So...in time for Valentine's Day...what can you do to improve your sex life?
Oh, boy. A lot of ink has been spilled on this subject, and I'm about to add some more.
To start with, Joseph Pote made the comment on Part 1 that women put a lot emotion into their sexuality, and men use sexuality to express emotion. (Joe's splendid blog, Redeemed, can be found here.)
If we don't connect with this basic truth, we'll never have a satisfactory connection with one another.
The suggestions I'm listing below are not "how-to" action items. You can get those in a lot of other places.
They are also not 'tricks' to get your way. If you're approaching physical intimacy from that point of view, a review of your ethics are - to put it bluntly - in order.
Courtship doesn't end at the altar - the best way to a wonderful physical relationship - that will be happy for both of you - is to continue courtship past the wedding. Every single day.
What did you do when you were courting? You probably sent loving emails or texts, sent flowers, opened doors, touched your now-wife gently, stroked her hair, held her hand...
...and you listened to her.
Do you do these thing now? Most men have dropped at least a few, and some have dropped all..."Hey, she knows I love her! Why should I have to..?"
You have to because your wife needs to feel wanted. She needs to feel cherished. She needs your attention and care. She needs you to hear her. She needs you.
Encourage your wife - whether your wife is in the wage-earning labor force or is taking care of the household, learn about what she's doing, and encourage her.
She needs it. Women are still very undervalued in our society, equal rights notwithstanding, and getting strong support and a boost from the person to whom she's closest means a lot to any woman. You know her strengths, and her weaknesses. Others don't - she trusts you, and values your opinion more than you know.
Learn to be sensual instead of sexual - it's a cliche that women like cuddle-time more than most men do. Men are primarily visual, with a quick connection between eyes and hormones. Women are far more sensitive to touch (non-sexual touch), smell, and sound.
Touch your wife's 'perimeter', rather than focusing on the sexual bits/ Run your hands along her shoulders, and arms, and the outside of her hips.
You may be invited to 'go on', but sometimes...for your wife, this is enough. This is what she needs, rather than overt sexual release. If you're willing to follow her lead, the trust you earn will be immeasurable. You'll be a true rarity among men, and among husbands.
An additional benefit of this approach is that your body will become more sensitive to touch, and you'll find enjoyment where you did not think it possible.
Physical intimacy is a process, not a goal - if you're not regularly touching your wife - again, non-sexually - you're probably not on the same page as far as sex is concerned. Saving physical contact for sex does not work for most women. Your wife may go along - she loves you - but she's cheated of something she deserves.
Kiss her, sometimes gently, sometimes firmly. Hug her, and keep your hands where they belonged during courtship. When you're out together, hold her hand. When you go to the movies, put your arm around her shoulder.
Aside from making her feel loved - this process attunes your bodies to one another. You fit together.
Set the mood - This doesn't mean quickly putting out scented candles in the bedroom, and throwing a Luther Vandross CD onto the stereo. It means helping her to keep a home environment that she enjoys. Taking out the trash, cleaning up the clothes you dumped on the chair, doing the dishes...
Women are all about environment. Again - for your wife, sex is a wholistic experience, and the more you can contribute to that, the happier she'll be.
For women -
Be positive - This is probably the most important thing a woman can do. The male ego is fragile - that's no secret - but it's nowhere more delicate than in regard to sexuality.
Just saying "why don't we try this?" rather than "please don't do that" can make a huge difference. Both statements can express the same thing - but the positive statement makes your husband feel like a valued participant, and reinforces togetherness. The negative comment separates, and implicitly blames.
Try to accept the visual - Many men prefer lights. Many women don't. You can 'trade off', or alternate settings, or you can fight your corner to get what you want.
Or you can realize that your husband wants to look at you. If the lights are on, he's not off in some mental fantasy. He's with you.
Slow things down with a hand massage - Huh? Well, think about it. How do your hands feel, right now? Mine are pretty tight and slightly painful.
If you give your husband a hand massage, you won't relax him to the point of impotence (a full-body massage can do that). What you will do is reinforce the primacy of touch - your touch. You'll also make him feel like the center of attention, which enjoyment is not lost on most males.
Realize that your husband may sometimes need a quick and vigorous release - I hesitated to write this, because it's not good to make it a habit. But it is true that there are times when your husband will feel a drive and enthusiasm that go beyond the norm.
And it may be too fast for you to fully enjoy.
This is a gift to consider giving, though, even when you might feel a little bit disappointed for yourself. It lets your husband be himself, and if you can get into at least the emotional mood, he'll get the subliminal message that you're enjoying him...for him.
For both of you -
Learn together - There is no shortage of educational material on married intimacy. Find something that appeals to both of you, and go through the process of learning together. Make it fun, and take it seriously. (Guys, don't use this as a shortcut to quick sex...in other words, don't jump ahead in the textbook.)
Don't ever give up on each other - It's all to easy to put intimacy on the back burner because life gets too busy, or too stressful.
Some situations make sex well-nigh impossible. The death of a parent, for instance, kicks over a primal anthill in both men and women, and shuts down the hormones...sometimes for months.
But you can't let abstinence become a habit. Abstinence is for single people.
When you practice abstinence in a marriage, you lose the physical sense of your mate. You begin to forget one of the reasons you got married in the first place - the feel, the smell, the taste of your mate.
Can you get it back after months? Yes, but it takes time, and takes courtship.
After years? Much, much harder, because both partners will really begin to wonder what they saw in each other. It's a harsh statement, but it's commonly true. There is a point of no return, beyond which intimacy is the satisfaction of a 'legal' obligation. Yuck.
Sex is a gift, just as your spouse is a gift.