I’ve been with my husband for many years, and our sex life has never been ideal. We never seem to be on the same page. We definitely have different styles and preferences. Things he enjoys, I do not, and vice versa. For example, I enjoy giving him a blow job, but he will take it over and start thrusting or grabbing my head. He gets frustrated and will say I’m so hard to get off, but it’s almost an insult to his masculinity when I offer suggestions. Our marriage is great, but I would like the best sex of my life to be with the man I married. How do we make our sex life work for both of us if we don’t have the same sexual interests?
Our atrocious sex education paired with our cultural knack for social stigmatization has made us really bad at talking about sex. When women ask for what they want sexually, they’re labeled “sluts” or “high maintenance” or “selfish.” Women aren’t taught to vocalize their desires nor are they educated about their orgasms. Women are taught to be sexually passive and submissive and that when in doubt, they should “just take it.” Meaning, they should just take the orgasms they can get, take the affection they’re offered, and accept their sex lives for what they are at face value.
Men, on the other hand, are socialized to know — or at least pretend to know — everything about sex, be in charge of sexual encounters, and be intrinsically able to satisfy their partners. When men don’t do this, they are seen as being “weak” or “not a real man.” If women are taught to “just take it,” men are taught to “just fake it,” blindly stumbling through every sexual situation without stopping to ask for directions.
This applies to straight relationships as well as LGBTQ relationships, as concepts of masculinity and femininity take on these sexually socialized roles as well, for example, with butch women “just faking it” and high-femmes “just taking it.”
This puts everyone in an often non-consensual and terribly misinformed place with sex. We are teaching one side of the sexual relationship to keep their mouths shut and give no direction and the other side to never ask questions or admit that they don’t know where to go next, with our very masculinity or femininity at stake.
How do we counter this damaging sexual cycle? We stop just faking or just taking.
FBWS, you are not “so hard to get off.” Female bodies are so hard to get off! About 70 percent of women cannot orgasm without direct clitoral stimulation. And at least 20 minutes of it! (To our penis-toting friends: clitorises reside outside vaginal canals and are nearly impossible to stimulate directly and consistently through penile penetration alone.)
I’m sure that “you’re even harder to get off,” FBWS, when your husband isn’t allowing himself to ask for instruction lest he risk his socially prescribed masculine sex role. Meanwhile, you’re risking your sexual comfort, pleasure, and happiness to protect this false sense of security in his masculinity. Knock it off!
Stop “just taking” this kind of sex and communicate your sexual needs very clearly and specifically to your husband outside of having sex, like at dinner, or — better yet! — with the help of a sex therapist. The Yes/No/Maybe list of sexual acts can be a good starting point and you can find it on my website, yanatallonhicks.com.
Also stop “just taking” this rough blowjob play that you don’t like. Dominating, head-grabbing head can be super fun and hot — when it is consensual. The need for consent doesn’t expire because you got married. Rough play especially requires extra conversation, negotiation, and very explicit consent.
Encourage your husband to stop “faking it” by exploring mutual continued sexual education endeavors together like reading Mating in Captivity by Esther Perel or Intimacy & Desire by David Schnarch. But reversing the direction of a long-swirling whirlpool of socially sanctioned feminine and masculine sex roles and the baggage that comes with it can be an arduous process, especially within a long-term relationship.•