Lurkers and Intruders: What Men Need to Know about their Wives and Sex ~ Part One

22 Oct

While we’re on the topic of assumptions in marriage and not knowing what you don’t know, I thought it was high time we had this little conversation. This is specifically for husbands (as opposed to men in general, since I’m a firm believer in the value of keeping sex within the context of marriage). That said, I’m always open to some extra feedback from the wives; let me know if I’m not talking about as large a majority as I think I am. And kids – this is not for you. I’m gonna keep it fairly clean anyway, but do you really want to read this knowing full well that it’s about your parents?

Okay. You’ve all heard of the book Men are from Mars; Women are from Venus. It’s been a long time since I read it, but I seem to recall that it contained some good insight. Then came a book called Men are like Waffles; Women are like Spaghetti. That one made more sense to me – the concept being that for men, everything in life has its own little compartment and those compartments don’t overlap or get mixed up; for women, everything is connected and interlocked and tangled up. Let’s take those two models and apply them to the bedroom, add in one more little comparison (men are like microwaves and women are like crock pots) and you’ve got the basis for what I’m going to attempt to clarify for you today.

I’ll give you my own little analogy to get us started. Men are like snipers; women are like Walmart.

Snipers: unwavering, undistractable focus on one very specific task.

Walmart: A 24/7 chaotic stream of people needing things from every department.

Men, the things that occupy your wife’s day continue to occupy her mind well into the night. Let’s call these overlapping, ongoing thoughts The Lurkers. She can’t shut them off. They are always there. Her brain flips from one to the next in a constant slide show that she can’t unplug. It might go something like this:

Should I call my daughter’s teacher about that math test?…My foot still hurts from stepping on that Lego this morning…Don’t forget to add toothpaste to the grocery list…I need to tell my husband about that weird sound the car is making…My mother is driving me crazy…Rats! I forgot to get a birthday present for the party tomorrow…I wish I could be more of a help to my friend while she’s going through this rough time…My son will need his jersey clean on Thursday so I need to do a load of whites tomorrow…And if I do call the math teacher, I should tell her not to schedule a retest for Friday because of our dentist appointments…

Get the idea? It never stops. When she is making supper, The Lurkers are vying for her attention while she sautés the onions and strains the noodles. When she is driving the carpool, The Lurkers are vying for her attention while she is trying to remember how to get to some kid’s house and mediating the argument in the back seat. And yes, when she is participating in a very intimate moment, The Lurkers are vying for her attention while she is nuzzling your ear and rubbing your back.


She hates this. At other times in the day, there is pride in the multi-tasking aspect of being a woman. But at bedtime, she really wishes she could make it stop. She wants to turn off The Lurkers’ voices and solely turn you on instead (see what I did there? Tee hee). But The Lurkers do not go away. Ever.

Unfortunately, every time The Lurkers draw your wife’s attention away from the task at hand (sorry about that. Not sorry enough to reword it), it’s like taking the lid off the crock pot. A lot of heat is lost in a very short time and it takes a while to get back to where you were. Before you know it, the microwave has dinged and the crock pot has given up. This is frustrating for both of you.

Now that you know how her brain works, there are two points that make this knowledge more applicable to you.

First, if she seems distracted, don’t take it as an insult to your virility. It’s not your fault. But you can help. You could pause for a moment and say to her, “You seem distracted. Is everything okay?” Sometimes one or two of The Lurkers will sit down and shut up if your wife can talk through the issue with you. Or you could offer a counter-distraction with an “I love you” or other pertinent comment.

Second, there is only so much mental capacity for accommodating The Lurkers. The more important Lurkers drown out the less important ones. This is good news for you. You have the power to infiltrate The Lurkers and occupy more of that mental space.

Let me explain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up.  Women don’t usually think about sex frequently throughout the day. In fact,  – brace yourself! – sometimes a whole day has flown by and she hasn’t thought about sex at all. But if she is thinking about you during the day, then more thoughts about you take up space in The Lurkers’ running slide show, which will in turn help keep her focus on you during sex. And that means there will be a much better chance of getting the crock pot to the correct internal temperature by the time the microwave dings.

So how can you get her to be thinking about you during the day? Engage her affection outside a sexual context. Seriously, guys, there needs to be a distinction there. Sexual context will probably get lost in the mental shuffle of everyday stuff because she’s just not thinking about that right now. But affection, appreciation, genuine compliments – those grab her attention and get her thinking about you in the middle of everyday stuff and then you’re in the slide show by the time you reach for her. See the difference here? You tell her she’s hot because you’re already thinking about sex. But if you tell her she’s pretty, that will stick in her brain all day and then when it’s time for sex, she can think about you.

And when she’s thinking about you, you both win.


Posted by on October 22, 2013 in Marriage


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16 responses to “Lurkers and Intruders: What Men Need to Know about their Wives and Sex ~ Part One

  1. Julie

    October 22, 2013 at 11:17 AM

    Anita: You couldn’t have said it any better! Kudos to you! 👍

  2. Beth

    October 22, 2013 at 11:31 AM

    “Ding”! Bang on, Anita.

    • Anita Neuman

      October 22, 2013 at 11:37 AM

      I added a comma in there for you, Beth. “Bang on Anita” isn’t the message I’m going for…at least not for the world at large. 🙂

      • Tammy Bull

        October 29, 2013 at 4:19 PM

        hahahahaha and ha!

  3. Clara

    October 22, 2013 at 12:49 PM

    RIGHT ON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. Steve

    October 23, 2013 at 12:53 PM

    I don’t care if she’s thinking about other things during sex. Just a heads up, most men think about other “things” during sex also

    • Anita Neuman

      October 23, 2013 at 1:11 PM

      That’s nice for you. My point is for you to understand her mental process so you can help her be fully satisfied…if you care about that. But I do appreciate you offering your opinion here – you’re the first guy to do so.

      • Steve

        October 23, 2013 at 2:20 PM

        My comment may have been a little over the top but I found the article offensive and misandrist. Based on the web address I guess I should have expected that. It just seems like victim blaming to me – if your spouse is daydreaming dreaming during sex it’s your fault. What would you have thought if you had read an article suggesting to wives that they should try to make themselves more attractive so that their husbands wouldn’t think about other women while being intimate with them?

        I don’t know where you got your information from but I have “lurkers” in my head all day as well. I just ignore them and focus all my attention on my wife during our intimate moments. Call me crazy but I expect the same in return.

      • Anita Neuman

        October 23, 2013 at 2:36 PM

        Fair enough. I certainly don’t mean to paint all couples with the same brush – or all men or all women. If you and your wife have a good thing going, then far be it from me to say I’m right and you’re wrong. You could ask her to read this and share her opinion with you, though. That would probably carry a lot more weight than my opinion.

        And I swear I don’t actually need a new man! He’s totally a keeper. It’s just my name.

  5. Andrew

    October 23, 2013 at 1:44 PM

    So, you’re saying that I don’t have to defeat every lurker on my wife’s mind, I just need to work my way subconsciously onto her to-do list?

    • Anita Neuman

      October 23, 2013 at 1:49 PM

      Something like that. 🙂 No, you can never, ever, ever defeat all the lurkers. But a little affection earlier/throughout the day goes a long way later on. That can be a phone call to say hi because you were thinking of her, a text to tell her she’s doing a great job at whatever, a small gift (or even a big gift – we’re not picky!), compliments, a shoulder-rub or foot-rub while you’re watching TV, extra help cleaning up supper or putting the kids to bed… I’m sure you do a lot of those things anyway, but the more you do during the day to really connect with her, the more you’ll be on her mind.

      • Anita Neuman

        October 23, 2013 at 1:56 PM

        Oh, and not all the lurkers are problems that need to be defeated. They’re just stuff from the day or from tomorrow’s to-do list that keep playing through her mind. So even expressing interest in those things (and NOT trying to fix them all) shows that you care.

  6. Korin

    October 24, 2013 at 2:06 PM

    While I totally get what you are saying, and I even chuckled a number of times because I can relate, I do want to mention something that my pastor’s wife told me just yesterday…God created Eve (insert wives) to be Adam’s (insert husbands) helper and companion that means as wives our #1 priority outside of our relationship with Christ is our ministry to our husbands. The lurkers are there, of course, but we can’t let them take up all the space in our hearts. She told me to ask myself this question throughout my day (WHILE those lurkers are in full force), and wow was it a “smacks forehead” moment—“Am I viewing myself primarily as my husband’s companion?” What that says to me is, my husband should be on my mind all day. I should be intentional about thinking of ways I can be his helper and companion in the midst of the laundry, sports, errands, hurting friends, etc… I was created for him. I think we often forget that BECAUSE of all those lurkers….at least I sure do and I apologized to my husband last night for rarely having something left for him. The lurkers can take over if we let them. God help us to remember who we are and how important we are to our precious husbands.

    • Anita Neuman

      October 24, 2013 at 2:22 PM

      Oh, that is such a good point! I was aiming this post at helping men to understand where we as women are coming from, but thank you so much for balancing that with this reminder. Good call!

    • C.J.

      October 24, 2013 at 2:49 PM

      You’re completely right, Korin. We should definitely be making an effort. If we wives are making an effort, and our husbands are also making an effort, and also trying to understand each other, then even when something isn’t going quite right, it’s easier to work on because both have the same goal in mind and are working together to get there. We do have to remember that it’s not just husbands that need to work at making our lives easier, but we need to be doing the same for them. I try to think about that when I’m grumbling to myself that there is yet another load of dishes to wash–he needs something to eat off of, so that need (hunger) will be met, so we can work on one of my needs.

  7. Tammy Bull

    October 29, 2013 at 4:30 PM

    I am sorry that the men who have given the most feedback thus far have totally missed the point of this blog! wow, I mean really missed it. sad.
    I will pass this on to the husband in my life, but I warn you he has heard this before!
    When I first encountered the book, Men are like Waffles and Women are like Spaghetti, I thought it was an exaggeration…not the woman’s point of view but the man’s single mindedness… Boy was I wrong (and I had been married for nearly 10 years at the time). So I guess there is hope for the above mentioned male.
    You are 100% right in my book and I am thankful to have a husband who isn’t so selfish to think that we are the same… daydreaming and not being able to turn off the million others messing things of life are not the same, at all!


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