A Discussion on Some Reasons Women Shut Down Sexually
I know we've gone into this before and it may or may not apply but it bears repeating since we have new readers/posters all the time. One of the most self defeating things a man can do when the sexual relationship is nonexistant to iffy, is to do or plan something with the expectation it will lead to sex, this works fine with a responsive woman but not an unresponsive one.
I think there are a limited range of possible causes of a woman being or becoming unresponsive sexually:
There is a mental block; usually upbringing, abuse, anger or negation of her needs (often long term).
There is a physical problem; could be hormones, physiological or pain associated with sex.
The physical side may seem to be easy to deal with, but often isn't. Read through some of the threads in GYN or BC. There has been and still is, in many ways, a somewhat cavalier attitude toward women's issues in health care. There are huge numbers of unnecessary c-sections and hysterectomies performed. Look at the Essure thread to get an idea of what goes on with women, the medical/pharma/ birth control situation. Many chemical forms of BC cause a loss of libido. It is interesting that one of our posters noted a that she had been told to try an "older" bc pill. I've commented that when I was younger there didn't seem to be such a problem with the pill and libido.
A woman walking into this mess with a problem with orgasm, pain or any number of other concerns is likely to just get a few pat answers and no real help. Personally, I've relatively few concerns with "female troubles" but when I did have some trouble, a doctor actually told me, "There's no reason for it." Everything has a reason. When something completely and painfully out of the ordinary occurs, there is a reason. This kind of dismissal occurs far too often or a prescription for an antidepressant or pain killer is written with no real effort to find out what is going on.
Physical concerns, including hormone imbalance, may take persistance and insistance to deal with.
The emotional/mental causes can be quite a quagmire too. People respond differently to situations. One person can grow up abused or be sexually molested or raped and still be sexually responsive and enjoy it fully. Another will get trapped in it and just not be able to move past it (this is true of men as well). These situations are at least usually readily identifiable talking about someone's past and experiences.
More insidious are the cultural/religious admonitions to be a "good" girl, not to do anything "dirty" or unacceptable by that group's standards, that's a sin, don't touch, don't look, don't think about, don't, don't, don't. That can be so ingrained that it's a real toughie to get around. Again, some people do it, other just can't seem to get past it. They have to do it, no one else can make it happen.
Anger and abuse in life or a relationship can create a lot of problems and women are often conditioned not to really show anger and to tollerate a lot of abuse. Women dealing with this may seem outwardly "OK" but they aren't. They may be depressed, unmotivated, have low self esteem, and be self defeating. Neglect or negation of her needs may fall into this arena too. I've been though this and have known or watched many other women go through it. My own theory is that this is far more likely with women who have some history of abuse just because they have more trouble with feeling safe to express their needs and have been conditioned to tollerate or expect not to have their needs met.
Men who negate or neglect the woman in their lives often don't see it at all. They will tell themselves, her and anyone else, all the things they do for her, how loving and caring they are and have been (I heard some awful abusors do this too). They may confront the women; I did this, I gave you that, didn't I? And she will have to agree, yes, he did. But the manner of giving, the attitude and expectations attached to it may have been demeaning, condescending or in some other way, hurtful.
Just an example, I have an ex who gave me tools. Now I love tools and I use them. But when you have an anniversary and a birthday back to back and you get tools that are required to properly complete work you are doing on the house and have been struggling to complete without proper tools, that does nothing to gladden a woman's heart (or I would guess, a man's). Those items should have been purchased to do the job. It's like a woman giving a man a bunch of wrenches and saying, "happy birthday, now go fix that car you've left sitting for months". The message is. this is not about you or how much I love and value you. No doubt this happens to both genders; a sense that your only value in the relationship is what you produce or bring to it. But I think it hits women harder because what they do is often undervalued.
How does this tie into sex? Everything ties into sex and sexual response. A woman who feels marginalised, uncared about, not listened to, not really valued, has a hard time feeling sexy or sexual. Since I'm talking about women, I'm make a caveat that much of this may apply to men as well, but I'm talking about women. Many men slip into behaviors that negate a woman and her feelings and needs. Whether she works outside the home or not, it's where's dinner? Why don't I have any clean socks? You call and straighten this out. You know I don't like X,Y,Z. This isn't prepared right. Well, that looks better than what you wore yesterday. I'm busy. Shut those kids up. Leave me alone. I can't, I'm watching TV. Get me a beer. I'll do it later. Not now. Shut up (you only have to say this once - it's like being slapped for many women). This kind of stuff goes on day in and day out in many households. It hurts and long after both have forgotten what was said or done, the memory of the emotion remains. Often it isn't what is said so much as it is the tone of voice, attitude, or situation. Accompany this with the only affection expressed being a prelude to sex and you have a formula for shutting a woman down. Add in BC pills that lower libido, children that need constant looking after and a host of general concerns and worries, and a woman just can't move it a sexual/sexy state of mind.
When a man finally slows down and realises something is Wrong and needs to be Dealt with, he will often approach it with all the finesse of a bull in a china shop. "Hey, there's something wrong with you. I'll fix it.", is just about the level oft times. By this time the situation has gone on for a while, maybe years, she may no longer be able to even articulate what the problem is because its gone on for so long that it's habit, it's just how-things-are. The mental/emotional association she has with him, even though she may love him, is negative and full of pain and disappointment. He is so far from being able to understand her, has shut her down and cut her off so many times when she has attempted to communicate, that she no longer trusts that she can speak and he will hear or understand.
This can be repaired but it takes time. Situations vary, a woman who wasn't sexually responsive, wasn't orgasmic but was simply willing to fill her partner's basic needs and now won't do that, has a good deal more to deal with. A bunch of flowers, a night out and a couple, "I love you"s won't fix a long term problem, in any case. It may make her wary and put her on her guard. She'll be wondering, what he is up to, why he's doing this? Or thinking, "Oh, he's doing this again, we'll see how long it lasts." She's very unlikely to be thinking, "Hurray, he finally woke up and figured it out."
What is needed is communication. Name it. "I realize things aren't what they should be and haven't been for a long time. I love you and want you in my life and I want us both to have a loving, rich, fullfilling life together." Then start showing it. Listen and Hear her. Don't step in and do it all, all at once, don't invade her sphere and start nosing, pushing and demanding. Find little ways to give her a hand, move back into courtship mode at least part of the time. One of the happiest, most loving, long term married couples I know (well over 50 yrs) have never lost this. They show each other such loving courtesty and care and respect, that it reflects on everyone around them. It's not corny. I've noticed that virtually everyone they meet treats them with as much respect as they give each other.
Don't expect an immediate repair of your sexual relationship. It's like losing weight, it isn't gained overnight and it won't lost overnight and weighing your self 10 times a day won't help. Take it a step at a time. Start showing more interest in her as a person as well as your life partner, do little loving things with no expectation of sex. Bring flowers because she likes them, not as a ticket to sex, One bunch of flowers does not equal one session of loving - not when you've got a long term problem. Give her a scalp massage or a back rub, tell her you love her and then go clean the garage or something. Show her love without any expectations, be consistant with it. This isn't a push the button, get a candy bar kind of deal. You have to do what will say love and caring to her, not what says it to you.
This probably won't work in a vacuum, you need to communicate, you need to educate yourselves. Do some learning and growing. It would be best if both do so. But you can only control yourself and what you do. Above all you can't make demands. "I command you want sex with me", only works in those ads that they had on the back of comic books years ago, next to the ads for x-ray glasses. This isn't fixing, so much as regrowing. Like a broken bone healing, it takes time, patience, proper care and pushing too hard, too soon can cause a rebrake that will be harder to heal. If you want a book on this (hey, it's me - you knew there had to be at least one in here - I'd say John Grey. His Mars and Venus may have become somewhat cliche but he is on target with a lot of stuff.
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