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TherapistJen, LCSW, CPC
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 3436
Experience:  Licensed Clinical Social Worker
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In my profession, it would be quite inappropriate for me to

Customer Question

In my profession, it would be quite inappropriate for me to discuss my situation openly which has led me to feel entirely alone, though I am sure this kind of problem is common.
First off, I have been married to my wife for over ten years, and both my wife and I are committed to our relationship. Neither one of us had sexual partners before our marriage and, since our wedding, we have been strictly monogamous.
Despite our shared commitment, we do not come from the same place regarding our familial backgrounds. I grew up in an upper-middle-class Canadian suburb of Toronto and attended a public school. The school curriculum required me to take the mandatory sexual education course with all the detailed information regarding the behaviour and activities of amorous couples. Also, I watched television and movies, listened to radio and music which set expectations of what practices might constitute common bedroom behaviour. Please do not misunderstand, I don't speak about the wild and unattainable fantasies created by the porn industry. Though, admittedly, you might not consider my expectations any better.
My wife, on the other hand, grew up in an entirely different environment. She was rather sheltered by her family and was hardly influenced by the media. Her schooling was likewise limiting, attending a private school full of similarly sheltered young women. As a consequence, her expectations of bedroom behaviour is out of step to my own.
My wife is completely turned off by the idea of giving oral sex and is completely disinterested in receiving it as the smell of her privates linger on me afterwards revolting. The only foreplay she can envision essentially include just hugging and kissing. I try to find alternatives she might find appealing such as trying to stimulate her by mimicking what I imagine oral play to be like with my fingers. She does appreciate it, though, to her it is an unnecessary component to making love.
Very often when I touch her in a sexual way, I receive no sound, body language or other response to acknowledge if it is appreciated, desired or not. Usually, it is, but, I am hurt/frustrated the constant need to constantly ask for confirmation.
Sex itself has, likewise, some issues. My wife desires to only engage in the missionary position and have the act conclude relatively quickly. When I try to slow down it down to extend the intimacy, to she will often encourage me saying "I don't like it too drawn out". Just as with sexual touch, she just lies down and plays a very passive role in the deed. After the act is concluded I'd like to cuddle for a while, but, she will usually jump up immediately to put her pajamas back on then go to the washroom to freshen up.
I assume that she enjoys sex as she has frequently requested that we be intimate more frequently and will often initiate sexual contact. She will likewise occasionally tell me how much she enjoyed a jaunt after the act is concluded.
Outside of the bedroom, it almost seems my wife just doesn't get "sexy". She hasn't worn high heels since the first year of our marriage, will frequently go out in rather shlubby clothing, rarely puts on makeup (I don't think she has used a base in years) and such acrimony is raised whenever I suggest she take care of facial hair I dare bring up how I find her unmaintained pubic hair a turn off.
I wouId readily accept that my wife is the normal one in our relationship and it is probably the case that my expectations have been heightened by a supper-sexualised media, but, I feel unfulfilled and unsatisfied in what I perceive as a lack of intimacy. I have had occasionally spoken to her about my dissatisfaction to which she would always attempt to meet me part way, but, the changes wouldn't last more than a few weeks. She has also resisted any effort on my part to look at guides, advice columns, books, movies, magazines, etc., that might inform her of where I am coming from or asking for. She won't look at anything that has a whiff of sex or bad language.
I have reached the point that I realise that I will have to make my peace with the situation. I am preparing to have a talk with my wife to explain how I have been unfair to her, asking her to engage in acts she feels demeaning or incomprehensible and how I will not ask her to compromise her dignity in the future. If my wife would like to explore sexual activities on her own volition in the future, I will be a willing participant.
Before I do so, however, I'd like to ask you for your advice in our situation. I assume that others have reported similar situations to you. What have you advised them? What has worked so that both parties have achieved satisfaction in their relationship?
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  TherapistJen replied 10 months ago.

Hi. It seems like the fit around intimacy is off and as you say you will need to make peace with it or leave the relationship if you cannot feel satisfied. I don't imagine this is a new phenomenon so what drew you to her in the first place and how did yu mange at the start of the marriage.

I will be a bit forthright here and mention that the things you suggest and maybe how you suggest it feel harsh and also demeaning and not driven by media, but rather your desire for her to behave, dress and act in a way that you desire. I think more acceptance needs to be attained and not just around the kind of sex but rather for whom and how she is. Clearly your desire and need for intimacy are different and I do believe in you putting out those needs and hoping she can meet you halfway and for more than 2 weeks, but the add on pressure of articles, maintaining her body how you desire may be off putting and may even keep her distant from you. So while it may not be as heated as you desire, she is intimate with you just maybe not in the complete way you desire. So I do think speaking to her with empathy and love can be helpful and I do also believe the pressure that has been put on her in and out of the bedroom can be lessened with more acceptance which could deepen the connection.

Expert:  TherapistJen replied 10 months ago.

I am here to talk further if you need.

Expert:  TherapistJen replied 10 months ago.

I am here if you need but if not and you are all good for now, please take a moment to click the rating stars to rate my support so that I may receive credit for my time. Thanks in advance for understanding that.