Changing a Willingness to Make Love into a
Desire to Make Love
Dear Dr. Harley,
Before my husband and I begin your program, I think you should know something about my background.
My first several sexual encounters with my then boyfriend (husband now) were interrupted with visions of my father's speeches: expectations of "staying pure like your mother was". All the way up until the day we married 7 years later (we're married 11 years now!).
I still remember the night of our honeymoon, my husband told me "you said after we got married, things would change! What's happening?" So you see, sex has always been an "issue" with us.
Unlike most other couples, we met and were "friends" for over a year before we started "dating". He was dating a very promiscuous girl, my luck! They'd argue all the time and I'd try and patch things up between the two (I should have been a psychiatrist!). But eventually they split one last time and my husband and I realized we could cultivate something very special being such good friends. So you see, it wasn't the old: "We met at a friend's party and our eyes met. We couldn't take our hands off each other." We've never had that kind of a relationship.
The work would be that much harder for me since he had had such a "wild" time with the girlfriends before me. I've been described as "sensitive, loving, sweet, intelligent and tame to a fault" by my husband and friends and those who know me often are shocked when I do the littlest thing out of character. Sometimes I think it is my personality that makes it difficult for me to desire sex.
We're both tired of feeling like we're just not compatible. Things will be great for a little while (usually after we've agreed to go our separate ways, we'll start realizing the finality of it and that will throw us into a passionate session of sex). But then after a week or two, we'll go back to the same old "once a week or every two weeks even" routine. He'll start to talk about "not being able to take it anymore" again and the cycle will begin again.
To him sex is an extremely important part of a marriage. Without it he doesn't feel loved or appreciated and starts envying everyone else's sex life. He's not the type to fool around (or so he says) and he stands strong on that point. So, years go by and I begin to feel like I've deprived him of a "normal" sex life. Like he's missed out on it all.
We're praying we can finally start being "wild and crazy" with one another, the way both of us want it. My husband is right: Who better to have that with but with the one you love the most and feel the safest with?
You bring up one of the strongest arguments for sexual abstinence prior to marriage. Comparisons are inevitable, and I believe that your husband's sexual experience with a promiscuous girl puts you at an unfair disadvantage. Your husband is very fortunate to have his best friend as his wife, someone willing to make love to him, and sexually responsive when she does. But his series of sexual encounters with a "wild and crazy" woman has distorted his idea of what great sex is supposed to be. Instead of appreciating your care for him, and enjoying what is actually a much better than average sexual relationship in marriage, he is ready to leave you because he cannot get you to do what the promiscuous girl did.
In fact, I believe that his comparing you with his former girlfriend may contribute greatly to your lack of sexual desire. Instead of making your sexual encounters with him effortlessly enjoyable, you are forever trying to meet the standard that his former girlfriend created. That's work!
Quite frankly, I feel the same way about pornography. Once a man is accustomed to seeing the bodies of naked 18 year old girls, his 45 year old wife's body just doesn't seem to be as attractive. It's unfair for wives to compete with other women for the sexual attention of their husbands. Once married, sex between a husband and wife should be exclusive and without comparison.
I have another question for you that will help with our plan. What does your husband want most in his sexual relationship with you? Does he want you to be more passionate or does he want sex to be more frequent?
Mary's next letter to Dr. Harley (4 of 8)