Leandie Buys Realtionship Therapist & Clinical Sexologist

5 things men “don’t get” about women

Obviously I don’t know EVERYTHING about ALL women. Also, I’m not implying that men don’t understand women at all… but through my practice and through the interaction I have with couples, I have found that there are a few common themes.

I’m sharing them here not to find fault with men, or to demean them in any way, but to shed some light on how a woman might be feeling, or thinking, and how that can get misinterpreted by their partners.

Here are some of the things that men most often misunderstand about women:

1.       The way she talks

In my relationship counselling practice, I often encounter couples who lack communication skills. One of the reasons is that the husband has ‘taken his wife’s voice away’. This is most often completely unintentional, but it does happen to a lot of couples.

The way most women like to solve issues is by talking about them. Whether it’s a difficult person at work, a naughty child, or a life goal that they’re struggling to achieve, they will often hash out the issue with their girlfriends. However, many women struggle to speak about these things with their partner.

Why?

Men often struggle to tell the difference between when a woman is venting – and just needs to talk about an issue – and when she is really asking for help. Most men tend to jump in and offer advice and try to figure out ways to solve the issue before the woman has even finished talking.

This makes her feel like he “never really listens”, and that “he gets irritated with me” all the time.

How to handle the situation:

Listen to the key words your partner is using… if she’s talking about an issue at work, or a frustrating person, just listen and offer supportive and affirmative comments (NOT ADVICE). Things like “I can’t believe she said that!” or “Wow, that’s just really frustrating… I’m sorry you had to deal with that”.

IF she then asks you for your opinion, you can offer it… If she says something like “what do you think?” or “what should I do” then she’s giving you permission to step in and offer some suggestions.

2.       The way she thinks about sex

This might sound a little graphic, but I’m a relationship counsellor as well as a sexologist. This means that I help couples work through things in their relationships like lack of libido, lack of intimacy, trauma, erectile dysfunction etc… Sexual issues can have a major impact on the relationship as a whole, and could even be one of the things that leads to divorce.

Men often don’t understand how a woman’s brain (and body) work when it comes to sex. Sometimes she even ‘fakes it’ just so he can stop nagging. But when this happens the sex is unfulfilling for both partners, and instead of bringing the couple closer, it tears them further apart.

Here’s an analogy I usually use to describe it to my patients:

A woman’s vagina has a security gate on it. If she feels safe with you (emotionally close and physically secure), she will open the gate. The gate is there to protect her heart.

What are the most common barriers to sex?

Lack of connection – If a woman doesn’t feel emotionally connected to her partner, she will not feel like being physically intimate with him. That means there has to be a lot of meaningful COMMUNICATION. Talking to each other, really listening, and knowing what makes your partner feel loved is vital.

Lack of emotional and physical energy - If your partner is complaining that she does ‘everything around the house’ or that she ‘doesn’t have anyone on her side’, then she is certainly not going to feel like giving up more energy to you. Make a concerted effort to help around the house, with the kids, and to support her emotionally.

Insincerity – If you’re doing things for your partner just so you can have sex, then she will know that your intentions are insincere. Don’t do things for reward. Do things for your partner because you love her. Take her out on a date with no expectations for what happens afterwards. Wash the dishes because you know it’s her least favourite job. Buy her one of her favourite chocolates or magazines. DATE your partner constantly – shower her with SINCERE affection and you will find her far more willing to “open her security gate”.

Does this sound like hard work? Remember relationships aren’t always plain sailing. There’s a lot of give and take in any relationship. Make sure you’re giving as much, or even more than you’re taking. Relationships require commitment and respect. Give your partner both.

3.       The way she feels about her private parts

Grabbing a woman’s breast does not turn her on. Claiming your partner’s body parts, and allowing yourself full access without her consent does not make her feel safe or loved or aroused.

Men often think that grabbing the parts of a woman that they most desire will result in instant attraction from her side. WRONG. Even light-hearted caressing and joking can put a woman off.

The bottom line is: her private parts are private. Only SHE can decide who gains access through her ‘security gate’ and who doesn’t. The person who is allowed in is the person who makes her feel loved, secure, safe, beautiful, and sexy.

Remember, that most children are taught to protect their private parts – to never allow others to take advantage of them physically. Apply the same discretion in your adult relationship. Wait until you are given permission.

So how do you love a woman?

Compliment her – not JUST her boobs and bum! Tell her how lovely her skin feels, how you love the way she looks in a certain outfit. Tell her how it still gives you butterflies when you look in her eyes. AND tell her all the things that are special about her that aren’t physical. Her generosity, her approach to life, her ambition, her successes, her dedication to being an amazing mother. Notice all the things she thinks you don’t.

Once again, be sincere, generous, and honest. Say these things without expectation. Say them with meaning.

4.       The way her hormones work

Most men assume that a woman’s sex drive or libido is the same as a man’s. Men want women to want sex as much as they do. Unfortunately this is just not the case. (Although, there are a few relationships where the woman has a higher sex drive than the man, but this is not the majority).

Hormones are one of the major contributors to sex drive

Testosterone is the main hormone which controls sex drive. In very basic terms, if you picture a glass ¾ full, that is how much testosterone most men have, compared to women who have ¼ of the glass full.

Added to that, women’s sex drive is also influenced by their menstrual cycles, their emotional health, and their general happiness in a relationship. There is no “pill” to “fix” a woman’s sex drive, despite all of the so-called options available on the internet!

Libido fluctuates

Men also struggle with the fact that a woman’s libido can change throughout a relationship. In the beginning her libido may have matched his, but after two kids, running a household, a career, and financial strain, a woman’s libido can be affected. HOWEVER: The way her partner helps her deal with these lifestyle changes can determine how her libido is affected.

In my practice I see so many couples who are on the verge of divorce due to desire discrepancy. Where the man has tried “everything” to fix his partner – bought her books, sex toys, pills, and even washed the dishes twice, only to find that nothing works. If you’re in this place in your relationship, then the best advice I can give you is to consult a professional sexologist and relationship therapist who can help you work through this extremely complex issue. It may seem extremely private, and embarrassing to talk about in the beginning, but it could help save your marriage.

A woman’s brain is her main ‘sex organ’, and if she isn’t feeling safe, emotionally secure, and physically confident, she is going to struggle with sexual intimacy. Working through these issues is best done with a professional counsellor through couple’s therapy.

Different expectations

NEVER Google the ‘average’ sex drive of couples. Don’t ever compare your relationship to others – that is one of the major issues that I see in my practice. Comparing your relationship to those you see on TV, or your friends, or your past lovers will only lead to dissatisfaction.

Evaluate your relationship within itself, and if you think you’re going through a rough patch, work on fixing it and improving it, but don’t use other people’s relationships as your benchmark.

The thing I have to tell my patients over and over again is that “there is no such thing as normal”. Whether you have sex seven times a week or once a month isn’t of consequence UNLESS it is causing issues in your relationship.

If one of you expects far more sex than the other, then there will be a build-up of tension and resentment, and frustration in the relationship which can only be resolved through respectful, honest, and candid communication.

5.       The way she sees herself

I always encourage my male patients to treat their wives and daughters like princesses. Build their self-esteem and confidence instead of breaking them down. Teach your daughter how her future partners should treat her – with love and respect.

The same goes for your partner. If you can convince your partner to see herself through your eyes – as the wonderful, strong, beautiful, and sexy human being that she really is, (instead of just a sex object), then you will find that the emotional and physical intimacy in your relationship will grow.

 

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