What do you do if your husband accuses you of being boring in bed–or when your husband thinks your sex life is boring?
It’s our Sex Questions You Can’t Ask Your Pastor month, and I wanted to start with this one because it’s a great example of how we need to look at a problem from three different perspectives if we want to uncover the real issue.
A woman writes in:
We have been married for 3 years. Our sex life has never been very exciting, let’s just say it is almost satisfying. After having a bumpy sex talk tonight my husband told me that on a scale of 1 to 10 his pleasure is at 1…. I find that very discouraging and I don’ t know what to make of it since he always finishes when we have sex and so do I. I may not be very adventurous in bed and I always feel clumsy but I want to change things and this is why I tried talking to him. He says that if it doesn’t come naturally I shouldn’t try anything because he wouldn’t like it. Please give me some advice.
That’s so hard! Our sexuality is really tied up in our identity. It’s in our sexuality that we’re often the most vulnerable–that the “real me” comes out. If your spouse then tells you you’re boring in bed, that’s a big rejection.
1. Is it You: Are You Comfortable in the Bedroom?
When you’re the one where sex has short-circuited
Don’t worry; I’m going to deal with his issues in a minute, because I do see several red flags in this email. But it’s always good to begin with ourselves–and you may have a similar problem to this woman’s but with a different cause!
She’s admitting here that her sex life hasn’t been that exciting, though she does reach climax and so does he. That’s pretty good! Not a lot of couples can say that, so she’s already doing pretty well.
One of the big reasons that it may not feel super exciting, though, is because we tend to do the same things each time, or we hold ourselves back. Sex becomes stupendous when you stop holding yourself back and you jump in with both feet–and any other body parts you want!
If we’ve grown up ashamed of our sexuality, so that it’s hard for us to say what we want, or to try new things, then it could be that “boring in bed” pretty much describes your relationship.
If you want to try to make sex exciting, but you really don’t know where to start, I’ve written a post on spicing up your marriage that you may find quite helpful! And if you want to feel freer in the bedroom, here’s how to feel more adventurous in bed.
Remember that God created sex, and He really does want us to enjoy it. It isn’t something shameful. There is nothing particularly holy about the missionary position over any other position, and there is nothing wrong with exploring your bodies and feeling good. You may have to ease into that a bit–talking to him if you’re nervous and keeping the lights off. But do try! And see how good you can feel.
Other posts you may enjoy:
- 10 Ways to Get More Adventurous in Bed
- 10 Ways to Ask Your Husband for What You Want in Bed
- 7 Things Sexually Confident Women Know
- 31 Days to Great Sex also has several challenges that will help you with this! Days 1 & 2 help identify lies you’ve believed about sex that may be causing shame. Days 14 & 15 put the “play” back in foreplay! And Days 22-25 will help you spice things up, including things like the “dice game” or how to make any position a new position! Plus the whole book is filled with opportunities to talk about what you want–in a much less awkward way! Pre-order it now.
2. Could it Be Your Husband: Are You “Boring in Bed” or Is Your Husband Emphasizing the Wrong Things?
When he’s the one where sex has short-circuited
There’s something about this particular letter that is sending some bad vibes to me. Many men wish that their sex life could be more exciting, and there’s honestly is nothing wrong with that.
But in this case he’s not looking for sex to be more exciting; he’s looking for her to be transformed into something else. “if it’s not natural, don’t try,” he says. That sounds to me like he isn’t willing to put in any effort; she’s just supposed to live up to some ideal of what he thinks sex should be. That’s not intimate; that’s not a partnership; that’s a distorted view of sexuality.
Also, she’s reaching climax, and he’s reaching climax, and he’s still rating their sex life a “1”. Believe me, many men would be ecstatic if their wives were enjoying sex that much, and for most men, that’s the majority of their pleasure–giving their wives pleasure. He’s not rating it a 5 or 6, though; he’s not even rating it a 4. He’s saying it’s a 1–the worst it can be.
Again, that says to me that there are some issues going on that have nothing to do with her.
He could be fixating on a particular thing he wants to try, and he’s so fixated on that that until he gets it he won’t be satisfied. Or he could be picturing what to him is a “good lover”, and quite often that image lines up with something someone has seen in pornography. Porn wreaks so much havoc with our expectations and with our libido, so that we’re no longer able to take pleasure in being together.
Often when a guy has a genuine sexual issue stemming from unrealistic demands, we women “own” the problem. We start to feel like the issue is with us, as if we aren’t beautiful enough or sexy enough or “nympho” enough. But the problem may not be with you at all. The problem may be that either our society’s warped view of sexuality or past porn use has put images in your husband’s head that make a marriage relationship seem boring.
I don’t know if that’s the case with our letter writer, and I don’t know if that’s the case with you, but I have seen this many times. A husband starts telling his wife she’s awful in bed or that she’s boring or that she’s frigid when really the issue is that he has used porn and robbed himself of the ability to enjoy a regular, healthy sexual relationship in marriage.
So examine yourself and ask, “am I being myself in the bedroom? Am I being vulnerable? Am I letting myself go and having fun?” And if you can say that you are, but he still isn’t satisfied, then perhaps it’s time for a conversation about where this is coming from. What exactly does he want you to be like? Why does he want you to be like that? If he can’t communicate it to you (as this husband seems unable to do), then it’s likely that he’s embarrassed to tell you what’s really going on. And in that case it’s probably good to start asking about past porn use or present porn use.
Other posts you may enjoy:
- My Husband Wants Something in Bed I Think is Gross
- Top 10 Effects of Porn on Your Brain, Your Sex Life, and Your Marriage
- 31 Days to Great Sex has a few big exercises specifically for couples who have porn use in their marriage to confront it, deal with it, and get rid of it. It also has detailed information on how porn hurts your sex life. And then, on Day 23, we talk through how to discuss your sexual boundaries. Then, throughout the book, you’re given a better picture of what sex is supposed to be like–and how sometimes porn and Hollywood can distort our vision of it! Pre-Order it now.
3. What are You Believing about Sex? Maybe we have the wrong view of sex!
When your beliefs have short-circuited sex
I’d like to offer one further possible take on the letter writer’s husband ideas that “if it’s not natural, don’t do it.”
I’ve heard many men express this sentiment, and sometimes it is linked to porn or a warped view of sex that needs to be confronted. But other times it’s linked to the fact that we tend to view the “correct” route to sexual response and sexual arousal as the typically male one–and then label women’s more common response and route to arousal as somehow deficient. Men feel as if women are placated them or putting on a show when it’s simply that women heat up in a different way than men do, and men can feel rejected and hurt when there’s nothing of the sort going on.
I’ve talked a lot about how many (not all) women’s libidos are more responsive than spontaneous: they don’t tend to feel a deep desire for sex until they actually start kissing and touching. They’re not aroused before the start; arousal only kicks in afterwards, and desire after that. It’s Module 1 in my Boost Your Libido course, and many women have told me that that message alone saved their sex lives.
It’s not that these women DON’T want sex; only that they respond to sex differently than their husbands might.
But in our society, “spontaneous” desire is thought of as the proper one, and responsive desire as the deficient one. Orgasming through intercourse is the “right” way, while needing a ton of foreplay means that you’re not really into sex. Women’s common responses are thought of as deficient, while men’s are normal.
This makes women doubt that we’re really sexual, when we in fact are, and it makes men feel as if we don’t really want them or don’t really want sex, when we do–we just heat up differently!
And add to that the additional problem where women can be mentally turned on, and want to have sex, before their bodies are aroused (it’s called arousal nonconcordance, and it’s very common in women), and you get men thinking that we’re faking, when we’re not.
So guys honestly feel, “if it’s not natural, then you’re just faking and forcing yourself, and I want it be natural,” when what they don’t understand is that natural for men and natural for women can look very different. Or, to put it a better way, natural for you and natural for me might look very different, because even among men and among women things aren’t the same and straightforward at all!
The problem is that if a guy has a high sex drive, spontaneous arousal, and little need of foreplay, then he’ll also get constant reinforcement from TV, movies, books, and popular culture that his experience of sex is right, normal, and “real”. If his wife has a lower sex drive, more responsive desire, and lots of need for foreplay, even if she enjoys sex and does reach orgasm, he’ll feel disappointed, like it’s not “real”. Then he’ll feel rejected and disappointed when there’s nothing actually wrong, and she’ll feel nervous and unsexual when there’s nothing actually wrong, either. If they can just accept each other as they are, then they’d likely find that sex was actually quite fun!
If this is you–stop judging each other; and start appreciating each other!
Other posts you may enjoy:
- 10 Things You May Not Know about Arousal in Women
- Can the “Do Not Deprive” Verses apply to women, too?
- 31 Days to Great Sex helps couples understand different routes to arousal–even if he’s the one with the lower sex drive! Day 7 helps you talk through accommodating libido differences, and Days 14-18 help men understand that most women need more than intercourse to reach fireworks! Pre-Order it now.
4. What Are You Believing about Sex? Maybe we have the wrong view of “boring”!
When your relationship has short-circuited sex
The best sex isn’t when we try 10 positions in one night, or when we use sex toys, or when we act out a weird scenario. It’s when you feel completely and utterly one, and when you are open and vulnerable with one another. Intimacy is the best aphrodisiac.
So if sex has become boring, maybe what you need to work on is your prayer life together. Or perhaps you need to start being more vulnerable and sharing more of your dreams and passions for your family. Or maybe you need to talk about some of your fears, and have him share some of his fears, and work on building your emotional connection. Those don’t sound sexy, but in fact couples often find that the best sex comes after you feel so completely and utterly emotionally connected.
We also tend to believe that there is “good sex” and that there is “bad sex”, and that the “goodness” and “badness” is related to how spicy or freaky or totally into it you are. But what if it’s far more about how you feel together?
That’s really what 31 Days to Great Sex will help you see–that sex is holistic. Days 8-11 help you work on your relationship outside the bedroom to feel close before you try to turn up the heat. And Day 20 helps you feel spiritually intimate when you make love–which really is the key to great sex.
Whatever your sex question, those are 4 great lenses to view it through:
- Is it me? Is it a problem with shame, trauma, anger, bitterness, fear, pain, or addictions?
- Is it my spouse? Is it a problem with their shame, trauma, anger, bitterness, fear, pain, dysfunction, or addictions?
- Is it our view of sex? Do we have some real misunderstandings about how sex works for each of us, and are we judging ourselves, rather than appreciating each other?
- Is it our relationship? Do we think of sex only in physical terms, and have we neglected the rest of our relationship? Do we have big relationship problems we haven’t dealt with? Are we trying to tack sex on to a relationship that’s been drifting apart, trying to make up for not knowing each other anymore?
Of course, often (usually?!?) it’s not just one problem; it’s multiple. That’s hard to sort out!
But I hope 31 Days to Great Sex can help, because we take you through sex step-by-step, in a non-blaming and non-judging way, so that you learn what sex is supposed to be like; you stop throwing around ideas like “there’s only one right way to do this”, and you learn to appreciate each other. And, of course, you learn to talk about it, too.
The new-and-improved book launches July 14, but you can pre-order now.
So those are my thoughts on the “boring in bed” question, and I hope they show how, with most sex problems, it’s good to ask yourself which lens (or lenses) fit the problem best.
What do you think? Have you ever secretly wondered if your spouse is bored? How do you spice things up? Or how do you address it if there’s something weird going on? Let’s talk in the comments!
Sheila Wray Gregoire
Founder of Bare Marriage
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