Ladies, Keep Your Heart Open

She lies on the bed. Her face glows. She is in her most sensual lace undies and bra. He stands at the foot of the bed, his shirt off.

His excitement to enter her is uncontainable. Her desire to receive him is palpable.

She reaches out to him with her arms, saying, “Come to me.” All of her is open to him, opening further even as she receives him.

He is her God. She is his Goddess.


Isn’t it awesome when this happens? The connection. The excitement. She’s with the man she wants. He’s with the woman he desires.

And yet how do we freeze this moment in time? This superhuman juice, power, connection?

I used to say to my ex-wife, “When we’re connected and on each other’s team, really feeding one another, it’s like we’ve given each other superpowers.  We have more energy for our day. We bring more excitement to life.” She fully agreed.

And yet, even though we knew it, we struggled to live it. In time, we fell back into normal marital estrangement, too busy with work and parenting to tend to our relationship. How and why things ended is a story for another time or a book.

And in the bedroom, it looked like…

He wants sex.
She wants to talk.
He needs to get physical to feel close to her.
She needs to communicate verbally to feel close to him.

I remember thinking… God, what a cruel f#*kin’ joke you’ve played on us! We’re on opposite sides of the universe in classic masculine and feminine. This is how you made us?

I see this often in other couples. Who’s to blame – him or her?

Well, she doesn’t want to feel like a sexual object. And he doesn’t want to be her girlfriend.

Ok, these are clichés. I know. But they represent a thread of a common power dynamic between the masculine and the feminine, which can traverse gender or sex.

In my blog last week, I spoke to what happens when a man squeezes all of his intimacy needs into sex. It’s not good. So what happens when a woman seeks all of her intimacy needs through talking?

If one consequence of the supremacy of talk is that it leaves men at a disadvantage, another is that it leaves women trapped in repressed sexuality.

-Esther Perel, “Mating In Captivity”

Perel’s gist is, “I am woman. I am powerful. And if you don’t talk to me like I want, you’re not getting any loving.”

And yes, ladies, that means you’re not getting any loving either. That can’t feel good for too long.

Depriving a man of sex is a powerful and effective way to get his attention. But more often than not, it’s also accompanied by a complete shutdown of her heart. She won’t let him in, physically or emotionally, for that matter.

“I can’t do anything right for her anymore,” a man has often said to me, defeated in session. “I try but nothing seems to help. She’s just pissed off.”

Ladies (and this is straight out of the playbook of my mentor, author and couples therapist, Terry Real) —  It’s much harder to ask for what you want, and actually receive it, than it is to bitch and complain.

I know, you’ve asked a thousand times. But have you actually been open to receiving it, even an iota of it, whatever “it” is?

When he makes even the tiniest effort, applaud him, cheer him on. Celebrate his wins. Stop only looking at what he doesn’t do. Glass half full, not half empty. Trust me. He’ll be encouraged to do more for you.

And when it comes to the bedroom, by all means, stand your ground if you don’t want to have sex but stay open emotionally. Give him a hug, a kiss. Reassure him he’s your man. Tell him you love him and you see how he’s trying to show up.

Ultimately, great sex and a great relationship happen when you build trust with one another and when you know you’re each a priority.

And that happens when you turn towards each other, towards hard feelings, not away.

That’s growth. And from there comes an energized and fulfilling relationship.  The real reward of long term relationship.

Previously Published on


Back to Top