My husband of five years blurted out last weekend that I was dead in bed (his literal words), a revelation that shocked me since I always assumed that, above all else, our sex life was good. I asked him if this was recent (I admit that since the baby I’ve not been as interested in intimacy), but he said for the entire five years he has been dissatisfied as I “just lie there doing nothing”.
This has both shocked and hurt me because he didn’t raise the issue before, but he said “better late than never”. I just can’t believe that all this time I’ve been enjoying getting my back blown out, while he has been experiencing lukewarm pleasure. Mind you, I have no intention of learning acrobatics and such things at my age because my knees and hips can’t manage, but what can I do? I have no reservations about trying new things, I’m just shocked that this man wasn’t having as good a time as I was having. How do we fix this, without me mashing up my joints?
Thanks for joining in on The Couch. I do fault your husband for the situation and for not speaking up before. A big part of sexual intimacy is verbal. Expressing what you want from your partner in an intimate way is important for sexual fulfilment. He should have been requesting the movements and the attention he desired. It is possible that he didn’t want to offend you by saying something was bothering him. Yes, he should have spoken up in a tactful manner — if you don’t ask you won’t get!
One of the exciting experiences of marriage is the opportunity to learn together. And an important part of that learning happens in the bedroom. Whoever gets married as a sexual know-it-all will usually run into trouble down the line. Why? Because intimacy is in the learning — learning, and exploring each other’s uniqueness. Couples must learn what to do and how to do with their unique partner. They must figure out and facilitate the unique needs of their partner. The Bible reminds men to figure out intimacy with their spouses; it says, “Let her breasts satisfy thee at all times; and be thou ravished always with her love.” (Proverbs 5:19).
My advice to you:
Be patient with yourself: Don’t be disappointed about the situation. Remember, it’s about growing and learning together. He should have been helping you to learn what he wanted all along. He should have been making gentle suggestions from the first weeks of the marriage.
Ask him to be patient: Identifying an area of challenge in a marriage is the first step to fixing it. Both of you can have the wonderful opportunity of patiently and persistently working to solve any area of dissatisfaction. Assure him that it’s your desire to satisfy him, and remind him that you’ll need his help and guidance.
Keep your mindset: Half the challenge is solved by the right mindset. The fact that you’ve said you have no reservation about trying new things, that’s a big win for both of you. Wonderful experiences await an inquisitive, willing explorer.
Read up on the subject: There are good books that help couples understand each other’s needs. There’s also good, free information available online. You can also find important information that speaks to what happens when children join a family: Knowing that those changes are common, and knowing how to adjust should be very helpful.
Consider working out: Unless you have restrictive health challenges affecting your hip and knees, you should work on getting fit. It is very unlikely that you will mash up your joints, especially if you’re fit. And getting fit isn’t about acrobatics, it is about being healthier and more comfortable.
Sexual satisfaction is a very important part of marriage. I pray that your best days are indeed ahead of you.
Get on The Counsellor’s Couch with Rev Christopher Brodber, who is a counsellor and minister of religion. E-mail questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.