Dear Ms. Q,
I have been with my wife 13 years and married for 10. We are both in our 40’s now.
While we enjoy a good sex life, my wife is a bit sexually timid. She rarely turns me down for sex, but she rarely asks for sex. I am more adventurous than she is. She willingly participates in most anything that I suggest (dress-up, toys, anywhere in the house, etc.), but her participation is less than enthusiastic in anything other than straight sex. I never push the boundaries very far because of her reaction to the tamest of suggestions.
I would like for her to be more adventurous and I would be happy with her initiating sex more often and making some suggestions on some playful things to do. I am willing to do almost anything once. Hell, I would dance on the coffee table in a grass skirt if that’s what she wanted.
I believe that I do the things that a good partner should do. I cook, clean and I even iron. (My mother taught me well.) I work in the yard and on the cars, to do the manly things. I am also very romantic. I leave the “I love you” messages on the bathroom mirror. I text her sexy fantasies on slow days. I even plan romantic evenings with dinner, candles and dancing in the living room.
I believe that I satisfy her sexually as evidenced by the puddle that she leaves on the bed. She became a gusher/squirter about a year into our relationship and she commonly tells me how much she enjoys some of the things I do to her.
How do I get her to open up and become more adventurous? Or should I not even worry about it and just be happy with what I’ve got, which seems to be better than most?
Um … what’s the problem here?
First of all you say you’re happy with your wife and your marriage. Secondly, your sex life sounds better than most people’s, especially if the both of you find it and each other enjoyable and satisfying most of the time.
However, there can be a few reasons why she’s reluctant to initiate sex or is not very enthusiastic about upping the crazy and kink factors.
There’s a lot of shame and blame in our society about women being sexually assertive or aggressive. Girls are taught at a very early age that that it’s not ladylike to be the initiator when it comes to sex, especially freaky sex. They get the lectures from their parents. They risk scorn from their female peers and being outed by boys (and some immature adult men) as sluts while they’re applauded for their sexual conquests. Even though the two of you have been together in a loving relationship for 13 years, that un-ladylike stigma probably comes from some very strong conditioning in her formative years of forming her sexual identity and internalizing rules about relationships. It’s some pretty heavy-duty bullshit to break.
Also, women tend to have different turn-on triggers than men that make them less likely to initiate sex. Some women like to be wined and dined. Some women like kissing and cuddling first. Some women need to be physically primed by digital or oral sex. What it all comes down to is that women usually have emotional triggers to get them wound up and ready for sex. It’s not as if they have a distracting body part that pops up for attention from sometimes the slightest provocation.
As far as fantasies and role playing goes, I wish I knew how much farther you want to take things beyond what you’re doing already. Are you curious about BDSM, swinging, threesomes or bringing some kind of non-sexual fetish into your sexual repertoire? Sometimes those topics are best broached in generalized “What do you think it’s like to …” conversations instead of “Can we …” or “Will you …” requests. Broaching the subject as something to talk about gives you the option of asking for her feelings and thoughts instead of making her feel she has to do something she really doesn’t want to. Better yet, bring up the conversation as a third-party observation like, “I read this article about …” or “I heard someone talking about …”
Also, keep in mind that relatively small percentages of people are into any kind of kink or fetish and they typically develop interests in these things in their sexual formative (teen) years. For example, I didn’t discover my submissive tendencies until my early 30’s, but when I met a guy who wanted me to take on a Domme role with him, I just couldn’t do it. It didn’t enjoy it, it didn’t come naturally for me, and I couldn’t help but feel very protective of him when his effeminate sexual alter ego came through. I just couldn’t be the bitch-diva he wanted.
Lastly, I hope you enjoy doing things like cooking, cleaning, ironing, being romantic, and making her gush and aren’t using those things as bargaining chips in your sexual negotiations. The only thing you’ll get out of doing that is an argument and/or resentment.
My advice would be to tell her how much you like when she initiates sex or goes along with one of your sex play scenarios. Be complimentary, detailed and loving about what she does that turns you on and how it turns you on. You may have to tell her several times over a long period of time until she gets the message. It may shut her down even more. Tell her in a sexy text message. Tell her when you’re embarking on some romantic or “routine” lovemaking or while you’re glowing in the afterglow. Don’t tell her when you’re trying to pry her out of her comfort zone. No one likes to be manipulated or bargained with.