Many couples deal with sexual frustrations and most feel lonely in their struggle, thinking that other couples are having a great time in the bedroom while they’re missing out. That feeling of others having great sex while you are not, is perpetuated by the movies and also by the fact that when a couple stays silent about it, it’s easy to think they’re the only ones having that problem. In reality, I’d say that only about 10 to 15 per cent of couples do not have some significant frustration when it comes to sexuality. So, it’s far more common to run into some sort of brick wall in relationships.
What most couples see as the most common sources of frustration, pain, or disappointment during sex is related to many things.
One: The first issue is the inability to locate the complicated sexuality of the female and deal with it appropriately. The fact still remains that the female sexuality is far different from that of the male and it is mostly complicated. The female’s inability to enjoy sex due to physical pain or because the husband focuses too much on his needs alone and she can’t seem to get anything from it, always leads to projected frustration in women. And if the husband does not wisely handle the situation, it will lead to a higher level of frustration that usually leads to disconnection, separation and invariably, infidelity or divorce.
Two: The second most common frustration is due to difference in desire levels. It could be that the woman wants sex more often and the husband doesn’t or the other way around.
Three: For many couples, there’s an emotional desire to experience sex as something beautiful, passionate, and God-honouring, but there’s a disconnect between the man and the woman as regards their actual physical experience. A woman may be frustrated because, in reality, she’s engaging in sexual intimacy more out of duty than real sexual desire.
Four: We need to recognise that the female sexuality is way more complicated than the male sexuality. Many couples don’t go into marriage with the full grasp of that. They just assume that somehow this is all going to work out and he’ll get his needs met and she’ll get her needs met. What often ends up happening is that, because the man’s needs are more obvious, he’s typically more vocal about them, and he knows how to get his needs met. For many couples, the first several years of marriage become about the man’s sexuality, and what they do in the bedroom becomes about how the man gets satisfied. This often happens without couples even realising it—and nobody stops to ask about the wife’s need. It is not that hard for a woman to love a man sexually, but it can be very difficult for a man to learn how to unlock his wife’s sexuality—especially when she might not even know how herself.
Five: For example, a husband may ask, “What do you want? What feels good?” And she’ll say, “I don’t know.” Then she may start to cry or get frustrated and give up. The average couple just proceeds like that over the course of their marriage; their sex life becomes all about what he wants and needs, but it may be because she doesn’t know what she wants and what she needs.
Six: Some women have been in a marriage like that for 10 or 15 years and they start to believe, ‘there must be something wrong with my body; I guess I just can never enjoy sex’. That’s just not true! There’s most likely nothing wrong with your body—and if there is, it’s most likely something that can be easily fixed. It often has a whole lot more to do with your mind, your emotions, and your spiritual beliefs about sexuality.
Seven: One reason why a wife may feel there is something wrong with her body is if she is unable to reach climax. That can be a very deep, emotional wound for a woman. This is because a struggle to achieve climax is almost NEVER a physical problem. While there can be hormone imbalances and things like that, which have effects on sexual desires and responses, it’s almost never due to an anatomical problem. For the vast majority of the time, this sort of struggle has to do with a woman’s mind and what she thinks about her sexuality. Research has also recorded that hostility, in-law issues, overwork and insecurity in the marriage are some of the factors hindering some wives from reaching climax during sex.
Eight: I’d love for a woman in that situation to sit down and list all of the things that are wonderful about sex between her and her husband. For example, she might write, it’s just between him and me and we have secrets that are fun to keep. Sometimes we laugh together. It feels good to be able to meet his needs. It feels good when he touches me here. To realise that sex really is about more than climaxing—that there are so many good things happening. Making climax the only goal is really robbing you of all the other gifts involved.
Nine: Also, do not give up hope. Don’t settle for a mindset like, ‘Well, I guess it’s just never really going to happen for me’. Instead, begin to work on it. Practically speaking, it’s also important to keep in mind that many women can’t have an orgasm without direct stimulation to the clitoris. This means that many wives need manual stimulation—not just the friction of intercourse. So, don’t be shy about making this a normal part of your sexual interaction with your husband, he needs to know and if he forgets about it, take his hands and fingers and place them on your clitoris and instruct him or direct him on what to do and how best to do it.
Ten: Can you believe that a couple can achieve 100 per cent sexual satisfaction if they so wish without experiencing a moment of frustration? Yes, to keep the excitement in sex without frustration, couples must just stay connected. Being connected body-to-body and heart-to-heart is what makes sex fulfilling and fun without frustration.
Eleven: Never underestimate the power of passionate kissing. Kiss intensely and passionately. If you can allow your imagination to run down memory lane, try to remember the kind of kissing you had when you first fell in love. Do you still kiss that deeply and passionately? Rediscover passionate kissing. Take your time. Enjoy the touch and taste of each other’s lips. The burning sensation is terrific, and frustration can’t stay around in this type of environment.
Twelve: One of the most frustrating things many wives complain to me about is that the husband moves away immediately after sex. This is a criminal offence; please, delight in the closeness you feel after having sex. Stay in each other’s arms. Tell your spouse how good it felt and how much you love him or her. This is one of the most intimate times you can have as a couple.
Thirteen: Never ever be an amateur navigating your spouse’s body, know where the birthmarks are if any, and play with them. In a nutshell, become a scholar of your partner’s sexual zones.
Fourteen: Seven erogenous zones have become a hot cake. They are the nipples of both partners, the breasts, the earlobes, the groins, the penis and scrotum of the man, the vulva of the woman, the clitoris of the woman, the not-open-to-discussion ‘G spot’ of the woman. Even if no other places responded to your touches, these ones are ever ready to respond to stimulation. A woman has more erogenous zones than just her breasts and vagina. Explore with her, and discover where she is most responsive. Kiss, stroke, or caress each body part. Ask: “How does this feel? Does it make you tingle? What would make you feel even ‘tingly’ – should I caress less or more?” Remember that although it is good to work towards climax, the journey is pretty unbelievable too, and highly rewarding; there is never a dull moment.
Fifteen: One of the mistakes many husbands make that leads to frustration is the inability of the husband to appreciate his wife’s definition of satisfaction.
“I don’t get it,” a husband told me at a restaurant. “I do everything I can think of in bed, but my wife doesn’t usually have an orgasm.”
“Does that bother your wife?” I asked.
“No. She seems content. I don’t get that either,” he replied.
“That’s because many women are still satisfied with sex, even when they don’t have an orgasm,” I said.
This husband stared blankly at me. “Huh?”
Husbands, if you want to satisfy your wife, shift your definition of satisfaction. Of course, wives love to climax (who does not?), but they can enjoy the lovemaking, foreplay and love play experience, even when they do not get to that place.
Many women enjoy the sensuality of cuddling, kissing, and touching every bit as much as they enjoy the thrill of a climax. Women’s sexual pleasure occurs on many levels other than simply orgasm.
Sixteen: When couples deliberately know, admit, and value the various sexual peaks and work with them, frustration becomes alien on the bed. Couples must understand the fact that most men reach their sexual peak in their late teens or early twenties. Most women reach theirs a decade or more later. Often when a woman is in her thirties and forties, her sexual desire becomes stronger, sometimes insatiable, especially when they are no longer afraid of sudden pregnancy or over burdensome house chores. Moreover, as a man ages, his emotional side increases. Through each stage, couples grow and learn more about each other and become more patient and sensitive to each other’s needs. This is God’s blessing to us, because it allows a couple’s sex life greater longevity and duration. But if you do not know and appreciate this, at each stage or level, the couple may experience frustration.
Seventeen: Frustration will always be the order of the day when couples cannot differentiate between the different types of ways to make love. Partners should know what type of sexual gifts to give each other at different times. Couples must just have to recognise the different kinds of sex. So often, couples feel the pressure to have “perfect” sex – complete with earthquake, fireworks, and multiple orgasms. It is not every time you have sex that there will be a “bell ringer”; and that is okay, because you are both connecting. Sometimes sex will be a quickie to meet the need of the moment. Sometimes, it could be functional sex, or just sex. Sometimes, when you are not in the mood, you could have it simply because your spouse needs you at that moment. Sometimes, it may be comfort sex; when life has brought devastation, the only comfort and security you find is in the arms of your spouse as a lover. You will be ahead when you understand that the different kinds of sex point to the ultimate reason for sex –the relationship. The goal is not whether you end with a climax; the goal is that you are connecting as a couple.
Eighteen: When couples make up their minds to just make passionate sex the foremost focus, there will be no way they can experience frustration.
Do not rush. In a survey about sex conducted recently, we asked women what they hated about sex. ‘Rushed sex’ ranked number five. When you have a solid foundation, and have spent years growing together and discovering more sexual tips, then you would want to have a lot of variety. Nevertheless, a woman who is repeatedly unsatisfied, who senses that her husband’s pleasure always comes before hers, can feel used and empty. She wants to experience the whole spectrum of sex – the physical, emotional, spiritual, and relational. This is not to say rushed or quickie sex is wrong. Still, sex should not be rushed all the time. That would be like eating nothing but fast food. Going through the local fast food drive – through for a chilidog and onion rings occasionally is not a problem, but your health would suffer if you do it for every meal. Make your goal pleasurable sex that satisfies both of you.
Nineteen: To prevent frustration, never forget to always communicate the very nature of sex you need from your spouse. This goes a long way.
If you think you are going to have a quickie and your spouse is expecting a long, passionate encounter, both of you will probably end up frustrated. Clarify your expectations. Women need to prepare mentally for sex. If a wife knows she is headed for a quickie, she can mentally prepare for that, including the realisation that she may not climax. Most of the time, the woman will still enjoy sex, even if she does not have the same outcome as her husband.
Twenty: Become the expert at your spouse’s sexual triggers, know how to switch on his or her generator. Know what can weaken him or her at any given time and subscribe for such, it will always deliver.
We often joke about his-and-hers triggers, switch or thermostat. Usually, we say that men have one sexual trigger: everything. Women are a bit more complex. Though, seriously, because men are more visually stimulated, a man can become aroused by seeing his wife naked, undressing, or wearing something provocative. Typically, women are not that way. Therefore, a husband needs to discover what his wife’s sexual triggers are.
A wife may be a “touch me” girl: she likes hugs and caresses. She may be a “tell me” girl: she likes affirmation and verbal foreplay. She may be “listen to me and share with me” girl: she opens up after connecting with her husband through conversations. She may be a “doing” girl: she appreciates it when he picks up messes and helps with housework. She may be a “spiritual food” girl: she becomes open to sex after connecting with him through prayer, reading the scripture and discussing spiritual matters.
Twenty-one: Exercise the art of appreciation and admiration. There is a part of each of us that likes it when our partner is happy with our performance, insight or advice. We long to hear, “You did a good job,” or “You’ve worked so hard this week; I want to take you out for dinner, so you don’t have to cook.” Sincere verbal appreciation motivates us. Overwhelm your spouse with appreciation and watch their sexual desire increase.
Twenty-two: Make each other a priority. Deliberately place full importance on the other and let them know how significance their love is to you. Multitudes of sex therapists and marriage counsellors name fatigue as the number one enemy of sexual intimacy. When couples are worn out, sex is one of the first things to leave their minds. If sex enters our minds – even fleetingly – we think, “I’d really like to have sex, but when I do have the time and the energy?”
We can push sex to the side and claim it is “just for a season.” Yet, pretty soon, that season turns into a pattern. That is when it becomes ingrained in the heart and we become blind to what we are doing. Of all sexual issues, exhaustion is the one over which we have the most control. You may ask, how? By reprioritising, working less, saying no to outside activities that do not further the marriage, or asking for help. Carve out time each week, just to relax and have fun with each other.
Grab your calendars, sit down with your spouse, and talk through your schedules. Ask each other these questions: What is an absolute priority? What feels like an absolute priority but really isn’t? What can we get rid of, at least for now? What is the best day to set aside as a time for just the two of us to have sex, to have fun and enjoy each other? Get yourselves back to remembering, oh yeah! This is really fun!
Twenty-four: Never hesitate when you sense that you need sex or that your partner needs it. Give yourself permission to enjoy sex. Be open to pleasing your lover. Take on a “Why not, it’s OK attitude,” because sex does not hurt.
Twenty-five: Keep practising devotedly and actively because the rule of the game is to be enthusiastic. Sex stirs the craving for more sex. Lovemaking elevates the brain chemicals associated with desire. Therefore, as we decide to have sex and find that we enjoy our time of lovemaking, our libidos increase, often leading to an increased yearning to have sex more often. What could be more fun and exciting than that? Absolutely nothing, and guess what, couples who follow these points line after line will never experience frustration again. Keep the sexual passion burning till I come again to you next week as your one and only bedroom instructor.
Questions and answers
What do you think?
Dear Aunty Funmi,
I love your articles; the topics are down to earth, and my husband loves reading them. Most of the time, we are in each other’s company and do most of the things you write about. We have even learnt some new tricks from you and we are quite grateful.
I have two children; my last baby is seven years old and we have not been able to have another one after him. My husband is so keen on having a new baby and I have tried to talk him out of it to no avail. I will be 46 years old in April 2018 and my husband is 54. My husband has said that I should seek your advice. How safe is it to have a baby at this age? What are the side effects? I would sincerely love to hear from you.
Mrs. E. Owolabi
The point of the matter is if you are healthy and you have enough financial plans to take care of the child, I think you should follow your husband’s heartfelt desire. Form experience with many clients that I have dealt with over the years, when husbands want more children and the wives are adamant that there is no need for it, many of the men stray and have more children out of wedlock. Think twice about it before you take a conclusive stand on this. Besides, it helps to secure your love in his heart
Is midlife crisis in men difficult to handle?
This is my very first time of talking to a therapist concerning sex issues in my family. Well done! I will say sex has not been so great ever since my hubby clocked 40 three years ago. He just took another turn all together. It’s either he is not interested but lustfully looking at another woman as if he is sex starved or he is rushing in and out of sex.
He says this comes with midlife challenges and pressures of life. I have tried so many times to restore it but to no avail. I had a baby in 2010 and after seven years of waiting, I got pregnant. I’m pregnant now and due in three months time. I have asked him if it has to do with having a child but he says no, although I still feel so much like a virgin down there.
My hubby isn’t having a sexual affair with another woman but I noticed the way he recently looked at other women. I’m so worried that we may get used to this status as I don’t feel any intimate affection anymore. I still read all your columns so as to keep connected.
He keeps pleading and encouraging me to understand it is only a phase and that it will become history. I love my husband so much and will never consider cheating on him, but I miss him sexually. We have known each other for 20 years and we have been married for few years. I pray and look forward to a revamped sexual relation this year and beyond, I willexpect your response.
When men turn 40, they actually are in their midlife timing and this midlife timing presents them with lots of heart searching challenges. For some, they totally withdraw from many loved activities and responsibilities. For many, they change altogether. The midlife crisis’ challenges present themselves in different ways, depending on the temperaments, make-up, stress level and exposure of the men. Some of the men have a negative approach to it while some manage it well. I would sincerely advise that you should be extremely understanding and careful. He will come out of the situation better if you are very wise in handling the situation. For instance, if he is not giving you that sex you desire but you catch him lusting after another woman, please be calm and ignore it. His brain is just censoring lots of things. You can revisit the issue long afterwards with a mature approach. In most cases, this is the period many men run away from their home with another woman and neglect their children. I can assure you that he will come out of it if you are patient and loving. Just love him more than before and never cheat on him.Punch