“I love to know what’s in your heart and I know you can share your feelings more with me after we make love. The sequence is worth it to me.”
The four phases of sexual connection are: courtship, arousal, orgasm, and pillow-talk. The first and last are more female needs, and the middle two more male. Most men are more open after they are sexually satisfied, and don’t like to talk a lot when they are looking for sex. When women insist on talking before making love, especially about relationship problems, most men balk or try to shorten the interaction. Sometimes it is perfectly reasonable to talk things out to make certain that love-making works better, but offering to forego that preliminary discussion is a sure-fire way to make a man feel understood and accepted.
Often men are much more available after they have been loved in a way that is important to them. When they are in a good place, a woman can ask him to talk to her about a troubling issue.
“I know how much fun you have with your guy friends and how you try to be more controlled around me, but you don’t have to. I know men think about different things than women do and I want the chance to know that part of you too.”
Many men talk and act differently when they’re around their male friends than they do with their women. With their male friends, they most often talk about sports, battles, business, and their health issues. And of course, sex. Depending on the statistic used, men think about sex around twenty times a day, but mostly just brief fantasies. They’re also more interested inpornography than most women are.
Women, when they are not jealous, derogatory, or invalidating of these typical male interests are more able to make their partners feel comfortable about sharing those masculine topics with them. Confident women who like who they are and aren’t afraid of competition are in much demand, especially when they are not threatened by testosterone driven men who still love them.
“I know my long stories can drive you crazy, so I’ll start with the bottom line and you can ask for more details if you need them.”
Women do tend to ramble when they share an experience or be indirect when they want something. If they get how men think, they can work to develop a more direct approach that doesn’t keep their partners hanging, as well as generously offer only what the men ask to know about without unnecessary embellishments.
They also understand that certain subjects are easier for men to listen to, and are careful to know the difference. For example, a woman’s distress about a man’s behavior in the relationship should be presented in as limited a way as possible, i.e., complaint, context, feeling, and desired outcome. Interesting stories that are relevant to their men’s lives may get more automatic stage time.
“It’s perfectly okay that sports, business, battles, and times you just want to spend with your guy friends are sometimes more important than our relationship.”
Many women want their lovers to focus on the relationship above all. They often feel competitive when their male partners are more interested in watching competitive sports, heavily engaged in business interactions, or into political battles. When men are only with each other, they rarely talk about their personal relationships. In contrast, when women are only with each other, they rarely talk about anything else. Living more in separate compartments as they tend to do, men do often treasure the compartment that holds their loved ones, but they also need guilt-free time to enjoy any others that are important to them.
There is one powerful exception. When women have highly demanding jobs where they interact with men a great deal, they do understand and participate more in those typical male interactions.
“I trust that you love me by all the things you do for me, even when I don’t ask you to.”
Men often show their love by what they do for their women, especially when they’re not asked to do them. Washing a car, making a drink, pouring a bath, buying lingerie, arranging a surprise birthday party, picking up dinner, participating willingly in child care, or fixing something that’s broken are all great examples. Female partners who know this never fail to show their appreciation, usually by affection or by being more available for sex.
“Even if we lost everything, I’d still have you, and that’s what matters the most.”
Many men feel that if they don’t provide, protect, and serve, that they are not fully male. If they become ill, lose their job, or aren’t around when crises occur, they may feel derelict in their honor obligations to their partners. Men who know that they are deeply loved and wanted, separate from what they should do or be, are grateful that they don’t have to suit up and show up no matter how they feel or what the circumstances are.
“I promise. No more than three questions in a row.”
When partners come together at the end of a day, women too often begin an interrogative process. As people who weave the past into the future, they naturally live throughout the day thinking about what their partners might be doing. Often, when they reconnect, they want to fill in what has been missing, and long for a run-down of anything important that happened during their time apart.
Men, on the other hand, when reconnecting after time apart, usually want to relax and to let go of their day’s concerns. They want to live in the present and enjoy the moment. If they are pushed to recall experiences that they would just as soon forget, they may respond with curt, impatient answers.
Women who want to make their men comfortable should limit their questions, or only make statements, such as, “I’m so glad you’re home and would love to hear about your day, and only when you’re ready to talk.”
“I never want to own you, or for you to feel obligated to be with me.”
For many women, romantic love is about security. That means the future is somehow assured and their partners mustn’t change a great deal without their agreement. From a man’s viewpoint, they are asking their men to live in emotional captivity without ever doing or saying anything that could threaten the loss of the relationship.
Women need to understand that their men must be free to love without the fear of entrapment, while accepting their men’s needs for novelty andinnovation. They would never want their man to be with them while wishing he was somewhere else. Interestingly, men who fall in love with women who love without possession, rarely leave them.
“I feel the safest when you’re near me.”
Male partners usually do want to make their lovers feel safe and secure, if they feel appreciated and unencumbered by too much neediness. If their women are too dependent on them and need constant reassurance, they may feel burdened or irritated. But when their woman is not overly needy or insecure, men can feel free to open up and connect. Most men want to protect their women and feel pride when they can.
“Bald is really sexy.”
Men have several concerns that they rarely share with their partners for fear they will not be seen as attractive or valuable. Losing their hair is one of them. So is difficulty with erections, not being tall enough, not having strong, straight shoulders, not making enough money, not being physically fit, or being inept in emotionally laden verbal exchanges. So many women do not see these vulnerable concerns in their men and as a result, don’t develop the sensitivity that can help their partners want to share these uncomfortable feelings.
A woman who sees her man as exciting and valuable chooses to minimize his flaws and to concentrate on the things about him she loves and treasures. If he believes that she is sincere, he will feel better about sharing his worries and appreciate her support.
Words create pictures in the mind that can evoke strong feelings. Phrases are groups of words that are even more effective, both negatively and positively. Most men and women basically want the same thing from each other; to feel deeply known and still beloved. Yet, they respond to different words and phrases that evoke those romantic feelings of acceptance and appreciation. If men and women remember to express romantic feelings that reach into the hearts of their lovers, they are more likely to get the intimate connection they want.
Effective communication is all about translation. To communicate love and cherishing in a way that your partner can understand, you must learn how what you say will be interpreted. Romance is in the heart of both genders. All that is different is the way each gender is welcomed.
By Randi Gunther, Ph.D