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I asked for extra whipped cream when I bought an ice cream sundae with my family last weekend. Piles of whipped cream and mounds of fluff came out positively billowing on top of the melting soft vanilla covered in hot fudge. I was surprised. I always ask for extra whipped cream and I’ve never had floating clouds of it on anything I’ve ever ordered. I was happy but told myself it was a fluke and would probably never happen again no matter how often I asked. I’m a pursuer. Some would say that I’m never satisfied, that whatever I get it’s never enough. I would probably agree. Sexual pursuers say the same thing about sex and of course, usually wind up marrying sexual distancers.
Maybe you’re hoping to hear of the kinky things I did with that whipped cream. After all this blog is about sex. Actually, it made me feel too fat to have sex.
Sexual pursuers initiate sex. They risk the first kiss. They present the “pleasure plan” over and over to their partners hoping to make the marriage intimate, playful and warm. Whipped cream is only one of their mild fantasies. In their heart of hearts, sex fills them with love and generosity, energizes them, soothes them better than Xanex, confirms their raison d’etre.
Sexual pursuers are improvers. I understand pursuers who tell me they leave the bed filled with ideas and thoughts about ways it could have been better. Every time they are secretly wishing for an 11 on the scale of 1-10. They wish for the earth to move, for transcendent feeling, to crawl inside him and mentally merge just when his body enters hers or vice versa. They are tuned into every sigh and silence, wondering if his/her experience is as good as theirs. What do they fantasize about? More intensity. Or about instant, perfect sexual connection that needs no working at it.
Pursuers may seem hard to please. When their head lolls and you’ve rocked their world, they only feel entitled. When it’s just so-so and your body or their body didn’t do what it’s supposed to or the kissing was a bit ho-hum, sly criticisms creep into their heads. “I’ve told you the way I like it; why don’t you remember?” Blaming thoughts like, “you seemed distracted, you were about you, you weren’t tuned into me, you didn’t excite me much, ” want to come out of their mouths. Worried thoughts like gremlins become obsessions; “it’s been too long since the last time. Maybe he doesn’t love me, maybe she’s not attracted to me, it’s a fluke that it was good, yada, yada…” We almost believe all the hype about casual sex as meaning that others are having supercalifragilisticexpialidocious sex EVERY! SINGLE! TIME! Tumbling into the place of Not Enough, that creeping empty feeling starts to turn sour in our stomachs and we are fantasizing about the ice cream man who really understood us.
Pursuers tend to feel empty. They think their partners starve them and control sex. They feel helpless. They wish their partners would know without being told how to be the perfect lover, the superior seducer, the informed toucher. To tell someone what we want spoils the fantasy of being taken care of by an omniscient other. To not have reciprocal sexual initiation shakes our faith in our partner’s love and desire for the marriage – shakes it hard. Our narcissism is wounded when there’s hesitation, distraction or “otherness” in our significant other.
Wanting sex is good. Wanting great sex is good. Anxiety about not getting enough sex or not getting it “good enough” sabotages the will of the sexual distancer to want to meet the needs of their partner. Demanding perfection – perfect sex, perfect communication, perfect understanding- even if only in our minds – pressures the relationship. Managing to not crowd the Between-Space forms a vacuum that will pull our distancer toward us.
Resolutions for sexual pursuers – 1) Bite your tongue against the in-the-bed critique. 2) Find 2 positive things to say about every encounter and then shut up. 3) Find the positive statement in your criticism – we don’t have sex often enough translates to I want to make love to you 3 times a week! 4) Think about appreciating your partner’s partial efforts to gradually shape movement toward the great relationship you want. 5) Thank them for partial movement into your orbit. 6) Listen carefully for your distancing partner’s quiet requests about the sexual relationship.