See if you can relate to this all-too-frequent scenario in our house:

It’s been a long, hard day. You’ve been running after kids, cleaning snotty noses, throwing food on the table before chauffeuring to karate, and visiting the bank and the dentist. The principal called today and wanted to talk about a bullying incident to do with your 7-year-old. The karate club says that your 10-year-old has great potential and should take an extra lesson a week. And your sister called; she and her husband are having problems.

The kids are now in bed and you want nothing more than just to relax and let all of those concerns fade away. You head into the bedroom, and there’s your hubby, whom you adore, getting ready for bed. But you know from the glint in his eye that sleep is not what he’s planning.

You smile and scatter your clothes in all directions, following him to the bed, praying that the kids stay asleep and don’t bug you. He reaches for you and starts kissing you. And then–

From somewhere deep within, you’re not even sure where–

You find yourself pushing him aside and saying, “Do you think Jeffy should take two karate lessons a week? He is really gifted, but I don’t know if the teacher is just trying to get more money from us. And can we even swing it? When will we eat dinner as a family? But I know he really wants to do it. And then maybe he could teach his little brother to stick up for himself more when bullies pick on him. What do you think?”

Your husband sighs and rolls over as he starts to grunt monosyllabic answers to your big monologue about karate, bullies, money, dentists, and schedules.

Then, when you’re finished, you start kissing him again, but he doesn’t seem interested. You’re mildly ticked at him for being ticked at you, but you can’t quite put your finger on the problem. So you give him a peck on the cheek and roll over and go to sleep. Maybe tomorrow night…

Can you see yourself in that scenario? Let’s diagnose what’s going on for a minute.

Did that woman want to make love to her husband? Or was she pushing him away when she started talking?

Here’s what I think, from personal experience: she did want to make love! But she knew that she wasn’t emotionally or mentally ready yet because she had to get all this stuff that was inside her head out.

Here’s the reason: for women, sex is largely in our brains. If our heads aren’t engaged, our bodies won’t follow. That’s why women find sex difficult when we have a headache; if we’re in pain, we can’t concentrate! And if we can’t concentrate, arousal ain’t gonna happen.

Men, on the other hand, aren’t like this at all. I remember a time shortly after we were married when my husband had a fever of 103 and a rash all over. I crept into the bedroom to see how he was doing, and whispered, “is there anything I can do for you?” His fevered face turned into a smirk as he said, “well, since you asked…”

I thought he was sick, in more ways than one. But I have since learned that men and women are very different when it comes to sex.

Men are mostly body oriented. Women are relationship oriented, which means that we are largely in our heads.

And if something intrudes in our heads, we lose focus on sex.

Have you ever been into some heavy petting with your husband when the thought suddenly occurs to you, “Is there milk in the fridge for breakfast?” You didn’t mean to think it, but now that it’s there, you start ticking off all the other things you need to buy at the grocery store, and you’re gone! He’s still touching you, but he knows he’s not getting through. He’s lost out to milk.

We women know that about ourselves, even if we can’t articulate it. And that’s why, when there’s a lot going on in our heads, making love can be difficult. We know we just have to get all our thoughts out and dealt with (even if they’re not solved), so that we can concentrate on the here and now.

It took me a while to figure that out about myself. I thought when I started talking instead of engaging in foreplay that I was somehow pushing my husband away. But I wasn’t. My brain was just trying to relieve itself of all the pressure so that I could be present with him! In other words, talking was the foreplay. I wasn’t looking for my husband to solve my problems; I just needed to get the concerns out, so that they weren’t crowding in there.

Now that we understand that, our evenings look much different. We’ll often take walks after dinner to talk about the pressures I’m feeling, or the frustrations I have, so that they don’t have to spill out right before bed. And Keith knows that for me, that’s part of warming up!

Maybe you’re like that, too! Explain to your husband that it’s not that you don’t want to make love; it’s only that you want to be able to fully enjoy it. And to be able to do that, you may need fifteen minutes of talking first to get out all the pressures of the day. Plan tomorrow, and know what’s on your agenda. Talk it over with him, and it will be easier to let it go.

Talking is an key part of how to get in the mood for women!

When he sees what’s in it for him, he may not become so prickly. And when you understand why you need it, you may not fear that you’re running away from sex quite so much! You may understand that all you’re really doing is creating a deeper intimacy between you.

Understand the different sex drives, and it’s a win win. Misunderstand our motivations, and you’re both bound to feel hurt. So talk about the importance of talking! And then you’ll find yourself far more likely to get in the mood–and get around to something even more fun!

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