Dear Ms. Q,
I’m in my early 30’s and have been married to the most wonderful man for the past 12 years. He’s kind and treats me well. He’s a good friend and a wonderful father.
Yes, there’s a “but” in there.
Our sex life sucks. Always has.
When I met my husband, he was a virgin and was brought up in a strict Catholic family. I had a few boyfriends but only had sex a couple of times before I met him, so I wasn’t what you would call experienced. For years, I’ve always been happy his companionship and friendship even though we’d only have sex once a week. Lately it’s only been once a month.
Over the past year, my sex drive has been kicking into overdrive. I’m not happy with once a month. I’m bored of the routine of the missionary position with the lights out. I want it outside in broad daylight. I want to have sex like a call girl. I want the cuffs and spankings. I want sex with whipped cream with a cherry on top.
My husband wants none of it. When I try to initiate these things, he tells me it’s not his thing. When I try to talk about trying different things, he clams up, avoids my questions, changes the subject, or walks out of the room. He doesn’t get angry. He’s just really, really uncomfortable. The other day he suggested that I should talk to a therapist about “my problem.”
I feel that I’m entitled to a happy sex life with my husband, but lately I’ve been thinking about going outside of my marriage to have my sexual needs met. It’s not as if I don’t have plenty of options and opportunities, but I don’t want to ruin my marriage either.
Sexless in the Suburbs
Dear Sexy in the Suburbs,
It’s true. Some guys aren’t into sex as much as we think. I shouldn’t speculate what his reasons are for being that way, but when I hear “strict Catholic,” red flags go up. As a recovering Catholic, I can tell you that a whole lot of beliefs about sin and unreasonable rules of what sex should and shouldn’t be are engrained in their followers from a very early age. He also might be keeping a secret about sexual abuse or he’s very good at masking depression … even from himself.
I think it would be wise to see a therapist. Not just you but together as a couple. A family counselor who specializes in sex may be able to help the two of you open up the lines of communication and help him get over his reluctance to embrace and enjoy sex.
Likewise, you also have to keep in mind that you’re not the same woman he married a dozen years ago. You’re not exactly what he signed up for and maybe he feels pressure to change when he feels he doesn’t want to or need to. Few people embrace or are enthusiastic about change when it’s thrust upon them and not their idea. Change takes a lot of courage.
In the meantime, start off slow. Hold off on suggesting the kinkier stuff. There are other ways to change things up. Surprise him with a naked dinner in bed or on the living room floor with a bunch of pillows and candlelight. Treat him to a tantric massage. Not only does it feel good and is relaxing, but it might get him to be more comfortable with his body if that’s one of his hang-ups. There’s an excellent three-part video of how to go about it in a gentle, subtle and non-threatening way on YouTube (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3). Also, bring a new trick to the bedroom every time. Nothing big, just something small that he’ll enjoy. If he responds positively, I’m sure there will be some kind of ying and yang reaction that will build into something bigger in the end.
By all means, don’t go looking elsewhere to get your sexual fix. On other levels it sounds as if you have a very solid marriage. It doesn’t sound as if you want to give that up, hurt others, or disrupt their lives.