Tuesday, November 18, 2008

When in bed, just how much are emotions and sex related?

My husband is good, I mean, REALLY good! Something happened yesterday evening that was more of a big annoyance than anything else. It had nothing to do with GR or our kids. He and I went to bed and he began gently caressing me but I could not respond to his touch and I told him, "I am still so annoyed with this." (ie, I'm Italian and French; it is in the blood.) Without another word from me, he took it upon himself to aggressively ravish me. He was doing everything that he knew I loved him to do so it was not long before I had forgotten the annoyance and we were engaged in a hot love making session. When we were done, there was nothing in the air but emotional calmness and sexual satisfaction for both of us as we fell fast asleep.

The whole thing made me wonder...

Does sex sometimes go terribly wrong just because of poor communication or poor emotional connection when we are in bed? Do we occasionally push the wrong emotional buttons with our spouse when we enter our bedroom each night or day? When our spouse has his/her mind on the wrong things, do we make right choices for how to respond to it? Yes, we each need to take personal responsibility for our own thoughts but when it is difficult, can and should our spouse acknowledge the annoyance and then point us in the right direction so we can both enjoy sex, in spite of the troubled thoughts? Do we often see the annoyance in our spouse but are too inhibited to try anything sexual for fear of our spouse's reaction? If our emotional intimacy outside the bedroom is not in the most optimal healthy state, can you see how this same scenario could go terribly wrong?

spouse A- I am so ticked off about this.
spouse B- Try not to think about it. Let's have sex.
(B's not thinking about anything but sex and A knows it. A little empathy might help.)

spouse A- I am so ticked off about this.
spouse B- With eyes rolling B thinks- What now? I guess there will be no sex tonight.
(B knows better than to even say anything or try for sex.)

spouse A- I am so ticked off about this.
spouse B- You ALWAYS come to bed upset about something. What is wrong with you?
(B uses the "always" word and proceeds to ridicule and insult A.)

spouse A- I am so ticked off about this.
spouse B- I know. Why do you think it happened? Maybe it was a misunderstanding. Try not to worry about it all night. You will be able to talk to them tomorrow.
(B starts to earnestly pleasure A, knowing it will relieve A's tension; and it does.)

Can you relate to any of these or have you seen other scenarios play out in your marriage bed? When one spouse goes to bed with a negative thought in his/her head, how can the other spouse help to turn it into something warm, wonderful and passionate?


midwestman said...

Scene 2 would describe what would happen in our bedroom... I wouldn't even think of suggesting it if she was upset about something. I have never successfully used sex to "fix" something for her :(


Gemma said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
job29man said...

Good questions!

As a very HD DH I am able to pretty much "compartmentalize" my thoughts. DW gets very distracted by unpleasantness, to the point that it can make her not enjoy sex.

If I am the culprit, I generally take that opportunity to talk it through with her first. That doesn't mean "no sex", but it does mean "late night sex", which is more difficult as I get older.

We are both committed to never going to sleep angry, so I give up the sleep for the night, knowing that tomorrow the air will be clear between us.

Usually after an "airing out" of differences we have sex right away, and it is usually "hotter" than usual. :)

DW never, ever refuses. But if she is "distracted" she finds it hard to be responsive. Once or twice I've tried to just push on through without the discussion first, and she has "yielded" to me, even grabbed me or performed OS on me, but then I've kissed her cheek and felt tears there (in the dark), and I felt bad and decided I didn't want to do that to her again.

Gemma said...


I think many if not most men are very good at compartmentalizing thoughts. That's a gift God has put in men. It's hard for me but with the right understanding words from GR, I can do it like I did night before last.

And the incident I described was nothing that GR had done or anyone else I knew, for that matter. It was simply a money issue where we were supposed to receive x amount of dollars and what was actually sent was a thousand dollars short; a *slight* oversight. We were waiting for this money to pay off medical bills. I called them back yesterday and the other thousand is on its way already. See, it was just annoying.

But I agree with you--- If one spouse is locking horns with the other they absolutely need to talk it out before sex or sleep. That is an excellent policy to practice in order to regularly live in a state of healthy intimacy.

Although, I have to admit that GR and I on a few occasions have mutually agreed to have sex and then talk. During those times it worked for us and the sex was equally as hot but this can only be done by mutual agreement.

As long as GR or I recognize a distracting thought, we are usually quick to deal with it and move on. Our reasons--- We don't like strife, we're usually horny and we want to go to sleep peacefully. Thus, "good emotions = good sex" for us!

On a marriage site I frequent, there seems to be a huge amount of poor communication between spouses which I think greatly interferes with good sex. I shared my story in an attempt to analyze what happened with GR and me that night and to relate it to different "before sex" scenarios of emotional cause and effect. I don't know about others but this helps me to clear up the fog that seems to surround the link between emotional and sexual intimacy.

scotty said...

You mean like last night?
I was feeling all evening like I wasn't really in the mood, but I knew dh had thoughts of it all day so I desperately wanted to be responsive to him. However, just before bed (of course!) I got ticked off about something - not even really to do with him and just put me in a stinky mood. I kept telling myself on my way to bed... fix this, fix this - you don't want him thinking you're avoiding sex. There's a story behind that.
Anyway - long story short - too late! He could sense I wasn't into it but I asked him... don't you want to make love? He didn't think I did, but I told him I did if he wanted to. Well, after a few minutes things were not - uh progressing well, we just stopped. I was so mad at myself and he was hurt, I think, though I kept telling him it was all my fault.
I just couldn't get my mind in gear and my body wouldn't respond. What worries me is I know he won't initiate now for a while because although he was very understanding, he won't want to risk that again any time soon.
The aggravating thing is we've made huge strides in the bedroom this year and he's really enjoyed my agressiveness and playfulness which we haven't always had. It's taken him a while to get used to it and has only again recently started initiating more. I don't want him to return to not knowing if I'll 'be there' or not. My emotions were just too strong last night and I couldn't make it happen :(

Gemma said...

Scotty, what you went through last night is another example of how our sexual desire and our emotions are so intricately linked to each other.

The important thing--- When a dh and dw see an issue cropping up, it gets dealt with immediately. Until it's resolved everything else in the relationship turns out stinky. Quick resolution requires deep awareness of our emotions before we come to the bedroom and then again after we're in the bedroom. Both spouses must be willing to put their own anxieties and hurts aside so they can work together to overcome the hurdle.

In "The Proper Care & Feeding of Marriage" Schlessinger thoroughly addresses this problem. Below is the publisher's review of this book.

".... how men and women need to understand and appreciate the uniqueness of masculinity and femininity; what the best ways to relate, caretake, and nurture each other are; and how to bring a marriage back from the brink of disaster. Dr. Laura asserts that in order to produce and sustain a wonderfully satisfying marriage, spouses must recognize and appreciate the polarity between the masculine and the feminine. Both husband and wife have power in the relationship, and each needs to realize this in order to ensure personal satisfaction."

scotty said...

I read the book recently Gemma and loved it. DH sent me the sweetest email today, saying last night didn't bother him because he knew it was just a little bump in the road. He can't wait to try again. Oh I love that man! I'm blessed so much more than I deserve.
I know I should have fully confronted the emotions before bed and talked to him but at the time I thought it would be better to try intimacy than talk about this and let him think I was avoiding sex.
Thanks for listening!

Gemma said...

Good for you guys! For next time... and there is always a "next time"... don't be afraid to talk about the issue up front. It sounds like you have a very understanding dh. If GR and I have to talk about anything when we go to the bedroom at night, we just discuss it and then move on to the good stuff... THE SEX!!! I'm happy for you!

LIT56RD said...


DW and I usually struggle not with being upset about something or unresolved issues. Rather it is from work. DW runs her own business from home. Spends 7-9 hours a day on the computer dealing with people around the country and around the world. When she latches onto a project she is fully consumed. She has a real difficult time switching from work mode to bedroom mode. There are a lot of times that I know it is futile to even think about initiating romance because her mind is still at the desk or dealing with something from that day. When a project is completed or a crisis has been solved we do have a decent sex life. Just need to work around what is happening at the desk.

Gemma said...

Your dw has unresolved issues. It's just that her unresolved issues are work-related, lol.

The only think I can relate to running a business from home is when I was homeschooling our 2 kids for 20 years. It was like running an in-home business but without the monetary pay, lol. From the time my eyes would open in the morning until I'd fall asleep at night, my thoughts were wrapped around homeschooling.

From my own experience there, I can tell you that work at home can consume your life if it's not kept in proper balance. GR and I have no regrets for homeschooling but it was one of the contributing factors that kept our marital intimacy on the back burner.

You have to establish boundaries, rules. If you don't, the marriage will end up getting the leftovers, if there are any. Perhaps you and dw can discuss this and decide on a doable amount of hours per day to devote to the business and then when hours are up each day, close the office door and become "wife". Next day, pick up where she left off. There will always be work to do with a business but her work isn't going anywhere. It will all be there the next morning waiting for her to start her new day.

Just an idea....

walkhisway said...

Between scenarios 2& 3 might be our pattern. Unfortunate but true

Gemma said...

WHW, that's where asking yourself questions, like the ones I asked in the article, may help you and your spouse understand each other better and maybe help you learn how to better serve each other as generous spouses. Generosity or lack thereof covers our emotions and our sex in marriage. It's hard work, but the rewards are great.

I've probably mentioned this elsewhere on my blog but I'll say it again. Back in Dec 2006 when I experienced my sexual awakening, our sex life quickly soared and went off the charts and has been that way since. However, our emotional intimacy didn't improve a lot until much later and it's still improving. We have had to work hard at learning how to treat each other better outside the bedroom. We haven't arrived yet but our emotional intimacy has drastically improved in the last 2 years mostly because we've been determined to "get it right".

Among other things, a good marriage requires determination from both spouses.