“If at all possible, try to initiate sex with your husband or wife today. Do this in a way that honors what your spouse has told you (or implied to you) about what they need from you sexually. Ask God to make this enjoyable for both of you as well as a path to greater intimacy.”
Along with several other bloggers, I’m participating in Tausha’s Blogger Love Dare, and today is my turn! When I arbitrarily chose a day, OF COURSE I ended up with the dare where you’re supposed to have sex. Of course I did. *facepalm*
So here we go. It’s about to get all kinds of awkward and vulnerable up in here.
(Just a quick note: If you’re new here, welcome! Also, for this post to make sense, you may want to check out this post first. It’s also awkward and vulnerable but a lot less sexy. Spoiler: it’s about depression and anxiety. Fun!)
The worst conversation David and I have ever had started, not-so-innocently enough, in bed. He stopped kissing me long enough to ask something along the lines of, “What do you want?” Insert wiggly eyebrows here. You know what he meant.
The problem was, at that moment and for so many previous ones, I wanted one of two things. A very large part of me wanted to roll over and go to sleep, because sex was the furthest thing from my mind. A smaller, louder part of me wanted very much to want sex…but didn’t. It was confusing. So I gave him what I hoped was a sufficiently diplomatic answer: “I want you to turn me on.”
That was not what he expected to hear. “Are you not turned on? Um, am I doing something wrong? What does that even mean?” And that’s when it all spilled out and I was pretty sure he was going to run away and never come back.
Physically, I had rebounded quickly after Margot was born. Sexually, not so much. My libido had sort of withered and died. I hadn’t really been aroused in months. I went through the motions because a) I knew that’s what David wanted and I loved making him happy and b) I hoped it would help me want it more. Nope. Nothing. Business hours were over, permanently, as far as I could tell. I desperately wished it weren’t the case, but I didn’t know what to do to change anything.
Of course David took that to mean that I no longer found him attractive and wasn’t interested in sex with him specifically. He spent the night feeling rejected and frustrated, and began planning out the rest of his celibate married life from the far edge of the bed.
I also felt rejected, as if he would no longer want me because I was used up and broken. I cried. Needless to say we did not finish our earlier canoodling. It was a rough night.
After a few tension-filled days, we sat down to discuss the elephant in the room. I did my best to reassure him that my problem had nothing to do with him. Yes, I was still attracted to him. Yes, I wanted to be with him. Yes, I wanted to make him happy. I just had no desire for sex.
It was not the easiest thing to explain. Kudos to him for listening and trying to understand.
I’m pretty sure that was the day we decided that I really needed to talk to my doctor. We didn’t know if it was a hormone imbalance or depression or what, but something wasn’t right and needed to be fixed. Asap.
I saw my doc that week and she prescribed a low dose of Paxil. I feel very fortunate that it has worked so well for me and we didn’t have to experiment with other options. My anxiety is practically nonexistent, my depression is under control, and slowly but surely my appetites have returned…including my sexual appetite. HUZZAH!!!
(You guys. You really don’t know how great it is to want sex after months and months of being completely disinterested. And I’m guessing, from David’s side of things, it’s probably pretty fantastic to have an equal partner in things again instead of being the only one who is interested in sexy time.)
Since then we’ve had quite a few discussions about what we need from each other to make our marriage better. We were getting along fine, and the kids were happy, but we were essentially living as roommates. It was less than ideal. I didn’t even realize that I had stopped touching David unless we were in bed. Given that one of his major love languages is physical touch, it’s not surprising that he felt hurt and rejected.
And I realize this seems like a long, awkward, unnecessarily personal story, but it’s got a point, I swear. Here it is:
You have to keep trying. You have to keep talking and realigning and re-prioritizing and making sure that things are as good as they possibly can be. You might have to dig deep and acknowledge some serious problems that need to be addressed. You might have to break out of a comfortable but stagnant routine in order to make improvements. You might have to go through the motions for a while until things start to feel genuine again. You might cry. (You’ll probably cry.)
But all of that? All the hard stuff? It is so so worth it.
Several months ago this would have been the most difficult dare of the entire challenge. Now? Well, let’s just say I’m looking forward to putting the kids to bed tonight…wink wink.
Aaaand now I’m going to awkwardly moon walk away because you guys know way more than makes me comfortable about what I’m up to on a random Thursday night.
Is it hard for you to initiate sex? Has your desire waned for each other over time? I’m really curious: what do you do when the balance feels off? How have you reignited that flame?
Be sure to visit Tausha’s blog to keep following along with the love dare!