Monday, June 16, 2008

Letters From Readers

I've read and enjoyed your blog for some time now and I was hoping you could give me some advice or steer me in the right direction.

I've had a great 30 year marriage with my wife and for the most part we've communicated well and enjoyed a great sex life. The part that I'd like your advice on is getting her to be interested in some kinky things. I've asked her in a number of different settings what I could do for her that she's been reluctant to ask for or if there's any fantasy or different things she'd like to try. She says she's quite happy with the sexual relationship we have now, and indeed she seems to be. She's willing to listen to what I'm interested in but it's hard for her to turn on the intensity in this area….I really have no desire to see a professional, because it's the relationship aspect with her that would make this hot for me.

This is probably a very common question and I know you're not Dear Abby. Any suggestions?

Darlin’, this is not A common question, it’s THE single most common question I get asked. (The close second is “How do I find a kinky partner?”)
People’s sexuality evolves over time. That’s normal. I don’t know why some people develop certain kinks, and others don’t. But I know that for a lot of long-term couples, sexual tastes become divergent. All the other good parts are still there, but in matters of sex, people drift apart.
Unfortunately, I know of no easy way to fix this. One has to communicate, which you say that you’re doing. One should also be open to one's partner’s sexual interests, which you say you are. But like the song says, you can't always get what you want. There’s a lot of possible reasons why your wife isn’t into doing kinky sex with you, and I can’t say what they might be. I can just lay out your options as I see them…
You can accept that your wife isn’t currently into this, stop asking, and not get this desire met.
You can accept that your wife isn’t currently into this, but ask her to go see a couple’s therapist with you to talk about your sex life.
You can accept that your wife isn’t currently into this and tell her that you’re going to get the need met elsewhere. (And deal with her response to that.)
You can accept that your wife isn’t currently into this and get the need met elsewhere without telling her about it.
Note that all these options begin with you accepting that your wife isn’t currently into this. I don’t know of any magic way of getting people to like what they don’t like, sexually. If I did, I would not be keeping it a secret. I’d write a book, sell a ton of copies, and be on Oprah, because mismatched sexual desires of all kinds are a huge issue in a society that claims to prize sexual monogamy.
I myself think the scenario that you and so many other people have presented to me is the perfect argument for polyamory. Max and I have a joke. Occasionally he will mention some type of BDSM or other that has zero appeal to me. And I will smile and say to him, “That’s a (insert other partner’s name here) scene.” Now and then he says it to me – “That’s a Monk scene.” Because, in our opinion, no one person can give you everything you’ll ever want. Thus, we have different people who fulfill our different needs.
So until you see me sitting on the couch next to the Big O, all I can do is wish you luck.