We joke sometimes about the excuses women use to get out of sex with their husbands. But after the laughter dies down there's always that uncomfortable truth that goes unsaid: It's probably better for your relationship if you just tell the truth. But how? The reason most women avoid saying NO to sex is because we're afraid of hurting the the men we love.
We talked with three relationship experts for their advice on dancing the dance of not-in-the-mood. How can you turn it into a positive -- or can you?
- "It's like anything in a relationship," says author and relationship expert Andrea Syrtash. "Sex needs to be communicated and negotiated." It's okay if you're not on the same page about having sex right then, right there. The important thing is to be open and honest and trusting enough with your partner so he knows this is not about hurting him. Make sure you're clear that "you want to be affectionate and connect, just not in that way right now."
- She suggests doing something that may not sound very sexy, but can help a lot: "Discuss a general time of day when sex is more or less appealing." Suggest a time that works best for you. "It's a matter of creatively finding a solution together." Syrtash has a whole chapter about this issue in her book, Cheat on Your Husband (With Your Husband).
- Sex therapist Dr. Logan Levkoff says this doesn't even have to be a "yes" or "no" proposition. If having traditional sexual intercourse, the whole enchilada, sounds like too much for you, find a compromise that works for both of you. "It shouldn't be a chore," she says. "There are other ways to experience sexual pleasure and intimacy with your partner besides sexual intercourse." She suggests things like kissing or using a vibrator.
- Be careful about the tone of voice you use, Dr. Levkoff cautions. Imagine yourself on the other end of this conversation. How would you want to hear this message? Make sure your partner knows it's about you at this moment; You're not rejecting HIM. Then, "Be hopeful about the future." Make plans to have sex at a better time.
- Something to think about, though. If you find yourself saying no to sex more often than yes, you really need to think about why. "Saying no a lot can breed hostility," Dr. Levkoff says. So if you can't remember the last time you said yes to sex, it may mean you need to address a larger issue.
- Finally, think about what does get you in the mood for sex so you can get more of it, whatever it is. Sex expert Yolanda Shoshana says, "If you are out of sync with your partner ask yourself what you need to get in the mood. Don't focus on the things that your partner isn't doing right because that is sure to turn you off. Once you know what gets you going you can share that information with your partner. Let him know to consider it as a part of foreplay."
- But if you've been together for years, shouldn't he already know what works for you? "Men really do want to know how to please their woman, but they can't read our minds." As frustrating as it may seem, it really does pay off to communicate what turns you on.
What do you usually do when he's in the mood for sex and you're not?
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