This article is prepared for men in heterosexual relationships; however, it can be applicable to all gender identities in relationships.
It’s not that your wife doesn’t enjoy sex, it’s more about the underlying causes of her refusal. There are many reasons why women refuse sex initially but then enjoy it regardless of their reason for refusing it.
Why Women Refuse Sex Initially But Then Enjoy It
- Unfinished business with underlying issues that are not clean in the relational space.
- Repressed anger due to feeling hurt from unresolved conflicts
- Lack of communication that causes dis-connection
- Low energy, fatigue and physical exhaustion that may come from the responsibilities of managing motherhood and career
- Concerns that don’t necessarily relate to the relationship like the heightened anxiety due to the Corona virus that we are faced with daily and its implications.
- The timing you choose to have sex.
- The enjoyment of sex is closely related to the safety and conditions of the relational space. If the space is polluted, sex won’t be fulfilling. It needs to become clean before sex is enjoyed fully.
The Art of Presencing in Restoring Your Relationship
So, here’s what you dudes need to do about it. Learn the art of presencing! This is the most important factor in restoring your relationship. Once you know how to be present to your wife/partner, she will be more inclined to be responsive to you and your needs. The art of presencing includes the following 3 essentials.
- Begin by finding a time to cross the bridge to her world and pay close attention to her reasons. Show interest in her resistance rather than putting pressure on her or casting judgements and criticism. Find the time to sit across from your partner holding hands, focusing on her eyes, the windows to her soul, with warm eyes and an open heart. Tell her you would like to understand more about her resistance to having sex, as opposed to jumping her bones for your own pleasure. This means listening with a third ear. What is “a third ear”. It means you listen with the full intention of understanding her responses. You repeat what you hear and then essentialize what you have heard. This makes her feel that her emotions and needs are just as important as yours. It makes her feel she has been heard. Once she hears and sees your effort, her central nervous system will calm down and her resistance may morph into closeness and beyond, filling both your needs.
- Women react differently than men when it comes to their sexuality. They need to feel loving–not just sexual. She may have faked her enjoyment just to get it over with while you think she enjoyed it! Sorry dudes—a woman needs more than just sex—she needs to feel loved and cared for. This is called a secure attachment, something I have previously written about in Your Tango. Make sure those needs are being met as well as what goes on between the sheets. It’s called intimacy—Into me see!
- Be patient! Women need time to work through their feelings. Men have an easier time and because of their nature, they tend to avoid feelings. It’s essential to be aware not only of your wife’s feelings, but of your own as well.
Communication is the key to understanding
The good news is that it can be resolved. Communication is the key to understanding. How and when we move towards resolution depends on the couple’s ability to employ communication so that each partner can appreciate the needs and desires of the other. There are ways to make this happen with successful outcomes.
When we know about the polluted space we have co-created that has interfered with the quality of our lives, we are responsible for cleaning it up! The exercise I explained above called “crossing the bridge” to our partners world is the best way I know to restore harmony to your relationship. I have mentioned the three invisible connectors introduced by renowned couple’s therapist, Hedy Schleifer in past articles. I have employed her methods of couple’s counseling to heal the space and return the couple to re-connect and transformation. This process will be described in my book, I HATE THE MAN I LOVE: A Conscious Relationship is Your Key to Success that will now be released on October 11, 2020. However, until then I will continue to explain the process, so you won’t have to wait until then to read it. The method I use is called Encounter-centered Couples Therapy, (EcCT), based on the work of Harville Hendrix who founded Imago Therapy.
What is Imago Therapy?
Wikipedia defines it as is a form of romantic relationship and couple therapy that focuses on relational counseling that transforms a conflict into an opportunity to grow and heal. IRT is accessible for all partners in romantic relationship, no matter the sexual orientation. This modality is brought to a new level of couple therapy with EcCt. Both modalities are transformational for couples in crisis.
What is an encounter in Couple’s Therapy?
It begins with presencing and moves into an encounter. What is an encounter? It is not a dialogue or polluted with both sides attempting to win an argument. That never works. It is a visit to the world of your partner. There is an economy of words, less than 7. When you are the host inviting your partner to visit your world, you simply state in 5-7 words or less the neighborhood you would like him/her to visit. When you cross over an imaginary bridge for the visit, you announce your arrival and the host thanks you for coming. Then he/she describes the issue:
“Thank you for coming over to visit my neighborhood. I want to tell you about my street called anger” (or whatever the issue might be.) Then the host shares her reason for anger, one at time. “I feel hurt when I don’t feel you hear me. This causes me to be angry.” That is more than 5-7 words, but it is acceptable. The visitor replies, “I heard you say, you feel hurt when you don’t feel I hear you and that makes you angry Am I with you?”
The host then responds, “Yes”
The visitor responds: “Tell me more.”
This is how the couple can share their feelings and know that they are heard by their partner. There is much more to this therapeutic modality, but it is difficult to read in order to integrate. The experience is the best way to understand it and benefit from the work.
To sum up, it is most important that the relational space between you and your partner be clean. If the underlying issues are resolved, you will benefit from sex in ways you never thought possible. If you are having difficulty self-learning, then perhaps its time to see a couple therapist that specializes in Imago or EcCT. Feel free to contact me for referrals. You can go directly to Imago Therapists or Encounter-Centered Couples Therapy therapists in your area. There is a list of certified and trained therapists for both these modalities.
One last thought: Be kind and considerate of your wife’s resistance. There are reasons she feels the way she does. It is your responsibility to be able to reach her without contempt, criticism, stonewalling or judgment., the four horsemen of the apocalypse as defined by the renowned relationship therapist, John Gottman. These responses destroy relationships.
Remember, an open heart and warm eyes facing each other, holding hands will begin the process. Look into her eyes and see the little girl that resides deep within. She will be more relaxed and willing to be open as well. Learn about her language and her landscape. It may have been years that you have looked into each other’s eyes. Recall the day you were wed and how your eyes met under the chuppah, (Hebrew word for canopy) or the canopy you both stood under. That memory is stored in your brain and you can boot it up in a moment. Just make it happen!
Joan E Childs, LCSW is a renowned psychotherapist, inspirational speaker and author of I HATE THE MAN I LOVE: A Conscious Relationship is Your Key to Success to be released October 11, 2020. To learn more about how Encounter-Centered Couple Therapy can renew and restore your relationship, contact Joan