How do I find out my boyfriend's secret desires?
June 15, 2015 10:43 AM   Subscribe

I'm afraid of boring my boyfriend in bed. He's a decade older and has had quite a few relationships in his past. I can't imagine he's as vanilla as he professes to be--I'm willing to do ANYTHING, and he wants missionary every time. Does he view me as too innocent for anything else?

I have been dating someone older and much more sexually experienced. We've been together for a few months, and I really like him. I've made it clear to him that I am willing to do ANYTHING to please him, but so far all he seems to want is... missionary. I go down on him all the time but he really prefers PIV intercourse; I think I enjoy giving blowjobs more than he enjoys receiving them. I've also tried dressing up in sexy lingerie to surprise him, and he seemed touched by the thought but prefers me wearing nothing at all in bed.

Maybe I've just read too many Internet articles about not boring your man, spicing things up, being game and willing to do anything, etc., but I don't want to bore this guy who's had many more partners than I've had. But so far he has basically denied having ANY fantasies or fetishes at all.

I don't have much experience, as he knows, but I'm now in a very open-minded stance and would like to do whatever he's into. Is it possible that he likes my innocence and would be put off by doing anything wild and crazy with me? Maybe our age difference (about a decade) makes him view me as too innocent for this or that? He's vert gentle and respectful of me at all times. He talks about wanting to "push [my] boundaries" and "open [me] up to new things" -- by which he means various restaurants and day trips that I haven't yet experienced. Ha. But I know he's dated at least two wild and crazy girls in the past (based on little things he's said here and there that I've picked up on, e.g. that one ex-girlfriend dated a married couple after dating him!). Maybe I'm caught in a bind because at this point in his life, he LIKES being vanilla with a supposedly vanilla girl?
posted by Guinevere to Human Relations (27 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

Unfortunately there's absolutely no way we can give you an answer to this, as we don't know your boyfriend. The only way you'll know is if you ask him.
posted by lock sock and barrel at 10:50 AM on June 15, 2015 [8 favorites]

This is a tough one, but know that there are lots of guys who are perfectly happy with missionary, all the time, always.
posted by sockerpup at 10:52 AM on June 15, 2015 [19 favorites]

Take him at his word, and speak to him (instead of internet strangers) about your concerns. And keep your needs in mind too—do you have specific things that you would like him to do that he's not? Not necessarily things that would get HIM off, but things that get YOU off.

People talk about vanilla as if it's boring and lame, but for most of human history it was rare, and it's still the second most expensive spice to produce. There is value in vanilla.
posted by infinitewindow at 10:53 AM on June 15, 2015 [23 favorites]

Reading between the lines a bit (and please flag/tell me to get lost if I'm wrong) it sounds like YOU want to do more interesting things in bed than just plain old vanilla missionary. You're trying to figure out what you're into and want to try a whole lot of new things, and wow that is super, super normal of you and also a totally healthy impulse. Your partner should be supportive of that.

Instead of framing this as "I want to keep him interested" frame it as "I want to try the things I want to try, for me." Present that to your boyfriend. You take the initiative on doing more creative things and let him follow your lead. Don't go around comparing yourself to his previous girlfriends because that way lies madness.

If this is the same guy from your previous question, part of me wonders if maybe the reason he's 40 and dating someone much younger and inexperienced and doesn't "believe" in marriage is that, hey, maybe he's just boring and sucks in bed and needs to find a lady who hasn't been around enough to realize that yet.

He's telling you that his needs are being met. Take him at his word. Right now, you focus on your needs and wants and let him catch up. If he's unwilling or can't, and especially if he sucks in bed and is patronizing about exposing you to the wonders of the world, maybe find someone else to date.
posted by phunniemee at 10:54 AM on June 15, 2015 [74 favorites]

You know him better than we do. However, if you're worried about him being bored, why don't you introduce your own fantasies and fetishes? And if you don't have any either, well then there you go. Proof that vanilla can be enough.
posted by that's how you get ants at 10:55 AM on June 15, 2015 [4 favorites]

Either he likes it how he says he likes it, or he's lying. If he's lying because of a hang-up, that's a self-defeating problem that he has to solve on his own in his own time, and you get to decide independently if you're willing to wait it out. If he's lying to create this power imbalance that's clearly bothering you, he's an asshole and probably dangerous.

It does kind of sound like his tastes in sex are really straightforward and he's much more into other life experiences. I've known a number of guys who dated the "wild girls" because of the going out and meeting interesting people and doing interesting things factor more than the upside-down skydiving blowjobs factor. Maybe that's where he's at too. If you're not okay with that, don't stay with him.

If what you actually want is more than missionary for yourself - which is absolutely fine for you to say if that is the case, you do not have to reframe it as a hidden desire of his just because he's a man and he's older - and you are asking him for it and he is not interested in at least discussing it, that is also a situation where you can either accept that's how it is or pursue something else with someone else.

But if you are fine with the sex you are having and he also states he is fine with the sex he is having, you have to either believe him or leave. Anything else is really disrespectful to him.
posted by Lyn Never at 10:55 AM on June 15, 2015 [4 favorites]

Response by poster: I've tried asking him... He's definitely not into anal or bondage and isn't turned on by fantasies about me being with another girl or anything else I tried to guess at (not that I would want to be with another girl, but my ex-boyfriend used to fantasize about that). He's not that into oral. He didn't bat an eye when I dressed up in sexy lingerie. He doesn't seem to care whether I wear heels or flats. He denies even having a specific physical "type" that he's into.
posted by Guinevere at 10:56 AM on June 15, 2015

Adventurousness tends to come and go (stop smirking over there!). Maybe he has a lot of demands on him at the moment. Maybe he's just resting after -- God knows what.

Nobody minds being made a fuss of, though. Your communicating your desire, your openness and so forth is bound (not again!) to make him feel wanted/loved/respected and this is very, very good.

I've always felt the loving relationship comes first. Adding spice is great (can be!) when the time is right. Keep testing the waters. Who knows when you all will hit on the right idea -- something that surprises and delights you both.
posted by cleroy at 10:59 AM on June 15, 2015 [4 favorites]

Seconding phunniemee on him coming across as a bit patronizing. What does he think this is, Fifty Shades of Grey? (Without the kinky part of course.) Also, did he refer to his ex-girlfriends as crazy?
posted by LoonyLovegood at 10:59 AM on June 15, 2015 [2 favorites]

I wanted to suggest a "game" you both enjoy once in a while as a way to help you both explore your sexuality with your current lover.

One person is the giver and the other the director/receiver. The director gets to ask for whatever they want to try in the moment but it is their responsibility to be very specific. Not "give me blow job" but "lick here. now higher, now slower" There should be no judgement of the how the giver is doing - the director is responsible for asking for what he/she wants. If something isn't working or if they are just ready for a change, they give a new direction. The giver should not really be taking any initiative and, of course, not judgment about what the director wants to try. The giver does have the right to say "suggest something else now" if there is something that they don't want to do or if the position is getting uncomfortable. Later that night or on a different day, you switch roles

The whole thing is a chance to experiment - some things won't work and that is fine. As a woman, it may be hard for you to ask for what you want bu this is a chance to try something and see if you like it. If your partner just wants to ask for vanilla sex, that is totally OK but you can suggest that if he wants to play with details he can (is it better with your legs higher? faster or slower at certain times? etc)
posted by metahawk at 11:06 AM on June 15, 2015 [2 favorites]

He might actually be vanilla. Some people are, even men you feel are more experienced with you. This might even be the reason why his "wild and crazy" ex-girlfriends are no longer with him.

If you're curious, ask. If you don't like the answer you've received, look into why that is. Do you feel you're not vanilla yourself? Why are you so worried he's bored of you, or will be? Is he acting disinterested in you otherwise?
posted by RainyJay at 11:18 AM on June 15, 2015 [7 favorites]

Ask him directly what he wants. When you ask him, don't ask leading questions such as "do you like bondage?". Ask open ended questions like "what do you enjoy doing in bed?". If he just wants missionary, then he just wants missionary, which is a completely OK thing to want. Not everyone is secretly kinky, nor is kinky better or worse than non-kinky. Everyone has things that they like or would like to try, but some folk just don't want things that are outside of the mainstream, no matter how much we're all supposed to be secretly into it.

If YOU want to kink things up a bit, that's completely OK too! It's 100% fine to be into bondage or figging or role play or whatever else your libido desires. It's also OK to say to your partner "please would you dress up as a fireman and pretend to rescue me from a burning building?". If you want something in a relationship, ask for it. Tell your partner what you want - they might secretly have a thing for it too but also be too scared to say anything. Or they might not, but you won't know until you ask. And if you feel like you can't ask, then have a long hard think about whether this relationship is working for you.
posted by Solomon at 11:22 AM on June 15, 2015 [2 favorites]

Honestly, your older dude who only wants missionary should be worried about boring you in bed. If anyone's the boring one, here, it's him.
posted by Juliet Banana at 11:26 AM on June 15, 2015 [25 favorites]

Your question sounds a little bit like you're feeling pressure to be phenomenal in bed - or at least better than his exes - and if you don't Blow! His! Mind! then he'll lose interest and leave. It doesn't really work like that, and scores of people are perfectly happy with no-frills sex. Not necessarily because they've gotten wild adventures out of their system, or because they have secret hidden desires yet to be discovered, but because that's just what they like. Vanilla sex still feels good and leads to orgasms, right?

I'm assuming he really likes you. Be yourself, and accept him at face value. Don't compare yourself to past girlfriends or worry about being the sexiest most adventurous girlfriend ever. Don't worry about what he "really" wants, because most people don't work that way; a good partner will let you know. As a corollary, if there is something you really want him to do, don't be afraid to ask for it.
posted by Metroid Baby at 11:28 AM on June 15, 2015 [8 favorites]

Maybe I've just read too many Internet articles

Stop reading those articles.

but I don't want to bore this guy who's had many more partners than I've had

My husband and I have each had a lot of partners and tried a lot of different stuff and yet together we have missionary position sex ~95% of the time.

If it ain't broke don't fix it.
posted by Jacqueline at 11:31 AM on June 15, 2015 [6 favorites]

Sexual experience doesn't make you great in bed. And, neither does it automatically push your desires into less conventional realms. There's no need for you to be so insecure about pleasing him and there's no reason for you to assume he has secret desires that he's not willing to tell you about. Keep the lines of communication open and if he wants something different, and he's a mature human being, he'll talk to you about it.

I'd be more concerned that you're so concerned with not being pleasing enough to him. Do you feel like you're on equal footing when it comes to power and agency in the relationship? Does he make you feel secure about your relationship? Is the age difference making you feel out of your depth? If you feel like you're being respected and your needs are being met, stop reading ridiculous articles that are convincing you that all men have one foot out the door because their partners are sexually boring.
posted by quince at 11:37 AM on June 15, 2015 [4 favorites]

I can't imagine he's as vanilla as he professes to be

Maybe I've just read too many Internet articles about not boring your man, spicing things up, being game and willing to do anything, etc.

Yeah, I think you are vastly overestimating how true or accurate those articles are. Sure, some people would appreciate their sex life being spiced up, but tons of people (likely the majority) are perfectly perfectly happy with missionary PIV sex. You've asked him, you've offered, he hasn't been terribly receptive to the various things you've tried.... I think it is time for you to accept that your boyfriend isn't a secret kink master, that actually he just likes pretty standard, routine, "traditional" sex. And that is 10000000% okay. It is also okay if you want something more. I may be overreading but this epic quest to tap into some big hidden fetish or kink and then be the one to satisfy that in him, and your disbelief that he truly doesn't have any kinks or fetishes.... Well, it reads to me like one of two things:
1. You are desperately trying to be extra super awesome girlfriend, doing all those awesome things that you're "supposed" to do, that every man is "supposed to" want, etc, because you feel like the only way you're going to keep him is if you go above and beyond in this way.
2. You are desperately trying to tap into secret kinks and fetishes because YOU prefer more kinky sex, and "vanilla" missionary isn't satisfying YOU.

If either of these are correct, it may be time to pause and reflect on the future of the relationship, because both power imbalances (#1) and mismatched sexual preferences (#2) are big problems and not things to just gloss over.
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 11:45 AM on June 15, 2015 [8 favorites]

I've also tried dressing up in sexy lingerie to surprise him, and he seemed touched by the thought but prefers me wearing nothing at all in bed.

This is anecdata, of course, but: in my experience, 99% of men could not give a flying fuck (so to speak) about lingerie. They generally look at it and say, "Yeah, very nice. Take it off now." The only man I've ever been with who cared about it was 18 years old (I was too) and I think he wanted me to wear it because he'd never seen a woman in sexy lingerie before (well, not in person). So I think your boyfriend is very, very typical in that way, especially if he's anywhere north of around 19 years old.

So just wanted to throw that out there in addition to agreeing with the fact that the whole "spice up your bedroom" thing is mostly manufactured by things like Cosmopolitan because they have to deal with the exigencies of a monthly deadline, not because everyone actually finds missionary position so dull.

Just want to add that "Day trip fetish" cracked me up.
posted by Button-down sock at 12:41 PM on June 15, 2015 [14 favorites]

Between this question and your last about him, I'm seeing a pattern between the two of you: he tells you something (I like sex this way; I don't believe in marriage), and you don't want to believe it. That's not a judgement--all of us don't want to believe things about our partners.

If you want to try stuff in bed, say "hey honey, I want you to jump me in the shower and shag me senseless. Would you be into that?" And then have a discussion from there.

Honestly, at his age he's going to be more set in his ways than you are at yours. And it's looking a bit like you're not meeting him where he is--you're trying to get him where you want him to be. Speaking from experience, that kills relationships.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 1:20 PM on June 15, 2015 [2 favorites]

Missionary may not seem as vanilla to him as it does to you. It does give the man the dominant position.
posted by SemiSalt at 1:27 PM on June 15, 2015 [1 favorite]

I can't imagine he's as vanilla as he professes to be

Occam's razor says that this is MUCH more likely to be a shortfall of your imagination, than a sign of anything about him. I mean really, break down your options here:

1) he is lying and hiding an entire vast realm of secret kinky desires that he refuses to indulge due to some "innocence" hangup in which he views you as an unsullied child...but still wants to have sex with you, despite seeing you as the unsullied child, in which case he's super messed up


2) He's just not that adventurous in bed.

Which do you honestly think is more likely? And why, for the love of all that is holy, would you somehow prefer that the first one were true over the 2nd? (I mean unless that kind of tortured madonna/whore complex thing is YOUR kink.)
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 1:34 PM on June 15, 2015 [12 favorites]

Have you tried watching porn with him, or asked him what kinds of porn he likes? For some people this is intensely personal, but it was a very pleasant surprise for me when I discovered that my current girlfriend (She's on Metafilter too! Hi!) liked watching porn, and even more surprisingly, liked the same kind of porn that I do. Sometimes she'll ask if we can watch porn to get her in the mood. I never even discussed it with my previous girlfriends. Maybe this is a total no for him, but it's an avenue worth pursuing.

Failing that, take charge yourself and ask him if it's okay if you two do things you want to do. I firmly believe women should feel entirely empowered to take full charge of their sexuality - and any man who doesn't sign on is missing out.

What do you want? Maybe find out exactly what that is, unless you're 100% happy with everything you've tried and have no actual interest in digging deeper.
posted by Strudel at 1:55 PM on June 15, 2015

Sounds like the only person here being boring in bed is your boyfriend.

Are you sure you don't want to ask him to stop being boring?
posted by Justinian at 3:18 PM on June 15, 2015 [1 favorite]

Maybe I've just read too many Internet articles about not boring your man, spicing things up, being game and willing to do anything, etc., but I don't want to bore this guy who's had many more partners than I've had.

I think your approach is fundamentally flawed because I don't see you speaking about your needs or wants or fulfilment here. Being more experienced doesn't make him better in bed. Sex is also not a competitive sport where you have to perform a set series of acrobatics to Keep Your Man, nor is it a thing where he has to want off menu items to prove how much he fancies you. Having said that, you sound both (godifuckinghatedansavage) GGG, and he sounds like someone sexually incompatible with you at best and a boring fuck at worst. I'm going to guess it's you who's bored here, not him.
posted by DarlingBri at 3:46 PM on June 15, 2015 [2 favorites]

You're in your early 30s. You're really past the age to be "a cute and innocent girl" to most people. And this guy is in his 40s? Unless he's a very old 40-something, and you're a very young 30-something, I don't think that's what's going on here.

But really, you're staying with this guy even though he doesn't believe in marriage, and that would totally make sense if he was great in bed, but apparently he's not and you're staying with him despite having incompatible ideas about marriage AND incompatible ideas about what's boring in the bedroom. What the hell DOES this guy have? Is he brilliant in conversation or something? Doesn't sound like it if you feel like he's "stonewalling" you. So why are you here? Those seem like pretty big differences to me.

Also, there is a kind of icky cultural narrative by which women have value according to what they're willing to do in the bedroom. And as you've noted, the opposite by which women have value by being chaste. Both are gross narratives you need to dump. Do what you want in the bedroom, don't worry so much about pleasing him in whatever way.
posted by quincunx at 3:52 PM on June 15, 2015 [10 favorites]

Pursue stuff you like, be open to input should he provide any. It's all you should feel obliged to do. A 40yo can use his words, especially if he's explicitly been given permission and encouragement. He might just have simple tastes.
posted by ead at 11:48 PM on June 15, 2015

Sex feels pretty good. Actually, it feels amazing. PIV is sufficiently a great feeling that many men could go their entire lives without any variation.

Personally, I think you've done enough work on this.

If the sex is too "vanilla" for you, suggest things that you'd like to do. Otherwise so long as you are satisfied and he is satisfied there really isn't a problem here.
posted by Deathalicious at 6:00 AM on June 16, 2015 [2 favorites]

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