[Two Pronged] Why doesn't my wife want to experiment sexually?

Rappler's Life and Style section runs an advice column by couple Jeremy Baer and clinical psychologist Dr Margarita Holmes.

Jeremy has a master's degree in law from Oxford University. A banker of 37 years who worked in 3 continents, he has been training with Dr Holmes for the last 10 years as co-lecturer and, occasionally, as co-therapist, especially with clients whose financial concerns intrude into their daily lives

Together, they have written two books: Love Triangles: Understanding the Macho-Mistress Mentality and Imported Love: Filipino-Foreign Liaisons.

Dear Dra Holmes and Mr Baer,

I wish to consult you about my wife who does not enjoy many positions and different styles of sex. She does not like things that make sex hot and intimate.

RC

Dear RC,

This is the third time we are writing to you, asking you if you could tell us more about your concern. Otherwise, all we can do is give you a generic answer. Sensya nalang pero (Hope you understand but) we do not believe in competing with Google search.

Dear Dr Holmes and Mr Baer:

I am sorry for not answering immediately. I live in the province with little internet.

My biggest problem is that she does not appreciate the sexual position of hand jobs, the 69 style, and the solo singing position. Is that natural for a woman? Me, I am interested in doing all this, exploring new vistas when it comes to sex. My wife, not so much.

Advice to change her please.

RC from Romblon

Dear RC,

Thank you for your inquiry.

Advice of this sort usually requires context: for example, why is your wife (let’s call her Mae) resistant to broadening her sexual horizons? Is she happy, or just a reluctant participant, with plain vanilla sex? 

Is her unwillingness based on experience, or lack of experience, or moral/religious considerations? Is it the manner in which you have suggested sexual exploration, or perhaps your presumption that she ought to as a “good” wife?

That questions like these are unanswered suggests that communication between the two of you could be improved and probably not just in the bedroom. 

If your email to us reflects your communication skills, then the fact that you have given us so little to work with, despite being prompted, may have something to do with why Mae is so unwilling to accommodate your requests.

One issue that can arise in sexual relationships is the Madonna/Prostitute dichotomy. Basically, in many cultures women are brought up to be pure and innocent until they marry i.e. Madonna-like. Then suddenly from one day to another, they are often expected to join their husbands in a daily celebration of the joys of the Kama Sutra.

Husbands likewise are conditioned to desire wives of this ilk. They, however, reach the altar often a lot less pure and innocent, having acquired their bedroom skills with women who for whatever reason do not see marriage as a precondition to sex.  

It is understandable, therefore, if some women find themselves less than well prepared for connubial bliss. They may cross the threshold of the marital bedchamber totally ignorant, or expecting a Mills and Boon scenario, or armed with unhelpful “advice” like “it’s your duty as a wife” or “you will be a natural."

Some will have been brought up to think that some of the acts that their husbands (like you) suggest are plain depraved and that only prostitutes perform them.

Women do not all think alike, any more than men do, and you would be well advised to get to understand your wife a little better, understand why she thinks about sex this way and then discuss with her your attitude to sex. Only after this will you be in a position to work together to find common ground so that both of you can be happy with your sex lives.

All the best,

JAF Baer

Dear RC:

Thank you very much for your letter.

First, because we are answering you (and not Mae, your wife), advising you about what you can do to change Mae is futile. We do not know anything about her, except seen through your eyes, so it is better (not to mention more professional) to focus on what you can do to change your situation.  

Couples are used to the status quo and it is very difficult to change that. Studies have shown that the best way is to change the dynamics of a relationship is not to get the other party to change, but to change yourself.  By changing yourself, you change the balance in the relationship so, to get back to that balance, the other person has to change too—hopefully (but not necessarily) in the way you want her to.

You say that your biggest problem is that your wife “does not enjoy different styles of sex…(including) hand jobs, …the 69 style and the solo singing position. You also want your wife to be more like you: “exploring new vistas when it comes to sex.”

With no other basis than your two letters — one which took us 3 letters to get you to tell us more — I cannot help thinking you are self-absorbed, more concerned about getting your own needs met, rather than seeing what you can do to make any endeavor as much fun and pleasurable to others as well as to yourself.

While there is the (remote) possibility that your wife enjoys 69 as much as you do, the other delights you mention – hand jobs and the solo singing position (which I presume is fellatio?) is mainly for your enjoyment, not hers.  You want her to “service” you, with no thought about how you could make sex more enjoyable for her.  

If I am wrong and you do care about her own likes and dislikes when it comes to sex and take the time and energy to find out what these are,  then I apologize profusely. However, if this is the message that I get, most likely she gets the same message too.  

I ask you, “sino ba ang magaganahan makipag-sex sa isang taong hindi maruong mag romansa at sarili lang lang ang ini-intindi?” (Who would seek a partner who thinks only of himself?)  

Perhaps, if you showed her you were as concerned about her pleasure as you were about your own, she may be more open to some of the things you want. 

Good luck!

MG Holmes 

– Rappler.com

Need advice from our Two Pronged duo? Email twopronged@rappler.com with subject heading TWO PRONGED. Unfortunately, the volume of correspondence precludes a personal response.