Last week I did not want to have sex with my wife.
It feels weird to admit that... especially cause I love her so much and think she's SMOKIN' HOT.
You see, when I was single I was SO excited for sex. My wife and I waited to have sex with each other until we were married, so there was all this build-up and anticipation. I thought marriage would be this super awesome, clothing-optional, 24/7 pajama party with a buffet of all-you-can-eat sex.
Riding the Bony Express sounded like the perfect recreational activity for any day ending in “Y.” But since I’ve gotten married, things have changed...
For the last few weeks, I’ve been super stressed, and stress for me is the ultimate anti-aphrodisiac.
I’m preparing for the big relaunch of The Loveumentary podcast, writing a book, and working hard on an amazing course with a sex therapist called Demystifying Desire, and this new community for people who have insanely awesome relationships called The 1% Club.
My wife has been working an insane schedule with 13-hour shifts, so I try to make sure dinner is taken care of and the house is clean. Plus, we just finished moving into a new place which was stressful and exhausting. You get it. You're busy too.
So this week I realized it had been a few days since we had made time for knocking boots. We were definitely overdue for a romp. But man, (I never thought I’d say this) I just couldn’t get excited about it.
Not only was I stressed with life, but the stress that comes with sex was making it feel like more like homework than recess.
Here's an example of the random junk that pops into my head when get busy wit' it:
“Does she even want it right now? Is she enjoying this? Should I have showered first? Am I being too aggressive or too passive? Does she want more of what I’m doing, or something else? Is she getting bored? Does she want to climax first? What if I take too long and lose my erection? What if I come early?”
Most of the time Ang and I talk about our worries openly. We are pretty awesome communicators, and we get things resolved pretty quickly… but sometimes after a long day or a long week, I just don’t want to do this crazy dance with my mental and emotional demons.
It’s just easier to go to sleep.
However! Avoiding an emotional or mental obstacle is not what’s best for me or my marriage!
So this week, I re-learned an important lesson. It's perfectly summarized in this stellar quote by Harvard psychologist Jerome Bruner:
“You’re more likely to act yourself into feeling than feel yourself into action.”
Arousal is often a lot like love and happiness. They are by-product feelings. When you get busy taking action, the feeling will sneak up on you from behind and smack you upside the head when you don’t expect it!
Having a vibrant, fun, playful and exciting sex life is important to me and my wife. (I hope it’s important to you too!) But if we only had sex when both of us were "in the mood," we’d probably never have sex.
So, now I remind myself every day that the feelings I want to feel (like a desire for sex) almost always come as a result of taking action first!
This obviously works with so many other things beyond sex. Here are some examples of the things I do to get the feelings I want in other areas of my life:
I want to feel energized and healthy, so I wake up every morning at 4:50 and go to the gym with my friend. Sometimes I do NOT want to get out of bed... but I've never regretted it. I'm almost always on a high after we finish our workout.
I want to feel focused and productive, so I take time to plan my days and my weeks. Everything I do in a day is based off of the priorities I set in the morning or at the beginning of the week. I don't love planning, but I love how I feel when I have a plan.
I want to feel super connected to my wife, so I try to think of something special or kind I can do for her every single day. (For example, this week I bought her flowers, gave her a foot massage while she read a book, wrote her a love note of encouragement when she started her new job, called her at work and left her a voicemail to tell her how much I love her, and spent extra time cuddling with her in the morning.)
I want to feel appreciated, respected, and like I’m making a positive impact on the lives of those around me… so I try to do things that are worthy of these things. I take time out of my day to reach out to friends who are struggling. I share uplifting and encouraging things on social media. And I write emails and blog posts like this for people like you.
I want to feel desired, so I kiss my wife passionately every day. And I initiate sex, even when I’m not in the mood at the moment.
I don’t always feel like doing these things! But when I do them, the feelings I want to fill my life follow and it makes me want to do them more!
The reason I’m sharing these examples with you now is that I want to show you that I practice what I preach... and it doesn't always come easy! You’re not alone if you want more of something great and you’re simply not jazzed about putting in the work.
We are in this together.
Marriage isn’t always easy or fun. It doesn’t always feel good. But if you simply take action, the feelings and results you want will follow!
What are the (oftentimes scary) actions you’re avoiding that are keeping you from feeling the feelings you want most? What could you be doing more of that would give you more of the emotions you desire most? Let me know in the comments!