I’m often asked during one of my counseling sessions by confused men “why their partners aren’t interested in sex?” I hear from men who are frustrated that “they need to give a 2 hour massage before they can get laid”. For many women I speak to they are frustrated and often irked by their partners because of normal life issues. And if they are miffed at their guys, usually the last thing they want to do is to get naked with them.
It may not seem fair but the need to feel close and connected is one of the fundamentals for women to get uninhibited in the bedroom. Yes, passion can flair during a one-night-stand, but if you really want to know what buttons to push then making a partner feel noticed, appreciated, and emotionally close will throw open the doors to really hot sex. I don’t think men have to be perfectly behaved 100% of the time but they do have to hit women’s “connection button” before women become more interested in being the sexually open partner their men remember.
While men can compartmentalize sex, most women can’t. Women like to think they can just have sex for sex’s sake, but those pesky hormones get in the way. In the case of feeling loved to be horny, it’s all about oxytocin – the cuddle hormone. Women need to feel bonded to get in the mood. And if their partners have been dumbasses throughout the day they feel disconnected. And for most (although not all) women, fighting turns down their sex drive significantly. That doesn’t mean you have to do everything she wants in order to get some action. It means that doing things that make her specifically feel close will overcome any of your daily shortcomings. For example, in my case I’m verbal. Telling me you love me- even if we haven’t had much time together, will cause me to melt and feel close. For other women, it’s doing things that make her life easier. Throwing in a load of laundry, or straightening up the bedroom will go a long way in settling down our daily OCD and making us receptive to sex.
The challenge for most men however, is that they feel loved when they are touched. And touch leads to sexy thoughts. It’s not quite the old adage “that most men want sex to feel close, and women need to feel close to have sex” but there is lots of truth in that statement. The truth is that sex (actually ejaculation) brings down men’s energy and ups their desire to cuddle and connect emotionally. Often the ‘sperm brain phenomenon” gets in the way of the intimacy that women crave. Both men and women need a more accurate, and better communicated list of what they truly need from their mate in order to be sexual.
Doug and Leslie Gustafson have a great quote on the dialogue between men and women before sex.
“Most men have no history of positive role models for how to treat women, what real intimacy looks like and how to translate their needs for closeness into a positive way of pursuing their lover. And this is the rub! Think about it. Women want men who open up their feminine heart and body skillfully. Like a finely wrapped gift, they don’t want the beautiful wrapping paper and ribbon hurriedly ripped off, wadded up and tossed into the garbage. They want to experience profound safety, honor and excitement in how men approach them, hold them and ask to be inside. Men, on the other hand, are quite capable of “paving the way” to intimacy — after the fact. They surrender to their feminine, touchy-feely side during and after sex. During and after!
What a chasm in timing. Men want sex, which helps move them into a deeper connection with all their emotional wants and needs. Women want that deeper connection before the bedroom door opens. Ultimately, they both want the same thing. Passionate, rock-the-bed-stand, earthquake sex with souls bared wide open in tenderness, connection and erotic touch. And orgasms that spell not only physical release, but the intersection of two souls who need a deep kind of love suspended in time, delivered with expertise and boat-floating sexiness.”
So what can you do?
Much of it comes down to self-awareness. Knowing what you need and how to articulate it to your partner. As an example, asking for a hug, or saying “I would really like to fool around later”, or just holding your partner without the expectation of sex can pay big dividends later when you do have time for sex. Alternatively trying to be calm and asking for some gentle touch and eye-gazing (even if you are a bit mad) can close the gap you need to be intimate.
It may seem a bit corny but I really like the research on gratitude statements. A gratitude statement is exactly what it sounds like. Showing appreciation and telling your sweetie what you are grateful for. “One study looked at 36 committed couples. They found that even though relationships have ups and downs, they were reliably marked by one person’s feeling of gratitude. The study concluded that everyday gratitude serves as an important relationship maintenance mechanism, acting as a booster shot to the relationship”. The reverse is also true. When partners (especially men) hear complaints, blame or disrespect, it can have a devastating effect on his testosterone. He then feels neglected and very disconnected.
So praise, touch, gratitude, self-awareness and words of love are some of the best advice I can give people on improving the “disconnected” part of their sex lives. The next time you are being rebuffed for sex, try some praise, and words of love. That may be a better way to get some between the sheets action.