She’s thinking: “Please don’t ask…please don’t ask…please don’t ask…We were supposed to be in bed an hour ago, I know someone’s going to be crying for me tonight at least once, I have to get up early tomorrow because I didn’t have the energy tonight to prep anything to eat and we have to race out the door to a jam-packed day. Please don’t ask.”
He’s thinking: “Should I ask? She’ll probably say no because we were supposed to be in bed an hour ago. But what if I managed to strike the mood right this time? I can’t miss this opportunity! I want to ask…I want to ask…I want to ask…”
At this point, his thoughts pretty much get stuck there as he moves closer and puts his arms around her from behind while she’s brushing her teeth.
She either says no and feels guilt-ridden about it, says no and feels angry that he even asked, or gives a less than half-hearted yes because she feels so bad for the poor guy she’s brushed away too many times. On her best night, maybe she gives a joyful yes and throws herself into the arms of the one who promised to love her forever and wants to rekindle that memory with an act of love. I have lived all of those responses. Too many times, it’s not my best night….
The female body is complicated. It can do many beautiful things, namely sustain life, but hormones are crazy! Hormonal contraception can wreck a woman’s sex drive, but our natural cycle also has a rhythm that makes our sex drive ebb and flow. There have been times in our relationship that I’m extremely interested in sex, and other times that I’m not. It’s frustrating to have very limited control over this aspect of my body and our relationship. It’s not his fault, and I used to be afraid he was going to think I wasn’t attracted to him anymore.
But my husband and I have found one way to deal with it: by learning my body’s natural hormonal biomarkers and charting where I am in my cycle. This charting can be used as a form of family planning that isn’t a contraceptive. There are no drugs, barriers, devices, or surgical procedures involved. We observe my body and evaluate that data to determine when I’m fertile and when I’m not. If we are at a time in our lives that we need to avoid a pregnancy, we make sure to abstain from sex when I’m fertile. We are both involved in the process, so we both know what’s going on and have access to the chart whenever we need it.
Because we use this method, we’re very aware of what’s going on with my body. We know when I’m fertile and when I’m not. We also know when my hormones are normal and when they’re out of whack.
Because we understand my body, my husband and I can laugh together when it leaves me without a sex drive. Obviously I understand that it has nothing to do with a lack of attraction to my husband, and having the data helps him believe that as well. It paints him a picture of what’s going on so he has more realistic expectations before he pops the question. Instead of getting frustrated, we get to joke about it!
This took a bit of time to figure out, but this new level of communication has strengthened our understanding of each other and brought us closer. I say yes more because I appreciate how much he respects me during the times when my hormones are crazy or we are choosing to abstain in order to avoid pregnancy.
He has also learned when and how to ask without making me feel guilty or angry. Because we can’t be together all the time, it keeps sex special and exciting when we can!
Relationships are complicated. Our sex lives can be complicated, too. But it’s so much better when we communicate about it and have objective information to help understand it, together.
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