How do I make my wife feel sexy?
August 22, 2005 8:08 PM   Subscribe

How do I make my wife feel sexy?

My wife and I have been married for eight years. We love each other, we hardly ever fight, we have a wonderful son, things are mostly swell, except when it comes to sex. The sex we do have is nice mostly because it's intimacy between two people who are in love. That's all well and good, but sometimes I want things to be erotic.

The "how do I get my wife to have sex more often" or "how do I talk my wife into an all-anal three-way" questions have been asked already so I won't go there.

She doesn't have a very healthy attitude towards sex, basically anything beyond oral and missionary is perverted and wrong. She is unaware of most of my sexual fantasies because I know if I told her she'd be turned off. There are a number of reasons why our sex life is so vanilla, and I'm working on all of them, I'm willing to compromise on things (I certainly don't expect her to be into all the things I'd be into, all I want is for her to open her mind a bit), and I haven't ruled out counseling, but there's one problem that I can't even begin to figure out how to solve.

She doesn't feel sexy and she doesn't understand what it means to be sexy.

She's always had a weight problem, which has gotten worse since she had our child. She's never been happy with her body but has never been able to lose more than a few pounds and anything she's lost she eventually put back on. She's not obese but she would feel better about herself if she lost a bit of weight and yes, she certainly would look better.

None of that matters to me though. I'm her husband, I love her, I think she's beautiful and I think she can be sexy. I tell her as much whenever I can and it just goes in one ear and out the other. She doesn't believe it.

How do I get her to feel sexy? I'd love to see her in some nice lingerie but whenever I suggest it she says "you have to look like a Victoria's Secret model to wear that stuff." I disagree. Sure, I'm realistic, there are plenty of things she couldn't get away with wearing. But there's plenty of stuff she could wear that would look nice on her. Even if I could get her to put something on she wouldn't feel comfortable in it, she'd be like Ralphie wearing the bunny suit his aunt sent him for Christmas.

She's always complaining about her clothes, about how she can never find anything that fits her, about how she looks awful in everything. I'd love to surprise her with a nice new dress and take her out for a night on the town. She'd love that too. But I didn't have sisters and I have no clue how to shop for a woman. I'd also be afraid that whatever I bought wouldn't be right for her. Could I show pictures to some consultant and have her/him pick something out? Is there a certain type of dress that looks good on everyone?

I've sent her off for pedicures and massages. It relaxes her, she enjoys it, but that's it. A makeover wouldn't go well with her. She doesn't wear a lot of make-up, which is fine with me. I think she looks fine without it.

So I guess my question is two-fold:

1) Practical advice: How can I buy her some nice clothes, things she might never buy for herself? What should I buy for her? How could I find a sexy black dress that would look good on a woman who isn't a supermodel? How could I buy it in a way that I could give it to her an hour before we go out? What is some good lingerie to buy for a somewhat conservative woman who isn't happy with her body?

2) Her attitude: How can I get her to feel sexy, despite how she thinks she looks? I'm of the belief that sexy is all about attitude. How can I get her to feel erotic? To KNOW that she's turning me on by the way she looks, or by what she's doing, and to enjoy the fact that I'm turned on? How can I get her to believe that at any given moment I desire her more than a short bus full of Penthouse pets? I know she'd enjoy it if I pounced on her and bent her over the kitchen table without even clearing the dishes, but I want her to feel like she's the one responsible for my desire to do that and I want her to enjoy that feeling. I want her to know she has the power to turn me into a quivering bowl of jelly if she wants to.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (36 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Roger her senseless?
posted by ikkyu2 at 8:34 PM on August 22, 2005

"I want her to feel like she's the one responsible for my desire to do that and I want her to enjoy that feeling. I want her to know she has the power to turn me into a quivering bowl of jelly if she wants to."

Have you told her these things? You could consider pouncing and then, as you bend over her on the table, say, "You turn me on. You are so sexy." Or something like that. Then, don't put pressure on her. Just let her enjoy the moment and get used to the idea of being sexy, without having to worry that you are just putting on an act to get her to feel good so that she'll do it with you.

Another option: go shopping with her and tell her how great she looks when she tries something on. Then, buy something she liked but wouldn't buy for herself, and tell her you just had to get it for her because she looked so sexy in it.

These are fairly low-key options, not as dramatic maybe as what you had in mind but you can start slow and build up to surprise lingerie.
posted by mai at 8:34 PM on August 22, 2005

I'm only going to tackle the easy part of this question - the dress. There is a dress that looks good on pretty much every woman who wears it - the wrap dress (invented by Diane von Furstenberg). A DVF wrap dress will cost a pretty penny, but you don't need to go that high end. Just make sure you find a true wrap dress (one that actually wraps around the waist and has ties to fasten it), otherwise it may not fit properly. Choose a jersey or any other fabric with some stretch. Make sure you go into the store knowing her clothing size (check several of her articles since sizes can vary from designer to designer) -- if you have an idea of her measurements (bust, hips, waist), even better. If you don't know these things already, or if it will be too difficult to find out without your wife knowing, don't worry too much - the beauty of the wrap dress is that it is generally forgiving if you are a bit off in size (as long as it is a fabric with stretch).

Wrap dresses are lovely because they create the illusion of a cinched-in waist, and accentuate the bust and hips. And not only are they one of the most flattering dresses (especially for curvier women), they are one of the most comfortable.

As for lingerie, I can't really help there. Bras are finicky, and, in my experience, require fittings. I would never buy a bra without trying it on first. You can, however, get her a nice pair of french-cut panties, and some high-quality stockings to go with the dress.
posted by Felicity Rilke at 8:45 PM on August 22, 2005

Unfortunately, I don't think there's a lot you can do about her attitude. I'm assuming, based on the way you phrased the question, that you're already telling her she's beautiful and sexy, etc etc. The problem is not you, it's her. And a lot of other women. It's hard to be a woman these days with the impossible standards the media sets. Her problem is that she has low self-esteem and doesn't love her own body. Until she's able to deal with that and learn to love herself, something that has to come from within, she'll never feel sexy. I think the best you can do for her is to love her, support her, and tell her how beautiful you really think she is. The rest is up to her.
posted by geeky at 8:54 PM on August 22, 2005

I suggest buying her some froofroo grooming products. Not makeup, but high quality skin creams, shampoo, that kind of thing -- it goes a long way toward making a person feel sensual, and it won't make her feel as though she's been put on the spot. There's Origins on the super-expensive end of the scale (gotten a few gifts from there, and I was absolutely miserly with them), and Burt's Bees for more reasonable prices.

I second what Felicity Rilke said about stockings -- get some very nice ones, because she'd probably never buy them for herself. As far as lingerie goes -- a beautiful chemise would be the least intimidating gift, I think. Get something very soft.

My definition of sexy is very tactile. If she is not confident about her sexiness because of how she looks, you can help build up confidence in how she feels and smells.

Okay, enough ruining my reputation as a tomboy.
posted by Marit at 9:19 PM on August 22, 2005

I disagree with geeky. Yes, it's an attitude problem. Yes, she has to change her attitude herself, but you can help her do so.

Does she genuinely turn you on? If so, vocalize it. Act it out. Show her how you can't resist her. Fuck and suck her whenever you can, wherever you can.

She won't believe you at first, she'll just think you're being kind, perhaps she'll even think you're patronizing. But eventually she'll realize that you really are turned on by her. Gradually she'll be flattered, and eventually she will realize that she turns YOU on even if she doesn't turn everybody on, and that will be enough.

If she doesn't turn you on, then you are SOL, buddy.
posted by randomstriker at 9:20 PM on August 22, 2005

Felicity Rilke is right. Go with a wrap dress.

Beyond that, the only advice I can offer is to be specific in your compliments and deliver them randomly. Stop her in a the middle of a sentence to let her know that watching her lips move drives you wild. Point out that you love how she walks. Those kinds of things tend to have more of an effect than a generic, "you're beautiful."
posted by jrossi4r at 9:21 PM on August 22, 2005

In Portland, my wife and I found a store called Spartacus. We like it because they sell clothes for sex that look good on anyone. I don't think lingerie really appeals to as many people as it is intended. You might check into some form-fitting lycra or other shiny, wild-print short dresses. Stockings, gloves, collars, are also good.

And not to be glib, but one sure thing for us and many others is a nice hotel room with an in-house restaurant and bar. A light dinner, a few more drinks than usual, and a nice room a quick elevator ride away is a hell of a lot more conducive to great sex than trying to arrange things at home when the kids are asleep.
posted by docpops at 9:30 PM on August 22, 2005

Three things I've found to pretty much always work: roleplay, pictures, and being particular about why she's sexy.

First: roleplay works. Really well. If you put some effort into it, it can take sex from decent
to incredible. In cases like this, where the woman obsesses over some silly detail like her weight, it can do a lot to shed inhibitions. Sure, your wife may not think she's sexy, but roles are, by definition, sexy. Have your wife try being somebody else for a while. And don't take no for an answer. Roleplay is great precisely because it can be done to so many varying degrees; starting with just whispers to and progressing to costumes and props. Start off slow but do start. As a side note: this whole not telling your wife your fantasies thing strikes me as a bad idea. Don't get too freaky, but do tell her. Make it clear that these are fantasies you have about her and make it clear you want to experiment. For your sake, she should be willing to give it a shot.

Second: objectify your wife. Buying her lingerie and dresses are a great start but not quite enough. Buy a camera and take pictures of her. All sorts of pictures. Take a lot of pictures. Have her pose for you. Eventually, the message will sink in: you love looking at her, you love the way light bounces off her. Take some naughty pictures.

Third: tell your wife why she's sexy. The 'you're so sexy/beautiful/hot' line can quickly lose its vigor. Especially after eight years. Dwell on what it is precisely that makes her so beautiful. Give it some serious thought and be specific. Her eyes, jaw, hair, shoulders, elbows,chest, hips, stomach--you've got a lot to work with and that's just above the waist. Don't be afraid to obssess over parts of her body. Shower the aspects you love the most with attention during sex. Heck, give names to her body parts.

Again, this isn't about finding your wife to be sexy--this is about finding your wife's body to be sexy. They're two different things and you need to do both.

Ultimately, geeky is right. Your wife has a confidence problem. There's only so much you can do. You need to be clear about what your needs are and, assuming she loves you, she will do her best to address them. These things can take years to pull off, so be patient. Baby steps and all that. Little improvements here and there can add up to incredible blowing sex down the road.
posted by nixerman at 9:37 PM on August 22, 2005

I think I'd feel awkward if my partner bought me a dress - I'd feel sort of awful if it didn't look good and feel, perhaps, like it was *my* fault that it didn't look good, especially if I was already feeling uncomfortable with my physical appearance. Why not book her an appointment with a personal shopper in an upscale department store near you? Professionals of that sort are often really good at dressing people of all shapes and sizes, and there are really great clothes (including lingerie - try available in all shapes and sizes.

Also, it's clear that you're articulate about what you love about her and how you feel about her, including your physical desire for her - you might write this for her in a love letter, and leave it in an unexpected place for her to find. Sometimes reading thoughts in print is more convincing than hearing them spoken aloud.
posted by judith at 10:09 PM on August 22, 2005

Here's the wrap dress, and a peek in her closet will tell you what size to buy. Nice fabric will help make her feel sexy. And dark colors - black, dark red, dark purple.

Here's an example of a chemise. It'd be nice in silk, and I'm sure she'd appreciate a wrap to go with it, like the one pictured.

And I agree with everyone who says be specific with how she turns you on. Good advice.
posted by Moral Animal at 10:11 PM on August 22, 2005

Okay, seriously? There is no way you're going to be able to hand your wife a dress and expect her to go out in an hour. If she feels this uncomfortable about her body she probably won't want you to get a dress for her; any dress she buys she'll want to pick out for herself (and she'll want plenty of time to do it, too)

Try starting small; buy her a beautiful pair of earrings or a necklace and tell her you'd like her to wear them out on a fancy date with you. Promise to wear a nice suit.

Then, when you do compliment her, focus on small parts of her body: tell her you like her hands, her ears, the nape of her neck. Tell her you love the way she smells. A man can call me beautiful and I think it's hokey bullshit, but if he tells me he loves the way I smell I totally buy it.

Also, think about how much of her day is spent doing unsexy things. There are so many non-sex-related sex-drive killers that have to be dealt with before you can get into the actual sex issues. Laundry, bills, boring house/mom stuff - it's so easy to get your sex drive buried under a pile of mundane crap. If you can relieve some of that, it'd probably help. Maybe you could send her on a vacation so she can unwind and start to miss you (and a few of your body parts, too)
posted by stefanie at 10:24 PM on August 22, 2005 [2 favorites]

perverted and wrong

You're right. This is an unhealthy attitude. I'd start whittling away at her pious sense of what is and isn't perverted. Maybe you should talk a little dirty. Maybe you should place her hand on your crotch during a movie. Try complimenting her pussy in the nicest, cleanest, most polite possible words you can think of and build from there. Something small and yet transgressive. You need to cross the boundaries of what she thinks is acceptable at some point. She will of course resist, at least at first, but those consequences can't be any worse than where you're at. You need to brave the waters a little, beckon her in. Be prepared for her to feel disgusted, be prepared for her to shame her. Let her. Don't apologize. Take your time with her. But slowly and surely let her know that you are f-i-n-e with more than missionary, and don't reinforce her little security space where sex is dirty.

Needless to say, you need to think she's sexy if you're going to make her feel sexy. If I were in your shoes, her attitude would be about the most unsexy thing in the world. So you'd better take a deep breath and look past it, see what is sexy about her, and pursue it. It's no less a chase than trying to get some woman you just met to sleep with you. Just a different kind of chase.

It's probably a wise idea to let her know exactly how you feel (without making her feel ashamed or inadequate). Maybe just let her know that you're thinking you might be trying some new things from now on and that she try not to be surprised. That might improve her reaction a little when you do walk up behind her when she's standing at the bathroom mirror and drop your jimmy down through the waistband at the back of her panties.

Good luck. This is a toughie. It requires you to have the ability to suck up a lot of rejection. But as things are now you're sucking up rejection and shame and your libido. Get one or two of those out of your throat and you may find new strength.
posted by scarabic at 12:04 AM on August 23, 2005 [1 favorite]

Be prepared for her to feel disgusted, be prepared for her to shame her.

I meant: be prepared for her to shame you.
posted by scarabic at 12:05 AM on August 23, 2005

I'd love to surprise her with a nice new dress and take her out for a night on the town. She'd love that too. But I didn't have sisters and I have no clue how to shop for a woman.

Oh man, this is a terrible excuse to suffer a want of erotic passion in your life. For christ's sake make a gay friend and have him take you shopping. Jeebus.

Also: it sounds like you should steer clear of anything that's stereotypically sexy. Sure, maybe you're okay with lingerie on a plumper woman, but I can't blame her for having internalized the Victoria's Secret body image association with it. In a neglige, she may always feel like a cheap knockoff of some 1950s fantasy, and that's not unreasonable. I myself am partial to cotton t shirts and nothing else. Maybe there's something that doesn't make her feel like a can-can dancer that will still turn you on. Aim for that. Not some cliche.
posted by scarabic at 12:11 AM on August 23, 2005

There is so much in anonymous's post which is really beautiful. It's humbling to read how you want to help your wife improve her self-image while fundamentally you clearly adore her.

This may be just about your wife's own perception of her physical form, in which case there's a lot of great advice above. I don't know her reasons for not feeling sexy, or for not sharing your desire for more erotic intercourse. So we can only hypothesise.

Now - what if her reasons for not feeling sexy are not entirely connected to her weight issues? Stefanie has a lot of powerful advice not connected to physicality, particularly the stuff about relieving her of the unsexy things in life, and allowing her to miss you, which is absolutely crucial in a relationship.

I'd like to take Stefanie's line of thought a stage further. Perhaps, as well as looking to change things about your wife to make her feel sexy, you could try changing things about yourself to make her feel sexy?

Consider times when you've felt really sexy around a woman. Was it because of the shoes you chose to wear that day? Or was it because there was something about the way the woman acted that touched at the core of your masculinity, and made you feel, inside, how a man is supposed to feel?

Now it may be that you already deal with the bills and household maintenance, as Stefanie is suggesting you do. But taking control of that is one example of how you can act in a typically manly fashion that can be sexy to a woman. Another is to be unpredictable - not violently unpredictable, but just mysteriously so. To be cocky. To make her laugh. To flirt and to tease, but to hold back from sex. To be dominant. Being playful. There are tons of masculine attributes that, when acted out, tend to stimulate the femininity of a woman, even if she doesn't know why.

Stefanie says you need to relieve a woman of the mundane, but I don't just mean housework. It can be incredibly sexy for a woman to be inserted into a dream world or an adventure inside her head which is a vacation from the mundanity that most of us face every day. Read any romantic novel or watch any romantic movie and you will see what I mean by this.
posted by skylar at 12:22 AM on August 23, 2005

I know she'd enjoy it if I pounced on her and bent her over the kitchen table without even clearing the dishes, but I want her to feel like she's the one responsible for my desire to do that and I want her to enjoy that feeling. I want her to know she has the power to turn me into a quivering bowl of jelly if she wants to.

I find this sentence a little contradictory and it indicates to me that you're not doing everything you can do, yourself. I can think of no better way of convincing a woman you want her than to demonstrate your uncontrollable desire to take her, which you go about by not controlling your urge to take her, and then taking her.

The whole "responsible for my desire" thing is confusing to me. I cannot decide if you actually need her to experience something, or if you simply want to enjoy more arousal yourself. This seems to be about your pleasure, basically. Even when it's her attitude you're discussing, it's about how it will service your arousal. That's fine. But don't focus too much on what's going on in her head when your true concern is what's going on in your pants.

After several lengthy posts, what ikkyu2 said.
posted by scarabic at 12:33 AM on August 23, 2005 [1 favorite]

hmn, i might of missed this (sorry if i have), but when SHE digs into her fantasies, what does she come up with when she searches for scenarios that make her feel sexy? have you asked her (very gently though)?

don't expect her to be able to come up with something immediately. if it were me i'd have to dream a little on my own about it. it's also important to ditch out the fantasies where she's different (like thinner) than she is today (those are self hate inspired and lead nowhere).

ideas (i intend to get around to one day): belly dancing (wonderful art where the fuller figure is considered erotic), receiving erotic nude pictures/paintings of me taken by someone with an eye for me (beauty is in the eye of the beholder), someone who will roleplay my fantasies with me.

good luck!
posted by mirileh at 3:12 AM on August 23, 2005

more stuff: getting Rueben-like nude pictures, getting rid of beauty magazines, getting erotic fiction (for her, not you, written by women) and since i just remembered you have a son - time to herself.
posted by mirileh at 3:45 AM on August 23, 2005

This is a hard problem. Some ideas:

- A new environment. If your budget will bear it, take her to Paris, on a cruise, or as someone suggested, just to a hotel (though you may want to allocate more than one night).

- Date her regularly for a while, with varying venues so you don't get into a rut. Her feeling sexy probably won't happen in just one date, or maybe even two.

- How about tango lessons, together? You would be spending time together doing things that will add to your appreciation of your own bodies (after the awkward first few lessons), and spending time together without talking about housework.

And tango is sexy. Maybe another type of dance would work, but tango came to mind.

Make sure that there won't be core dance moves that she (or you) can't do -- I don't know how important being in shape is for this kind of dancing... you might want to ask the instructor.

Oh, and she'll need at least one good outfit for dancing -- I don't think they even make dowdy tango clothes... a good pair of ballroom dance shoes can feel wonderful, too (be prepared to supplement with Dr. Scholl's)

Plus, all that moving around will put you both in better shape - who cares about skinny/not skinny, I'm talking about just feeling good.

- Maybe you can convince her that confidence is the essence of sexiness (NOT a particular body type), and if she _pretends_ to be confident, it will turn you on even more than usual, and she'll eventually _be_ more confident (as she deserves to be). Maybe some men want weak little Barbie dolls, maybe those men are in the target demographic of most mass media advertisers, but they're mostly 18-35-year-olds who are likely to buy things because of an ad. She probably doesn't want a man like that. Real Men want a healthy, intelligent, strong woman to bear their children and help them build a beautiful life...or something more inspiring. You seem to have a way with words; I think you can see where I'm going with this.

- I myself am coming off a stint of "I'm so homely" feelings, and having better everyday clothes was surprisingly important to overcome this. I think sexiness isn't just how one feels around one's mate, but how one feels in relation to other people (even other women).

If your budget can handle it, a personal shopper/consultant might be just the thing. Or else, go shopping with her, and keep her away from the $9.99 polo shirts. Maybe both of you could become mini-experts on fashion that works for her body type -- there are books on this.

- A nice fuzzy angora sweater sounds lovely. If she's wearing that, of course you'd want to touch her, and she'll probably want to be touched.
posted by amtho at 4:33 AM on August 23, 2005

There are books, somewhat christian-based, but not obnoxiously so, on getting comfortable with sex, for women with hangups, but the title escapes me right now.

This sounds piggish, but my wife, of her own volition, has been going to weight watchers and lost 25 lbs so far, about 5 lbs. a month. This has helped her self-perception. I agree with Amtho, in that as far as I can tell, she's gotta feel she looks good to other women. Their opinion probably matters about 3x as much as yours. Sad but true.

/rushing out to buy his wife an angora sweater
posted by craniac at 4:52 AM on August 23, 2005

If the goal is to get her to feel sexy, a little body worship couldn't hurt. Get a sensual massage book and some massage oil (or even just a bottle of safflower oil from the grocery) and make time one night for a real massage. Not an obvious-foreplay massage, but a mom-deserves-to-have-her-muscles-relax massage.

Make it a weekly thing. ("Saturday night is massage night.") Tell her you want her to feel as good as SHE makes YOU feel. If you can get her to relax and accept that it's OK for her to revel in the sensuality of your warm hands on her skin, you may eventually be able to go places. Perhaps she'll get so tingly and stuff that she will just pin you down and ravage you. Which couldn't be a bad thing.
posted by sacre_bleu at 5:28 AM on August 23, 2005

giving her something to wear an hour before you go out: might be me, but i'd want to wash it before wearing it.
posted by mirileh at 6:59 AM on August 23, 2005

I'm missing something here. ikkyu2 has the right idea, maybe not the details.

Passion is the key, your passion for her. Show her your passion. Get down on your knees and worship the woman you love. Make it all about her, and only about her. She is the center of your universe, is she not?

Cherish every bit of her. Gently, sweetly. Kiss and caress. This is for her, not for you. Sure, it may drive you nuts with desire! Let her see that, but ignore your desire and instead, focus on your woman.

Inhale the scent of her hair. Hold her, whisper to her of your love (not your desire). Reach into your own soul and share your thoughts of love and devotion.

Do this frequently! Make sure she has no doubt in her mind at all, you love her, you are devoted to her, and you are HOT for her.

Another good thing that will help with this is a good massage class. The lady you love would probably feel a lot better if you could give her a lovely massage.
posted by Goofyy at 7:21 AM on August 23, 2005

This is a wonderfully erotic thread.

And wrap dresses are cool!
posted by By The Grace of God at 7:56 AM on August 23, 2005

whisper to her of your love (not your desire)
Bingo. The phrase "I just love you so much" is going to get you so much farther that "I just want you so much."
posted by sageleaf at 8:06 AM on August 23, 2005

Lots of good ideas here, but of them all, I think sacre_bleu's massage idea is one that just pretty much can't go wrong, no way, no how.

Your wife has sexual fantasies, for sure... But nobody knows what they are. Maybe they are tender... Maybe they are savage. Who knows what the key element is for your wife to get that feeling? It's very possible that she wants you to take all decision out of the equation, and just ravish her. Or, maybe she would love a little Merchant and Ivory beautiful-setting, accumulated-sexual-tension thing. Or, she could, in her own way, be at least as "perverse" as you, or more, with certain fetishistic turn-ons. She knows. You don't. You have to get her to tell you.

Possibly you could do these nice massage sessions, with a glass of wine or two, and some candles, and have some conversations that may lead to getting more information along these lines. But don't ask her what her "fantasies" are, because she may be too embarrassed to admit that. Ask her about dreams.

Begin there, lightly, and then spend some time exploring increasingly deeper, but you can't rush it. She's obviously not going to just get her neck rubbed, drink a glass of chianti and blurt out that needs rubber diapers, or thigh boots and a whip to make her hot. You can definitely draw it out, though, because, really, she wants you to know.
posted by taz at 9:07 AM on August 23, 2005

Did not read all of the info, TMI…Any mention of her age?
I ask as, maybe she has yet her body's age of higher "sex drive.” A woman's is in her 30's to 40’s compared to a man’s in his late teens to 20's. Unfortunately, yours could lessen as hers increases in the future years. One benefit, the child can tend to self, while your having sex during the day.
posted by thomcatspike at 10:14 AM on August 23, 2005

{damn post button, excuse the first sentence re-do}
I ask as, maybe she hasn't yet reached her body's higher "sexual drive” age.
posted by thomcatspike at 10:19 AM on August 23, 2005

My view is that there is very little you can do to change her atitude, to make her feel sexy. She seems to have a major problem with self esteem which probably goes right back to when she was a kid. She also seems to have an odd view towards consential sex. Sounds like deeply entrenched and learnt behaviour that is unlikely to go away.

I think you should tell her the stuff you have put in your question, and tell her how important it is for you to have a more sparky, erotic sexual relationship. Even if she does not really feel it herself, she ought to take into account what you want as a husband (which seems reasonable) and make a bit of an effort.

She may never turn into a sex-charged love vixen but she could figure out what she can do to make you feel a bit better. Until you talk to her she is not going to know how you are feeling about this. She may not even realise that there is any problem, and once she does she may be only too happy to deal with it.
posted by juniorbonner at 10:22 AM on August 23, 2005

Stefanie NAILED it. Big time.
posted by suchatreat at 10:57 AM on August 23, 2005

Lots of good advice. And I think it does require a multipronged approach. What I would do, in order. (This is influenced by my being a sex-positive, kinda chubby girl.)

1: Massage with no expectation of sex. Over and over. (sacre_bleu's idea) At the same time, make time and space for her to work out in some structured way, like a class. I wouldn't focus on the Weight Watchers/dieting thing, because for me dieting is about denying yourself, and that isn't hot. But a good workout can make you feel good and it can lead to you eating better. My mom really liked Curves. (Their owner gives money to anti-abortion groups, so lots of people don't like them, but most are franchises and give good oppotunities to women, so you may hear bad things about them but that's the situation.)

2: After a month or two of this, when she looks nice and feels good about working out, buy her something nice & take her out. Tell her how proud you are, how good she looks, etc.

3: Find some pictures of sexy chubby chicks. Show them to her and express how hot they are.

4: With luck, at this point, she has more confidence and feels hotter. This is the time to raise the more adventurous sex thing.

Basically, I think she needs confindence first, then everything else. It was really liberating to me when I found out how many men do find squishiness hawt. But even that doesn't help too much when you hate your body. Working out helps not only because you lose some weight, but because it makes you feel strong, it makes you feel like your body isn't just this thing working against you and making you ugly.

You are a good husband. All the luck in the world.
posted by dame at 11:24 AM on August 23, 2005

One thing you might consider in terms of the dress - have something custom made. If you want it to be a surprise, get her a custom made outfit that isn't your great date dress as a gift, and then, once the dressmaker has seen her and taken her full measurements and such, they should be able to make the special dress from that, and have it fit.

In this situation, she ends up with two things - regular clothes that fit her and that she feels comfortable in, which will help her feel better about that whole 'nothing ever fits me' thing, and the romantic date dress.
posted by jacquilynne at 11:42 AM on August 23, 2005

Sacre_Bleu's wife here...

Hmmm, I'll have to talk to him about that massage idea.

Here were a couple of my ideas:

Work hard to give your wife regular mind-blowing orgasms. I mean the kind that cause the neighbors to slam shut their windows in jealousy. Take the time for long, lazy foreplay. If she can't seem to orgasm that intensely with the way things are now then do some research on different oral sex positions that might help or spend time looking for that g spot.

If you can get her really, really turned on, you might be able to wander your hand or mouth over to her anus or another spot you'd like to play with -- one she might normally be uncomfortable with. Once she's hot and wanting...she might not mind so much. Then later on you can tell her how much you enjoying doing that...and she might let you. Though you probably can't start out there...need to get her worked up first.

Is there any way to talk about what you liked and ask her about what she liked or didn't like afterwards? It's hard to ask during oral sex that I'd like him to go a little faster or slower or a little to the right, etc. but afterwards I can usually talk about it and that makes the next time better. I would say that asking her what she liked or didn't like is the best way to start out that conversation. If you start out with, gee, I'd really prefer it if you'd. . . . then that could possibly make matters worse. Make it a conversation.

Understand the hormonal fluctuations of a woman. I don't know if your wife is on the pill, takes any hormones or has bad PMS but those can really affect a woman's sex drive as well as her mood.

Just a couple of suggestions....
posted by sacre_bleu at 1:00 PM on August 23, 2005

I'm not sure if this is 100% on target, but a little something I came up with to help me and my partner lower inhibitions, feel sexier, and find out what the other wants: Make the next sexual encounter "her" day. Basically, she's in control of you, and you have to do anything she says for as long as she wants. I think it works best if you don't start "taking over" when you think it's appropriate; for any change to take place, she has to demand it. The next day, reverse roles. I don't know if her attitude towards sex would kill this, but it works really well for us.

Also, I wouldn't recommend springing presents on her; particularly clothing, since that's her hang-up. Shopping together for a cool dress is one thing, but some people don't receive presents well, and unless it's absolutely perfect, which is very unlikely, there's going to be a little bit of internal stress there.
posted by trevyn at 3:22 PM on August 23, 2005

Not sure exactly how helpful this is, and I certainly would never mention this to her, but a lot of of sex-related stores carry clothing/lingerie/fetishwear in plus sizes, both to appeal to larger women and crossdressing men who also would have a hard time fitting into tiny Victoria's Secret model gear.
posted by Juliet Banana at 5:36 PM on August 24, 2005

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