Like many men, my husband has a one-track mind.
That isn’t to say that he only thinks about one thing ever. It’s more that he only ever thinks of one thing at a time.
When he is thinking about what he wants to eat, that is what he is thinking about. When he sees an interesting article on his Facebook feed, he reads it right away and then is done. If he is thinking about sex, that is all he is thinking about (and trust me, that definitely has its benefits for me!). When he is on the computer, he has only one browser window open at a time, with only one tab. The same can be said for his mind.
Me, though? I don’t have a one-track mind. I always have multiple things on my mind—what we’re having for dinner, upcoming bills that need to be paid, whether my husband has clean socks to wear to work the next day, what appointments I need to schedule, current projects, the grocery list, the weather forecast, and so on. I have a mind made of tangled-up Christmas tree lights, and all the lights are on.
When I’m on the computer, I’ll see something that captures my interest and will open it in a separate browser tab to come back to later when I can give it more focused attention. Or I’ll start working on something and then realize that I need to go to some research before I come back to it—but I don’t want to lose where I was, so the tab stays open. Or I’ll decide I need to go to something else so my mind has a chance to percolate what I’ve been working on. I’ll move back and forth between the tabs, closing some and opening others.
It is typical for me to have around 30 tabs open at any one time. One time my husband asked me to count my tabs; I had 53.
Whereas my husband’s mind uses only one browser window and one tab at a time, I always have multiple open tabs up and running. At the moment, I am thinking about this post, hoping we have Dijon mustard for the recipe I’m using for dinner, trying to figure out the best way to describe fried cheese curds, remembering that I need to start the rice cooker, and wondering if I remember how to write a limerick—and that’s on top of the on-going projects I haven’t had a chance to tackle yet today but are on the mental back burner.
Our ways of thinking—his one-track mind vs. my multiple-browser-tab approach—can make sex just a little interesting.
When my husband is in the sex zone, that is all he is thinking about—what he wants to do, how he feels, what he can do for and to me, how awesome I look, how much he loves, me, and . . . well, you get the picture. When his mind is on sex, the train on that one live track is rarin’ to go.
But here’s what happens: Big Guy’s train will be midway through the journey to Happy Town, and I’ll still be back at the station, trying to close all my browser tabs so I can get in gear and join him on the journey.
Just imagine . . . he will be intensely kissing me, thinking about how much he likes kissing me. I’ll pull away and say something like, “Hey, don’t forget to remind me that I need to get toilet cleaner.”
Mentioning something has always been what I do in order to get it out of my mind. Saying that I need to get toilet cleaner allows me to close that mental tab. When I am trying to focus on sex, my inclination is to blurt out random things so I can clear them from my mind.
For Big Guy, however, my random comments during sexual activity are something of a mood-killer. Because he thinks of only one thing at a time, he has assumed that if I mention something it’s because that is the one thing I am thinking about.
For a long time, he thought it was because I would prefer to think about cleaning the toilet than having sex with him. We would both come away feeling unloved—him because he thought I wasn’t thinking about him and me because he got upset with me when I was trying to focus on sex. It dampened the connective value of the sex we had (if we actually had sex, seeing as how sometimes my comments would lead to a big argument and sex just wouldn’t happen).
I would come away feeling even more disconnected from Big Guy than I had before our encounter—and every negative sexual experience became one more challenge the next time I thought about having sex.
A lot of my work in our marriage has been about improving self-awareness and communication. Several things help me deal with my many open mental browser tabs during sex.
Communicate. The most important thing I did was to explain to my husband that my random blurts were my efforts to focus. I am trying to eliminate the distraction of all that is .in my mind. He really hadn’t known this. Once he did, he was better able to not take it personally or get angry.
Time for transition. When I have time to wrap up tendrils of thought, make notes about things I need to attend to later, and generally close out a lot of what is happening in my mind, I am better prepared to focus on sex. My mind starts to shift from to-do-list mode to sex mode. If I have twenty minutes of transition time, I’ll be starting sex with far fewer browser tabs open. A slow start to sex aids this transition even more.
Acknowledge and move on. Now that my husband knows what is going on, if I blurt out something during sex, I can simply tell him I’m closing a browser tab and he knows it is because I want to be more fully present with him. Sometimes he’ll even ask me if I have any other tabs I need to close and will patiently wait while I say all the things I need to in order to close out those tabs.
Overwhelm the senses. Although a slow start to sex can aid with the mental transition, I’ve also found that overwhelming my senses with sexiness can help. Scented candles that we use only for sex, the feeling of silky lingerie, romantic music, putting scented lotion on, a good massage, or a barrage of simultaneous sexual sensations can all help me forget all about those browser tabs. It’s a way of enlisting the body in overwhelming the mind.
Let it go. When a random thought pops into my head, I sometimes find myself just telling myself to let it go. If it’s important enough, I’ll think of it again later (I hope).
Are you a multiple-browser-tab woman married to a man with a one-track mind? If this has affected your sex life, how do you close those tabs so you can get on track with your husband?
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