“Why don’t we do this more often? I love sex and I particularly enjoy it with my husband but getting started is just the problem,” exclaimed one wife after a counselling session in my office. Another woman said, “It’s strange, but whenever we do make love, we always look at each other afterward and say”, Hey, that was terrific. Why don’t we do this more often? Why don’t we?
Many married couples say that once things get rolling in sexually, they have no trouble responding to a sexual trip and escapade. But a couple’s inability to get started sexually is the greatest single cause of sexual infrequency and sexless marriage.
As much as many couples desire sex to be a “sudden inspiration,” impressive passionate, sex mostly happens in marriage when couples make initiating sex a conscious decision. Many couples have realized that while waiting endlessly for the time of feeling sexy, they usually are not feeling all that sexy until when they decide to have sex.
But “getting started” is only half the problem in most marriages. There’s also the question of who starts the initiation. Let’s look at the case of Bidemi and Lucky.
During the first seven years of Bidemi and Lucky’s marriage, Lucky had always initiated sex and five out of ten times, Bidemi had willingly acceded. But one evening, after a party, Bidemi reached under the bedcovers and began to caress her husband.
“He just pushed my hand away,” Bidemi recalled with obvious pain and resentment. “He told me I was drunk and he did not want to make love when I was like that. That my normal self would refuse sex and when he insists he wants it, I will always accuse him of raping me under the marriage law.”
Lucky cut in. “I told you that I simply wasn’t in the mood, I don’t want your ‘wahala’ and I don’t want to pretend about it after all, you always refuse and say you don’t want to pretend about it. Why is my refusal painful now? This is what I go through day in day out since we have been married.”
This escalated into cold war. Bidemi was angry, and she began to pay Lucky back with his own coin. The next time he initiated sex, she begged off, saying that she was not in the mood. She refused again the next time, and the next. Lucky, humiliated, stopped initiating sex altogether. They had not made love in four years.
Bidemi and Lucky are on a very dangerous game of sexual relationship, which has lasted for years, one partner does not want sex because the other does; refusing sex becomes a power play: “If you can say no, so can I.” This is typical of many marriages.
Many spouses never initiate sex anymore because they regard one or two refusals as total rejection and denial, but sometimes, our partners may not be in the mood for sex, so sexual refusal should not be seen as rejection. The rejecting partner should always provide a ‘substitute other day’. If you have to refuse your partner, let there be a sincere tenable reason genuinely accepted by the person refused and a promise for a make up.
Lucky’s refusal of Bidemi’s advance, however, involved more than a passing mood; it is rooted deeply in cumulative rejections that has transcended into frustration and resentment. When he pushed his wife’s hand away, he was saying, loud and clear I have been discouraged and disconnected.
While Bidemi has only responded sometimes to her husband’s advance only when she wanted, she is now so confused how to rectify things. She realized that there had been a serious sexual imbalance in her 7-year- old marriage and it wasn’t fair because her husband now plays ‘the external league’. I tried to show Bidemi that all along, she had been only a willing accomplice who has ignorantly taken her husband for granted and she has always had the power to refuse even when the man begs on his kneel. But once she too starts initiating sex, he also refuses.
Because Lucky and Bidemi both wanted their marriage to work, I urged them to sincerely consider themselves and consciously give sex another chance even when either of them is not in the mood, or either of them has been unfaithful.
I knew that their accumulated anger was preventing them both from turning themselves on. I asked them to try the talking-touching exercise. Talking-touching is important; it connects partners and enables them to experience the long lost pleasure. Let your bodies make friends first. You can talk about the good old days. Once we allow ourselves to feel our partner’s heart-caressing speech and touching, it is difficult to stay adamant and angry. When we relax under a loving caress, frequencies of sex are rebirthed.