So, after my many points outlined in part 1 of this post on weaponzing sex, let’s continue.
Many men DO know that their partners don’t withhold sex to be pricks.
They understand that women might not be in the mood after a fight, or after too much booze, if they’re feeling down, or many other reasons.
But if a lack of desire for sex rumbles on, week after week, our partners may feel that the power IS in our hands.
After all, we’re the one rejecting them.
And this becomes problematic.
Our partners are interpreting this as rejection of them- their bodies, their intimacy and their lifestyles.
For men especially, physical connection through sex is so powerful because expressing themselves in other ways (being emotional) may not come as naturally to them. This is because of the way we condition men to express pain.
Their space to be vulnerable might be limited in everyday life/outside world, and lacking this intimate space to express themselves, as well as their interpretation of the rejection, might mean a devastating erosion of self-esteem.
So, concluding that women control sex seems easier to deal with.
Hurt then turns into frustration, and understanding and empathy becomes lost.
I get this. It’s hard if your partners desire disappears and you’re left on your own to reason with it.
And, as I carried on with my internet research, I came up with a different way to understand this idea of “withholding sex”.
And recognised my own behaviour within it:
Rather than sex being withheld to punish, for women’s own gain or to consciously manipulate their partner, it’s more linked to unspoken, unresolved discontent with their partner.
This results in a withdrawal of the woman from sex.
She doesn’t want to share intimacy.
Because he often wants sex to feel close, but she needs to feel close before having sex.
And this blew my mind.
The biggest conundrum of a low libido: I need to feel close to have sex, he wants sex to feel close
It’s a massive contrast- one wanting sex to feel intimate, the other wanting to feel intimate before sex.
The ultimate stalemate.
Sexual intimacy is about vulnerability.
When you feel good about yourself its easier to be vulnerable.
However, if there is unresolved tension, conflict, unhappiness, stress, we may choose to avoid feeling vulnerable as a self-protective measure.
And this *might* explain why women are shying away from sex, and have little desire to do so, if there feels an emotional chasm between her and her partner.
As mentioned before, women have an absolute right to NOT have sex. Especially if there are issues in the relationship. Being sexual with someone means offering closeness, nurturing them. If you don’t feel ready for sex, not wanting to share your body or affection with another, it means your body is sending you a message that as a couple you need more time trying to repair the distance.
But, if we’re interested in us WANTING to want sex, then we need to explore more about why we don’t share our “ingredients for sex” (our body, time, mind, pleasure) and what we can do about it.
Why do we withdraw from wanting sex?
As I researched more into this issue, I found this quote that really resonated with me:
Withholding sex is one of those behaviors that is passive aggressive. Rather than talk about or say what you are really thinking, you take something away hoping all the while that your partner (man or woman) will figure out your true meaning.
Women who then don’t feel like sex, rather than a conscious punishment or withholding, are rather people that struggle to express emotion.
And their bottled up emotions are expressed through their lack of desire.
This is a lot to do with our conflict styles, and ability to resolve arguments or tension successfully.
For example, I REALLY struggle with being able to speak my mind.
I can be a bit passive aggressive (oopsy- worst ever) and instead of openly expressing my thoughts to my guy, I can be a total twat and flounce around angry, waiting for him to figure out what’s wrong.
When that happens (as you might have read elsewhere in the blog) I tend to feel resentful of him, and I close myself down to desire.
Because I have this simmering unresolved emotion, I then feel distance between us– a chasm that opens and in it falls all of my lust for sex, gathering dust at the bottom until we’ve resolved our differences.
Yeah I know it’s harsh, unhealthy as f*ck and something I’m working on, but we all have our flaws, right?
So this withholding of sex, it’s not a purposeful, manipulative, controlling, out and out refusal for sex as punishment.
It’s more about a genuine inability to express myself. An “emotional withholding”, if you like.
I’m not punishing my partner. Rather, I don’t feel close to him, I often don’t even understand why, and all I know is I don’t want the intimacy that sex entails.
So, the solution?
Although I also still struggle with this, moving forwards and desiring sex means working on that closeness before sex by resolving hurt and conflict.
- talking more about how we feel, what’s bothering us
- working on the feeling of resentment by opening up
- allowing ourselves to be authentic and vulnerable in our relationships
Bringing your behaviour into your awareness is the first step in knowing how to change.
Your partner receiving that information in a supportive way is the next part.
If your partner emotionally withholds, seems distant, unengaged or cold, try and turn detective to figure out what’s going on.
Listen and work as a team to figure things out together.
The distance between you can be bridged with things like understanding more about foreplay, putting in time to increase the warmth and affection between you, going on dates, learning more about conflict resolution and being kind to each other.
Only you know the best way forwards, and if you withhold to punish or because you just struggle to express yourself but want to learn how to do so.
And I hope this has helped frame this argument in a supportive way that doesn’t demonize women! We’re all human after all, we all have our flaws, and communication is one of THE single most hardest things to do. But highlighting the issues are undoubtedly the first step to resolving them.
P.S. Have you experienced this issue of not being close to have sex vs. having sex to feel close? How did you resolve it?