Without opening your mouth, without saying a word, your wife knows you want sex. Not just in a broad, you’re receptive to sex in general way. But in the right here, right now kind of way. How? It’s in your touch.
You may think you are showing affection in a non-sexual way but are you really? Can you honestly say the thought of getting “lucky”, either right then or maybe later that day, doesn’t pop into your head as you feel some part of her body? And she knows it; the moment it happens.
If your relationship is good and there is adequate physical intimacy, she will smile to herself or do an inward “really?” and let it pass. But if there’s tension or if sex is limited, she will recoil or shut down.
Being in a sexless marriage is very difficult and painful. One of my clients once said that he would give up wanting sex forever if his wife would just hug him. It would have been an unworkable deal with the devil. Sex can be a wonderful part of marriage that brings spouses closer and if it isn’t happening then it needs to be addressed in a straight-forward manner. Sacrificing yourself in that way will inevitably ruin the relationship anyway.
The more you want sex without getting it, the more it will be relayed in your touch. And, as I said before, she will feel it. Where and how you touch her sends a message, intended or not. This became apparent when I had to explain to my husband that grabbing my butt or my breast as he walked by wasn’t appreciated. He wasn’t trying to have sex at that moment, but I felt that’s what he was thinking. He shared that men would love it if their wives grabbed their junk, but for many women, me included, it feels intrusive and disrespectful.
Her history with you, and before you, will dictate how she reacts to certain kinds of touch. Almost every woman has a #MeToo story. Whether it’s being cat-called on the street, “accidentally” touched in a crowded subway, molested or sexually assaulted, it’s happened. Do you know your wife’s story? Do you know the memories it has left in her body?
Women have a physiological need to feel safe before they can relax enough to have sex. They have less upper body strength so they can’t fend off a larger, stronger man. When you create a sense of security by engaging in regular, non-sexual touch, she will trust you. If the invitation for affection turns into a request for sex, she will feel manipulated and shut down being touched in any way under any circumstances no matter how well intended. You will have effectively done a bait and switch.
But all need not be lost. There are things you can do to get her into your arms. The first is to develop patience. Own how you may have misled her, even if unintentionally. Promise yourself that you will manage your own sexual desires and not let them leach into non-sexual situations. Commit to learning how to show affection in a way that makes her feel safe and treasured.
Yes, wives want to know you find them attractive. But they want to be more than eye candy or playmates. They want to be seen and valued for their entire selves. This is where complimenting her on things other than her appearance comes in. It’s about holding her when she is upset or touching her hand when she is afraid without any thought to where you might want things to go. It’s about being completely present in that moment when she needs to be safe and protected.
Be her hero and she will become your lover.
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This post was previously published on The Hero Husband Project and is republished here with permission from the author.
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