Question for Guys about Initiation
Bit of background – I’ve never been an initiator. Even when I desire sex, putting myself out there like that makes me self conscious and open to rejection. (And ugh, seeing that in black and white makes me realize that’s what my husband goes through every. single. time.)
I know he’d like me to initiate more, and tonight I went for it. But he had an unexpected deadline at work and had to turn me down. I don’t feel remorseful about this. He and I are in the same profession and I empathize with what he’s doing. But as I lie here, unwilling to disturb him, I’m starting to second guess myself.
So my question is, does initiation matter to a husband who doesn’t get that a lot, even if it can’t be consummated? For me, I tend to be annoyed if he wants sex and I’m busy. I didn’t push him or anything, and I know he isn’t annoyed. I was trying to give him a gift, and I guess I’m just hoping he sees it that way. I will, of course, speak to him at a better time. I’m not trying to keep score or anything. But my self-conscious brain is just hoping that stepping outside of my comfort zone still matters to him.
As a husband who’s wife may have initiated 5 times in our 22 years of marriage…. Yes it matters! Even if he had to say no this time… knowing that YOU want to have sex is huge, and it also shows him he’s wanted.
I bet that was a huge step for you… don’t get discouraged because it was a busy night. Try again soonee than later and definitely don’t second guess your decision
Thanks, DoveGrey, for asking this important question. The response dynamic is quite different for the initiating spouse and for the responding spouse. There are so many scenarios to consider.
1. Husband initiating when wife is exhausted from a long day, and sex is the furthest thing from her mind and beyond her physical limits.
In the husband’s case, he may just be in an amorous mood or very horny. Her response can be processed in many ways by the husband, depending on his mood or horniness.
Her response, if she says ‘yes’ may range from a sense of loving generosity (she engages with selflessness) or deep resentment (she engages with negative thoughts). The husband may leap to the opportunity without considering her motivation behind her response or he could be sensitive to her response. Her generosity may make him particularly loving or if he senses she’s giving him obligatory sex, he may have negative thoughts even as he engages in sex.
Her response, if she says, ‘Not tonight’ may mean different things to the husband if she sighs with exhaustion and adds ‘,dear’ at the end of her response or frustratingly adds an ‘!’ to the end of ‘tonight.’
2. Husband not initiating when his wife desires intimacy and/or is at the point in her cycle where she craves intimacy.
The husband may be under pressure or a dunderhead (mea culpa) and fail to pick-up an unspoken signal.
The wife may be crushed and the husband oblivious.
The wife may be understanding and the husband oblivious.
The wife may skillfully hide her desire and the husband sense it and be relieved.
The wife may skillfully hide her desire and the husband be so preoccupied that he missed his chance.
All sorts of dynamics. The wife, in all of these cases (she desires sex, yet doesn’t initiate), may be devastated, disappointed, or possibly understanding – a whole range of dynamics.
3. Wife initiates and husband responds with delight and glee.
All is well!
4. Wife initiates and the husband engages and can’t perform.
Wow! Does this ever happen? Yup! When it does happen, all sorts of dynamic scenarios spawn from this situation.
The wife could feel it’s her fault. Was I too aggressive? Did I fail to allure him? Does he find me attractive? Did I do something wrong?!
The husband could be embarrassed, confused (why can’t I perform), or intimidated by his wife’s aggressiveness.
Or the wife and husband could laugh it off and agree/know it’s ok. In this case the wife will initiate again, because she and he are comfortable with whatever outcome takes place.
5. The wife initiates and the husband says, ‘Not now.’
Again, wow! That response can be riddled with dynamics for the wife from sweet understanding (no problem, I get it and I’ll ask again – just you wait, buster!) to crushing rejection (negative, questioning feelings and thoughts – I’m not going to do that, again!)
In summary, what is a couple to do? Perhaps this is a rather simplistic suggestion, but here goes . . .
1. Jesus was all about relationship – so should we be in our marriages.
2. Jesus was full of grace – so should we be in our marriages.
3. Jesus loves without qualification – should should we in our marriages.
4. Jesus forgave and forgave – so should we in our marriages.
5. Jesus loves to fellowship – so we should communicate and commune in our marriages.
I’m not a guy but what I’ve noticed can help with the vulnerability of initiation is to be more subtle about the initiation, such as using your body (e.g. sometimes I will nonchalantly wear only a bath robe around the house after a shower and that usually signals that I would love it if my husband touched my naked body and subsequently have sex with me, I never actually mention sex or really approach him), to me that counts as initiation but my husband and I tend to be more subtle in terms of communication anyway, which may or may not be your case. Also, doing it more often can be helpful because I’m sure he would love it if you initiated– as you said he was busy with his work. So, odds are that the next few times you initiate, he’ll be into as it will be under different circumstances. Anyway, that’s what I’ve found helpful to reduce anxiety when it comes to initiation: being subtle and then trying to have more instances of acceptance than rejection to build confidence.
Actually, this post plays into SC’s question about priorities in some ways.
If I had some unexpected deadline at work that was due the next day, and my wife initiated sex, it would mean that I got a few hours less sleep so that I could do both.
I absolutely notice when my wife initiates. The truth is that it probably happens more often than than me initiating lately. I think it goes in cycles. I get tired of being turned down so I don’t pursue as much as I should. She initiates when she is ready, usually once or twice a week.
I think my biggest takeaway from this experience is how difficult it is to initiate. Before last night, I never appreciated how confusing it is to initiate and then be turned down. What Doug said about not wanting to pursue as much resonated with me.
Last night, my husband truly didn’t have the time. As someone in his profession, I know that for a fact. I would not have wanted him to feel undue pressure by giving up time he needed for work and then sleep. It’s rare that he has a surprise deadline so strict.
However, it made me realize that I need to be more aware of whether I truly don’t have time for sex or if I’m using work/hobbies as an excuse to not have sex. I’ll bet that the former doesn’t occur as much as I think it does.
It’s always wonderful when DW initiates! She feels good about her self! I love her to pieces! And whether it happens at that time or not, the memory of her asking, the way she asked, the look in her eye, etc. last for days! Super feeling!
As most men have said, yes, I love it when the wife initiates. And most times I have time. I empathize with initiating and it not being the right time for the other. There have been a few times where I had to turn down my wife (not often…one time she surprised me when I returned home, but I was on a call for work and it took until almost the time we had to leave).
I would say do not get discouraged, but go right back to it. I’ll speak for myself, but most men would probably agree: We want to know that our wives love us, sexually desire us, and think of us sexually. When my wife initiates, to me that signals that she realizes all three things to some degree. The more effort that is put into it, the more is solidifies the thought (think of planning how, such as when my wife text me throughout the day hinting, of she sends me a slightly provocative picture/video, etc).