By: Julie Weaver, MA, LPC

We are well aware that sex is something that not all couples talk about and for some, initiation is another one of those sort of taboo discussions, is seems. Is initiation everything? No, but it is nice and makes us feel wanted, right? The feeling of obligation is another topic that not many want to voice out loud to their spouse. This is not a pleasant feeling and I hope to help you change that feeling into a desire for initiation instead.

Husbands and wives both want that same thing. Shocker! I know, right? We each want our spouse to want to be actively involved not out of obligation but in true desire to be physically intimate, to be sexual, sensual and passionate. Let’s be honest though, that is not always the reality, is it? This is where the “I have a headache” comes in. Side issue, did you know that the adrenaline pulsing through your body can actually get rid of that headache at times? Ok, back on track. Let’s talk about some things that would put us in an emotional position to be ready to initiate.

7 Ways to Change from Obligation to Initiation

1. Be emotionally close all day. For women especially we are wired to be interested physically if we feel emotionally close. Some examples of this are:

  • treat each other well
  • share information of your day
  • keep in touch throughout the day when possible
  • Show genuine interest in each other’s day.
  • Listen for the sake of listening only, not to fix it. 

2. Change your approach – Guys, don’t try talking her into it. Instead, try telling her why she is desirable. Complement her. Fill up her emotional tank. Remember we all want to feel desirable. Not as an object, as a person. Watch how you speak to each other and how you speak of each other.

3. Change your perspective – Remember sex is about connection with each other. Gals-It is not a tool to be used as a reward or withheld as a punishment. It is about love and emotion more than the actual physical piece.

4. No pressure or guilt trips. Your pressure for sex will equal obligation in your spouse heart. If your heart is not in it, your body will respond in kind.

5. Lift the load. Women especially, who are tired, depressed or anxious often have difficulty focusing on intimacy. Men on the other hand, seem to be ready whenever and they often would rather give up sleep (or food). Sex can be a stress reducer for them. Women, don’t forget this as it means that you should tell your spouse when you are thinking of it or in the mood. I’m sure, your hubby won’t mind.

6. Communication – Here is the kicker: talk to each other about sex. I do not just mean as a method of foreplay, while that is true too. I am encouraging you to talk about what is working and what is not, likes and dislikes. This is an area that is rare for couples to talk about. Do you talk about it with your spouse? You should. If you want things to go well in this area, you should. Even if you don’t feel comfortable talking about it yet, these are some things to keep in mind that will help things go well.

7. Change things up, try new things.The reality is that we all change over time. Our likes and dislikes change at times. The same thing you tried last week will not necessarily work this week. That one fabulous dish you love so much would get boring if you made every day. In a football game you would also not want your team to run the same play game after game. This would not be productive. You will need to go back to the playbook and mix things up, try something new. Try new recipes and find out if you and your spouse like the flavors. Ask what is working.

We each want to be desired. The perspective is just different. Husbands experience emotional closeness because of physical intimacy to their spouse. For women, because we feel close emotionally close we want to be physically close. Initiating is something that men especially equate with sexual desire toward them. Women forget this and often have been taught this is not a lady like behavior. Honestly, there are so many things that can contribute to one spouse not feeling comfortable initiating, these are just a few. Please consider talking with a counselor who specializes in this area for more help within your relationship. I feel all couples should talk about sex, not many do. Sex is God created, God given and for our pleasure! Hmm… What an awesome God we serve!

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