Sex in MarriageSexual problems are common in many relationships. This section is for discussions about sexuality. Please limit discussions to those asking for help with a problem and those offering advice. Any other threads may be deleted.
I feel like I've looked everywhere and I can't seem to find what I'm looking for, so hopefully you all can help.
My husband isn't very comfortable initiating sex. All of his previous sexual partners made the first move on him and he was always pursued by the woman, not the other way around. He said he never had the courage to ask someone out or make a move on them. I knew him for 6 years before he ever kissed me, despite the fact that we had feelings for each other for years. I'm madly in love with him, and yet he was afraid I'd say no when he proposed to me. Needless to say, he's insecure and kind of shy.
When we have sex I have to bring it up or initiate it before anything happens. When he does try to initiate it he rubs my back and arms forever before he actually starts going for any more sensitive areas. He never just goes for it, even though he knows I just want him to jump me sometimes. Also, he never seems to think I'm enjoying myself even though I'm obviously moaning in pleasure and I constantly reassure him that I'm thoroughly enjoying myself. He's an amazing lover. I just don't know how to get him to be more secure and comfortable with being sexual and initiating. I don't mind initiating sex or taking control in the bedroom. But sometimes I want him to just dominate me and take control. Any ideas?
1. Have "date/sex nites"... So no one has to actually initiate, he won't have to wonder if you want to, and talk about it in between whether its every other day or whatever...so he knows you enjoy it.
2. Take turns. Sounds kind of immature, but so what? Name it... where you focus only on him, and where he focuses only on you... and YOU get to make up the rules! Have fun with it, dress up, strip tease, get those sex dice.... As long as he's willing, SHOW him how to have some fun with it!!
Do you guide him when he is going slowly, like taking a hand, looking into his eyes and as you move it to where you want it saying something like, "Please put your hand here, now", etc.?
Have you talked about what sex meant in his family/religion? Was it taboo? Did he have a past experience or partner who's influence shaded his views of sex? Was he shamed for exploring sex or was someone close to him punished? It might provide some insight.
Do you talk to him and give him feedback when he is doing something sexually, that you do like (regardless of who has initiated it)? I initiate more than my DH does (he is always tired due to a sleep disorder) but I find that my DH will initiate more often when I've been good about telling him what I like. I mean simple things like, "Oh, I really like it when you XXX", "Yes, that feels good", etc. and then, when not in the moment, if I bring it up to him and say something like, "Honey, when you did X the other night, it was amazing! I love you so much" then he feels good about his ability to make me feel fantastic and reinforces that I enjoy it. It works for other things, as well, like, "WOW, when I walked in and found you doing the dishes the other night, it was the SEXIEST thing I've seen in a long time! I just wanted to wrap my arms around you and smother you with kisses! I feel so loved when you do those chores that I hate".... Honest, it helps a lot not only with getting more help with the chores but also it helps his self esteem and shows him I appreciate his efforts. And, for me, it is true - it was HOT! We are used to telling people and each other what we don't like but an unbalanced diet of that only serves to make people feel unloved and unappreciated. It's amazing how much good positive feedback can do.
And for a little personal background: My DH and I had been married for several years before I REALLY believed, in the core of my being, that he loved me and that he wasn't going to suddenly realize he'd made a mistake and go find someone who was worthy of him as I clearly felt I was not. It was nothing he did to make me think that. He loved me. He would look me in the eye and tell me I was beautiful and that he would keep telling me until I finally believed him. He was wonderful. I just came with baggage that I couldn't unravel on my own, part of which said, "a man can love you and still leave you" (Thanks, Daddy). I did some counseling and we did some couples therapy not because we were falling apart, but because we knew it could get better and we loved each other so much. So, I think I have a little inkling as to where your beloved is coming from. I still deal with some of those issues and I still feel guilty or bad when I need extra "attention" from my DH to reach climax, etc. despite his honest reassurance that he loves to make me feel good and it isn't an issue for him. It's a process and it is worth working through.
The good new is that I distinctly remember the moment when I fully realized that he did/does love me and I really got it: we were making love and I had an amazing orgasm and began crying because at the moment of climax I had the epiphany and I felt it throughout my being, he loved me and he would not leave me for another and he would not wake up realizing anything other than his love for me... we've been together 15 years and are like newly weds. We are the loves of each other's lives and love each other more every day. There is hope.
You want to be 'jumped' or at least 'seduced'. He's too shy.
What if you two agreed on a totally non-sexual sign. For example a certain pair of your shoes left in the hall means "Jump me like a sailor tonight" and a certain agreed-upon magazine left on top the coffee tables means "Seduce me tonight".
You can give the green light and he'll know what to do without fear of rejection.
I was foolish and shy in college too, but once a girl said yes that first time, I was a raving sex maniac! Too bad he's slow to get that you dig him!
Have alternate weeks for initiating. During your week you are required to initiate at least x number of times. During his week he must initiate at least x number of times. Refusals are not allowed except for significant and real reasons (like illness). Being tired is not a valid excuse.
My guess is that he fears rejection. He may have a thought pattern habit that he isn't even aware of where he starts 'pre-excusing'. He thinks about sex and wants it but then starts thinking of all the excuses which you might have to turn him down. So he convinces himself ahead of time that the likelihood of being turned down is pretty high, or at least high enough that it scares him.
Do you have a history of turning him down or otherwise criticizing him? He may be trained to be afraid of asking.
I think having a signal is a good idea. I read an article once (wish I could find it again) about each spouse having an item, such as a pretty rock, that they could leave on the dresser top when they were in the mood. If the other spouse moved their rock to the dresser top too, it was on for the night. Then that night they could simply meet each other in the middle of the bed without any pressure or worries to go through that 'initiation/rejection' phase. (This suggestion is obviously for a couple that are both committed to making their sexual intimacy a priority, but have a problem initiating with each other.)
Once you are in bed, is your H ever more dominant or take more control? If not, you can perhaps spur him on with your movements, by moving his hands where you want them, by verbalizing what you want him to do (either with words or moans) and by giving him a lot of positive feedback when he does do what you really like. Hopefully that will start to make him feel more confident in bed and will help him to understand what it is that you like.
As well, if YOU are confident in yourself and your life, it may rub off on him. Here's some decent ideas I found in a quick search on things you can for him OUTSIDE the bedroom to make him feel special, which may translate into more confidence in the bedroom:
You know there's "three sides" to every story, right? Mine, yours, and the "truth". Obviously, you're sexually frustrated. But you know what? I bet he is too! I bet he's so frustrated as a matter of fact that he views initiating sex with you as akin to crossing a minefield to get to the candy store. He's probably had various appendages blown-off traversing the minefield before where things fizzled-out in frustration. For sex to be good for a man requires that the man knows the sex is good for the woman. That he is getting her off. There's no greater turn-off in sex then someone that is "phoning it in". I can almost guarantee you guys have problems communicating sexually. That is to say, communicating what gets each of you off. This is very common. Sometimes it has to do with upbringing especially in very puritanical settings where sex is viewed as a "necessary evil" for procreation. If that's the case then it's going to take some "de-programming" to change that mental model so sex becomes more uninhibited/natural/spontaneous (and fun!) It is definitely possible but requires patience, trust, and communication on BOTH sides in a loving and caring environment where you are both encouraging each other about improving instead of discouraging each other. Postive reinforcement! If he keeps getting negative feedback from you sexually then he will not improve. In fact, things will likely get worse. Conversely, if you give positive feedback and encourage him he will learn, rather quickly I'd wager, that he's more confident then he thought he was. Once he realizes that things will start firing on all cylinders! I bet he's so frustrated right now that although he really wants to initiate sex more often he has kindof mentally written it off and is actively looking to avoid it as sad as that sounds...
Thanks to everyone for their ideas. Very helpful and I will definitely try some of them out. For the record, I have NEVER turned him down or responded negatively to any part of our sex life. He has had a lot of bad experiences with previous partners, which I know is a large part of the problem. Yes, he was like this before we married, but I didn't/don't see it as a major issue. I would like it if he were more forward, but it's not a deal breaker for me. I just want to help him be more confident.
I didn't intend to imply that you weren't considerate necessarily however oftentimes this is the case in these types of scenarios. I also don't know anything about his background so just throwing some things out there -- feel free to ignore any/all of what I said!