We’re often led to believe that women are very complicated creatures. We might get huffy for seemingly nothing. There will be a reason, but only we will know what it is – although sometimes not even then.
I’ve been known to smile lovingly at my husband and within minutes I’m watery eyed and emotional, muttering ‘nothing’ when he asks what is wrong. We say we don’t want chips and then get upset if our partner points this out when we reach for another one of his. But I think I might have found an area where we’re actually fairly straightforward, and believe it or not, it’s to do with having sex.
A few weeks after I’d had my second baby, I was standing in the kitchen stirring something on the hob (don’t get excited – it was probably baked beans and I was definitely wearing saggy tracksuit bottoms). I imagine my day had consisted of feeding, feeding some more, negotiating with my 22- month old (while feeling guilty that the new baby had robbed me and him of time together, and then feeling guilty that my poor newborn was being parked in her bouncer in a corner out the way so the toddler couldn’t sit on her) and basically working out the logistics of two kids. My husband had just got in from work and sunk in to a cute little low armchair I’d purchased for somewhere comfy to sit for the hours of feeding. ‘Do you know…’ he started, not making eye contact but sinking further down in to the chair and rubbing the arms of it back and forth ’…this chair is the perfect height for a blow job’. He thought that was an acceptable ‘come on’, hadn’t realised that his timing was beyond dreadful, and was hopeful for a better reaction from me than the dead-eyed stare he received.
It is so different for women. Once we’re through those lusty first months (remember those? Ha!) we need to feel a connection before we’re even interested. I remember lots of advice about foreplay being an important part of sex when I was growing up – my education mostly took place in the early 90s sneaking glimpses at my older sister’s more! magazine. However, before you get anywhere near ‘Position of the Fortnight’, you’ve got to actually want to do it.
For many of us, it’s more of an emotional thing and if we’re tired, anxious, moody or our partners have done something to upset us (such as point out our chip consumption) it’s off the table. There are also long lists of distractions that many of us seem to put in the way, our mind filled with things that need to be done. BUT domestic and unsexy as it is to admit this, in recent years I’ve noticed that some kind words and helpful behaviour are more likely to put me in a good mood and, therefore, in the mood. And I hate admitting that as it makes me feel a bit pathetic and so far removed from the gal about town I think I was when I met my husband, but it’s true. Forget wining and dining – is it possible that feeling like you’re in this together and sharing the load could be a pathway to more sex?
I was talking to my friend about this and she completely agreed, revealing more than I was expecting to hear. A few weekends before, her husband had packed the kids’ swimming bag.
Not said he’d pack it but left out towels, or asked her where each item was as he did it, but he packed it on his very OWN. He even packed a snack pot. This made her so happy that they had a lovely family day and later that evening partook in…ahem…intimate relations. In the kitchen. When he asked what the occasion was and she explained her logic, he told her she was weird. But I totally get it. When it can feel that a lot of your time is spent looking after and thinking about other people, having someone take care of you feels lovely. Especially if it removes one of the items on your things-to-do list. It frees up your mind to allow space to focus on something that we often neglect – time as a couple – and might just make you want to return the favour, in a ‘how’s your father’ kind of way.
I don’t think men realise that often it could be that simple. Be kind, do something thoughtful, something that shows that at some point in your day, you thought of her. If she’s recently had a baby, she’s probably not feeling especially horny. Lack of sleep, feelings of anxiety and leaking nipples tend to do that. But run her a bath, take her some wine, give her 20 minutes to herself before you pile in all naked and wanging your willy about and she might just take you up on it. And the most important part, do these things WITHOUT her asking. If you’ve seen The Break Up, there is a brilliant line where Jennifer Aniston says ‘I want you to want to do the dishes’. Now, we know no one wants to do the dishes (or pack the swimming bag). Frankly neither do we, but for the most part we do it.
Before there’s a flurry of men jumping up to load the dishwasher, all bitey-lip and swinging their hips as they take the bin out, holding your gaze while vigorously wiping the sides down, I should point something out. This isn’t a chores-for-sex trade-off. He can’t shove a load of clothes in the washing machine and then stand there panting like an expectant puppy. It might take more than one occasion for us to feel the benefit of that help. And it definitely doesn’t count if your clothes are shrunk so that they’re only fit for a 7 year old. It needs to be genuine and done properly and we reserve the right to remain not in the mood. Worth a try though, boys?
Is it the little things that count – what would you like him to do a bit more of? Or is he already a domestic god? What’s stopping you from being the girl you felt like when you met? Would love your thoughts on this using the comments box below.
Pictures: men in aprons, remainstobeseen.com; more! cover from 1993, found at blog.axega.com