I feel aroused in any way?, I should have asked, Could I become aroused?
Instead of Is there something else I need or want to be doing instead?, I should have asked Can I give my husband thirty minutes of my time? Is there a reason the other things need to be done right now?
Instead of Do I feel connected to Big Guy right now? Do I at least not feel disconnected from him?, I should have asked myself Will I feel more connected if I have sex?
Instead of Do I feel like having sex?, I should have asked Will I enjoy sex after we get going?
Instead of defining “in the mood” as a reflection of my physical arousal, I could have redefined it as “wanting to connect with my husband.”
“Do you feel like having sex?” With a redefinition that included the connection outcome of sex and not just the physical readiness, the answer might well have been “yes” a lot more than it was.
Many of us find that even though we don’t physically desire sex or have it even in the back of our minds, if we allow ourselves to experience it, we can enjoy it a great deal.
My husband didn’t feel like having his back scratched the other day—but as soon as he sank into the experience, he felt very loved and content.
Quite a few of the times I answered “no,” the answer just as easily could have been “yes”—and I would have been very, very happy that it was.
The next time your husband asks if you feel like having sex, think before you respond. Is it possible that you will enjoy sex once you get going? Could you sink into the deliciousness of sex? Will your marriage benefit from you and your husband feeling connected to each other?
Be generous in your definition of “in the mood” and see what a difference it can make.
See these related posts from Bonny’s OysterBed7:
Image courtesy of Canva.com