For men, intimacy is oxygen. Cut it off and you turn your partner into a sexual asthmatic—chronically coughing and wheezing in his attempt to breathe you in. He’ll experience a tightening of the chest and eventually his lips turn blue (among other organs).
Make no mistake, when you constantly reject your partner’s advances with some version of “I’VE GOT CLOTHES TO FOLD,” he hears it as “I don’t love you. Or want you. So, go away”.
For men, sex equals love. A lack of touch leads to emotional scurvy. When love, which used to flow freely, gets harder to come by, it’s hard not to turn the rejection against yourself. You believe you’re to blame, that you’re no longer attractive, that your manhood is useless, your desire pointless and your needs unworthy.
If your unwillingness to have sex continues long enough he’ll grow distant and angry which then really puts you off sex. But his negativity is an understandable reaction to having love withdrawn. His anger is a manifestation of the hurt that lies underneath. He feels punished for something he didn’t do. The effect of the punishment causes pain; the unjustness causes anger. It’s hard for you to see this, of course, because now you’re reacting to his self-defensive distance and anger, rather than his understandable hurt.
Sex Drive For Women
Rejecting his sexual advances makes him suspicious, insecure, inadequate, vulnerable, hurt, resentful, and unloved. And it’s especially easy for him to think you’re cheating on him.
It isn’t just that the most powerful expression of love got taken away from him. Sex is a proxy for a man’s self esteem and masculinity. It’s a platform for confidence and virility. There’s not much room for masculinity and virility when you’re reduced to nagging and negotiating for sex, or being the only one initiating it or knowing your partner is merely tolerating it.
Featured: Our most popular article on increasing the sex drive for women.
I want you to understand something about men: They have feelings, too.
My point in bringing all this up isn’t to make you feel guilty; it’s to make you understand the consequences of your withdrawal. Reversing the damage will take some work and you need to be highly motivated, not by guilt but by love–for the man in your life and your own sense of who you are and what you’re capable of growing into. Nobody should take a vow of sexual poverty when they date or get into a relationship. Especially you.
A Special Note If You Like Sex But Hate Your Body.
When shame walks in the door lust flies out the window. Women with healthy body consciousness treat their natural desires as welcome guests. They open the door, take their coat, hand them a drink and welcome them in to the living room where the fragrance of a gourmet meal wafts in from the kitchen. The message is clear: You are welcome. Mi casa es su casa.
Women with noticeably bad body esteem treat their natural desires as unwelcome guests who muddy the carpets and eat all the pretzels. Low libido women stand by the door and say, “Here’s your hat, what’s your hurry?”
What’s causing this low libido? I want you to consider something that may never have occurred to you: Your loss of libido is a coping strategy that your mind uses to protect itself from experiencing shame. What appears to you as a baffling lack of desire is actually a subconscious decision on your part to get rid of it so you don’t experience more hurt.
Basically, you have an internal conflict between your conscious desire (“I want to want to have sex”) and your subconscious unwillingness (“If I have sex he will see how fat I am, lose his erection and stop loving me. He’ll make fun of me or fantasize about skinnier women. I don’t want to see the disappointment in his face when he sees my thighs jiggle or my stomach pooch out. I WILL DIE OF EMBARRASSMENT”).
Really, it’s lousy self-talk when you’re making love.
Somewhere along the line, your subconscious decided the best way to protect you from more pain was to reduce or eliminate your desires. Or rather, push them so far down that they seem undetectable. Remember, “subconscious” means below the level of conscious awareness. You’re not aware that you made the decision but you can certainly see the effects of it.
The solution? Bring your subconscious thoughts to awareness. Understand the decision your subconscious made in order to protect you. Start by reframing your thinking from “I want but I can’t” to “I want but I won’t.”
This isn’t some pop psychology/build it and they will come nonsense. There’s a big difference between CAN’T (an inability) and WON’T (an unwillingness). I know it doesn’t make sense that you’d be unwilling to do what you desperately want, but you only have to look at the millions of men who struggle with an inability to ejaculate during intercourse to see a parallel. They want to ejaculate. Their penis is rock hard. They’re able to do it when they’re alone, but they just can’t do it when they’re having intercourse. They’re fighting your fight: A conscious desire subverted by a subconscious fear.
If you want your libido to “come back,” you have to consciously ‘undecide’ a subconsciously made decision. This undeciding is a female libido enhancer. You have to stop believing the demonstrably false assumption that your partner is going to be repulsed by what he sees and stop loving you or mortify you with disappointment and ridicule. You have to stop believing that sex is an opportunity to be shamed and start believing it’s a springboard to a stronger emotional connection with the man you love. You have to believe that sex doesn’t cut you up into a million pieces; that in fact, it makes you whole.
In next week’s post, find out what to do for 20 minutes outside the bedroom that can increase your desire inside it. In the meantime, learn five ways to improve your self-talk.