Q: If your husband has been in a horrible mood ALL day and snaps at everything you do or say…and then suddenly when the lights go out he decides it’s time for “2 minutes in Heaven” (lyric from a song) … Am I obligated to go through with it even though I am still hurt and aggravated by the way he has been all day? I can’t turn off the day to have sex. I know it’s a different story for men…It even makes me a little mad too because he is suddenly being sweet to me just because he’s wanting “some”…not because he wants to apologize for his behavior earlier. It is SO obvious!!!!!!
A: In some ways men and women are different when it comes to sex. For example, we know that one of the major inhibitors of a woman’s arousal is fatigue. If she’s exhausted it’s difficult for her mind, emotions, and body to gear up for a sexual experience.
A man can get aroused physically without being aroused mentally, emotionally, or psychologically. So can women. However there is strong research that, unlike a man, a woman has no awareness of her sexual arousal if she is not also aroused mentally, emotionally, or psychologically. In other words, she could have the indications of physical arousal (vaginal swelling, lubrication, so forth) but does not think she is aroused nor will she acknowledge that she is aroused if it is not also in her mind and heart.
However, I’m not so sure that men and women are much different when it comes to reacting to the negative moods of the other mate. We know that if a man is focused on sex, he can have sex and come to orgasm even if he doesn’t like the woman he is. So can women, if they so choose. But in marriage if either is “turned off” by the behavior of the other, the man is as likely as the woman to avoid a sexual encounter.
This is a general principle, and your husband may be the exception. More than likely, he isn’t. My guess is that he has no real understanding of how his behavior affects you and writes off your reactions as trivial and easy to get over. That’s likely why he can move into gentleness and sexuality so quickly.
The best course, in my opinion (not professional advice, just Joe’s opinion) is to let him know just how badly you are hurt by his behavior and tell him that until he understands the realities of a loving relationship he shouldn’t count on lovemaking. If you do it in an attacking way, I predict bad times will result. If you do it from your heart, not spouting anger, but allowing your hurt to surface so that he can see and feel your pain (not your anger), you may be on the road to changing your relationship completely.
This is not to say that an occasional bad day means that a couple should go into deep discussion and avoid sex. Sometimes a bad day is just a bad day and everyone just needs to move on. On those occasions, having sex with him is good. It’s repeated negative behavior that hurts your heart, mind, and soul that shouldn’t be ignored but dealt with.