For so many years of our marriage, I thought my husband valued me only for sex.
He would tell me I was beautiful, say that he loved me, and hold me when I cried . . . and I thought it was just so he could have sex. After all, it seemed that he paid attention to me the most right before he asked for sex.
I was convinced that he saw me as little more than a vessel or human masturbatory sleeve. As crude as it sounds, it is what I truly believed.
It was a major factor in my resistance to sex. Why would I want to do something that was just for him that would remind me of how unimportant I was?
Due to a legitimate biological need for the release of semen, my husband was driven to distraction when he wasn’t having enough sex. Although he said that what he wanted was intimacy, the physical need for release often seemed to drive him. While he wanted me to enjoy sex, too, he was often somewhat desperately focused on his own orgasm.
Many of our sexual encounters ended up being quickies. He was desperate for release and for a semblance of intimacy, and I was desperate to get it over with. Although this wasn’t what he truly wanted in intimacy, it was what he often asked for because I was more willing to give him my body for a few minutes than try to truly connect with him sexually.
His desperation for his orgasm reinforced my belief that all he wanted me for was sex. (See He Only Wants Me for Sex.) Even more, my continual resistance to sex convinced my husband that he needed to take me up on the opportunity before I changed my mind.
He said that what he wanted was intimacy and emotional connection, but I truly didn’t believe him. He said he wanted my desire for him, and I didn’t believe that, either.
My husband is now a middle-aged man (see Sex in the Middle) with a willing wife, so the old desperation from a combination of his youth and my resistance has largely been replaced by an appreciation for the journey as well as the destination.
For several years now, sex has been mutual most of the time. One of us initiates and then we both make sure the other one has a good time. We also have times of complete giving, from one to the other, where the entire purpose of the encounter is to bless the other one with care and attention. Sex is an emotional connection with a physical pathway.
I believe that Big Guy values the emotional connection of sex and not just the physical. I believe that he values my own sexual pleasure as much as his own.
But . . .
. . . these are things I believe because I have decided to believe them (sort of like when he tells me I am beautiful or that he would die for me). I believe them because I have made a choice to assume the truth of his words to me about our marriage.
Most of the time, I believe it all in my heart, too—but there are still moments when I wonder if it’s really true. About once a year, I start to question whether I’ve fallen for a big scam. I never doubt for long. All I have to do is look at the many ways our marriage is better now. I see all the ways my husband loves me well, and it is easy to believe again. But yes, I have moments when I doubt that my husband values the emotional intimacy and my pleasure as much as he does his own happy ending.
This week, for the first time in a while, my husband was driven to distraction by his physical need despite the fact that he had not been experiencing a lack of sex.
He told me what he wanted: a good orgasm that happened as soon as possible. He admitted that he was so distracted that he was finding it difficult to think about taking care of me, too. He wanted something quick and focused on his orgasm.
For many years, this kind of request from my husband led me to great distress. I would have been convinced, again, of his perception of me as nothing more than an orgasm tool. I would have either given in, feeling a lot of resentment, or said no, also feeling a lot of resentment.
So I here I was the other day, facing a situation that used to upset me a great deal.
Now, however, I know that my husband values me in many ways. He shows me—in bed and out of it, every single day. I know that if I had a similar need, my husband would take care of me well.
Whereas his request would have once caused a rift between us for days, now it reminded me of all the ways we have built intimacy between us.
In a clear indication of the change in my heart, I realized that I was thrilled. My husband felt sexually safe enough to ask me for something quick and just for him! He could trust me with his desires. I was so happy to be reminded of how far we’ve come, and I immediately got to work doing what he needed. I was enthusiastic and accommodating.
The experience did nothing for me sexually, but I was emotionally engaged and overwhelmed by the fact that my husband felt safe enough to ask for something quick. I was happy to be doing what I was doing because I wanted to bless my husband.
What happened next surprised us both.
We accomplished our goal (which was not the surprising part). After we were done, my husband looked puzzled and sad. Really, Big Guy? I thought. You were sad after that?
I asked him if he was okay. He thought for a minute, giving me sad eyes.
“It didn’t feel real,” he said. “You were there, but you weren’t into it. Without you wanting to enjoy it with me and with me not caring about your enjoyment, it just felt . . . empty.”
He knew I was willing and giving. He knew that he hadn’t taken anything that I hadn’t offered—yet something was missing.
Despite my efforts and obvious willingness, he felt like he was using me as a vessel. It left him feeling emotionally unfulfilled.
Big Guy has had several years of very fulfilling sex in his marriage. He treasures my complete participation and our mutual enjoyment.
Without these things, sex feels empty to him.
This wasn’t the first quickie since our marriage has changed. However, it was the first one in which he was so distracted by his own need for release that he wasn’t thinking about mine.
I had chosen to believe what he says about emotional intimacy and my enjoyment, but I didn’t fully believe in my heart.
My husband had always known he valued our intimacy and our enjoyment, but even he was surprised by the contrast between a non-mutual quickie and the intimacy we usually have.
Now I’ve seen with my own eyes a truth I hadn’t fully believed—a sadness that came from non-mutual sex.
It was a sadness that had probably been in his eyes for many years.
Now that I have truly seen it for the first time, I believe that he wants me for far more than an orgasm. I believe that he cherishes my pleasure as much as my own.
Neither of us will ever doubt again how much emotional intimacy and mutual enjoyment matter to us.
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