Q: My husband always wants to have sex, and it really makes me mad. When I give in, I feel used, but if I don’t, I feel guilty. How do I deal with this dilemma?
A: What you are feeling is common among many women. Most men view sex as a way of “establishing and maintaining the relationship.” For most women, sex is a “consequence of the relationship.” What that means is that, oftentimes, if men begin to feel disconnected emotionally, they’ll want to have sex as a way of re-connecting with their wives. If women begin to feel emotionally disconnected from their husbands, the last thing they want to do is have sex. The aversion is typically not to sex itself, but to sex without emotional intimacy.
What’s important to remember is that neither husband nor wife is more “right” than the other. Being angry that you’re your husband wants to be physically intimate with you is not much different than if he were angry with you for wanting to be emotionally intimate with him. If both you and your husband would be willing to embrace the ways in which you are different from one another, you may discover much more fulfillment in your lovemaking. Look for opportunities to express love to one another in ways that speak to the way you are naturally wired. Instead of “giving in” to your husband’s desires, look for times when you can freely offer to make love to your husband, or enthusiastically respond to his advances. In the same way, when you feel you don’t have the energy or emotional capacity to make love, kindly let him know that it’s not a good night, and hopefully he will be patient and caring in response to your desires. He may even choose to hold you, or listen to you instead during those times. And as you both grow in compassion and understanding for one another, you may discover more appreciation than frustration for your differences.