Help me keep things interesting
July 14, 2012 9:28 AM   Subscribe

NSFW: How to make post-foreplay intercourse more... interesting? Also questions about submissive-leaning partners. Explicit inside.

I'm looking for both specific advice re: the info below and general tips on how to explore effectively. I apologize for rambling.

M/F couple. Overall I'd say our relationship is pretty solid and healthy. In the sex department specifically, she's quite happy, I'm generally satisfied but have a vague notion that things could work better, hence the question. We've been dating for a couple years, neither of us have never had sex with another partner, so we're inexperienced history-wise.

My main issue is that we've developed a "routine" that really works for her, but gets a little too... mechanical for me once we progress past foreplay.

A big part of this routine is the fact that we've discovered that she has a submissive side and have kind of structured what we do around this. She really gets off on being told what to do, being spanked/roughed up a little, talked dirty to - nothing particularly kinky, but it's a big part of what arouses her. This doesn't do anything in particular for me but I'm glad to oblige because she loves it and it's extremely effective.

I think this is something we can take advantage of but can sometimes put undue pressure on me to orchestrate the whole experience, which can make it feel like a chore for me. I'm having trouble structuring this question coherently, so I'm going to try and provide some examples of what I mean.

The good:
Foreplay - Like I said, the whole dominant act doesn't do much for me. Howevever, I really enjoy teasing etc and the control aspect has worked out really well in this department. Also, she used to view giving oral as a bit of a chore (that she was happy to do, but didn't get much arousal out of it), but now that it's been reframed in a submissive context she loves it.

The bad:
The intercourse is very orgasm-focused, which she really enjoys. This can get boring for me because she basically just lies there while I go to work (I know this sounds really bitter, but we've both agreed that this is essentially what happens. Orgasm-focused might be the wrong descriptor because I'm not trying to get there as fast as I can - maybe her-focused). She's always game to try new things that I suggest but again, I feel like it's up to me to come up with anything new because a) she likes being told what to do and b) I'm the one that wants variety. We do switch up some positions.
She's also, in her words, "lazy" - we tried her on top but it didn't last long because she wasn't getting much out of it and got tired. I suspect that positions where she's in control are an active turnoff for her.

So I guess my questions are:
1) I'm kind of out of ideas about things to try to add a little variety. Suggestions?
2) After reading through what I wrote, I think I'm a little bitter because I feel like since I give all the directions, if the experience isn't good it's on me. She absolutely does not feel this way (and is easily satisfied anyway). Still, how do I mitigate this feeling? Is this common when trying to accomodate a partner that leans submissive?
3) How do I stop being simultaneously annoyed at her because I'm always the one that has to take initiative to try things (this is how we've discovered everything that works for us) and annoyed at myself because I'm the only one that's complaining and not completely satisfied?

I do think I'm beanplating this, because we're really quite happy and the sex is quite good. Clearly I'm thinking about this a lot though, so I'd appreciate any advice.

Throwaway email at
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (18 answers total) 26 users marked this as a favorite

Is this common when trying to accomodate a partner that leans submissive?

Yup. Being dominant can be more work. I suggest giving her an assignment (if that works within the context of your relationship) to come up with three new things to try that she thinks you'd like.
posted by the young rope-rider at 9:43 AM on July 14, 2012 [10 favorites]

My general experience with effective Dom/sub stuff has been when the sub is the one who's orchestrated everything. I feel like they will often have a better idea of what they want you to do to them than the other way round.

My suggestion is you spend some more time beforehand talking about her fantasies so you have a better sense of the variety of experiences she's looking for, and that you can develop from.

If you guys are shy about talking about this stuff directly (even over-sharing creeps like me have trouble talking about their weirder kinks) she could write some of her favorite scenarios down, which you can use as a template.
posted by modernserf at 9:45 AM on July 14, 2012

There's a difference between being a sub and being a boring, selfish lover. Not saying she's on either side of that, but "I really get off on when i just lie here and you do all the work!" would certainly annoy me.
posted by softlord at 9:52 AM on July 14, 2012 [4 favorites]

Have her come up with three things every day and put them in a jar. You will pick one thing from the jar and do it (with option to remove the thing from the jar and pick another).

Watch some porn together. Pay attention to what scenarios get which kinds of response from her. talk about those scenes while you're having sex.

Read erotic stories to each other, again, Talk about it.

Buy some toys to use. Expand the concept of toy and consider learning how to safely (safely!!!!) use restraints/light bondage. Safely.

Are you only having sex in bed? Try the living room or bending her over the kitchen counter.

Is your foreplay always starting in the same place where you're having sex? Start the foreplay on the drive home from the bar. Not necessarily anything that would get you pulled over, but rub her thigh at a stop light, ask her dirty questions.

Is there a mirror in your bedroom? Not saying to go all 80s and panel the ceiling with them, but a little extra visual can go a long way.

Next, are you two only talking about this during sexy time, or are you discussing it in more neutral territory? Please let it be the latter! Some people find it very hard to be articulate during sex. Some people can hardly form words during sex. So she might have suggestions and just can't fish them out of her brain.

Finally, please don't be dismissive when she suggests something that seems whacky. She may learn to not express her desires and continue to fall back on 'lazy' because lazy is less stressful than 'dirty dirty slutty horny girl' if you've been shamed for wants particular (or general) sex experiences.

not eponysterical
posted by bilabial at 10:13 AM on July 14, 2012 [4 favorites]

There's nothing in your post that says what turns YOU on, just that she does nothing. So what do you want? Loud, screaming moans? Dirty talk? Her writhing under you? Clawing at your back, biting your flesh? Fighting back at your dominance a bit?

I suggest getting explicitly descriptive, particularly of what you want her pussy to do to your cock while you're fucking her, to make her work too while you're up on top. Tell her you want her to imagine her pussy is her mouth and she's sucking on your cock with it (by flexing her kegel muscles). You want her to imagine she's riding you like a stallion while she's under you, and should move with you. Or you want her to spread her legs wide and make her pussy as tight as possible, clamping down on your cock. You want her to be loud? Tell her to moan at every wave of pleasure, you want to hear it. Want dirty talk? tell her to describe exactly what you're doing to her, as a starting point. Read some erotic fiction for help on getting descriptive.
posted by lizbunny at 10:17 AM on July 14, 2012 [3 favorites]

Some people find it very hard to be articulate during sex. Some people can hardly form words during sex. So she might have suggestions and just can't fish them out of her brain.

I've found that this is especially an issue for people taking on a submissive role during sex.
posted by the young rope-rider at 10:23 AM on July 14, 2012 [3 favorites]

It's pretty common for dominants to give their submissives an assignment to keep a fantasy journal.

Watch porn together if you like, but also sign up for FetLife (free) and poke around the pictures and groups to see what other people are doing. Ask her to bookmark some of the things she likes. I'm sorry - TELL - not ask. Make her come up with a list.

Play a game, like chess, and for every piece that's taken off the board, she either has to do something for you or she gets some "negative" consequence like a spanking.

Be lazy! If she likes being ordered to do stuff, then ORDER HER TO DO STUFF while you put your feet up and relax.
posted by desjardins at 10:26 AM on July 14, 2012 [6 favorites]

I've found that this is especially an issue for people taking on a submissive role during sex

I think this is most true for people who are looking for specific feelings rather than actions. It's relatively easy to say you want to be dominated or loved or humiliated; it's very different to be able to say you want actions x, y, and z. And even more so if she is getting what she wants already.

It was mentioned above, but I also noticed that you didn't articulate what you need from her. Is there a way to not only put those desires into words, but also into terms that work for her?
posted by Forktine at 10:36 AM on July 14, 2012 [2 favorites]

She's also, in her words, "lazy" - we tried her on top but it didn't last long because she wasn't getting much out of it and got tired.

What, you let a submissive decide what they want?! Don't do that*

You tell her to get her nasty little ass back on your fuckstick and grease that pole until you decide to give her your cum. Or if she wants to be a good girl, she needs to ride your meat pole. Or something along those lines, y'all will have to play with wording to figure out what makes you both go boom.

Look, if you have a submissive and you're not dominant, then there's going to be tension, as you're discovering. Submissive's sort of run the relationship, in turns of wanting certain things and (this ithe key point) setting limits. So, either find your inner dom and "turn" her into your nasty fuckpuppet* or make realize there will always be this tension and it might lead to one or both of you ending the relationship.

Also, there's something else to consider: What do you like? Perhaps you're a sub also and need your ass smacked and haired pulled? Maybe you don't strongly identify as either sub or dom, but just like a bit more variety?

* Except within the agreed upon limits, of course
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:37 AM on July 14, 2012 [10 favorites]

Some people find a script and are completely happy with it. Verbatim and repeatedly. How about turning it onto an interactive story? Even just fill-in-the-blanks.

"You know why I came over here, don't you? You know that I could see from my police car what you were doing?"

"You could?"

"Yes, you were acting naughty, you were showing your arousal. You were thinking of something naughty. Weren't you?"

"Yes, officer."

"What naughty thing were you thinking?"

posted by StickyCarpet at 10:47 AM on July 14, 2012

Foreplay - Like I said, the whole dominant act doesn't do much for me. Howevever, I really enjoy teasing etc and the control aspect has worked out really well in this department. Also, she used to view giving oral as a bit of a chore (that she was happy to do, but didn't get much arousal out of it), but now that it's been reframed in a submissive context she loves it.

So can you do this same sort of reframing on the other stuff you feel like you're missing out on?

You want to fool around with her on top? Okay, here's a scenario: "Tonight, Mr. Big Important Top is just going to sit back and relax, and you're gonna do all the work." Remember, too, you can abandon the scenario after a while if it starts getting in the way. The whole evening doesn't have to be internally consistent — nobody's gonna be watching for plot holes, right? So if you want to play selfish for a while, and then switch to focusing on her pleasure, then that's OK too. It doesn't have to be all or nothing.

You want her to come up with ideas for things she wants to try? There's lots of ways to turn that into a D/S thing. Make it a service scene: "Every Saturday morning, you're going to make me breakfast in bed, bring me my newspaper, and tell me one dirty thing you want me to do to you." Make it a punishment scene: "Go to your room! And don't come out until you've written a full page on what you want and where you want it!" Make it a humiliation* scene: She's got a shameful dirty fantasy that she doesn't want to reveal, and she's gonna have to tell you about it anyway. Make it a training/discipline thing: "You need to learn how to come up with new ideas to please your man. Lucky for you, you've got me to encourage you." Make it a reward-from-the-benevolent-dictator thing: "Every night we try something new in bed that you've suggested, I'll reward you afterwards with a night that's 100% all about getting you off."

Last but not least, I think bilabial is absolutely right here: if you're going to do any of that stuff, you really really really need to accept whatever answers or ideas she comes up with. Think of it like the "yes, and" rule in improv theater. You're going to improvise a scene together where she tells you a fantasy. If the fantasy seems trivial ("I'm thinking about seeing you naked" when you're already right there naked) or too-weird ("I'm thinking about peeing in your mouth") or even totally bullshit and made up ("I'm... oh, hell, I can't think of anything... I dunno... I'm thinking about putting my pinky toe in your ear. You happy now?") then okay, take that and run with it. I mean, you don't actually have to put her pinky toe in your ear — though what the hell, why not? it's just conceivably possible she's actually into the idea, and there's only one way to find out — but you do need to accept it as her holding up her end of the bargain: "Good girl; you can come out of your room now" or "Ooooh yes that's a very naughty secret fantasy" or whatever your next move is in the game you're playing.

*DO NOT do this without discussing it first! Don't just spring humiliation on someone! Some people love it, some people hate it; even the people who love it usually have pretty strict boundaries they don't want to cross; and violating those boundaries unexpectedly is a good way to get yourself dumped, cut off, punched in the face or all three. In fact, I think all of these are ideas you should discuss first, if only to say "I'm thinking of trying this" and give her a chance to be like "Oh fuck no," but the humiliation one in particular is not something to do spontaneously unless you two have already done a lot of really carefully negotiated humiliation shit before and you know exactly what you can get away with together.
posted by nebulawindphone at 11:06 AM on July 14, 2012 [6 favorites]

-I got a lot less "lazy" about being on top after I got really into riding my fixed gear bike. This sounds dumb, but it's true. Riding a single speed didn't do it, riding 20 miles a week didn't do it, but riding a fixed gear every single day to work built up my thigh and core muscles enough that I was able to just ride the shit out of a dude when I used to just kind of awkwardly bounce around and get tired. I don't think you can really control how in shape she is (CORRECTION: DO NOT TRY TO CONTROL HOW IN SHAPE SHE IS) but it's a contributing factor.

-Sitting on a dude's lap on a couch is a lot easier than riding him laying down.

-A favorite game with as a submissive is where I'm riding my partner and getting pretend-gang-banged: i.e., riding him with one finger in my ass and one in my mouth as he describes how I'm getting fucked in every hole by his friends because he told me to
posted by Juliet Banana at 12:40 PM on July 14, 2012 [5 favorites]

Submissive-leaning lady here. First, I think a lot of what you're talking about is pretty common for partners of submissive people, especially those who aren't particularly turned on by topping in and of itself. So don't feel bad about this.

It sounds like you are doing a lot to find out what turns her on and give that to her, which is awesome! But as others have pointed out, there's not really a lot in here about what you want. Honestly, as a submissive, it really turns me on and makes me happy to know that I'm pleasing my partner. So you want her to get on top? Tell her to get on top. Tell her how to move, and tell her what a good girl she's being. (BTW, her-on-top is a great position for mid-sex spanking. Just sayin'.) Tell her how much you love to watch her working to make you feel good. (This is all the sort of vanilla version of the dirty talk you could use in this scenario, but if you're both comfortable with rougher dirty talk then you can use that here, too.) Oh, and if you're thinking "but I don't want to have to tell her exactly what to do when, because that's a lot of work!" then think of it (and maybe even explain it to her) as training. You're teaching her how to please you.

It's probably true that anything that makes her feel in charge will not turn her on, but if you can reframe it as something she's doing as a submissive act (as with oral sex) then it can work and be very hot.

And nthing a million times over that you should get her to talk about her fantasies. A former partner used to be quite dominant and demanding in getting me to tell him what my fantasies were. We played it as a mild humiliaton "oh you dirty little slut" kind of thing - seconding nebulawindphone's small-text warning that you should make sure she's ok with this first if you go that route.
posted by the essence of class and fanciness at 12:44 PM on July 14, 2012 [2 favorites]

Oh, and as for your first question and ideas, I'm sort of loathe to tell you what to do because so much of this is very, very personal. But another way to get her involved and have less of the onus be on you would be to have you guys watch porn and/or read erotica together. Now, obviously, porn is not real and should not be taken as an instruction manual! But it can give you ideas.

For porn, I'd suggest watching some of James Deen's videos - he's a usually-dominant porn actor who is very popular with women for good reason. For erotica, you can check out the BDSM category at literotica. Or if you are willing to drop a bit of cash, there's a wide world of well-written BDSM erotica available as ebooks - I like Annabel Joseph and the anthologies that Rachel Kramer Bussell has edited. (Or hell, you could read 50 Shades of Grey, but I can't recommend that)

You can watch/read this stuff together and talk about what you like and don't like - this will give you lots of ideas and give her a more active role.
posted by the essence of class and fanciness at 12:51 PM on July 14, 2012 [2 favorites]

If she wants you to be dominate, and you want to do it, then be dominate, this is the perfect situation for it. You are the D in the D/s and you want her to be more active so tell her to be more active.

You don't want her laying there doing nothing then don't let her. Honestly tell her what you want her to do, make sure you orgasm first how you want and then you can reward her for being a good girl with an orgasm of her own.

You can use the fact that a more submissive head space turns her on to your advantage. You've said giving oral turns her on more in a submissive head space so it's sort of an extension of that, she is serving you and submitting by making you feel good first. Honestly if she is just laying back while you do all the work she's almost the one in charge.

If she's just laying there and likes being spanked then spank her when she starts to lay there. Oh you are just laying there bad girl, roll over and spank her and go back to post foreplay action and see what happens. Tell her what you want, I want you to moan like the slut you are or wiggle or whatever, show me how much you like it. Keep trying until you find a wording or scenario that turns you both on.

Better yet get her to do home work as suggested and to figure out 3 ways ways she can thank you for all the work you've done for her and get her to tell them to you in detail while she's kneeling naked at your feet, or if that's too extreme for you guys then while laying naked in bed together and then let her do the one you choose.

Oh another idea if she just wants to lay there would tying her up or restraining her in some way help? She could fight against the bonds so you could get the movement you like but she'd still feel like she was submissive.

Of course the main thing is talk about it with her, and then talk some more, heck she might even have ideas of other things she'd like to try but thinks you are happy with the way things are too and maybe is worried if she says anything you might want to stop doing what she is enjoying.
posted by wwax at 1:38 PM on July 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

You know, though, honestly, you also have every right to have vanilla sex sometimes if that's what really floats your boat.

I realized re-reading the thread that we're all coming up with all these ways to turn "I don't want to do kinky shit all the time" into... well, into kinky shit. ("Aha! You can be a big mean dominant and force her to take the initiative! And punish her if she doesn't! Whee!") I suspect that's because a lot of us who are posting here are into that sort of kinky stuff ourselves, and so for us that sounds like fun. But maybe for you that sounds like ABSOLUTELY NO FUN AT ALL, and in that case it's really not an ideal solution.

Reading your question again, it sounds like what you really want is not to try more bigger newer kinkier things, but just to put the dominant and submissive roles away and fool around as equals every once in a while.

And if so? That's cool. You can ask for that. Having a kinky partner doesn't mean that your entire sex life needs to revolve around her kink.

If it makes you feel better, think of yourself as having a cuddles-and-egalitarianism fetish. She is totally not indulging your fetish right now! You're all flexible and open-minded and willing to slap her around when she wants it, she should be flexible and open-minded and willing to be a nonviolent equal participant when you want it.
posted by nebulawindphone at 3:10 PM on July 14, 2012 [17 favorites]

I've been in a somewhat similar situation that has got enormously better, to the point that this is not an issue at all any more for my partner and I, so I'm going to share my anecdata below.

I've been in a relationship with my (male) partner for going on 8 years, and this was an issue for us quite a few years back, when we'd really hit our full trust stride and so could express kink and sexual desire more openly and fully. My partner wasn't lazy at all - in fact, he was and is an enthusiastic lover - but I was the first person with whom he could explore his kinkiness with fully, and his kink is being submissive. I was more than happy to be dominant, though not having previously self-identified as being so, as I'm GGG and it's fun and it turns out I'm really very good at it. All good for a while. However, after a few months of just him-focussed sex (me dominant), I got entirely fed up and felt that the entire "success" of our sexlife, planning, thinking about orchestration etc etc, was down to me - so I hear what you're saying, anon, in your post.

What helped the whole situation was a frank non-judgey conversation in a neutral setting (as other commenters have stated) about what was going on. No blame, no shame, just a conversation about what else we could do, or what would work for us both in different ways. And, as nebulawindphone says just above, you are entitled to having vanilla sex if that's your "kink" sometimes too. It wasn't the most pleasant conversation or series of conversations, as it involves things that carry a lot of emotional weight - but it worked for us. Reassurance of FULL [reasonable] acceptance of partner's kink was the key I think, and asking for a similar degree of acceptance of my sexual wishes. (Also bear in mind here though is what Dan Savage calls the "price of entry" - i.e. is submissive sex every time a basic need of hers? If so, you have a larger problem of basic sexual incompatibility, alas.)

Now, as my needs bear equal weight in the bedroom - basically not having to mastermind everything every time was my goal - we have awesome sex all along the kinky scale. Additionally, I get to really enjoy the times when I'm dominant and look forward to it.

Other commenters have noted you don't say specifically what else YOU want to happen. For me, realising that as I'd always spent the majority of my sexual energy focussing on what my partner(s) had wanted, and didn't have a clear picture of what I wanted, or could want etc. was mind-blowing. Doing something about that, with the support of my partner - ie exploring my fantasies etc - has lead to a frankly miraculous amount of orgasms for me and my partner and a great balance in our sexlife. YMMV, obviously, but it's worked for me!
posted by thetarium at 6:21 PM on July 14, 2012 [2 favorites]

Firstly, as other have said, it's hard to tell here what you'd like, beyond more satisfaction and not always feeling like you're at fault if things don't work out.

Second, I'm nthing the suggestion to talk about this outside the moment. Talk about it without assigning blame (to either her or yourself!) at a time when you're both relaxed and happy, but not moments away from tearing each other's clothes off. Talk about what you need, and see if together you can find ways to make it work for both of you.

The kinksters I've talked to generally agree that surrendering control doesn't mean abdicating responsibility for the dominant/top partner's satisfaction. This may be something you're doing for her, but that doesn't mean you have to stay unsatisfied.

Thirdly, you might consider playing with the concepts behind what you're doing. Look at it one way, and the submissive is actually the one in control - they set the limits and put the safeword into play, while the dominant partner tries to do things that will please them. Ideally, that gives both parties satisfaction, but it sounds like that's not always true for you two.

So play with that, if it would help. Since giving oral became hot when it was cast as a service, can you make her service you in other ways that would bring you pleasure? Can you make seemingly-vanilla acts work for both of you by casting them in the right light? Since you like teasing her, would things like tantalising her and then stopping because "well, you're so still and quiet! You can't be enjoying what I'm doing to you, so you don't get more!" work? Can you give her the "homework" of researching new things to try (Fetlife was a great suggestion), and bringing them to you? She gets to tell you - in detail - what she wants you to do to her, and you get to decide whether you want to fulfil her desires. Can you withhold her "right" to orgasm until she's given you what you want?

As far as positions where she's in control being a turnoff, can those be reframed? Something like Reverse Cowgirl puts her on top, but allows you to hold her wrists behind her back or keep a hold on her hair, subtly reinforcing that she's not necessarily in charge just because she's up there. This is the sort of thing you can reinforce with talk, if that's your thing. If such ideas will help you achieve what you want, then let your creativity go to work! And I mean "your" in the plural sense - she's an active player in these scenes, so make her a partner in finding workable strategies.

P.S. Since you say you're out of ideas, there is an [NSFW!!] impressively large guide to sex positions here. The animations are useful for helping understand the descriptions, even if they're occasionally hilarious and occasionally wince-inducing. (I'm sure some of those positions can only be achieved by contortionists!)
posted by Someone Else's Story at 2:22 PM on July 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

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