SWM 049 – Focus on your spouse, not the model

After writing the posts on the blessings of responsive and spontaneous desire, I felt that there was still something left to say on the topic.  So, in true philosophical fashion, this post will appear to undo and undermine everything in the previous two while simultaneously trying to actually underpin it.

Because ultimately it doesn’t matter what type of desire you experience - responsive or spontaneous.  Those ideas are just concepts - a model to try and help explain or guide, when needed. They are sort of like a map, but like all maps, at some point, they become more hindrance than help.

Maps don’t show all the details

Maps tend to be very good at showing boundaries.  This is either a road, or it isn’t. There is water, or there isn’t.  But, it doesn’t do a good job of showing blended boundaries. Like a shoreline, where the water level can shift, whether the road has wide shoulders or a ditch running beside it. 

And similarly, while we’ve been sort of bucketing people into either responsive or spontaneous, the truth is, many people experience both.

Almost everyone has the capacity to experience both responsive and spontaneous desire.

However, those with spontaneous desire who also have strong or higher sex drives often never get to experience that part of their nature.  Likewise those with responsive desire who also have weak or low sex drives never get to experience what it feels like to have spontaneous desire.

This is a dynamic that happens a lot in my marriage.  Because I desire sex so often, unless something is going on in our life that is completely disruptive to the point that sex is not an option for at least a week, it’s unlikely my wife will ever get to the point where she spontaneously desires sex.

And even if she does, she’s so unused to initiating at times like that that she feels uncomfortable asking for what she wants.  She feels selfish asking for her desire to be met in the rare cases that she spontaneously feels it.

The point is, people tend to not be 100% responsive or spontaneous.  It’s just that their circumstances sometimes only allow them to experience one or the other.

If your spouse has no interest in sex, or is too shy to initiate, or feels sex is shameful, dirty or a necessary evil, then it’s quite likely you’ll never get to experience responsive desire with them until that root issue is resolved.

Likewise if your spouse wants sex every night and makes that clear, there’s a good chance you’re never going to experience what it feels like to suddenly want sex.  It’s like never feeling what it’s like to be starving when you eat three meals a day, every day.  

And it’s fairly common for people with higher desire to get tired of always initiating.  Sometimes they get it into their heads that they’re just going to stop until their spouse initiates.  Unfortunately, they often do this with no communication, or with bad communication.  

This tends to end in a few fairly predictable ways:

* Their spouse thinks they’re no longer interested in sex, and so even if they feel desire, they don’t initiate.* Their spouse feels like they’re being controlled, and so even if they feel desire, they don’t initiate.* They get grumpy, let their frustration and impatience show, and so even if their spouse feels desire, they don’t initiate, because the relationship doesn’t feel safe.

In short, they shoot themselves in the foot.  If you are going to try and do something like this,
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