What's a guy to do?

Source: Dr. Trina Read - The Calgary Herald

The old saying, "Happy wife, happy life" started me thinking about men and their sexual plight. A married man who wants to retain any shred of sanity must learn to say "Yes, dear" often, no matter what the circumstance.

Really, what's a guy to do? After his teenage years where his guys-gone-wild antics are both expected and praised, the average man in a long-term relationship gets the crummy end of the sexual stick.

To understand why this is so, let's take a look at the average guy's sex life as he innocently ventures into long-term relationship land. Typically, he comes into a partnership equipped only with a limited sexual repertoire: experiences he received from past partners (if any); a bit of pornography he may have seen and; some sketchy information learned in the locker room.

If born after 1970, he's politically correct and understands it's his "job" to pleasure the woman first -- which in his mind means giving her an orgasm.

No matter what his sexual experiences are compared to hers, he is expected to take charge and lead the show. So with high hopes and good intentions, he goes in like a good little soldier and does his best. And at first the sex seems great. But after a while she doesn't seem to be as enthusiastic in bed. Soon he notices her shying away from his touch outside the bedroom.

Even if he is a sensitive guy, he likely does not come equipped with good communication skills, and he's been told all his life that emotions are "girly." So, he's stuck, with zero clue of how to ask her why things have changed. His clumsy attempts at managing the situation are either: a) keep it boiling-under-the-surface silent or b) start yelling. If and when he finally does express his feelings and frustrations, he becomes the bad guy. You see he didn't properly empathize with her situation.

Still he keeps forging ahead and does his best to initiate sex. However, now his attempts don't suit her and she makes a list of demands as long as his arm. She wants 24 hours' notice, candlelight, baths, music and all manner of things that are brand new to him.

And then -- and this is the "funny" part -- when he does acquiesce to her demands, she gets bent out of shape because she feels she's being forced into sex. I've spoken to many women who said when her guy poured an aromatic bath or when she walked into a candlelit bedroom, her heart sank into her stomach. She didn't feel like having sex right then and there.

I've heard the similar comments from men who say, "I did all the romantic shtick she and the books told me to do, only for her to get even more upset, turn on her heel and walk away."

Or, "I tried nuzzling and kissing hours before bedtime to get her into the mood and she kept angrily pulling away from me. I guess I'm not very good at this romantic stuff."

I'm certain I heard the men's hearts breaking when they confided this to me.

The question becomes, what's a guy to do when he wants sex? Especially if, no matter what he does, he's going to be shot down or made to feel wrong. I am in no way saying guys are perfect. But ladies, we have to start giving men more some slack and empathize with their state of affairs. If the roles were reversed we'd be at our wits' end.

He's been given minimal sex and communication training. Although he may have learned a few tricks of the trade, he was never given the opportunity to finesse the "softer side" of sex. He's scared silly to talk about it because he will be considered not sexually worthy. It all adds up to a lose/lose proposition for him.

Plus, a big part of sex for a man is it's his emotional connection time; during sex, he can let down his guard and be vulnerable. So when he's initiating sex, it's just as likely that he needs an emotional connection as much as he does the physical act. Except men don't really understand that. So, if she rejects him, he doesn't know how to otherwise reach out and get his much-needed injection of couple time.

I empathize with all the women who are dealing with an absolute miserable bull of a man because he isn't getting any. Yes, he lays down guilt trips and doesn't understand that you have more than two body parts to grab at during sex.

You don't deserve to be treated that way. And neither does he.

Trina Read is a motivational speaker and writer with a doctorate of human sexuality. Email comments and questions to [email protected] trina-read.com