Friday Flashback: Bedroom Expectations
Let me note upfront I’m aware that in some marriages the genders are reversed. If you’re a man who is not meeting your wife’s sexual expectations, please take this to heart: you are hurting her deeply and wronging her horribly.
I think men’s sexual expectations are simple, and can be summed up as:
- My wife will make a serious effort to meet my reasonable sexual needs.
- I am inherently better qualified to judge my reasonable sexual needs than my wife is.
“Serious Effort” indicates a man is aware that “life happens”. There are times she really intends to do something, then got run over by a day out of control and ended up feeling unable to do what she honestly planned to do. No reasonable person has a problem with that. Likewise, no reasonable person thinks it’s acceptable for that to be the norm.
The second expectation above is usually the sticking point – or at least it’s usually where the “battle” gets fought. No woman wants to see herself as selfish, unloving, uncaring, or cruel. The way to avoid that is to keep the issue from being what she does by invalidating; his expectations. It is, of course, ridiculous for any person to say they have a better understanding of another person’s sexual desires, but it’s still done by many, many women (and plenty of men).
Of course, some guys do have unreasonable expectations; they want some sex act that offends their wife, or they don’t care about her comfort or pleasure, or they expect her to be ready 24/7 no matter what. (“Can you stop throwing up for a while? I want sex.”) While this does happen, it’s not really that common, and any guy who does this is going to be a horrible husband in many ways. Any woman who claims her husband is only selfish when it comes to sex needs to think about how that sounds.
This is all fine, but what’s a guy to do about it? If she says his needs are unreasonable, what does he do? She may or may not honestly believe his expectations are unreasonable, but if she chooses to make that the point of engagement, what can he do?
One option is to call it what it is: invalidating your exceptions, needs, and feelings. You can then up the ante by saying “If you’re allowed to invalidate what I feel, then I guess I am allowed to invalidate what you feel, right?”
Will this work? If she has enough integrity, and if she has not been totally corrupted by societal lies, you just might get her to see how wrong it is for her to invalidate your sexuality.
A similar, less confrontational, option is to tell her it hurts you when she invalidates your feelings. Odds are she will say that’s not what she is doing – but then at least you have opened the subject.
[This post first appeared May 15, 2010.]