It Really Has Been That Easy For This Pretty Boy
August 11, 2015 7:02 PM   Subscribe

So, I am married to a very pretty guy. We are both mid 30s. His entire relationship history includes women just throwing themselves at him, so he hasn't had to ever make any effort to learn how to be romantic or initiate foreplay. His current method is to just tell me he wants to have sex. When I complained that his method wasn't enough for me, he asked me what I want him to do. It is like I'm dealing with an adolescent boy. What resources could I steer him towards that don't include a sex therapist?
posted by LilithSilver to Human Relations (21 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

His entire relationship history includes women just throwing themselves at him, so he hasn't had to ever make any effort to learn how to be romantic or initiate foreplay. His current method is to just tell me he wants to have sex. When I complained that his method wasn't enough for me, he asked me what I want him to do.

Lots of really attractive people are awesome in bed. That's not an actual reason people don't know how to initiate sex or please a partner.

What resources could I steer him towards that don't include a sex therapist?

Sex, relationship, foreplay as searches for tags in What you want him 'to do' is consider you.

Or ask him to put on a horse costume or something if he can't get it at all. At least it will be funny.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 7:10 PM on August 11, 2015 [21 favorites]

(I'm not being flip. Those are actual searches with actually useful results. I was being flip about the horse costume.)
posted by A Terrible Llama at 7:12 PM on August 11, 2015 [6 favorites]

Well, what do you want him to do? Start with telling him that. He could read a lot of articles but if you have particular things in mind, that would be more helpful.
posted by kinddieserzeit at 7:17 PM on August 11, 2015 [12 favorites]

If he's asking what you'd like him to do, tell him. If that doesn't mesh with your usual pattern, you could try some light roleplay - a sexual menu? Skip the sex dice or whatever - picture something that would please you sexually and tell him, "I want you to..."
posted by the uncomplicated soups of my childhood at 7:24 PM on August 11, 2015 [1 favorite]

This seems like a situation where modeling the behavior you would like him to have might be helpful. I think it would work better than just describing what you want him to do, although that probably would also help, given that he asked.

If you are never the one to initiate sexytimes, that in itself may be something you want to unpack. If you do and he still doesn't get it, that is a bit alarming, in that he should have learned from those experiences that "I want to have sex" isn't usually how it's done.
posted by wierdo at 7:39 PM on August 11, 2015 [5 favorites]

Well, clearly whatever his method is it worked on you long enough to get married to him, so this is going to require a pretty significant shift in the status quo.

I'd start by explaining why x used to work for you but no longer does, and that he now needs to do y and z in order to show that he's interested in you and values you as a partner.
posted by phunniemee at 7:41 PM on August 11, 2015 [15 favorites]

Give him books (romance novels, erotica) that demonstrate the kind of approach you'd like him to take. Watch movies with him that have seductions and sex scenes that turn you on. Then tell him you like that sort of thing. If he doesn't get it, tell him again. Then when he does those things, respond positively.
posted by alms at 7:59 PM on August 11, 2015 [2 favorites]

Come As You Are: The Surprising New Science that Will Transform Your Sex Life. It's all about female desire, and also science, in case he's hard to convince.
posted by Lyn Never at 8:26 PM on August 11, 2015 [7 favorites]

Some people just aren't romantic though, so I'm not entirely sure you'll be able to fix that.. I'm not romantic at all, and if I try I usually end up making too many jokes because I feel silly and ruin it anyways. But, the "do you want to have sex?" problem I am actually familiar with!

My answer to "do you want to have sex?" or "I want to have sex" (if my answer was yes, obviously, and I wanted him to initiate) would be a teasing "perhaps I could be persuaded..." or "I suppose I might want to if a handsome man were to start kissing me and doing other fun things..." and then after awhile it just became habit to actually initiate if you wanted to initiate instead of just asking. Also, model this behaviour. If you guys are good sports about these kinds of things, initiate sex in the usual way, and then RIGHT before it gets serious, be like "oh! hey, do you want to have sex!?"

Also, try not to be annoyed by it... because in a way it's kind of like being asked for permission? which I actually do like, after I got over how incredibly unsexy it is to just be straight up asked. If you can manage to combine it with a little foreplay it kind of becomes sweet.

I would definitely try for some lighthearted leading by the nose on this and not heavy handed sex therapy type stuff! You're saying it's just inexperience and I'm sure it is.. Just show him and tell him and reward him with great sexytimes for doing it right, and before you know it it will be a funny thing that he used to do.
posted by euphoria066 at 8:31 PM on August 11, 2015 [14 favorites]

I think that you are the only resource that he needs. When he does something you like, praise him for it, like you would a puppy. Ask him for what you want, in a gentle and loving manner, until he does it, and then praise him as if he came up with it on his own. Be consistent (once again, as if you were training a puppy) and keep things positive and playful. He wants to please you. Give him the tools and the encouragement to do so.
posted by myselfasme at 8:33 PM on August 11, 2015 [3 favorites]

He hasn't had to ever make any effort to learn how to be romantic or initiate foreplay.

Do you feel like by describing what you want, you're effectively doing the emotional labor for him? Because yeah, it can suck to tell someone the romantic words you want, and then hear them robotically generated back to you.

Here's a compromise: he has to figure it out, but you can give him clues and answer specific questions. Note: both players have to enter this game wholeheartedly.

Clues can include:
A novel. Strewn with Post-It notes, if you like.
Reactions. Suddenly biting his ear? He's surpassed himself.

Questions can include:
-"What outfit would you find most romantic for an October evening by the fire?" (Next weekend, his opening salvo is a tweed jacket with elbow patches, smuggled in from the vintage boutique and accessorized by smoldering eyes.)
-"As we leave this restaurant, which do you predict is more seductive for murmuring innuendo: Husky Voice, or Sly Voice?" (If you can't decide, then a few minutes later he'll crack you up by testing both. But you do eventually pick, and next time you're out, you'll notice he's been practicing Husky Voice.)

Gamify that emotional labor!
posted by feral_goldfish at 8:35 PM on August 11, 2015 [2 favorites] adolescent, you say? if we're starting at the basics, i remember reading Our Bodies Ourselves and The Joy of Sex. That got me off to a decent start. So whatever the contemporary equivalents of those are.

That said, anatomy, friction, and mechanics only go so far. Then, talking openly is where the doors open.
posted by j_curiouser at 8:50 PM on August 11, 2015 [1 favorite]

"What do you want me to do?"

Maybe he could read this, in entirety.

A lot of women would be very turned on by that.

All of the answers above mine suggest far more work than I, personally, would ever put into this again. This is now DTMFA territory for me; the gains made by taking on The Sexual Training & Education of MensHealthCoverBoy came at too vast a price to my own erotic satisfaction. YMMV.
posted by wonton endangerment at 9:04 PM on August 11, 2015 [10 favorites]

Even if you don't want to tell him yourself what you like, you need to steer him toward resources that tell him stuff you like. Not everyone gets turned on by remotely the same kind of initiation/foreplay. So, what do you like?
posted by J. Wilson at 5:52 AM on August 12, 2015

Well, this is mostly about sex and not romance, but an adolescent boy could do worse than to read these Scarleteen articles:
With Pleasure
Yield for Pleasure

That should give him most of the basics of foreplay and how to make a woman enjoy herself in bed.
posted by Too-Ticky at 6:31 AM on August 12, 2015 [1 favorite]

I think you're going to have to say some things that are going to be uncomfortable to say. You're going to have to be vulnerable and explicitly detailed in not only what you want but also how you feel about his current behavior. You may also have to tell him directly that if he doesn't engage in foreplay or romance, then he's not a good lover for you. You'll probably want to phrase that in a nicer way -- perhaps by emphasizing the positive, eg: "Honey, I love you and you're a wonderful husband [is that true????]. I need you to know that if you want to be a good lover for me and bring me pleasure, then I need you to learn about the role of foreplay and romance in sex."

I think you're also going to have to own that you willingly decided to marry a guy who had no romantic game in the bedroom. Part of owning that is taking responsibility for honestly communicating how you feel and what you want now. Luckily, it seems like he's willing to learn -- I really like the fact that he asked "What do you want me to do?" when you complained. That's a good sign, in my opinion.

I think you're also going to accept that you're not going to get what you really want -- I suspect what you really want is for your husband to already Know All The Things. He doesn't know - and not because he's pretty, but because he's not emotionally developed enough to know that he should know.. to know that he should be interested in romance and foreplay. And apparently you were not emotionally developed enough to know that this should be one of the things you look for in someone you want to date seriously.

So, you both are where you are now. You're not going to get the Romantic Guy Who Already Knows - he's not that guy. But you might have a partner who will now do the work. But he's going to really have to acknowledge that he has work to do and that it's non-negotiable and serious.

You can tell him that you want him to read about foreplay and women's sexuality. All of the books suggested upthread are really great places to start. You can think about what your past partners have done and share ideas derived from those experiences (w/o saying John did THIS.. just say THIS works great for me..) His job at this point is to cultivate curiosity and interest in how to bring you pleasure and to do the work involved in learning the basics of sexual courtesy. He needs to understand that if he doesn't do this work, then he will not be a good lover for you.

You can also think about why foreplay is important to you. How do you feel when he just says "I want sex?" Tell him how you feel. This is the hard part. This is your work. You have to be honest. You might also accept that this is going to take time - possibly a long time. He will make mistakes. There will be awkward moments. But reward him for good behavior, give him honest feedback, and keep the lines of communication open and things should improve.
posted by Gray Skies at 7:06 AM on August 12, 2015 [5 favorites]

1st this has nothing to do with being handsome. The world is not that just.

You married a man who doesn't speak french. He's not going to start reading original Charles Baudelaire to you. Not spontaneously.

The fact that he asked "what do I do" is a positive sign. But you are going to have to probably hurt his feelings a bit to get what you want. Sparing his feelings and just accepting the status quo (quietly hoping he'd improve?) is what got you to this point.

But I'll warn you, if you are looking for him to not only get good but also spontaneous and taking initiative? You are in for a very very long road. Consider how long it takes thoughtful sexy romantic people to get their skills to a high level. Ages 14-24? 20-30 for late bloomers? And for most people there are disposable relationships in that time where you can make terrible mistakes, say goodbye and move on. Point being in a natural progression the skills of: planning far ahead, reading the moment, listening to the unspoken desires, watching your partner's eyes, listening to their breath, honing your physical and emotional skills, taking the lead while going where someone most desperately wants... takes most folks many years. So even at bootcamp-get-better-or-I-walk speeds this may still take a long time. Consider how long are you willing to wait?
posted by French Fry at 7:33 AM on August 12, 2015 [9 favorites]

Yeah, I'm gonna add my voice to the chorus of people telling you that this is not about your husband being hot. My fiance is ridiculously handsome (like, everyone comments on it! People think he resembles a Disney prince and I don't disagree or mind!) but he has never just assumed that sexy time happens by him standing there and blinking or something. Perhaps y'all might want to read a book like this one together to work on your communication skills. Better communication skills could help you get to the (potentially difficult and vulnerable) heart of whatever is really happening here.
posted by pinetree at 9:13 AM on August 12, 2015 [1 favorite]

Being "good" at sex is like being a good dancer in some respects. When watching a good dancer do their thing, we can see that there is far more going on than the robotic repetition of memorized steps- but rather something personal, from the inside being expressed in those moves.

The handsome line of reasoning doesn't explain anything here; in fact, I could only see that as providing more of an opportunity to learn the "steps". Is there a good dancer in there (ie a thoughtful, expressive, deeply motivated lover) somewhere? If so, what does that guy need to actually come out? Recognize that he has had his lifetime up until this point to grapple with this. You may have to think of this in-what might be necessary to achieve a breakthrough-type terms. Reading materials may not get the job done.
posted by incolorinred at 9:49 AM on August 12, 2015 [2 favorites]

He asked you what you want him to do. You must now tell him for this to work. I hear that makes it less sexy. I get that, but it would still be more sexy than what you have happening now.
posted by Ironmouth at 1:03 PM on August 12, 2015 [3 favorites]

Chiming in to the "he's so gorgeous he's always gotten whatever he wants"-means-nothing chorus.

But I want also point out that if all he has ever had to do is say "I want sex" and then gotten sex (from you or anyone else) he's never actually had even moderately good sex. He's just jerked off with someone's help. You suggesting he do things that you might like is an obvious step, but for heaven's sake, what would HE like? Romantic? Demanding? A lovable puppy? King of All He Surveys? Massage me, bite me, feed me, dress me in lace, tie me with leather straps? It's pretty sad if his entire sex life is "I want sex now" and "thank you."

On the other hand, what a wonderful new world to play in!
posted by kestralwing at 8:49 PM on August 12, 2015 [2 favorites]

« Older blocked on facebook?   |   A Slow Surrender: Questionable Feature Additions... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.