Does sex feel like a chore? Something you have to do to keep your husband happy? It sounds noble, but you are probably building up a lot of resentment in the meantime. Sex isn’t supposed to be just about him. It’s about you too. When we learn to step into our sexuality, own it, work on it, it changes everything. Your husband is happy, and so are you.
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I’m looking for submissions for an upcoming podcast on what wives wish their husbands knew about them and sex. So, what do you wish your husband knew? What haven’t you told him? What are you afraid to tell him? All submissions will be kept anonymous. Please email submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org
When I am doing my mini-sessions, and my sessions from clients, something I hear often is how you are having sex, even when you don’t want to, to keep your husband happy. This sounds very loving and like it’s a good thing, right? There are so many facets to this that I am going to break it down into quite a few parts.
This first part, if you’ve been with me a while, will probably sound familiar. But if you are relatively new, this might be a new concept for you, so stay with me.
We have situations in our lives, circumstances that are outside of us. They are outside of our control – like our spouse wanting to have sex or not. Them wanting to have sex, by itself, is completely neutral. It’s not positive or negative. It’s not until we have a thought about it that it has meaning. And we make our spouse wanting or not wanting to have sex have all sorts of meanings.
If our partner wants sex all the time we think things like
- That they are sex addicts
- That sex is all that care about
- They only care about my body
- They don’t care about connecting
- They don’t actually care about me
- That they won’t love me if I don’t do this
- That if I don’t have sex with them, they will have an affair, or masturbate, or watch porn, or that they will leave me.
And if they don’t want sex, we think things like
- That they don’t love us
- That they don’t think we are attractive
- That they are probably getting it somewhere else
We don’t just make it mean something as simple as they want or don’t want sex tonight.
Maybe you aren’t having extreme thoughts on one end of the spectrum or the other. Or perhaps you are just really good at dismissing the thoughts when they come up. But chances are you are making it mean something about them or something about you.
Ok – so let’s big a little bit deeper. FEELINGS!
When we think a thought, whether we are conscious of it or not, it creates our feelings. When we think a thought, our brain sends chemicals, hormones, and neurotransmitters into our body, which cause a vibration. Some of those vibrations feel good, and some do not. This vibration is what we know as feelings.
The reason I tell you this is because
- We think that our circumstances cause our feelings. But that just isn’t true. If circumstances caused feelings, everyone would have the exact same feelings with the same circumstance. But we all think differently about circumstances, and that is what causes our feelings.
- No one can make anyone else feel a certain way. Their feelings come from their thoughts. So all those times your mom told you that you had to share your toys or else your friends would feel bad, she was wrong. When she said to you that you needed to give your Grandma a hug so she wouldn’t be sad, she was wrong. What you said or did couldn’t make anyone else feel a certain way. The only reason your friend would feel bad if you didn’t share is that THEY had a thought about it. They might have thought it was no big deal. They might have thought that they didn’t want that toy anyway. Or maybe they would have thought that you should share and they felt bad. But that wouldn’t have been your fault. Grandma may have been sad if you didn’t hug her, but that would have come from her thoughts too.
This is a good thing because you can’t make anyone else feel a certain way and they can’t make you feel a certain way.
Ok, so let’s bring this back.
So your circumstance is that your spouse has asked, hinted, or insinuated in some way that he wants sex tonight. Then you have a thought about it. Maybe something like “he only cares about sex, not about me.” That thought creates a feeling. From your feelings, you act.
So if you are feeling frustrated, angry, resentful, annoyed, pressured, etc. How are you showing up in your marriage? How are you showing up in the sexual encounter if you are coming from a place of resentment? Probably not great, right? Then you are not making it a great experience. You aren’t using it to connect. You probably aren’t enjoying it. Then it does become about the physical act, which is precisely why you thought your husband wanted in the first place. You proved your thought true.
But, if you choose to think thoughts about your circumstance that created better feelings for you and you act from those feelings, it will be a much better experience. You’ll have better results.
Let me give you a few examples.I have a client who’s husband wanted to have sex, and she just wasn’t feeling it. But she has a lot of fear that if she doesn’t put out, then he is going to leave her, have an affair, or look at porn. So she often agrees to it even though she doesn’t want to. But, if she’s doesn’t show up enthusiastically, her husband gets upset. So, because she doesn’t like dealing with her husband being upset, and she has all this fear and anxiety around it, and she decides just to try and fake excitement. But she feels all this pressure to perform. And when she feels pressured, and she’s trying to fake it, she isn’t connecting with him. She’s constantly trying to change positions, and there’s no flow. Meanwhile her thoughts are spinning out of control. And guess what…he can totally tell she’s not into it. She’s not doing a very good job faking it. As human beings, we think we can fake things, but we are experts at reading each other, and people can always tell.
Why do we say “yes” when we don’t want to? Sometimes it can be authentic. We do it because we love our spouse, and if we can stay in the space where we are acting out of love, then it can be great, even if you weren’t in the mood. We will probably have an enjoyable and connecting experience if it is done in love, even if we didn’t want to in the first place.
But any time you are doing it out of guilt, pressure, or fear of something happening, if you don’t, you aren’t going to show up well in that experience. It’s going to build resentment.
We often choose to do it, even when we don’t want to, as a way to manipulate the emotions of our spouse. And we don’t do this on purpose. We don’t mean to manipulate them. But we want to keep them happy because it’s easier for us. Because we don’t want to deal with how uncomfortable it is for us if they aren’t happy.
I have a client whose husband pouts and sulks when he doesn’t get sex. She HATES it. It definitely doesn’t make her want to have sex with him. But she doesn’t like dealing with a pouty sulking husband either. So she gives in because it’s just easier than dealing with him for the next few days when he’s like that. But the resentment builds.
I have another client whose husband makes it all about him. That she must not love him; she must not be attracted to him anymore. So she gives in because she does love him and is attracted to him; she just wasn’t feeling it. But then she has resentment too. She feels like she’s not ever allowed to say no without him making it all about him.
These cycles we get in aren’t great, right? So how do we break the cycle?
First, be ok with your spouse’s emotions and behaviors. Your spouse is their own person. They are allowed to have thoughts, feelings, and act however they want. But changing how you think, feel, and act to try and manipulate them isn’t good for either one of you. Be ok with your discomfort that comes from their emotions and behaviors. They can be upset, and you don’t have to be! I promise it actually feels so much better.
The second thing is to decide what you want and be ok with it. You are never going to feel good when you are out of alignment with your own integrity. I know I’m a big advocate for saying “yes” to the sex, but if you are doing it because you “should” or you do it trying to avoid your spouse’s negative emotions, it’s not going to give you great results.
I did the “say yes to the sex challenge” to try and help you cultivate that desire and connection in you. I see so many women who aren’t “in the mood,” and so they say no. But they forget that if they would just say yes, they would actually enjoy it. So the challenge was to help these women get over that hump. To see if it would make a difference in your sex life. And for so many of you, it has! But there is a handful of you that you are using it against yourselves! You end up feeling guilty about it. That was not the point at all!
Sex is supposed to be enjoyable for both of you. It’s not supposed to be a chore. It’s not supposed to be done to “keep your husband happy” or try to avoid his negative emotions. It shouldn’t be something you feel forced to do. It’s supposed to be an amazing bonding, loving, exciting experience for both of you. But if you aren’t even willing to say yes and willing to try, how will it ever be that?
Sex takes practice. The more you do it, the better you get at it. Take some time to learn more about it, to practice, with the intention of getting better at it, not only physically, but mentally as well. And not just to please your husband. But FOR YOU! Sex is supposed to be good for both of you. It’s not about one partner sacrificing themselves for the other.
You’ve got to change your mindset around it. That’s the only way things are going to change. It’s the only way you are going to feel better about it truly. Your thoughts about sex create your emotions about sex. If you want to feel better about it, you have to change your thoughts around it.
And changing your mindset takes time. It’s a transformation process. It’s what I do with my clients. Help them improve their mindset around sex. Because when you change your mindset, you change everything!
Step forward and have the faith that someday, if you put your mind to it, it will be fun and enjoyable. That anything worth doing takes practice. It takes work. And the way you practice this change in mindset is by having sex! By doing it with better thoughts on purpose!
If you aren’t currently in the mood, step into it. Be willing. And most of the time, you will get in the mood.
I would encourage you to make this decision for yourself and then have a conversation with your spouse about it. You can make this decision right now and have this conversation tonight with him. Let him know that you aren’t going to have sex anymore just to please him. He’s probably going to freak out at first, but let him know that you’ve decided it’s something that you want to get better at FOR YOU; that you want to enjoy sex too. He was probably thinking at first that you don’t care about him or his feelings. But when he realizes what you truly want, that you want this for yourself, I’m telling you, he’s going to be ecstatic! There is no higher-desire husband I know of that wouldn’t love for his wife to step into her sexuality and start enjoying it for herself and not just for him. He wants to hear that you are tired of just laying there and letting him have his way. He wants to hear that it’s not going to be a chore for you anymore. He wants you to love it for you. This is a dream conversation for any husband.
It’s important to communicate your decision to change your mindset with your husband because it’s going to take time to build up the trust. If he knows that you are sincerely working on it and can see the results of your change in mindset, trust will build. So if there is a night that just really isn’t a good night to do it, he’ll trust that. He won’t just see it as an excuse. Don’t take advantage of his trust. When you feel like saying “not tonight” really check with yourself. Is it an excuse? Can you make it work? Will its be worth it for YOU in the end? If it doesn’t work, then make a plan for another night and make sure you follow through to continue to build that trust.
So, can you truly keep your spouse happy? Nope. They get to choose how they feel based on their thoughts. And you get to decide how you want to feel, based on yours. So how do you want to show up in your marriage? That my friend is entirely up to how you want to think about it. If you need some help, sign up for a free mini-session.