As a couples therapist, I commonly hear some version of this scenario in my office:
Poor Sally; A day full of picking up socks, chiseling man-urine from around the toilet, and removing Dorito dust from the throw pillows certainly does not put her in the mood. As I once heard Dr. Phil say, “No woman wants to have sex with a man who acts like one of the kids.”
And poor Dick; Would it kill Sally to allow herself to ignore the messes and stresses in favor of letting loose a little? (And maybe even get rid of the offending stained throw pillows altogether, as Dick has been suggesting for years.)
Dick and Sally, like some of the couples I see in therapy, have a basically healthy emotional relationship; They communicate respectfully and aren’t acting-out any resentments or emotional pain within their sexual dynamic. When this is the case, addressing pain and hostility (and the withholding/passive aggressive interaction styles that follow) can be foregone in favor of simply changing surface behaviors.
To that end, I present this fun little story to illustrate what might happen when one person (Sorry, Sally; In this example, it’s you), makes the first step toward changing the dynamic:
He’s probably going to need a glass of water.
And in his quest for water, he’ll notice that the only clean cup in your house is a Chuck E Cheese birthday party souvenir cup.
That will make him want to
empty the dishwasher go to Chuck E Cheese so he can burn some mad riffs on Guitar Hero.
Operating on the adrenaline of channeling Dave Navarro, he will immediately call his boss to
demand a promotion let him know he’ll play in the company softball tournament after-all.
After Lloyd’s eight-year-old grandkid strikes him out, a husband will hang his head in shame and finally notice that one of his edgy Chuck Taylors sensible dad-Reebox has a tiny hole.
While innocently walking toward the shoe store in the mall, he will be bombarded by life-sized cardboard cutouts of the Victoria’s Secret angels displayed along his route,
Which will cause him to make a short detour, pausing to
contemplate the tragic over-sexualization of women in our culture imagine his wife in a new ensemble.
“Energized,” he will come home from the mall, steam-roll over his fears of rejection, and initiate a primal and spontaneous romp with his wife. (This works for many “Sally”s, since research shows emotional consideration is actually less important to women’s libido than simply feeling sexually desired. Also, there’s this study, which doesn’t bode well for Sally’s premise.)
And, since he is once again parched, and even the Chuck E Cheese souvenir cup is still dirty from before, a husband will, FINALLY, empty and load the damn dishwasher without being asked.
Of course, this post is largely for entertainment purposes. If you are dealing with a dynamic similar to Sally and Dick’s (and especially if your relationship harbors resentment or lacks mutual respect), I highly recommend couples therapy.