Posted by: Jacqui | 2008/10/09

Why do I say no - am I just full of it?


Please try and help me understand something I just don' t get about myself.

I am 40, healthy, happy, madly in love with my husband (newly married) - he is fabulous in bed, I have multiple orgasms BUT often, when he initiates love making I say NO. It' s like this little switch in my brain short circuits ... Part of me wants to but the other part thinks of all the excuses in the world to " get out of it" .

I have resolved issues around child abuse which took place long ago - had therapy and can honestly say I have come out of it stronger for it. So I don' t think that' s my problem. In my previous marriage, sex was boring and a chore and unsatisfying. Plus my ex was unfaithful. I have teenagers living at home but we have such an open relationship, including the subject of sex, that I feel no embarrassment at all knowing that they know my husband and I are very active.

We make love usually at least once a day. But somedays, I just switch it off for up to 2 days at a time. I wondered if it was maybe because it was ' expected'  of me or scheduled? but then with children, you have to sometimes schedule and prioritise making love.

So, why do I hold back and turn down what always turns out to be well worth the effort? I' m actually annoying myself. I wish I could just let go.

Thanks and regards

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageSexologist

Thanks for great detail in the question. I wondered whether your feelings of 'in love' and feeling sexually desirous (ie. hungry for sex) are the same or different. Many women are 'in love' with their partners but have no 'appetite'. Just like you, these women may be able to drive their response, in other words, 'it turns out to be well worth the effort' and desire frequently felt if/when arousal takes place. The 'no' then might be an element of self preservation. Many women resent feeling that there is an EXPECTATION to have sex, and do shut off, so search inwardly and try to identify what your feelings and thoughts (associations, images, etc) on the occasions when you say no.

I also wondered, given your experience of abuse and also your previous marriage, whether you learned to not notice sexual desire, and so you get your cues for sex from different things than 'appetite' or 'wish' to have sex...? Whilst you may well have resolved issues, sometimes a different experience in life triggers a new aspect you had not considered before. This does not mean you have to return to therapy necessarily, but don't exclude your insights from that work and that previous experiences COULD (and equally could NOT) play a part in your current 'no'...

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