Dear Dr. Brilliant Cliché;
I have been trying to do little things to spice up my marriage lately- after reading an article in Cosmopolitan about straying husbands, I decided I should make a preemptive strike,
and put more effort into being playful and spontaneous. But I am running unto some problems I hadn’t anticipated, and they all involve my own insecurity.
If I make an effort to initiate sex with my husband and he happens to be doing something like making dinner, he will put me off and say, “can it wait, honey?” The moment he is less than receptive,
it’s like the wind was knocked out of me- I feel so rejected and unwanted. I think to myself, “if a Brazilian supermodel walked in here right now, he sure wouldn’t tell her to wait!” And then I feel ashamed of myself, as if I’ve done something wrong and I should feel…dirty. Or something. It’s hard to explain. But my point is- how can I feel so insecure and vulnerable with a man I’ve been married to for 14 years?
I am going to stop reading Cosmo. It’s messing with my head. Is there something wrong with me?
You are normal. In fact, what you describe is so common that it was referred to in the movie “Take This Waltz” When he rejects her advance, a wife tells her husband: “You know how hard it is for me to be bold? It takes all I have!”
This phenomena is generated almost entirely from the way sex is dealt with in our culture. Woman are supposed to be perfect, angelic, clean and innocent. At the same time, they are expected to spice it up, be dirty and act exotic or they risk losing their husbands to other woman…and it will be their own fault.
Meanwhile, somewhere in their psyche they are hearing “you will burn in hell for these lustful thoughts.” This is why books such as Fifty Shades of Gray are so instantly, insanely popular with woman. They address the unspoken line in our culture between the perfect, innocent woman…and the slut next door who wants to be raped. In our culture, sex, for a woman, is a dammed if you do and a dammed if you don’t situation.
Yes- throw out Cosmo! But I would also see a therapist and work on feeling comfortable with yourself and body. It takes work to reprogram and remove all of the culturally-acquired toxicity. A great deal more than Cosmo needs be tossed.
Dr. Brilliant Cliché
Granny says: I don’t really see this as a cultural issue. I’m sure that many of the attitudes people have about sex originate in cultural roots, but approaching it from that angle won’t solve the immediate problem- this is how Diane’s brain is functioning and there’s no guarantee that therapy will change it. Let’s see what we can do with the brain Diane’s got. Diane, let me explain something to you- just because sex is difficult for you to initiate, this doesn’t mean that you should always, and easily, get sex when you screw up the courage to make a move. God knows, men don’t. Not to mention- other people have involvements and needs of their own to distract them at times, and since you aren’t a Brazilian super model, you can’t rely on shock to tilt the results in your favor.
Men have testosterone that will prompt them to persist in their drive if not given the reception they hope for at first. Instead of testosterone, you have insecurity and negative expectation causing you to shut down at an initial rejection. Your personal embarrassment is unnecessary. A man wouldn’t care. But that’s a whole other can of worms and we won’t open it right now. I think that the useful thing to consider is this- you are taking a contrived approach to initiating sex, because it’s something that doesn’t come naturally to you. Contrived sex, imposed at the wrong moment, is a recipe for clashing and disaster. What I would suggest is watching, waiting for the right moment, and initiating something in a manner that arouses you. I am guessing that you will get a very different reception.