I get asked all the time. “How do I tell my husband that I don’t like sex very much?” I’m going to tell you my advice, but before I do that, let me introduce myself. My name is Janna Denton-Howes, and I’m a marriage coach. I also go by husband whisperer, and chief libido officer. I am the creator of two programs, 30 Days to Wanting it More and the Marriage Mastery Club.
What I find happens a lot of the time is that women don’t really like the sexual experience. They’re not really looking forward to it, they’re not all that excited about the things that their husbands are doing to them or that they’re being asked to do, but they’re not truthful about it. I’m not just talking about “faking” orgasm. I mean deep down, how do you really feel about the sexual experience?
We haven’t been very truthful
When you go to tell your husband that you aren’t having such a great time, it might surprise him a lot. He won’t know how bad it really is. Why do we do this? Well, we’re trying to be nice. We don’t want to make our husbands angry and we also might not feel very confident in not liking sex. We might be feeling really bad, or that maybe there’s something wrong with us and we need to fix ourselves (which is not true at all ladies!). But listen… I want to really encourage you to be honest with your husband and tell him the truth.
He doesn’t know what he doesn’t know
Honesty is a spectrum. I find sometimes that the participants in my programs say, “I thought I was being honest with him, but I really wasn’t”. The truth is, he doesn’t know what he doesn’t know, so you might be feeling like he’s only concerned about his own sexual well being and how he feels, but he won’t know you’re not okay unless you tell him. Keeping it to yourself can lead to you feeling pretty used and icky about the whole situation, especially because we live in a really messed up culture when it comes to sex. All of this tied with what’s going on in the media and our pornified culture, just makes us feel gross.
We want our husbands to have our backs and to be really thoughtful about our experience and our comfort, but again, he doesn’t know what he doesn’t know. You need to protect your sexuality, not only for yourself, but for the long term health of your marriage. This is not a selfish thing. If you are feeling this way and you’re really starting to dread the sexual experience, then think about what’s going to happen in the long term. That’s going to erode at your intimacy, not build it up. So it’s very, very important to tell him what’s going on. I tell women too, “if it’s a maybe, it’s a no” because we’re so used to pushing ourselves in this department and feeling bad about wanting what we want, (or not wanting what we think we should want, or communicating what we don’t want), that we kind of overcompensate and we end up way too far on the, “okay I guess I’ll try. I don’t really want to, but, okay” side of things.
Why this may be hard for him to hear
Our culture teaches men that women are always hot and ready to go. Look at any sex scene on TV (or if you happen to glance at pornography, I don’t encourage it, but if you do), and you’ll notice that women are just seen to be always like they’re ready to rock and roll, which can’t be further from the truth. We know this. Us women need a lot of things to happen in order to feel safe and comfortable and ready to be intimate.
Because our culture teaches that to our husbands, they will internalize that and think, “well what’s wrong with me?”. If you say, “I don’t like sex”, they hear, “I don’t like you“. If you say, “I don’t want sex”, they hear, “I don’t want you”. This can be devastating for a man. One of their core needs is to feel desired (along with admired and respected), so all these things communicate to him, “I don’t desire you”, which triggers them to react in defensiveness. They shut down. All they’re hearing is, “It’s your fault. You’re not a good man. You’re not doing your job” and so they turn it around very quickly, because that’s what we do when we feel hurt and attacked… we push the blame back onto the other person. “Well, you’ve got hormonal imbalance! It’s because you had abuse when you were young! What’s wrong with you, why are you so frigid?” This is of course, the last thing we need to hear.
Find something to blame
So what gives? What to do instead? How can we approach our husbands, tell them the truth and be super honest but avoid having them default to “there’s something wrong with me and I’m not doing a good job at making my wife happy”?
What I like to do is just blame culture. You want to blame something, blame the environment that we live in. Blame the media. Blame the objectification of women. Blame inequality. Blame all of that, and show him that you are affected by the world around us (and he’s affected too but it’s good to take responsibility and ownership at this point of the conversation). Men have within them biologically programmed, this hero mentality. I really encourage women to invoke the hero in your husband. Think of it like the bat symbol. You’re shining it on the wall and calling him to action, and you can really start to have this “us against the culture” – or “us against them” mentality. Suddenly you’re a team. Let’s create something new and exciting and different, something that is about female sexuality and what women want and also ties into what men want. Again, your husband wants to be desired, so if you’re wanting sex more, that just automatically fulfills his needs (win win!).
Focusing on the positive, what you could do together, how you might build something new and exciting rather than focusing on the negative, which again will trigger him to think, “I’m not doing a good job as a husband and it’s all my fault” are all ways to improve in this area. Here’s the thing though, you really need to do it. Heroes like to solve problems and save the day. That’s why men love the Batman, Spiderman and all the hero stuff. You need to give him a problem to solve. You need to give him something to do. Otherwise, he’s just going to feel totally useless and not resourceful and not very much like the hero that he wants to be for you, to make you happy. Men are truly just really great underneath all of the toxic masculinity stuff that we see on the surface.
Join my program
So, what are you going to ask him to do? Well, I have something that you can ask him right now, which is for you to join my program 30 Days to Wanting it More. It is a program that helps you. It’s for women, but I do also have husband videos, and I have scripts if you want to have some conversations with him, so you know how to do it without triggering defensiveness or stonewalling or withdrawing or anger.
This is a program that I take you through step by step. It’s very empowering. It’s not at all, “just do it”. I’ve helped hundreds of women deal with this issue of not wanting it and feeling really frustrated and feeling like it’s their fault but at the same time feeling resentment and anger towards their husbands. If you’ve experienced this before, now is the time to start my program (not to mention it’s on sale)! We’re starting another live round on April 9th, which means that I’ll be doing bonuses. I’m going to be doing some live office hours, so you can submit anonymous questions or show up live to hear them answered. There’s also a great members only facebook group of amazing women that are all in the same boat. We’re all just trying to build strong marriages and not feel used or objectified, but wanted. It’s possible, and I hope to welcome you into the program so you can see for yourself!