What is intimacy to you?
Chances are you picture hugs, and long talks staring deeply into each other’s eyes, and holding hands, and even enjoying the silence together. We love feeling totally emotionally connected to another human being–especially our husbands.
Yet most husbands’ definition of intimacy would likely involve far less clothing and far more action. To them, intimacy tends to be sexual. When we open ourselves up sexually, they feel invigorated, accepted, and needed.
Because we both view intimacy differently, though, it’s easy to withdraw when we don’t feel like our needs are being met. When he doesn’t listen to our hearts or show affection, we can easily feel hurt and unappreciated. That makes us clam up. Then he starts feeling unloved and unappreciated because we aren’t making love, and he withdraws.
Have you ever been part of that domino effect, where everything just starts collapsing?
That was me for the first few years of our marriage. I felt like the more he wanted sex, the less he must love me, because it meant that he loved me for what I could do for him, not just for who I was. His love felt conditional. But he felt the same thing about me!
So there we both were, both feeling like we were being loving, yet both feeling very unloved.
There’s a neat thing about the domino effect, though. When those dominoes start dropping, you can stop the disaster by getting ahead of it. Just do something differently!
With Christmas coming, many of us are eagerly looking for the perfect Christmas gift for our husbands, so that they’ll feel cherished and loved and respected. Perhaps the best gift we can give him is to make an attitude change ourselves, and decide that this year, we’re going to stop that domino effect. We’re going to start figuring out how to look forward to sex–and how to feel true intimacy when we do make love, too.
1. Get Some Sleep
Seriously. Sleep is a real marriage issue. One of the main reasons that women don’t want to have sex, and have their libidos plummet, is that we’re just too tired. Getting rid of things off of your plate, going to bed at a decent hour, and carving out time for yourself during the day isn’t selfish at all. It’s putting a priority on your marriage!
Added Benefit: Sex helps you sleep better! You fall asleep faster, and you sleep more deeply. So now when I’m super tired, I don’t tell my husband “no”. I say, “come put me to sleep, baby!”
2. Initiate More
Your husband doesn’t want to be placated. He wants to be wanted. Saying “yes” to him while you lie there and don’t move very much isn’t going to make him feel ten feet tall; he’ll feel like a heel. If you are the one who starts, though, you show him that you do want this.
Added Benefit: If you initiate, you tend to be more active, which has the added advantage that you do things that feel good to you. Instead of him setting the stage, you can set the stage and steer things into a direction that feels great to you!
3. Be Mentally Present!
Have you ever been making love to your husband when the thought suddenly occurs to you, “is there milk in the fridge for breakfast?” As soon as the thought’s in there, you start adding to it. “What else do I have to pick up at the grocery store tomorrow?” And before you know it your mind is gone.
We women are multi-taskers, but this is one area where that’s a very bad idea. If your head isn’t in the game, your body won’t follow. So when you are making love, make it a practice, even if it’s difficult, of not letting your mind go anywhere else. He’ll likely notice the difference immediately, since that will likely make you more active all at once.
Added Benefit: When we concentrate on what’s going on, we also feel more intimate ourselves, and we feel more loved, because it becomes more emotional and less clinical.
4. Make Great Sex Your Research Project of 2014
Finally, maybe one of the reasons it’s hard for you to jump on the bandwagon is because making love has never felt that stupendous. The earth has never moved and you start to wonder what all the fuss is about.
That’s normal. When I wrote The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex, I found out that it took on average about sixteen years of marriage for things to begin to work like clockwork. It isn’t automatic. And that’s perfectly okay.
As you get better at communicating, as you trust more, as you become more vulnerable, sex will improve. But sometimes you also need a little bit of help! Get a book that can help you learn how to make your body feel good. Find a book to work through together (like my 31 Days to Great Sex). Even put the book in his stocking, with a letter, saying that you want 2014 to be the year that you both really connect.
Added Benefit: You’ll start to feel those fireworks, too! And the more your body starts to respond, the easier it gets to respond, so that it snowballs.
The best gift you can give your husband is to start valuing the things that he values, and that includes the way that he sees love. And as you do this, you’ll learn a special secret: sex is actually pretty great, and it isn’t just for him! So this Christmas, give him all of yourself. You may just find that you enjoy the present just as much.