6 Essentials For Greater Intimacy That Every Husband Needs To Know
6 Essentials For Greater Intimacy That Every Husband Needs To Know
By Dr. James Dobson
1. The romantic element is doubly or triply important as a prelude to intercourse. 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. For the woman represented by the "inhibited" zone on our normal distribution graph, a feeling of being loved and appreciated is usually the only route to excitation. This fact undoubtedly explains the remarkably high correlation on our questionnaire between Sexual Problems and Lack of Romantic Love in Marriage. Almost without exception, when one was rated near the top, the other was ranked similarly.
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. (Other, more sensual women feel tremendous frustration if the tension and the vascular engorgement are not discharged.) 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. To do this is to ask for the impossible, and it puts his wife in an unresolvable conflict. When the husband insists that his wife's orgasms be part of his enjoyment, she has but three choices: (1) She can lose interests in sex altogether, as happens with constant failure in any activity; (2) she can try and try and try--and cry; or (3) she can "fake" it. Once a woman begins to bluff in bed, there is no place to stop. Forever after she must make her husband think she's on a prolonged pleasure trip, when in fact her car is still in the garage.
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. 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 stimulate--and 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 way husbands can increase the sensuality of their less passionate 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, and they are more dependent on variety in manner and circumstances. Another rather common inhibitor to women, according to the concerns verbalized in counseling sessions, is the lack of cleanliness by their husbands. A service station operator or a construction worker may become sexually aroused by something he has seen or read during the day, causing him to desire intercourse with his wife as soon as he arrives home from his job. He may be sweaty and grimy from the day's work, smelling of body odor and needing to use some Crest on his teeth. Not only are his fingernails dirty, but his rough calloused hands are irritating to his wife's delicate skin. An interference such as this can paralyze a woman sexually, and make her husband feel rejected and angry.
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. Someone said, "By the time I tuck the kids in, put the cat out, and take the telephone receiver off...who cares?" It's a very valid question.
When she finally falls into bed, sex represents an obligation rather than a pleasure. It is the last item on her "to do" list for that day. 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.
6. Finally, we should spend a moment or two discussing the relationship between self-esteem and sexual enjoyment. I said in the beginning that every item on the Sources of Depression list is related to every other issue. That fact is certainly evident in the connection between self-worth and the ability to respond to sexual stimuli. 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