Women have a lot of reasons for withholding sex—both from themselves and the men they love.
The most insidious reason has to do with culturing. It’s not uncommon for women to be taught to mistrust sex and men from a very young age.
My mother drilled into me that all men wanted was sex. She taught me that to desire a man or to love him was to invite trouble, because his attention would always be focused on one thing and one thing, only.
They were harsh words, full of pain, and they put me on the defense with men, from the age of thirteen. If men did indeed just want sex, I had to question their every motive—lest I be made a fool.
While I was smart and sensitive and saw through my mother’s advice to her own wounds, her dark warnings took their toll. Some of the joy of believing in sex and love was lost. Add to that, that I continued to hear the same message from hundreds of other frightened women over my lifetime, which only further nailed in the fear and mistrust.
These messages about men impact women and follow them into marriages.
We like to think that as soon as we tie the knot, the programming of our pasts dissolves into the belly of love, but that is rarely the truth.
Married women may not fear their husband’s sexual motivations in the way they did when they were single, but they put their husbands in the wrong for wanting sex, because they’ve been programmed to believe men are wrong, sexually. They also make their partners jump through extraordinary hoops to prove sexual worthiness and good intentions.
Some women have admitted to me (in a coaching relationships) that having sex with their husbands felt like being forced to turn over their power, so they resisted sex and damned the very men they loved in order to hold onto themselves.
With this going on for women in the background, sex can be a battlefield in a marriage. You have the man fighting for what he feels he’s earned—by surrendering his access to other women—and a woman fighting to keep the power she feels is threatened by giving her pleasure and body to a man.
The shame in this is that there is tremendous power for a woman who embraces her sexual pleasure. When she practices heart-opened receiving through sex, and drops her armor, she comes to see that it’s not wielding a big sword that wins a man’s respect, it’s opening her body and heart in the act of love.
When a woman is closed down, or offering sex as a compromise, both partners are cut off from sex as a source of love.
But when a woman has an openness and willingness to receive, communicates a trust—that in turn, opens her man’s heart.
With that flow unlocked between them, they can experience true lovemaking, rather than a battle of wills.
You might be saying: “But so many women don’t enjoy sex or their partners are bad lovers, why should they trust men who don’t satisfy them?”
A lot of women are stuck here. And really, it’s just a way of avoiding the intimacy and the risk of an open heart. A woman who commits to receiving pleasure, (and takes responsibility for her own pleasure and for her heart’s opening) will find sex is a much more powerful place for her to be — far more powerful than turning her body over for a “price.”
What we need are women to stop teaching other women to be sexually guarded and mistrusting of the masculine. We need to stop perpetuating the message that men are all about the sex. And we need women to be self-aware and open to the power of sex (as a force of love) by way of their own choice and commitment.
None of this means that women shouldn’t be able to say “no” at any time if they don’t want to proceed. Self-awareness also means understanding your own boundaries.
Of course, this means women making a mind shift about sex and seeing it as a way to unlock joy and connection.
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