She slammed the bathroom door and charged towards the mirror.
She looked at herself. Makeup freshly done, hair pulled up in a neat-yet-messy bun, and a soft pink babydoll teddy floating sweetly over her curves. She looked good. Really good.
Yet her man hadn't been the least bit interested.
"How was your day at work, babe?" she had approached him, literally and figuratively on her tip toes. A big kiss on the cheek and a very close embrace - one where his face was practically buried in her bosom - made her intentions very clear.
His pull-away was subtle. Oh-so-slight. Yet she caught it. She tensed up.
"It was fine," he'd said, craning his neck around her body to get a better view of the flashing television screen. "How was yours?"
She wasn't going to give up so easily. She'd made his favorite dinner and doused her skin in his favorite scent (a luxurious amber potion he'd bought for her last birthday). Her body swelled with desire, ached for him, intensely. Yes, she needed intimacy with him tonight.
"Babe, could you turn off the TV for a minute?" she implored. "I miss you."
He obliged, but his expression when he turned to her was all-but-inviting. It was...blank. Neutral. Unexcited. "I know what you're getting at, hon. I'm sorry, but I'm really not in the mood right now. It's been such a long day."
That was it. That was the trigger. "You said that last time," she retorted. Her tone was anything but honey-sweet. "What's the matter? I did all of this for you, and it's like you don't even notice me."
His eyes scanned her frame, as if for the first time. "You look so pretty. You do. I'm just not up for sex tonight." And he turned...the TV...back...on.
This was precisely when she had stormed to the bathroom, slammed the door, and examined herself in the mirror. She wasn't crazy - she knew she looked more than "pretty." Any other man should have been drooling, pouncing her like a lion, devouring her with delight. But not her husband. Her husband called her "pretty" and was more intrigued by the light claps of a golfing tournament.
What was the problem? Was it him? Did he not desire her anymore? Was he seeing someone else, having an affair? Or was she the issue? She didn't know many women who had a sex drive as high as hers? When she told told her friends how much she needed intimacy every night, they seemed to laugh or gasp in shock. "Girl, I'd be too tired for that," they'd say.
She wasn't. She needed him. Sex wasn't just about the act of intercourse or getting an orgasm. Those were nice, but she needed the intimacy. The closeness. The comfort, the affirmation, the companionship. When he rejected her advances and initiation, it felt like he was rejecting all of her.
But what could she do?
If you resonate with this story, it is possible that you are experiencing mismatched libidos - something we therapists call desire discrepancy. I am a part of a group practice called Building Intimate Marriages, founded and directed Dr. Michael Sytsma. Couples often come to our office trying to piece together the questions and emotional distance that are created by the gap in desired frequencies for sexual connection. It's hard. It's emotionally-charged. It's frustrating.
You aren't the only one feeling this frustration. And the couples you are comparing yourself to? Yeah, even they aren't always sexually in sync.