As a therapist, I often hear my male clients make comments like, “She hardly ever wants sex,” or “I think she’s having an affair because she’s never interested in me,” or “She’s always grumpy. That turns me off!” The lack of sexual connection with his woman often leaves him feeling lonely frustrated and vulnerable. It also may leave him feeling doubtful of his self-worth and confidence.
Men are confused in how to sexually connect with their women. I am not speaking here of how to have sex with someone with whom you’ve just met, or how to allure or seduce someone into bed. I am, however, talking about how to rekindle and keep the flame of desire lit throughout your committed relationship.
It doesn’t take much to ignite the sexual fire in men! Women around the world have known this from the beginning, and have often used it to their advantage. The seductive power that a woman uses is usually only as deep as the love that she desires from her man. In other words, when a woman manipulates, controls or wields her “power,” it is usually, though unconscious, in fear of not getting her own needs met by her man.
Generally, women want to be sexual with their man, i.e. sexually open. This will not happen, however, unless she is emotionally connected to him. And she will not want to be connected to him unless she experiences at least this one thing: for him to be emotionally open to her. In other words, her sexual openness is directly correlated to your emotional openness.
I almost hear you saying, “Yuk! [or other expletives!] Not my feelings again! I can’t stand talking about my feelings. I feel weak when I do!” If you were thinking that, then you took the first step in being emotionally open, i.e. being aware that you were feeling frustrated and fearful of looking weak.
It is true that the average man finds it difficult to understand his inner landscape. He was taught (via family cultures and societal norms) to be reactive, not responsive. Part of this is a man’s innate wiring to protect and provide. However, in our American cultural evolution, women want their man to be aware of his inner workings, and also competent to articulate them when needed.
In other words, a woman needs to trust that her man understands himself, captures his emotional power, and displays it to her in a way that is honoring and respectful. She doesn’t want someone who disrespectfully and hurtfully “vomits” his guts to her, but one who actively engages her to enter into his emotional world, as she feels safe to let him enter into her’s.
So, when you’re angry, be angry! When you’re fearful, admit it! When you’re sad, embrace it! When you feel love, revel in it! Whatever is there inside you, don’t hold it (your feelings) back from her. Be mindful, of course, that how you speak, i.e. not malicious or hurtful, is just as important as what you speak. Most women simply want to know that their man has the courage to face his feelings and to keep her safe in the process.
A woman, when relaxed, typically doesn’t need to bring a light to see her feelings. This is because she has the ability to experience them more fully than men. In other words, men move toward an understanding of their emotional life, while women live out of their emotional life. Hence, the movement of the masculine and feminine energies. This doesn’t mean that men never live out of their emotional life. It is just that men have not been culturally “allowed” to do so, and therefore are just not yet competent. As men move toward their emotional lives, she wants to be confident that he is relentless to capture and address his inner life to her. The result will be a more relaxed, trusting, desirous woman!
- Get familiar with your feelings. Say to yourself, “Right now I’m feeling [anger, sadness, fear, happiness/joy, or love].” Make sure it’s not a thought or opinion.
- Be clear that you do not have to act on your feelings (unless you choose to do so). Learn to respond (root word of being responsible), not react.
- Find your courage to speak with your significant other. Tell her that you want to practice being open, and that you want her only to listen until you are finished speaking (no feedback at this time).
- Frame your words around your desire to get closer to her. Remind yourself that you need to fight for her, not against her.
- Start by saying what feeling(s) you’ve noticed in yourself. Don’t minimize, intellectualize or deny them!
- Remind yourself not to blame or discredit her. Your feelings are your feelings! They are not her’s.
- Attempt to uncover any circumstances that may have triggered your feelings. (Remember not to blame!)
- Tell yourself and her that you will take responsibility for your feelings and actions, i.e. that you will not use any circumstances as “weapons” against her.
- In light of what you now know about yourself, tell her what you need from her (or others). Remember: You might not get it!
- Breathe. And take another breath. Now, ask for a response, if she is willing to give one.
- Listen quietly and respectfully. Be mindful of what you might be doing inside, i.e. staying open or shutting down.
- Thank her for being courageous to remain respectful with you as you spoke to her. If possible, thank her with non-sexual affection.
- Practice speaking out your feelings every day until it becomes second-nature to you.
- For more practice, allow her to ask you on occasion what you are feeling.
Being authentic with your feelings does not guarantee that she will open up to you sexually. In fact, she will know when you are trying to manipulate her into having sex with her. She will resent you for it! Be real because you know your relationship needs it, and that it fosters an inner strength she wants to see.
Your woman wants to trust you. She wants to love you! She wants to be sexually open with you! It is up to you to cultivate your (sexual) garden, as you allow her to grow free and wild. Yet, she will not do so unless she senses emotional strength and freedom within you, her man.