I have always been a “difficult” woman.
“Difficult” by my own definition and as told by my often-offended partners. “Difficult” as evidenced by the power struggles, emotional infidelities, sexual frustrations, and failed relationships trailing behind me.
For decades, I only looked at the symptoms of being “difficult,” the traits and challenges that I judged as obvious flaws to my personality. Like my temper. My strong and vocal opinions. How often I cried and changed my mind on a dime. The painful sex and relationship history that made me jumpy in bed.
If my partner touched me in even slightly the wrong way, my whole body would freeze. I’d tense up: “Don’t touch me so roughly! Slow down! How many times have I told you?!” Then we’d fight. I would enter a power struggle that I intended to win, even if it cost me some peace and harmony.
Hence, I accepted the label of “difficult.” Strong, beautiful, powerful—yes—and also a high-maintenance pain in the ass.
Now I know the truth. But for the majority of my life, I viewed these difficult character features as “a big problem” for me and my love life. From as early as high school, I was convinced I was meant to be single. Cozy intimacy just didn’t seem compatible with such indelible armor as mine, I thought. I was too controlling, and my guard got set off too easily. He’d say, “I love you,” and I wouldn’t know how to believe him. Relaxing around a man felt next to impossible.
My relationships didn’t last long, and weren’t very enjoyable for me.
If you can relate to this, I want to share the shocking news that I discovered for myself: Your “difficulties” as a woman aren’t a problem. They are actually an asset—especially for your sex life.
This is so opposite of what we’re told about “how women should be” that, at first, I couldn’t believe it either. I’ll tell you what I discovered.
What we call “difficulties” are really just protections women erect in order to stay safe. I had never paused to think about the brilliant reason behind why I wore such armor—and perhaps you haven’t either.
I have concluded that we put up protection because we are guarding something tender inside.
Think about it: If we didn’t expose our most delicate, sensitive insides during sex and relationships, we wouldn’t bother putting up the wall. There’d be no reason to because there’d be nothing sensitive or of value to protect.
Now, I view myself and other “difficult” women like dragons guarding a hoard of riches. Being high-alert in bed doesn’t mean we’re defective or sexually broken. It simply means there are vulnerable, valuable, and sensitive jewels inside of us that we’re guarding with our lives. And the bigger the inner riches, the fiercer the dragon.
So why is a “difficult” temperament good for sex?
The thickness of a woman’s self-protection—how much she flinches when she’s nervous, how big of a fight she puts up before she opens her heart, the strength of her arguments, the temperament—directly indicates her capacity to let go and be deeply touched sexually.
I know, it seems backwards. But think about it: No one ever puts up a wall if they have nothing vulnerable on the other side of it to protect. “Difficult” on the outside actually translates to being sensitive and defenseless on the inside, and these are wonderful attributes to include in sex.
As sensitive people, we feel every little nuance in great detail. We shudder from the slightest movement. As for being defenseless, that means that once you get past our walls we let you alllll the way in. I know from personal experience that all my armor does is cover a gooey, creamy center that just wants to love and be loved.
Next time you worry you are being “difficult,” remember this:
1. “Difficult” is code for sensitive, tender, and vulnerable. It actually signals an enormous capacity for letting go and signals an ability to connect deeply in sex. Once I began to change my language and thinking around what I had been judging as a shortcoming, I started respecting myself more and seeing my attributes as an asset.
2. Remember: If there wasn’t something vulnerable on the inside to protect, there’d be no need for the “difficult” dragon on the outside. When I notice the dragon flare, I address the sensitivity underneath instead of lashing out. I suggest getting comfortable talking about fears, and dropping the habit of seeing fear as a weakness.
These words from Rainer Maria Rilke have helped me:
“Perhaps all the dragons in our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us act, just once, with beauty and courage. Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence, something helpless that wants our love.” ~ Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet
3. Take the time and do the work to appease the dragon. One of the greatest game changers for my sex life was to respect my dragon and take the time to appease it, rather than try to plow through it in order to have sex and intimacy. I used to fear that if I took the time I needed to truly relax enough to have sex, it would take so long that my partner would fall asleep. (And a few times, this has happened!) I’ve learned that the enjoyable feelings of my inhibitions dropping and my body opening are worth taking time for.
I teach extensively about the mechanism that causes women to become protective in sex and how to set up our sex lives so our sexual desires freely emerge. Please reach out to me if you relate with this article and would like to learn more.
These days when I feel my own “difficulties” arise or I encounter a “difficult” woman, I feel elated and excited. Because it means there’s something really beautiful inside that is ready to be touched in sex and relationship. I know from experience that once we learn to lower our guard, we showers our partners with riches beyond compare. And that’s the kind of real sexual connection we’re all dying for.
Author: Bez Stone
Editor: Travis May