If you’ve been struggling with sexual self-consciousness in bed, your libido probably went south and opened up a darling boutique hotel somewhere near the equator.Low libido is common among the body conscious.
Low libido is common among the body conscious.
If you see sex as an opportunity to be shamed, your body probably responds in three ways: It lowers your desire for sex, it decreases your ability to pick up and act on “erotic cues” (like that flutter in your stomach when you smell your partner’s cologne), and reduces pleasurable sensations when you actually do make love.
And so the avoidance game that we’ve talked about so much begins. You find yourself going to bed earlier or later than your partner so you don’t have to face the possibility of his advances. Or you lie still in bed, pretending you’re asleep, so he won’t touch you.
You start making excuses that sound reasonable: You’re too tired for sex, the kids will walk in on you, you have a lot on your mind. You become defensive. You tell him if he worked as hard as you did he wouldn’t want sex either.
Besides, didn’t you just have sex a couple of nights ago? Whatever. He’s a sex maniac. He doesn’t want you, he just wants sex and you’re the closest person around. If he just appreciated you more for all the housework you do. Besides, he’s not even that good of a lover.
These are the kind of thoughts that low-libido women who are also too self-conscious to have sex use to form a man moat, foiling the most adept swimmers from reaching the castle. Some of your observations may be true (you probably are fatigued), but they still keep you stuck in a place you’d rather not be. But let’s put you on pause for a moment while we talk about…
Being Too Self-Conscious To Be Intimate Hurts Him, Too
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 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 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.
Rejecting his sexual advances because you’re self-conscious during sex makes him suspicious, insecure, inadequate, vulnerable, hurt, resentful, and unloved. And it’s especially easy for him to think you’re cheating on him.
The rationale goes something like this: “She has a great body and it turns me on. Yet she claims that she’s too embarrassed about her body to have sex. The same body that gives me raging hard-ons! I think she’s lying and that she’s using it as an excuse because she’s seeing somebody else.”
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.
In the next post, did you know there’s a spectator in your bedroom? (hint: it might be you) In the meantime, 7 things that happen when you stop having sex.
If you missed the last post, read it here.