Are You Living What You Painted?

I asked the guys on The Generous Husband a question last week. Now I’m going to ask you the female version:

Are you living the life you painted for your husband when the two of you decided to get married?

I suspect this is an even bigger issue for women than men. Among other things, having children derails a woman’s life far more than it does a man’s. Some of what seemed easy before you got married is now somewhere between difficult and impossible.

There may be good reasons why can’t do what you said you would, but reasons or not it’s still not living up to your word and that’s a problem. If you aren’t doing something you indicated you would, please address it. Admit you didn’t understand what life would be like and you made promises you can’t keep. Then talk about alternatives. What could you do now? What will change as the kids get older?

~ Paul – I’m XY, and my wife is not fading away!

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Nudging vs Nagging

One of the things you try to do as a wife and mother is helping your family make good decisions. That can easily be seen as nagging, but there is another way.

Give them a little nudge.

Nudging vs Nagging

A nudge is encouraging someone to make one of several choices. They do have a choice, and they won’t suffer if they don’t choose what you think is best. A nudge is not always spoken. If you put the healthy snacks out on the counter and keep the less healthy snacks at the back of a high cabinet, you’re nudging people to eat more healthy.

Of course, this could be done in a manipulative way, but it need not be. You can even nudge someone to make a choice that is better for you, just be sure it’s a nudge.

Another way of nudging is to think “opt-out” rather than “opt-in”. If someone does nothing, then such and such happens. If they don’t want such and such, they have to do or say something to get another choice. One way to do this is by saying “Unless you have a problem with it, I’m going to ________.”

~ Paul – I’m XY, and being a nudge is not a bad thing.

Speaking of Nagging: I don’t know how to nudge for donations! August through October is our low period so now seems like a good time to nag about it. Your support makes it possible to do all we do, and we are very appreciative.

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Your Pleasure Is His Greatest Turn On

In doing research for last Friday’s post, I came across something interesting about men’s biggest turn on. To paraphrase it, “for the great majority of men the most arousing stimuli is a woman portraying intense sexual pleasure”. This was determined by studying how men react to porn.

Let’s put that in very simple terms: Watching a woman enjoy an orgasm is the biggest possible turn-on for most men.

Your Pleasure Is His Greatest Turn On

If this is true for porn, how much more would it be true when a man is having sex with the wife he loves? I’d say this is why men make such a big deal about her pleasure. It’s why he checks to see if it was good, and it’s why he wants her to orgasm more than once. I’ve heard men say they enjoy their wife’s orgasm as much as, or even more than, their own. I’ve never doubted this and now I have something beyond my hunch to support that.

So, if it’s good for you, make sure you tell him that. If you want to ham it up a bit when you climax for his sake, go for it. On the other hand, if you aren’t enjoying it, know that he may be very motivated to work to change that.

~ Paul – I’m XY, and all I’m going to say here is I’m a guy!

Source: The Triggers of Sexual Desire: Men vs. Women | Psychology Today

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Nail Syndrome

You’ve probably heard it said that “When you’re a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

Try this on for size, “If you think you’re a nail, everything looks like a hammer.

Nail Syndrome

Here’s how nail syndrome works. At some point in the past, you were told you’re a nail. Of course, you weren’t actually called a nail, you were told you were stupid or ugly or useless or irrelevant. If you were told this when you were young, you probably believed it. If you were a bit older and you heard it over and over from people who mattered to you, you probably believed it.

Once you believe you’re a nail, you expect to get hammered. You see hammers that are not there. You misread things to make what others say into hammers. You get defensive when you think you’re about to be hammered, even though you’re not. 

May I suggest you’re not a nail? Odds are you weren’t a nail when you were told that you were, and you certainly aren’t a nail today.

~ Paul – I’m XY, and my wife is no nail!

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Nagging, Or Timing?

I suspect that a lot of what is called nagging is really about timing.Nagging, Or Timing?

Consider this. You and hubby are driving in the country. You realise he needs to make a right turn shortly. So you say “Right turn at the next street”. Now let’s say he knew this and was just about to take his foot off the gas. Had you waited for another second, you would have realised he knew he needed to turn. It’s a silly example, but what if it happened over and over? What if you were forever telling him where to go one or two seconds before he showed by his actions he knew where to go? 

Now apply the same thinking to whatever it is he says you nag him about. How much of it would get done without you saying a word if you were a bit slower to “remind him”?

There’s only one way to find out!

~ Paul – I’m XY, and missing a turn is not the end of the world!

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The Puzzle That Is Female Sexual Arousal

Studies find that men are very good at estimating how aroused they are. This is not surprising really. Since puberty, our penis has been enlarging to let us know what arouses us and how much. (Erections are not all or nothing, there can be a slight stiffening that won’t show through clothing but is very much felt.)

Studies of women’s ability to determine how aroused they are have shown most women don’t know when or how aroused they are (researchers call this low correlation between subjective and genital sexual arousal). Other studies have found that men are only aroused by porn that fits their sexual orientation, while women of all orientations are aroused by any kind of porn.

And now, just to make it even more confusing, a lot of what I said above is being questioned.

Do You Know When You're Aroused?

The typical way to measure male arousal is with a device that records changes in the circumference of the penis. The typical way of determining female arousal is a device that measures blood flow in the vagina. It has been pointed out this is an apples and oranges comparison that assumed vaginal changes show arousal the same way penial changes do. 

In the last decade, a device that measures changes in clitoral blood flow (clitoral photoplethysmography) has been introduced. This is apples to apples.

Initial tests with the clitoral photoplethysmography found it is very good at measuring arousal, and gives somewhat different results than the traditional vaginal measurements. One small study found this new method resulted in much better correlation between measured arousal and women’s self-reports of arousal. One researcher suggested that the arousal indicated by vaginal measuring is “an automatic preparatory response rather than genital arousal per se“. In other words, it’s the body getting ready for sex, not the body getting turned on. The theory is that pretty much any sexual stimulus causes a woman to lubricate and otherwise prepare for intercourse. This is not the same as wanting sex, or being aroused.

Here are a few things I see in all this:

  • Female sexual arousal is far less straightforward than male arousal.
  • Vaginal wetness means you can have intercourse without pain. It does not necessarily mean you want to have sex, and if you do want to have sex it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re aroused to the point that you will enjoy it.
  • Contrary to previous claims, women are not “turned on by men, women, heterosexual and homosexual images regardless of their claimed sexual preference.”
  • Women’s lack of a biofeedback mechanism coupled with negative teaching about sex may mean some women don’t mentally register arousal when their body is in fact aroused.

And one other point. It’s possible to get aroused even if you start out feeling nothing. So is hubby asks you if you’re horny, “No, but I’d like to be, can you help me with that?” is a valid response.

~ Paul – I’m XY, and I’ve made some of the false statements disproven above.

A couple of links for those who want to dig into this:

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Why He’s Not Sharing

This is probably one of those posts that should be prefaced with “I’m sharing information, not justifying.”

There are a number of reasons men don’t share with their wives information she should know. Some of those reasons are self-serving, some are not. Some are based on her behaviour, others are based on his fear, his pride, or his past.

Why He's Not Sharing

  1. He’s not up for the long discussion that will follow. I’ve had men complain that EVERYTHING they tell their wife leads to a long discussion, even if there is no way to change things.
  2. He’s trying to avoid the anger he thinks he will get. If you have had a habit of overreacting, this could drive him to not share certain things. Or he could be trying to avoid deserved anger.
  3. He is trying to protect himself. He screwed up and he doesn’t want you to know, or doesn’t want you to think badly of him. Pride is more than enough to bring this about, but feeling you’re not on his side will increase the odds of this kind of behaviour. 
  4. He’s trying to protect you. He knows the information will hurt you, and he wants to spare you.
  5. He thinks you will totally freak out. If you’ve done that in the past, he may feel he needs to keep things from you to avoid you going off the deep end.
  6. He fears you’ll get depressed. If you’ve done this in the past, he has good reason for his fear.

I’m not suggesting it’s good or right for your husband to withhold information from you, and I don’t want to “blame the victim”. However, if this has been a problem, ask yourself if you’ve done anything that has encouraged his wrong choices. If you can’t see anything you’ve done, try to figure out what is driving his choices so you can address them.

~ Paul – I’m XY, and sometimes “the whole truth” is painful

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Friday Flashback: What He Most Wants in Marriage

I had a post for today, but I need to weed through a lot of research for it. And after spending way to much time digging a trench with a pickax, that’s not going to happen. So here’s something from 2013 – The XY Code’s first year

Every other Thursday I post a survey on marriage and sex issues (see below if you would like to get notices of these). A couple of months ago the question was “What Is Most Lacking in Your Marriage?”

Top Rated © Stuart Miles |

We all know what the men said – sex, sex, and more sex! 

Yes, that was the most listed thing that was lacking – with 66% choosing it. However, the stereotype ends there. The second most listed item, chosen by 54%, was romance. This was followed by 47% saying they want more time together, and 44% saying their marriage needs more non-sexual touch.

Ladies, this is men saying they want more romance, time together, and more non-sexual touch! I know you’re thinking these men must be an anomaly, but the fact that two-thirds said they want more sex does suggest these are normal men.

I also asked how important various things are, with one being most important, and sixteen least important. The chart below is the average for men taking the survey:

Survey results ©

Sex was number three, after communication and time together.

So is your husband an outlier, or would he rate these things about the same? You might be surprised. Apparently, most men want more than sex from their wife – how encouraging!

~ Paul, I’m XY, and I desperately need time to talk with my fantastic wife!

You can get survey notices and other content by following:

[This post first appeared Dec 18, 2013.]

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