When I wrote “Seduce Her” I promised to take a flip to the other side of the coin.
What seduces him?
Go onto the internet, or pick up a women’s or men’s magazine, and learn all the myriad ways to sexually seduce a man or a woman. Plenty of “tips” out there. Most of these aren’t rocket science, and many of us have employed some of them in pre-marriage relationships. Some may be purely physical, and others may be more intellectual and emotional (and just saying, my male readers let me down on ideas…).
In my blog, I’m writing in terms of marriage, and specifically marriages that may have lost their “zing,” gone stale, or perhaps aren’t doing well.
A premise to start with here is that most men are wired for sex, and it takes very little to physically “turn him on,” especially in the younger years. It’s the call of the hormones, the continuation of the species. For younger men, it doesn’t take much to be seduced. There’s an urban legend out there claiming men think about sex every 7 seconds, or 8,000 times a day! Some research on this issue shows most men think about sex once or twice an hour (this was an 18-25 year old sample), but generally twice as much as women.
The man who has committed himself to a long-term, committed, monogamous relationship such as marriage, pretty much was assured he’d nailed down the sex part of the relationship when he convinced that pretty young lady to marry him. He wasn’t really thinking about the realities of marriage: demands of supporting a family, of being a good husband-provider, of being a Dad, of parental exhaustion, the tyranny of a busy life. He hadn’t considered that in his exhaustion he might just default to “quickies” that left his wife sexually starved. It hadn’t entered his mind that she might not be “in the mood” or “have a headache.” He didn’t count on loss of libido or that “it” might not respond as “it” used to in the early days.
Any married couple, especially those with children, who maintain a healthy and active sex life 10+ years into a marriage is truly blessed, and I’d venture to say pretty rare. Sex with effort and intention isn’t s a modality that is expected or confronted. Sadly, when the “feelings” die, so too do many marriages.
So back to the question. What seduces him, this married man whose sex life has perhaps gone stale or MIA? Is a little blue pill the solution? When trying to “interview” my husband, I mentioned that I probably knew his answers since we’ve discussed this a lot, and that perhaps his weren’t typical of many males. He wholeheartedly agreed his views are not typical (he’s perhaps more cerebral than visual). But then I wondered if he’s as atypical as we thought?
Just prior to our marriage renewal, I was sad and confused that I didn’t feel my husband’s “attraction to and desire for” me. I felt I was relatively nice looking for a woman my age, and he’d agree. I took care of myself (until weight gain), dressed nicely, and dammit, I’d lost a ton of weight. Other male eyes would still look, and even flirt. I had all the sexy lingerie, and I LOVED sex, and not just the vanilla variety. I liked being racy with him. What more could he want? Why wasn’t he jumping my bones every night?
In one of our many “discussions” during renewal time, from comments about someone who once made him “feel like a million dollars,” (oooo…. what was her sexy secret, I wondered?), SJ finally came up with a short and pithy response to what he needed: RIP (😳not an acronym that stirs up sexy images!). He’s not a man of many words, but it was an acronym to help me remember: Respect, Interest, Patience.
(insert sound of a vinyl record screeching here… )
WHAT??? Not sexy lingerie? Not big boobs? Not a Victoria’s Secret body?
The most seductive thing for a male is a woman who can make him feel good about himself in every area outside “THE area.” In my experience, it turned out that MOST of what seduces him occurs outside the bedroom:
- R.E.S.P.E.C.T. – Yeah, sing it like Aretha. Men want respect (of course we ALL do, but men don’t function well without it). And sad to say, he wasn’t getting much of that from me in recent years. He had little desire for sexy time with a disrespectful shrew. Ironically, all the remaining bullets show respect.
- Interest: He covets my undivided attention when he shares something with me: a book he was reading, a current event he found compelling, work issues, thoughts, JOKES, etc… Doesn’t matter that I don’t really like Civil War battles or football (he does keep these at a minimum knowing my short attention span in those areas). No looking down at my cell phone or “multi-tasking” when he’s speaking. One sure way to achieve this is to put everything down and look (with interest) into his eyes as he talks. He truly doesn’t abuse this. Research has shown that men use a much smaller amount of total words per day than women (and this also has been challenged, claiming perhaps men have “used up” more of their total words by the time they get home from work). Whatevs, ladies, hang on ever one. Or ten… Developing common interests is also important [Example: he came home from his workout and newspaper read, and he was DYING to share some things with me. He came to my “writing space” where I had started on this post, and although I was tempted to chase him off with some disinterested “uh huhs,” I instead took a break and focused on him].
- Patience: Patience is not my long suit. SJ is a very deliberate, thoughtful man, and does not like feeling rushed. He’s dealt with my impatience for years and it was not endearing me to him at all. I do move at a faster pace… and sometimes expect everyone around me to do the same. I’ve had to pull back, and sometimes count to 10 before I “demand” a response to a statement or question I’ve posed. Or, I’ll float an “idea” and ask him to think about it and get back to me. Above all I need to work on honoring his timing in a decision or response. In exchange, he’s agreed to let me know “I need until tomorrow to give you my answer, I need to think about it.”
- Acknowledged/Affirmed: As above, this means truly listening to him, complete with responses, words of agreement, and yes, INTEREST. It also means that tomorrow/next week/next month, I can say, “you know when you told me about… that was really good.” or “that made me wonder about…” Words of affirmation go hand-in-hand with this, our men like to hear we appreciate the big and little things they do, EVEN IF IN OUR SHREWISH BRAINS WE’RE TELLING OURSELVES HE SHOULD BE DOING THIS ANYWAY. [Example: He arranged for us to attend a professional ball game. I’m marginally interested in baseball. Unlike most sports I can follow it… as slow as it can be! Sit through a real-life game during record-high heat, another matter entirely! With a 1-0 score, you can imagine how “lively” it was… but the chance to go do something different; to see a stadium I’ve never seen; to watch other fans; to ride back home on the train holding his hand… it was fun doing it with him, and I made sure to thank him for planning it].
- Submitted: OK, most modern males will never acknowledge this, and few modern females will even let you finish a sentence with this word. For me, it means TRUST. Trusting that he can make a decision without my input or finagling, trusting that he can lead our family and make good decisions; a wife who doesn’t argue, doesn’t try to wrest control, doesn’t pout, doesn’t have to have my way. It doesn’t mean he’s despotically ordering me around, or that I have no input or say, because the Bible entreaties him to treat me fairly and lovingly. He wants me to be happy. SJ rarely “dictates” to me, and usually asks for my opinion or input (wives, it’s a world of difference to our husbands’ ears to hear, “What do you think if we did xyz?” vs. “We’re going to do xyz…” chances are, the result will be the same). He’s my Captain, and I’m his First Mate (Athol Kay has some good thoughts on this, especially “women respond sexually to dominant men and they can become quite aggressive towards men that seek sexual access that do not evoke feelings of submission in them. The Body Agenda literally thinks “if he can’t handle me, he can’t actually protect me from anything”). We work together for the best outcome, but the final decision is his. Although imperfectly and with room for growth, we’ve arrived at a point in our marriage where I’ve expressed to him I desire his leadership and I will not challenge it when he needs me to obey, or “hupatasso” (the Greek word used throughout the Bible in reference to wifely submission to husband… Google it for a much more in depth explanation, but in essence, it was a military term that means to “line up under,” and wives are to be subject to their husbands. They are not only to “feel humble toward and kind” but to actually do what the husband asks, or “come up under” his leadership). As an aside ladies, there is no better feeling IN THE WORLD than to trust and submit to a Godly husband.
- Champion/Cheerleader: One of the most powerful things a wife can do is to compliment or praise her husband to others within his hearing (selectively, authentically, and not ad nauseam like a Mommy). Most guys will roll their eyes, draw a humble sigh… but they love it. We’ve got their back, and we think they’re wonderful. This is seductive and attractive to men. I have to examine myself, my selfish nature, and ask myself constantly, what have I done to champion him, to compliment him, to praise him, to encourage him, to build him up? (In the converse, just know that a HUGE libido killer is to make fun of him, put him down, question, correct, or argue with him, especially in front of others). [Example: I became aware of the power of my attitude and words (and eye rolls) in public when I’d witness other wives–in our Sunday School class, no less– harshly correct or demean their husbands verbally, or with a dismissive shake of the head or roll of the eyes. Ouch. It was painful to watch hubby deflate, and detach, over those sharp responses…]
- Know Him and his Favorites: What’s his favorite touch (barring the obvious sexual one)? Back rub, neck rub, scalp rub, face rub, foot rub… or back scratch? What’s his favorite meal? What’s his favorite snack? By providing him with some of his favorites, you are telling him you know him, and how much he matters to you.
- Sexuality: OK, this has to be mentioned, even though it’s the “obvious one.” Get past all the above “brain”stuff (or maybe not), most husbands like sex, and from what I read, more than wives. A big question is, are you “desirable”–not just outwardly, but inwardly? Many husbands have fantasies and wouldn’t mind wives who are more frisky and adventurous. Be willing to get outside your “norms” and try new things– places, positions, words, etc. Build up sexual tension throughout the day/week… (see Seduce Her). Sure, we all have limits, and these need to be discussed. In my mind there is only one no-no: Neither spouse should deny the other (the Bible tells us this). SJ knows I will not say “no.” He doesn’t ask my “permission” to cleave with me (IMHO, that is really emasculating in a marriage). I don’t withhold as a “punishment.” He’s considerate enough not to prevail when I’m unwell, but even in the (few) times when I just don’t “feel” like it… I never say no, I never deny him, and I’ve never, ever regretted it. Sexual union is meant to keep marriages intimate and healthy. Say “no” a few too many times ladies, and he’s going to stop asking/”pushing”… and possibly seek it out elsewhere. [There needs to be a small nod here to staying healthy and physically fit, but I’ve written on that before. He may love you, fat and all… but a slimmer more energetic BOTH of you is usually sexier] [Note: I know there are many marriages in which wife is more sexually interested or “high-need” than husband. Maybe a future post on this topic, but communication is vital.]
These are the real aphrodisiacs to the “thinking male” and for many husbands. Sure, they love your sexy lingerie (off) and your sexy, suggestive talk. These are no-brainers. They love your hands on them (anywhere). As the non-sex things fell into place in our marriage (requiring A LOT of change and work on my part… ongoing), the intimacy just got better and better.
It’s no biggie to seduce a man’s body, especially in his prime. Unlike a woman’s, it’s wired for instant coffee (while we are more French press, and sometimes “grow it, pick it, roast it, grind it, brew it coffee!”).
The key to lasting intimacy with your husband is to “seduce” his mind, and let him know you trust and respect him.