Leslie and Sam, a couple in their early thirties, described a deep love and caring in their relationship, except in their sex life. Sam wished Leslie would enjoy sex more, would be more attracted to him, and would be more sexually spontaneous. Leslie felt that, most of the time, sex was about Sam – his needs, his wishes, even his orgasm. Although she felt Sam’s love for her at other times, during sex she mostly felt his desire for her body. She didn’t really feel loved and cherished. And most of the time, this was actually fine with her. She was happy that Sam was getting what he needed. She was happy to give herself to him. But sometimes she wished he could give to her what she needed.
Sam felt sad about these statements. He wanted to be a considerate lover and partner. And he was confused. He turned to me and said, “I get so attracted to Leslie, and swept away with my feelings. What am I doing wrong?”
Because of Sam and Leslie, and many other couples in the same situation, I have come up with a solution: “Woman’s Night.” At least one night a week, I explained to Sam, it is Leslie’s night. It doesn’t even need to be a night. It can be any time during the day. But it has to be Leslie’s time, where her needs are considered, her feelings are listened to, her eyes are looked into, and her body is not touched with desire. The block of time, however long, is all about her.
I asked Leslie and Sam, “Are you willing to work hard to create an ecstatic, sensual, and deeply fulfilling sexual relationship?” They both answered yes.
I told Sam, “At least once a week, make it very clear that this time is all about her, and not about your sex drive, your genitals, or her body. Show her your interest in her thoughts, feelings, dreams and desires. Let her know that you value her for much more than her body. Let her know how very important she is to you, her friendship, her love, her motherhood, and her little girl inside. Let her know the ways you are proud of her, and especially, continually remind her that she deserves to be treated as special, that she deserves to receive your abundant love and cherishing. If she wants, touch or massage her body as a way of giving your love, your blessing, your healing, without any genital or sexual contact. If you become aroused, your gift to both yourself and to Leslie is to not have to do anything about your erection, your sexual desire, your needs. Touch her body as a way to touch her soul, rather than as a way to get your own needs met. ”
Then I told Leslie, “This is your time to be divinely selfish, in other words, selfish in a good and necessary way. It’s your time to practice receiving, to really learn the art of receiving love from your mate, knowing that you fully deserve it. However, the requirement is your honest requests for what you need, and your honest responses to Sam’s words and actions. This is not about taking care of Sam. It’s about your own honesty and needs. That’s your challenge. Even though you want him to be a mind-reader, sometimes he’s not. If he says something that feels good, let him know. If he says something that’s not helpful, rather than criticize him, try instead to gently ask for what you need. Same with touching. If it feels good, tell him. Even if his touches slightly feel ‘him-oriented,’ it won’t work for you to lie there and hope he realizes his shift in focus. Again, as considerately as you can, ask for what you need. Yes, of course, you’re teaching him the subtle art of lovemaking – but this is very different from taking care of his needs at your own expense.”
Some couples may be reversed, where it’s the woman’s needs that are dominating the relationship and the man who is the caretaker. In this case, a “man’s night” may be what is needed.
Men, you may be tempted to treat “woman’s night” as a way of scoring points with your woman. You may have the secret thought, “If I patiently listen to her for an hour, or share my innermost thoughts and feelings, or touch her the way she wants, then she’ll give me what I want.” This will always backfire. She will not feel your love. She’ll only feel your desire.
Women, you may be tempted to receive your partner’s unselfish love for only a short time, as if to say, “I only deserve a little love.” Then you may give up on yourselves and give in to your partner’s needs. This, too, will backfire, because you will feel cheated and resentful, and will in some way take it out on both of you.
Both of you deserve fulfilling love – and fulfilling sex. Both of you deserve to receive generously and equally from each other. Both of you deserve to teach and to learn from one another.