A husband can contribute immeasurably to his wife’s enjoyment while enhancing his own even in cases where sexual appetite is on the weak side. They can have a mutually rich and satisfying sex life if the husband understands the keys to feminine sensuality:
1. The romantic element is important. If a husband is too busy to be civil, then he should not expect his wife to exhibit any unusual desire or enjoyment in bed. She may satisfy his needs as an act of love and kindness, but her passion will not steam up their bedroom windows. A feeing of being loved and appreciated is usually the route to excitation.
2. A husband should recognize that some women do not have to experience orgasms in order to enjoy intercourse. Many wives can participate fully in sexual relations and feel satisfied at the conclusion even though there is no convulsing, ecstatic climax to the episode. The important thing is that the husband not demand that his wife experience orgasms, and he should certainly not insist that they occur simultaneously with his.
3. Perhaps the most dramatic contribution a husband can make to marital sexual relationships is to reverse the trend toward pressurized silence. When intercourse has been unenthusiastic, and when anxiety has been steadily accumulating, the tendency is to eliminate all reference to the topic in everyday conversation. Neither partner knows what to do about the problem, and they tacitly agree to ignore it. Even during sexual relations, they do not talk to each other. An inhibited husband and wife can make love several times a week for a period of years without ever verbalizing their feelings or frustrations on this important aspect of their lives. Remember this: any anxiety-producing thought or condition which cannot be expressed is almost certain to generate inner pressure and stress.
When conversation is prohibited on the subject of sex, the act of intercourse takes on the atmosphere of a “performance” each partner feeling that he is being critically evaluated by the other. To remove these communicative barriers, the husband should take the lead in releasing the safety valve for his wife. That is done by getting her to verbalize her feelings, her fears, her aspirations. They should talk about the manners and techniques which stimulateand those which don’t. They should face their problems as mature adults…calmly and confidently. There is something magical to be found in such soothing conversation and anxieties are reduced when they find verbal expression. To the men of the world, I can only say, “Try it.”
4. The forth way husbands can increase the sensuality of their wives is by paying attention to the geography and techniques of intercourse. Women are more easily distracted than men; they are more affected by the surroundings and noises and smells than are their husbands. The possibility of being heard by the kids bothers women more. An interference such as this can paralyze a woman sexually, and make her husband feel rejected and angry.
Spontaneity has its place in the marital bed, but in general, I believe sex should be planned for and prepared for and anticipated. For the man who has been dissatisfied with his recent sex life, I suggest that he call a local hotel or motel and make reservations for a given night, but tell no one about his plans. He should arrange secretly for the children to be cared for until morning, and then ask his wife to go out to dinner with him. After they have eaten a good meal, he should drive to the hotel without going home or announcing his intentions. The element of surprise and excitement should be preserved to the very last moment. Once inside the hotel room (where flowers may be waiting), the happy hormones will dictate the remainder of the instructions.
My point is that sexual excitation requires a little creativity, particularly in cases of a “tired” relationship. For example, the widespread notion that males are inherently active and females are inherently passive in a sexual sense is nonsense; the freedom to express passion spontaneously is vital to enjoyment. When one makes love in the same old bedroom, from the same position and surrounded by the same four walls, it has to become rather routine after so many years. And routine sex is usually bored sex.
5. Another sexual “inhibitor” which husbands should understand is fatigue itself. Physical exhaustion plays a significant part in some women’s ability (or inability) to respond sexually. By the time a mother has struggles through an eighteen-hour day—especially if she has been chasing an ambitions toddler or two—her internal pilot light may have flickered and gone out. When she finally falls into bed, sex represents an obligation rather than a pleasure. Meaningful sexual relations utilize great quantities of body energy and are seriously hampered when those resources have already been expended. Nevertheless, intercourse is usually scheduled as the final event in an evening.
If sex is important in a marriage, and we all know that it is, then some time should be reserved for its expression. The day’s working activities should end early in the evening, permitting a husband and wife to retire before exhausting themselves on endless chores and responsibilities. Remember this: whatever is put at the bottom of your priority list will probably be done inadequately. For too many families, sex languishes in last place.
6. Finally, we should spend a moment or two discussing the relationship between self-esteem and sexual enjoyment. A woman who feels ugly, for example, is often too ashamed of her imperfect body to participate in sex without embarrassment. She knows it is impossible to disguise forty-year-old thighs, and her flaws interfere with her sensuality.
Sex for human beings is inseparably connected with our psychological nature. Hence, the person who feels shy and timid and inferior will usually express his sexuality in similar terms, or on the other hand, the self-confident, emotionally healthy individual is more likely to have a fulfilling sex life. Therefore, a husband should recognize that anything which reduces his wife’s self-esteem will probably be translated into bedroom problems. His ridicule of her small breasts or varicose veins or large buttocks, even in fun, may make her self-conscious and uncomfortable during future sexual encounters. Any disrespect which he reveals for her as a person is almost certain to crop up in their physical relationship, as well. In this regard, our sexual behavior differs radically from the mechanistic responses of lower animals. The emotional concomitants simply cannot be denied or suppressed in human beings.