Help me talk to my wife
July 11, 2008 8:09 AM   Subscribe

Conversation starters needed for married couple's date night. The wife is a bit introverted and needs some prodding to get a conversation started... if it doesn't include career, kids or family.

After 10+ years of marriage, kids and career, we need to spice things up and get to know each other again. I am looking for intimate, scruples-type questions we can ask each other to get us talking about our sex life...and life in general. An hour of Googling has not been particularly helpful.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (19 answers total) 27 users marked this as a favorite

There are lots of question books on the market, have you tried taking a peek at Amazon? Read reviews carefully- some are really cheesy and/or religiously inclined.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:17 AM on July 11, 2008 [2 favorites]

Okay, there's a game at called "Sex Is Fun" (I believe that's the title). It's a card game played for points and it's perfect for couples who aren't that great at bringing up sexual topics themselves.

I know it's not a "talk at the dinner table" type of item, but if you want to get talking about your sex life, how about a card game? It's played kind of like poker, for "chips", so you might want to give it a go...
posted by arniec at 8:20 AM on July 11, 2008

You might try to get into the philosophy of life. Talk about death, afterlife, souls, mind vs brain, humanity, fate, randomness. Ask what she sees as the point of all this. Ask what she would love to do if money/skills/whatever weren't considered. Talk about your dreams. I love to talk to my wife about this stuff. It's particularly fun at night, when things are still and quiet and reflection comes easy.
posted by AvailableName at 8:30 AM on July 11, 2008 [1 favorite]

"Remember that time, before the kids were born, when we ...."
posted by maurice at 8:59 AM on July 11, 2008

The Simple Marriage Project and The Art of Manliness are a couple good blogs that you might check out. Particularly this post at former.
posted by jluce50 at 9:07 AM on July 11, 2008

to get us talking about our sex life...and life in general.

I can't stress how strongly I suggest addressing those topics in the opposite order.
posted by 26.2 at 9:11 AM on July 11, 2008 [2 favorites]

My wife and I (married since Oct 2006) will play the "Question Game" whenever we're driving or have nothing better to talk about. Basically, one of us just blurts out "Question game - your turn!" And it's the other turn to come up with a question to ask. They aren't deep, philosophical questions. "If you had a superpower, what would it be?" "Whats the PERFECT sandwich?" "If you had your choice, where, when and how would you die?"

Again, these may not be the soul-searching conversation starters you're looking for ... but try searching for "ice breaker questions" on Google. (Good list here, here)

They pass the time and we can get some pretty interesting responses.
posted by steeb2er at 9:16 AM on July 11, 2008 [5 favorites]

Much like steeb2er, Mr. Adams and I enjoy playing the Question Game during long drives, otherwise dull dinners, etc. We start out with fairly outrageous questions ("If you had to make a choice between a bullet to the head or having sex with [name of person I know he detests], which would you choose?" "You're on Death Row, your execution is schedule for midnight; what do you choose for your last meal?") and somehow we always go off on a tangent and just gabbing away. Good luck, hope you and the Mrs. have a lovely evening!
posted by Oriole Adams at 9:45 AM on July 11, 2008

On an impulse, a few weeks back, I asked my husband, "What can you remember about when you were a child learning to read?" The resulting conversation was illuminating and sweet.

As for sex life questions, you might try "what wrong ideas did you have about sex when you were growing up?" (for example, when I was five or so, I thought french kisses [a/k/a 'when a boy puts his tongue in your mouth'] made women pregnant.)

One good question can be all you need, it will naturally lead to other reminiscences.
posted by tomboko at 9:54 AM on July 11, 2008

I can't stress how strongly I suggest addressing those topics in the opposite order.

26.2 ...Of course, I get the jist of that. Care to elaborate? From the female perspective.
posted by punkfloyd at 9:58 AM on July 11, 2008

What is a strange thing you believed when you were a kid? (Stuff like "All dogs are boys and all cats are girls, or there are people inside the street-side generator boxes pulling switches to make the streetlights turn).

Flying or Invisibility? Note: Invisibility does not include incorporeality (so, you can't be seen, but you can't walk through walls).

Pirates vs. ninjas?

What does the tooth-fairy do with all those teeth?
posted by arcticwoman at 11:21 AM on July 11, 2008 [1 favorite]

My partner's mother brought me something called TableTopics for xmas in a not so subtle hint. Its basically a perspex cube full of cards with questions on them intended as question starters, so you can pull one out at random. I was a little sceptical but they do seem to work pretty well, the questions vary but you tend to wander off the orignal question fairly fast.

They do a couples edition. These are the sample questions, from this, their website lists: What possession of your partner's would you like to throw away? Is it your similarities or your differences that attract you to each other? How much money do you need in the bank to feel secure? Is sexual quality or quantity more important to you?
posted by tallus at 11:23 AM on July 11, 2008 [1 favorite]

Talk about the plot of a book one (or both of you) is currently reading. My wife reads lots of classics, and we'll often talk about them as she is reading them. She'll tell me the plot of (for example) Crime and Punishment, and we'll get into great discussions about nihilism, guilt and innocence, mental illness, interrogation techniques, religious conversion, and what we think Raskolnikov is going to do next. Then, when he does something, we talk about it some more!

Talk about the news. Seriously. Look at the intense conversations here over stuff like "should public employees be forced to file paperwork for gay couples if their religious beliefs make them anti-gay?" There are always neat things to discuss.
posted by arcticwoman at 11:28 AM on July 11, 2008

Regarding sex-life questions: It's very difficult for some people, and I'd imagine especially introverts, to articulate what they want in bed. Personally, though I love sex, I have very few full-fledged fantasies, so when someone asks me "what's your wildest fantasy?" or "what would you really like to try?" I literally have no answer. My thoughts around sex are spontaneous and amorphous and don't lend themselves well to storytelling. Some partners have interpreted that as a lack of interest in sex.

If she is open to the idea of you getting to know her better on a sexual level, and if she's open to introspection with some effort on her part, I'd suggest that she keep a journal, and when she has a sexual thought/fantasy, jot it down. Some people just express themselves better with the written word, but those words can spark a conversation.
posted by desjardins at 11:39 AM on July 11, 2008 [2 favorites]

If... (Questions for the Game of Life) is a good book for this. It's questions like, "If you could invite any three people from history to dinner, who would it be and why?" You often get surprising answers and stories and tidbits of the others' history that I'm not sure would come up otherwise. There's a version for "the game of love" as well.

I also like "Would you rather..." kinds of questions. Things like, "Would you rather build a fort in the living room and hang out all day, or go to a museum and dinner?" That's a pretty basic, tame version, but they also help you learn things about others that you wouldn't necessarily learn in other ways.
posted by runningwithscissors at 12:38 PM on July 11, 2008

The quieter partner should make a game out of coming up a topic or two ahead of time. It's a lot easier when the pressure is off.

You could also have a discussion in which you list topics that might be good conversation-starters for specific people you know. "I bet Jack would like to be asked about his woodworking" -- that sort of thing. It might not help with your own conversations (except for the one at hand), but it's good for limbering up, and then when she sees Jack, she'll be ready.

Hmmm... and how about discussing "Things NOT to bring up"? around certain persons. That could be more fun.
posted by wryly at 2:30 PM on July 11, 2008 [1 favorite]

you should DEFINITELY read Dan Savage's brilliant weekly sex/relationship advice column aloud to each other and then discuss! My husband and I listen to his podcasts together and it makes for really excellent conversations.
posted by beccyjoe at 5:52 PM on July 11, 2008 [2 favorites]

I can't stress how strongly I suggest addressing those topics in the opposite order.

26.2 ...Of course, I get the jist of that. Care to elaborate? From the female perspective.

- Only that sex can be tough topic to discuss especially if things haven't been going well (or not going at all). Warming up to the topic by having challenging, interesting, revealing discussions is going to make that process easier. Those let-me-get-into-your-head-and-understand-you conversations reestablish the level of intimacy you need for the let-me-get-into-your-pants-and-get-jiggy-with-you conversations.

If they really don't know each other anymore, then it's probably better to start by making a mental connection. Hopefully that will be rapidly followed by a physical connection.
posted by 26.2 at 11:18 PM on July 11, 2008

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