Communication between couples has evolved over the last decade. Often they actually negotiate their sexual desires with each other. Whether or not they come to a mutual conclusion is another story. Even television commercials poke fun at the difference in men and women’s libido and their desire for sex. Of course this is a general perspective and definitely there are women who are poking at their men too.
The scope of this article relates to committed relationships. Casual sexual relationships have a whole different dynamic that won’t be explored here. So let’s take an example.
It was an incredible night. Brandon and Emma celebrated their seven-year anniversary at Alinea, a modern Chicago restaurant with excellent reviews. Having had a busy week, they planned a quite evening together. As a law professor at Loyola, Emma worked long hours and at varied times during the week. Brandon traveled as an international broker and this left them juggling for relaxed time together.
After a delicious meal of king crab and scallops, with fine white wine, they walked along the lakefront in Lincoln Park, reflecting back on when they met. The first time in many years, they reminisced about their combined dreams. The night was perfect. The streets were unusually quiet as they visited a couple galleries and enjoyed the city lights.
In the cab ride home they sat quietly enjoying the smell and the warmth of each other’s bodies. Emma felt content as she noticed they were breathing together as one. Once home, already having had a couple drinks, they moved directly into the bedroom. Intimacy had given way to work for the last few months, and they were finally at ease. They crawled into bed and she looked at him adoringly as she kissed him. She thanked him profusely for the wonderful evening. He began to kiss her passionately and his hands began to explore her curves. His expectation and hers collided.
She – had a wonderful night, hadn’t been intimate with him for a long time, has been stressed and busy at work, wants to close her eyes and experience the sensations of being in love and cuddle.
He – finally had time with his wife. Has not had sex with her for weeks. Planned this evening so they could finally be sexual again. Did all the right moves as far as planning goes and is ready to “finish the deal.”
Sound familiar? We could change the names, city, careers, circumstances just like a fill in the blanks puzzle, but overall, internationally, the results are the same.
So, who compromises in the sexual arena and at what cost? Her need and desire is for closeness, commitment, security and love. He desire is for a woman, Emma, who will be there for him, being sexual when he wants her to be, to share activities and the convenience of love.
She responds to romance and sexuality when there is ambiance, connection, closeness and communication. Brandon focuses on his virility and what I refer to as his “puffing peacock” stance. History between Brandon and Emma around negotiating intercourse has shown him this is a precarious time, so he is aware of not triggering any reactions from her.
Nevertheless, whether or not the evening ends with the couple joyfully entangled or not – who’s to know? Maybe you can relate.
Who is responsible for ones sexual expression, sexual desire, and sexual pleasure? This case was not so extreme, but what would you do if you were in a committed relationship or marriage and your partner/spouse continually said no? Is it your moral and religious obligation to stay; to stay faithful and live the rest of your life without being sexual with your wife or husband?
If you are a woman who is sexually unresponsive or non-orgasmic, either due to lack of physical desire (possibly hormonal,) illness, or having a husband who goes straight to the sexual act with no ability or understanding how to engage you and fire your desire; what do you do?
At what point do women add having sex to their list along with doing the laundry, picking up groceries and attending their daughter’s dance recital? When I was in India recently, I sat at the breakfast table before my friend completed his yogic breathing. I had tea and checked my email. Every morning I heard what sounded like a woman having an orgasm. I was with my friend’s family and I didn’t speak Bengali and they didn’t speak English. They didn’t seem to notice, but, nevertheless, I felt embarrassed. I shared this with my friend when he joined me and he said, oh, no, Indian women don’t make noise. Really I asked. He assured me this was true and said she must be praying.
Well, I didn’t buy it! Later we continued our conversation, which lead to American woman being passionate and vocally expressive. I explained this was also a validation to their lover. This discussion of course was destined to end up talking about “faking it.” He had not even conceived of any such behavior by women and ultimately in my need to be right, I searched youtube on my Mac Air and found the famous scene from When Harry Met Sally. (link here) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3hY7_CNuEQY
My friend was astonished and definitely humored by this funny scene. Then, the sound I had been hearing every morning began and I begged, “listen, listen there it is.” He looked at me with surprise and said, “she is praying.” Okay, he was right.
Right or wrong, I believe every sexual relationship has compromise. The hope would be that each person takes his or her share of compromise, but more often it is one person who gives in. What is the cost? Resentment, lack of true intimacy, aggression, depression, marital prostitution; I could go on. Most likely the couples separate at least emotionally, if not physically. Whether an affair ensues or not, there is an unspoken agreement, and they live as roommates, or what I call, married singles.
Delving so deeply into this topic, I yearn for a solution; so here it is. To men I ask that you understand that foreplay is not rubbing up against a woman, telling her about how great you are, or beginning to kiss and fondle her with the expectation of sex. If you don’t have a satisfying pattern of sexuality, or if your intimacy is routine and stagnant, please understand. For most women, foreplay begins at least anywhere from 12 – 72 hours prior to intercourse. Women are sensual and emotional beings. Engage their senses. Get to know your woman. Does she like her back rubbed with scented oil, to have you whisper in her ear or kiss the back of her neck? Is she responsive to the vibe of a candle or burning fire, to jewelry or flowers? Does she become stimulated by a romantic and succulent meal or a night on the town? These behaviors begin long before the sexual encounter.
To women who love men whose sexual desire overrides yours, please speak up. Men in general are not nearly as complicated as you might think. Communication is absolute, and generally women must take the lead in this area. Communicate, even when it is difficult and you keep hitting roadblocks. When you are together and sexuality is not the immediate issue, take some time to share what you like. Share whether it is better for you when you advance toward him with intimacy, or when he moves toward you with desire. Let him know what is stimulating for you and what sets the mood. Men in general love to please women! Give him the roadmap so both of you can enjoy the journey.
Candess M. Campbell, PhD is the #1 Best-selling author of 12 Weeks to Self-Healing: Transforming Pain through Energy Medicine. She is in private practice in Washington State (US) as a licensed mental health and chemical dependency counselor. Internationally she is an Intuitive Consultant, Speaker, and Seminar Leader.
This article was previously published in LiveEncounters Magazine where Candess is a monthly contributor.