In this season of giving and receiving, it is a good time to look at how and why that happens with love, or for many of us doesn’t. This is a bit of a Pandora’s box but I am going to simplify if only for the sake of trying to rein in the topic a bit- Sexual desire, is the result of a complex range of internal experiences that includes everything from hormonal stimulation to a prehistoric form of communication. Our ability to feel sexual is at least partly influenced by the culture and family we live in. Between couples, it is deeply affected by the communication that forms the basis of the relationship.
Often times these complex issues boil down to arguments about who initiates and what response the initiator receives. The classic, “I am not in the mood” or “I am tired” creates a cycle of defensive and offensive reactions that is almost like a pre-patterned dance. It’s a scenario that many couples just don’t have enough language to find their way out of..
This issue plagued my own marriage for many years. The shame of rejection is really no better than the guilt of turning away. The pain is equal,. Two things transpired in my marriage to lift this issue and allow us to experience sexual desire with out the burden of fear and unmet longing.
I always tell everyone I know that the first secret to a healthy relationship is to agree to not say anything mean to each other- It is incredible, how often we will say things to our partner that we would never even utter to a friend. These little comments break down the fabric of trust and take a long time to mend. So for Christmas this year give each other the promise to not say anything mean to each other- you can think it, don’t say it.
For me, this safety agreement, made a huge difference in my self esteem- and also that of my husband. The issues around initiating lost their power as we both began to feel safer and more loved. That Christmas, my husband also gave me lingerie for the first time. A gift wrapped invitation to explore my sexuality without the pressure of the old dance. The more we laughed and explored the new space, the more the old space disappeared by itself.
There are still times when one of us, might not feel in the mood when the other does, but now it doesn’t mean anything more than what it is, bad timing.
Here are a few other great ideas for shifting the initiator discussion so that you can
Enjoy the moment
- Offer to love someone with no expectations.- love oil massages of the back, feet and neck can ease tension not just in the body, but between each other.
- Agree to just kiss for a few moments, – love oil is good here too.- or better yet suspend the moment just before the lips touch and feel how close you can be without touching.
- Try a new venue, if you are always inside, go outside and hug, Try a chair instead of a bed to cuddle on, hold hands while eating dinner, even if its leftovers.
Please share any great ideas you have about how you turned the tables to get the love you want.