Author and Advocate for Healthy Sexuality and Spirituality

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Open Lines of Communication

Women aren’t the only ones who occasionally grow cold emotionally and lose sexual interest.  Men have feelings too, and according to many we’ve heard from over the years, their wives have been stomping on them.  “How can I be motivated to have sex at night with the woman who gives me nothing but grief all day?” some men have asked.  In fact, one of the most common issues I hear women lamenting over these days is the fact that even though she’s interested, he’s not.  So let’s talk about how women can fan the flames of passion in her own heart, then about how she can fan the flames of passion in her husband’s heart. 

Because women love to talk and get things out on the table, I encourage you to openly and honestly discuss your lack of interest with a trustworthy individual.  If you choose to discuss this with your husband, make sure to approach the topic in such a way that he understands your desire to overcome your lack of interest.  Choose your words carefully, as again, this newsflash can bruise his ego royally.
For example, a bad choice of words might be:
* “I really don’t want to have sex with you any more.”
* “I can’t stand the thought of being intimate with you.”
* “Don’t expect me to be sexual.  The idea repulses me.”
* “Why do you want sex all the time?  I never want sex!”
Better choices of words would be:
* “I love you so much and am very committed to this marriage, so I can’t understand what’s behind my lack of interest in sex lately.”
* “If I seem a little sexually disinterested, please don’t take it personally.  It’s not you, it’s me.  Do you think I should see a doctor?”
* “Although we’ve had a great sex life in the past, things seem to be a little difficult for me now for some reason.  Perhaps I should see a counselor.”
* “I’m feeling emotionally distanced from you these days, and that’s troubling me.  Is this something we can work on together?”
Why is careful communication so important when a woman has lost that loving feeling toward her husband?  Because you don’t want to do any further damage by saying things you’ll regret later.  The wrong words will deflate not just your own sex drive, but his as well, and that’s simply not fair.  If this is your struggle, own it.  Invite him to help you, but don’t project it onto him.
In addition, we’re always quick to assume that it’s all his fault that our emotional boat isn’t floating, but remember that men aren’t mind readers.  They can’t instinctively know what it is that we need or desire, especially since a man’s relational needs are so different from a woman’s.  It’s our job to respectfully teach them what we need to feel loved and fulfilled in the relationship.  We can’t require that these needs be met, but we can inspire it.
Excerpted from The Sexually Confident Wife: Connecting with Your Husband Mind*Body*Heart*Spirit by Shannon Ethridge. Copyright 2008.  All Rights Reserved. Published by Random House Inc, New York, NY. Used by Permission. Not to be copied without Publisher’s prior written approval. 

Focus, Focus, Focus

With a visual image of another human being [through the use of pornography] introduced into the mix, the temptation can be overwhelming to disconnect from one another and focus on a completely different person – a person with whom you can never have a sexual relationship, or any other type of relationship for that matter.  In fact, most spouses who view porn do so secretly, apart from their mate.  And chances are, they’re not taking that sexual energy to bed with their spouse.  They’re taking it into their own hands, relieving themselves of their sexual tension through masturbation, and robbing their partner of an intimate sexual experience in the process.  When this happens, sexual energies are squandered in some stranger’s direction, rather than focused on your spouse.  In my opinion, the power that sexual intimacy with one another can have in your marriage gets completely diluted in the process. 

The difference between relying on pornography for sexual highs and looking to your spouse for sexual highs is like the difference between a light bulb and a laser beam.  A light bulb’s rays fan out in a million different directions, which dilutes its power.  One light bulb will barely illuminate one corner of a room.  When we’re looking at hundreds or even thousands of different pornographic actors, we’re spreading our sexual energies in a multitude of directions just like that light bulb, so it doesn’t make for a real powerful experience. There’s no special connection with any of the people involved.  Eventually, we no longer associate sexual passion with personal connection. Rather, we disconnect.  We can easily lose our sexual confidence that just two married people are enough to create a sexual high without the use of silver screens or magazines as a crutch.
However, when we’re looking exclusively to our spouse for sexual fulfillment, it’s like a powerful laser beam.  A laser beam’s light rays are all focused in one direction.  As a result, it is so powerful you can cut metal or perform surgery with it.  By directing our sexual energies toward our spouse, we’re able to form a focused, concentrated, powerful bond that can last a lifetime.  I encourage you to form that kind of exclusive bond with your husband, and to expect that kind of exclusive bond from him as well.
Excerpted from The Sexually Confident Wife: Connecting with Your Husband Mind*Body*Heart*Spirit by Shannon Ethridge. Copyright 2008.  All Rights Reserved. Published by Random House Inc, New York, NY. Used by Permission. Not to be copied without Publisher’s prior written approval.