When your Husband is a Selfish Lover: 3 Ways to Talk to Him About It

by | Oct 23, 2020 | Uncategorized | 29 comments

When Your Husband is a Selfish Lover: Three Ways to Talk to Him About It
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What if your husband isn’t interested in doing the work to get you to orgasm?

What if he’s a selfish lover?

We’re in the middle of the our orgasm month, looking at how to help women reach orgasm, all culminating in the launch of The Orgasm Course on Monday (you can pre-order now–the price is discounted the $20 already!).

And all month we’ve been looking at the things that can hold women back from orgasm. On Monday I tried to look at what men who are great lovers tend to do, because I think most men ARE great lovers, and I don’t want to give the impression that I think all guys are bad. But in the end, many women who are married to men who aren’t great lovers felt quite sad by that post.

So I want to take another stab at helping those women by being super practical today. How do you talk to your husband about the fact that sex needs to be good for you, too?

(And the Orgasm Course will cover this–we’ve even got modules for men!)

One woman wrote this:

I’ve been married 8 years and never had an orgasm. The one time I was close hubby sighed and asked, “are you there yet?” Instant mood killer. I wasn’t there, but I was done. I’ve seriously considered asking him that question when I get bored in bed.

So, I’m looking to the course, but entirely unsure how to get my husband on board. He thinks he’s great in bed (based on prior lovers – not my review), I really think those other women were faking, because there’s zero effort to make it feel good for me. I know he doesn’t want to hear that he’s not a good lover, but the fact remains he isn’t. I believe he could be, but I know he won’t be open to this “education” and will see it as a direct assault on his masculinity. On the one hand, I’m so bitter I don’t care: he’s been living in a fantasy world long enough. But on the other, I have sympathy for him, I love him and don’t wish to hurt him. What is a good wife to do?!

So she wants to feel good, but he thinks this is entirely her problem. He thinks he’s a good lover–even though she doesn’t experience pleasure.

Many women write in with this same issue, and as we’re launching the Orgasm Course, I thought it was important to address. After all, if you’re going to take the course, you want him on board (although there’s lots of tips and help even if he’s not!). But ideally, it’s something you do together.

Let’s go back to first principles here before I talk about three ways to address this with your husband.

a. This will not magically get better unless you do something about it.

If he thinks he’s a good lover, and the problem is not with him, nothing will happen unless you make it an issue.

b. You need to believe that you deserve pleasure as much as he does; that your orgasm is as important as his.

It also won’t get better unless you start believing that you were meant for pleasure, too. Your pleasure is not an “extra”. It’s not optional. It’s not a bonus. It’s not that this is something he needs and you don’t need.

You were BOTH created for pleasure. As I’ve talked about repeatedly this month, one of the biggest roadblocks to women reaching orgasm is both men and women believing that his orgasm is necessary, while hers isn’t that important. It’s believing that doing the things that easily bring him to orgasm are necessary (intercourse), but doing the things that are necessary for her to orgasm (foreplay; other stimulation) are optional.

We talk about this in detail in the Orgasm Course, and give you a major pep talk! We show how God actually made your body so that he’s supposed to spend some time on you. We show how the way he made women’s orgasms mean that it’s intended that we will orgasm before him. If you’re struggling with believing this, please check out the course!

c. You need to ask, “am I willing to live with bad sex for the next few decades?”

If the answer is “no”, then the earlier you speak up, the better it will be. The longer it goes on with sex being entirely for him, the harder it is to change it.

And even if you think you ARE willing to live with this–that it’s not worth the hassle and the hurt feelings to talk about this, our survey of 20,000 women showed that this often isn’t sustainable. In the first decade or two, women may be willing to put up with one-sided sex. But the longer it goes on, and the older she gets, the less likely she is to think she deserves this, and the more likely their marriage is to become sexless–or virtually sexless.

The Orgasm Course is Here to Help You Experience Real Passion!

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With that being said, how do you address the fact that your husband is being selfish in bed?

Here are three levels of conversations you may need to have:

1. Assess the Situation: Is this something he understands, or is there a reasonable chance he doesn’t know that anything is wrong?

Let’s say that you were both virgins when you married–or at least you had very little experience. You had intercourse, because that’s what you were supposed to do. It felt amazing for him, but not for you, but you appreciated feeling close to him and finally “doing it”, so you told him that you enjoyed it (and this is what Christian books tell women to do–tell their husbands how great it is, even if it’s not, because that’s how he feels loved. More on that in The Great Sex Rescue!). Let’s say that as time goes on, he tries a bit to make you feel good, but you feel nothing, so you tell him, “it’s okay, I just like being with you,” and you let him go ahead.

He honestly may not understand that sex hasn’t been good for you. He may not even understand that women are supposed to orgasm, too, or that intercourse doesn’t tend to be the thing, in and of itself, that feels best for women (though it can! And we talk about that in the Orgasm Course, too).

In that case, a conversation where you gently tell him how you’re feeling, and give him a picture of what you’d like from your life, is the best route:

Honey, I want to have an amazing, passionate sex life with you, but I feel as if we’re missing out on a lot because we’ve never figured out the orgasm piece for me. I know that I’ve said that it doesn’t really matter, but I think it actually does. I’d like to take some time to figure this out, and there’s a course I’d love to work through together so that we can have that amazing sex we’ve always wanted.

Will this be easy for him to hear? Maybe not–even likely not. He’s likely to be embarrassed, because it is embarrassing to realize that something you thought was amazing was not experienced that way by your wife. It’s embarrassing to realize that she hasn’t been having the fun that you assumed she was having.

He may get his back up. He may protest.

That’s okay. He has the right to his feelings.

And if you’ve been telling him it’s been awesome while it hasn’t been, you may also owe him an apology. Even if you were simply trying to make him feel better, you were deceiving him, and he had no way of knowing that it wasn’t good for you.

With all that being said, though: Just because his ego is hurt, or he is embarrassed, does not mean that you have to back down. Your pleasure is still more important than his ego. 

Say to him, “I understand that you’re hurt, and if you need some time to process this, please take it. But when you’re done, I’d like to do some work on figuring out the orgasm piece for me, because I love you, and I want us to experience real passion together.” If you’re married to a good guy, he’s very likely to come around and to want to do this with you.

And if he’s not? Then it’s time to:

2. Have that Difficult Conversation: I want a passionate, mutual sex life, and we need to learn how to prioritize my orgasm as well

What if your husband isn’t willing to do the work, even after that initial conversation, or what if you’ve repeatedly brought this up to him, and he tells you that the problem is with you? What if you’re married to someone like our commenter, who says that “all the other women I’ve been with had no complaints”, so the issue is entirely yours?

Once again, it’s okay to stand up for yourself. It’s okay to advocate for your own pleasure. You can say:

Honey, our sex life for years has been focused on you receiving an orgasm, and you haven’t been doing things that help me get there, too. You seem to expect me to be able to reach orgasm on my own, but that’s not how this works. I don’t believe that I’m broken; I think this is something that we need to learn together. I find it difficult that you think it’s okay to have sex with me where you receive pleasure, but I don’t, and that you don’t think this is worth working on. Please understand: I want to have amazing sex with you. I want to have a passionate sex life with you. But I can’t do this alone.

(and if your husband says that other women had no complaints, you can add:)

I understand that those women didn’t complain. But  you didn’t marry them. You married me. I am the one that you vowed to have and to hold. And so I am the one that you need to figure out. Can we put those women in the past, and focus on loving each other now? I don’t appreciate being called broken because I don’t measure up to your past lovers. I would appreciate instead that you dedicate yourself to learning how I work, because I am your wife, and I am the one that God told you to love.

Will he take this well? Again, he may not. Because our idea of intercourse=sex is so ingrained, and because we assume that his experience of sexuality is the “right” one, and she just needs to catch up, we’re used to blaming women for their own lack of orgasm. And women do this, too! We women often blame ourselves–that’s WHY we don’t speak up for so long.

But it is not okay for a man to knowingly have one-sided intercourse with his wife and deny her pleasure. Then he is depriving her. He is being selfish. And you are not required to keep having one-sided sex with someone who does not consider your needs, because this isn’t biblical sex. Sex the way the Bible talks about it is mutual, pleasurable, and intimate. You are a person to love, not a body to use. You are not required to continue to let him use your body while he ignores your experience. This is not encouraging him to look more and more like Jesus. This is encouraging selfishness. And so, if he refuses to engage even after this difficult conversation:

3. Draw Boundaries around what you are willing to tolerate: Say no to selfish, bad sex

If, after that conversation, he still refuses to work on it, and still says the problem is with you, then it’s okay to start drawing boundaries. Ask yourself, “what am I willing to tolerate for the next few decades, or for the rest of our marriage?” If you do not take a stand, it is very, very likely that the sex you are having now is the same kind of sex you will have from now on. You need to decide if you’re willing to live with that, because you do not have to. The Bible does not ask us to sacrifice our own well-being for someone else’s selfishness. No, the Bible shows that God wants mutual, passionate sex for BOTH of us. So it’s okay if you decide that you will not tolerate being used anymore.


For more about how the Bible shows sex to be mutual, intimate, and passionate, check out The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex!


You can say:

I understand that you don’t think my pleasure is your problem, or your priority. However, I am no longer willing to have selfish, bad sex. If sex isn’t feeling good for me, and I speak up and ask you to do something else, and you don’t, then I’ll be saying no to continuing sex. But if you will work with me to figure out how my body works, and to work on my sexual response, I will gladly make love to you!

Remember, this is not you refusing sex. This is you refusing to be used.

You are not saying no to sex; you are simply saying no to a one-sided encounter where you are not considered. That is not intimate; that erases you as a person.

And then, when you are having sex, if he rushes to intercourse before you’re ready, stop him, and say, “I’m not ready yet. Let’s slow down and try some other things.” If he says no, then say, “Well, I’m done for the night.” And stick to it. Or if he tries something and he isn’t doing it in a way that stimulates you, you can say, “can we try it like this?” Or you can move his hand. If he gets upset and refuses to change, then, again, it’s okay to say, “Well, we can try again tomorrow then,” and stop.

You do not need to consent to one-sided sex. Always let your husband know that you are more than willing to have sex if it’s about both of you; that you want a passionate sex life; that you want to discover pleasure. You are not saying no to sex. You are simply saying no to being used.

(Please note: If doing this would result in violence on his part, or any other kind of abuse, please call the national domestic abuse hotline, or the police).

I think most men honestly want to bring their wives to orgasm!

I think there may be some bruised egos if you bring this up, but most guys are good guys, and most guys want to bring their wives pleasure.

  • And you have the right to pleasure as much as he does.
  • His ego is not more important than your pleasure.
  • You were created for pleasure!

If your husband does not understand this, or if you find yourself in the category where you have to start saying no to one-sided sex, please also see a licensed counselor.

But I think most guys, if you talk about this in a kind way where you make it clear that your aim is mutual, passionate sex–most guys will be totally on board!

And if they are–The Orgasm Course is for them, too! With modules that help them understand how to unlock orgasm for you, that go along with what you’ll be learning, you’ll both feel hope and passion again.

What do you think? What would you say to a man who isn’t interested in bringing his wife to orgasm, or doesn’t realize he should be? Let’s talk in the comments!

Sheila Wray Gregoire

Sheila Wray Gregoire

Founder of Bare Marriage

Sheila is determined to help Christians find biblical, healthy, evidence-based help for their marriages. And in doing so, she's turning the evangelical world on its head, challenging many of the toxic teachings, especially in her newest book The Great Sex Rescue. She’s an award-winning author of 8 books and a sought-after speaker. With her humorous, no-nonsense approach, Sheila works with her husband Keith and daughter Rebecca to create podcasts and courses to help couples find true intimacy. Plus she knits. All the time. ENTJ, straight 8

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Sheila Wray Gregoire

Author at Bare Marriage

Sheila is determined to help Christians find biblical, healthy, evidence-based help for their marriages. And in doing so, she's turning the evangelical world on its head, challenging many of the toxic teachings, especially in her newest book The Great Sex Rescue. She’s an award-winning author of 8 books and a sought-after speaker. With her humorous, no-nonsense approach, Sheila works with her husband Keith and daughter Rebecca to create podcasts and courses to help couples find true intimacy. Plus she knits. All the time. ENTJ, straight 8

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29 Comments

  1. Jeff

    I truly believe God made ALL of us to LOVE sex. It is not something like a weird food that some people like and some don’t. If we ALL (men and women) get our hearts AND minds AND attitudes to the place he wants us to be in him, everyone should be able to enjoy what HE has created for US both men AND women.
    Guys – if you are not doing your part – SHAME ON YOU!
    Women – if you are not doing your part – SHAME ON YOU!
    When we work as a TEAM (no I in TEAM) God can and will bless us.

    Reply
  2. L

    I will be honest, I’m not sure I like the use of “selfish lover” in this post and the whole idea behind it. If women have been wrongly taught for so long, then men have too…so why not consider them as uneducated/unknowing, instead of selfish? I feel like it has to be really deliberate to be selfish.
    I’m sure there are a bunch of us who fall into a category where both we and our husbands have been trying, but it hasn’t happened. Maybe we do give up too soon, even if it has been 30-40 minutes of foreplay. I also know my attitude contributes a lot, and I’m often scared of how things will go (fearing: badly with no arousal, lots of awkwardness, a reversion to thinking of how weird sex really is) and that is a piece I struggle with overcoming. When I’m in that fear cycle, everything freezes.
    This gives great tips on how to phrase things with your husband, though. Thank you for that.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Hi L! I think in your situation, that’s not selfishness at all, though. If you’ve been trying, and he’s trying, too, that’s very different.
      I actually think it’s important to use the term selfish, though, because I think that women feel so badly standing up for their own pleasure–as if THAT is selfish. And sometimes we have to realize that what is happening is actually wrong. Even if it’s not intentionally selfish (which may very well be the case in conversation 1), after that it really is, and I’ve had so many women tell me that their husbands refuse to do foreplay, just refuse, because it shouldn’t be necessary. Perhaps that’s partly because they’re uneducated, but the result is selfish. And I think we need to normalize seeing this as selfish.
      Imagine what would happen if churches started telling men, “having sex with your wife and not doing any foreplay and reaching orgasm when she never does is selfish.” We’d do so much good in so many marriages! But what’s happening instead is that we’re lecturing women on not depriving their husbands without also saying that there should be an expectation that he tries to make her feel good.
      Does that make sense?
      I do think there’s been such wrong teaching for so long, and so many are in the dark. But I really want women to realize that they aren’t being selfish for wanting something else, and just telling women, “you deserve pleasure” doesn’t seem to do it that well!

      Reply
      • L

        I thought about this post and my comment all morning, and before reading your reply, was going to tell you to please feel free to delete it. You’re right – it is selfishness. To all the wives experiencing this, I’m so sorry. You deserve much more, and I hope Sheila helps empower you to have these difficult conversations.

        Reply
        • Sheila Wray Gregoire

          Oh, don’t worry about it at all! I just think wives need to learn that it honestly isn’t okay. We’re so programmed to bolster men’s egos that we often forget we have legitimate needs. I still think perhaps selfish was too harsh a word (you definitely had a point where ignorance is involved), but I think the results are still selfish.

          Reply
      • A different L

        So what about when a husband was a selfish/ignorant lover (for the first 5 years), but finally after a year of sex deprivation decided to reciprocate during sex. He admitted he was being selfish and lazy and apologized for it. Now it’s been another 5 years, and he will bring me to orgasm most times, but those have been boring, blah years of sex, because every time he gives me an orgasm I feel like he’s doing it out of obligation, just so I will keep giving him sex. Maybe he is, maybe he isnt. I’m afraid to ask, because I do believe it’s possible, but theres always the chance its still just ignorance. I just dont know if I could take the rejection again of hearing that I just havent been worth more effort. I love him dearly. He’s kind, gentle, forgiving, and giving to me in most ways, but he doesn’t make spending time or complimenting me a priority except rarely, both of which I have requested repeatedly. We were both virgins when we married, and my drive has always been higher. I waited around 30 years for sex, only to be deprived of a fulfilling sex life in marriage. It’s depressing, but sometimes I think it’s just the way my life will have to be.

        Reply
    • Doug Hoyle

      I tend to agree with this. If someone is being selfish, then of course they should be called out. If someone is genuinely unknowing, then they should be taught without a negative label attatched to their ignorance. None of us has a clue of what we are ignorant of. That is the nature of ignorance. For the most part, barring influences that really should not be part of our marriage bed, the only real education we get is that from our spouses. If they have not spoken up, or worse yet, led us to believe that everything is great when it isn’t, then they bear a large portion of the responsibility for the state of things.
      If they have spoken up withoit results, then it is pretty easy to see where the problem lies.
      Some people, men and women, are intuitively good lovers. That doesn’t mean the rest are selfish.

      Reply
      • Sheila Wray Gregoire

        I’d agree it doesn’t mean the rest are selfish, Doug.
        But I also have a very hard time understanding how a man can have sex with a woman for years when she isn’t reaching orgasm, and not realize that perhaps there is a problem. No matter how ignorant he may be. In the Orgasm course, we do explain that with the way we define sex, it does make it sound as if her pleasure is an “extra” and not necessary. But I still wonder–why would a guy not think something is up? Like really, why would he think only he should feel good?
        Anyway, I hope these conversation starters help women break the ice with their husbands!

        Reply
        • Doug Hoyle

          I really hope it starts some fruitful dialogue as well. I agree that it is needed.
          In response to your question, “why would a guy not think something is up? Like really, why would he think only he should feel good?”
          There are a lot of answers to the first, and I refer back to what I said in my earlier comment. Most of us know what we are taught by our spouses. If we really do try, and all we ever hear is “don’t do that”, rather than, “could you please try this” then eventually you will stop trying. Of course, that isn’t a universal problem, but very common. In other cases, trying to determine when your spouse is even receptive to her own orgasm can be a huge puzzle. I an rebuked for going there much more often than it is welcomed. It is something I value, so I persist against the odds. Another possible issue is a spouse who isn’t entirely comfortable with what gives her an orgasm. I know what works for my wife better than anything else, but she would not in a thousand years ask for it. To her there is an “icky” connotation attatched to it. I only realized it by accident, after it had been off the menu for over 30 years. I just happened to remember something we did very early in our marriage, and her response. On a whim I decided to see what would happen if I tried it again, and 30 years later, it was the same. The point is, I really expected to be rebuked. Now it is a regular part of our love making… when she lets it happen. It could have been all along.
          Your question really is a good one. Brilliant, actually. In the other hand, it loses all value if it isn’t asked in ernest search for truth.
          You think sex is complicated for women and I agree. It is no less complicated for men.

          Reply
  3. Charissa

    This has not been an issue for my marriage – but I really appreciate these scripts. Some of the prior podcasts had a bunch of God language in there – “God wants us to have a passionate sex life, and we’re missing out on what he wants for us!” And honestly that always felt kind of gross and manipulative to me. That might be true – but right now the point is what YOU want. Putting it in God’s court is a way of outsourcing your own desires for your marriage – and even if it’s true, I often find that communication unhelpful. It ends up feeling like one spouse is playing the God trump card, and now we’re arguing about if God actually wants that. Owning your own desires and your own boundaries makes the conversation less manipulative and more honest. I also really appreciated both the clear explanations of how to implement the boundaries – and the encouragement to call a DV hotline or the police if a husband responded abusively. Thanks for covering all those bases!

    Reply
  4. Andrea

    I would add to the husband who claims his past lovers “had no complaints” that studies started in the 1960s by Masters and Johnson have consistently showed that 70% of women fake orgasms. The only thing that has changes is that back when M&J first did their research, 100% of men claimed no woman has ever faked it with them, while today 80% of men claim no woman has ever faked it with them. So, no progress when it comes to women faking orgasms in the last half century, and a little bit of progress as to men realizing that most women fake orgasms. Sigh.
    On the topic of male ego, if you want to see just how bad it can get, Larry Solomon of Biblical Gender Roles says faking orgasm to make your husband happy is OK because lying is not always bad, like when the Hebrew midwives lied to the pharaoh and disobeyed his orders to kill male newborns. Lying to your husband about his sexual competency in order to spare his ego is equivalent to lying in order to prevent genocide. Double sigh.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Oh, Andrea, that’s so gross! (And, yes, I’d agree. The other women could very well have been faking).
      I’d also add that as bad as Larry Solomon is, many, many Christian books that we reviewed for The Great Sex Rescue almost said the same thing. They didn’t tell women to fake, but they did say that their husbands couldn’t be satisfied unless they felt that their wives enjoyed it–and so it was very, very important to show your husband you enjoyed it. But the books did not ALSO say that it’s very important for the husband to make sure she enjoys it. I can see how that creates a situation where women feel they should fake it.

      Reply
  5. Jane Eyre

    “(and if your husband says that other women had no complaints, you can add:)”
    You are so much kinder than I am, Sheila. If a man says that he gave pleasure to his ex-girlfriends that he doesn’t think his wife is entitled to, he’s being a (donkey). The fact that he figured out his ex-girlfriends but not his wife means he has a bigger problem, not a smaller problem.
    “So what you’re telling me is that it was important to you that Katie, Amanda, and Emily orgasmed, but not that I do. And I’m your wife. Wow. You actually think it makes things better and not worse? You know how to bring multiple women to climax but do not care to do that for me.”

    Reply
  6. Chris

    Sheila, I want to challenge you. Go back, rewrite this post, and make one substitution. Each time you use the word “ego”, replace it with “feelings”. Women are taught since girlhood ti be nice and not hurt others feelings, but when it’s men’s feelings, just call it ego and bob’s your uncle!

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Chris, we’re talking about a situation where a man is using his wife for pleasure without paying any attention to what she is feeling. This is a very serious thing. I think the concern here should be for the woman who has been ignored.
      And, yes, Christian books have told women to boost men’s egos. That’s what it’s about. To boost how they feel about themselves, rather than to make sure that the relationship is healthy. We deal with this at length, using lots of quotes, in The Great Sex Rescue. The emphasis has been on making men feel good about themselves (not preserving feelings or being nice; actually making men feel good about themselves) regardless of what the men are actually doing. It’s what encourages women to fake orgasm, frankly.

      Reply
      • Doug Hoyle

        “Chris, we’re talking about a situation where a man is using his wife for pleasure without paying any attention to what she is feeling.”
        “It’s what encourages women to fake orgasm, frankly.”
        Which is it Sheila? It can’t be both. A man who is deceived by his wife is just that. He is deceived. There is another word for that. It is called a lie. You are sitting there blaming the lie of one person on what you assume the reaction of another person would be, yet in the post, you admit that most men would gladly get on board if they were shown. I’m curious. Where did wives learn to fake orgasms before all these books that tell them to? It’s been going on for awhile. What about the women who never read those books? Where did they learn it.
        I really want to get behind you and support you. I think that what you are trying to do is both good and important. But you seem hellbent to place blame on men, even if they are lied to by their wives. I mean, clearly it is the mans ego at fault.
        Here is a news flash. the vast majority of men do not want their wives to lie to them about having an orgasm. If they care at all, and I grant to you that a small minority don’t seem to, then they want their wives to actually have one. Do men want to believe that they are good lovers, absolutely. Is it because of ego, maybe a little bit, but much more importantly, they want to know they are pleasuring their wives. I have a huge ego, tho I am trying to cut it down to size. Historically, I have fed it with accomplishments. Not what someone else thought I did, but those things I knew I did, and no one could deny. As big as my ego was, I was and always have been my own harshest critic. Quite honestly, if I was lied to like that, I would be furious. By all reasonable measures, your husband is a very accomplished individual. Do you believe he would feel better about himself if someone lied to him about his accomplishments, and tried to make them grander than they were. Somehow, I doubt that. Most men wouldn’t, tho I admit there are some who feed more on false praise than honesty.
        You must think very poorly of men. Somehow, there always has to be a villain where you are concerned, and it is always going to be a man. Even when women do things that are wrong, somehow there is a man to blame, if not directly, then because they are such fragile creatures and have to be lied to by their wives.
        (not preserving feelings or being nice; actually making men feel good about themselves)

        Reply
        • Sheila Wray Gregoire

          Doug, in answer to your question–it’s both. both the quotes are true, and here’s why: The books talk about how important it is for a husband that a wife feels good in bed, because he WANTS her to feel good–but then the very books put the responsibility for her feeling good on her shoulders. So she must feel good on her own, and she must show him he feels good, because he needs her to feel good. It’s all very warped.
          Doug, we’re talking about a situation where men are not paying any attention to their wives’ pleasure. That’s what we’re talking about. We’re not talking about marriages where men try to make their wives feel good; we’re talking about situations where men pay no attention to what their wives are feeling.
          I do NOT think all men are terrible. Of course I don’t! That’s why I wrote the post on Monday. And, in fact, the majority of women DO reach orgasm regularly. We’re not talking about those husbands.
          But, yes, if you are a husband who is using your wife, and never caring about her pleasure, that is wrong. I do think that often it is a situation that can be fixed relatively easily, and the first conversation starter that I used in this post I hope would do that for the vast majority of men. I do not think that most men honestly don’t WANT their wives to receive pleasure. I think you’re right–that most are ignorant.
          But being ignorant is not necessarily a morally neutral thing, especially given the impact that it is having on the marriage. Maybe instead of trying to excuse men here we could encourage more men to actually want to bring their wives pleasure? Maybe we could spend more time acknowledging the vast amount of pain that there is in these marriages on the women’s part? Quite frankly, I don’t understand how, for the last two months, I have been talking about how many women are completely ignored sexually, and yet what so many men want to talk about is men’s feelings.
          I don’t think the orgasm gap will ever be closed until men’s feelings stops being the primary go-to issue that men jump to when things like this are brought up, and until the injustice of so many women’s sexual experience in marriage is given the importance it deserves.
          If the main message women are hearing is–“but remember men’s feelings!!!!” then how are women ever going to feel that they will be able to speak up assertively about their own pleasure? Remember that one of the main things keeping women back from orgasm is feeling as if their pleasure is secondary to what their husbands are feeling. All you’re doing here is reinforcing that.
          WHY don’t women speak up and say that something doesn’t feel good? Because they’ve been told that what men need is more important–his orgasm is more important; his feeling that he is a good lover is more important. And yet, one of the #1 predictors of orgasm is women speaking up during sex when it doesn’t feel good, without worrying what their husbands will think.
          I think the primary message here should be: You deserve pleasure; you need to, and you should, speak up if your husband has been ignoring your pleasure. It is not okay to be treated that way.
          I know you agree with this, but you always throw it in a caveat, in a throwaway line, while your main message is men’s feelings. That is not going to solve the problem. Women have already been concerned about men’s feelings. And we have a huge orgasm gap. Let’s give women’s feelings in this case the main emphasis, and maybe we’d see some change actually happen.

          Reply
          • Doug Hoyle

            Sheila,
            I am not the one who brought feelings into it. That was you when you implied that mens egos are why women decieve them. I am telling you that is a lie. I’m not telling you anything about my feelings, other than to say I would be pretty furious if my wife did that. I would be more angry to learn that she felt the need to lie because she believed my ego so fragile, and essentially blamed me for the lie.
            So let me just say this. Wives, quit lying to your husbands. Quit lying to yourselves. Men are not fragile creatures that need their egos falsely built up by women. In the other hand, men genuinely want to be esteemed honored and respected by their wives. Where they fall short, help them to get there. Don’t lie to them, whether that is in the bedroom or other areas of your marriage. If you married someone who truly does need those lies on some level to feel good about himself, then help him see truth. Help him see his true value because it is hidden from him.

          • Sheila Wray Gregoire

            Doug–what you’re saying for me to tell women is pretty much what I did tell them in this post.

          • Lisa Johnson Scott

            TEAM REBECCA on hijacked comment section.

          • Sheila Wray Gregoire

            HA! (This is an inside joke from the comments on Facebook! I’ll write a post about it soon.)

      • Charissa

        ^ THIS. Asking a woman to center her husband’s feelings when SHE is the one being used and neglected is the entire reason posts like this are necessary to begin with.

        Reply
        • L

          Maybe the men who are having trouble understanding what is being explained should read the original, poorly-written books that have formed whole generations of Christian women. It is very strange how comments above can say “women don’t fake orgasm to spare their husband’s feelings” — and yet, that is why women say they are. Sheila and her team just surveyed 20,000 women. They would know.

          Reply
  7. Anonymous

    I’m the OP. Thank you, Sheila, from the bottom of my heart for your suggestions. I plan to work through all of them. I follow you on Facebook and I’m leaning toward Team Rebecca after this thread flew off the rails. 😉 You’re doing something important and very valuable here. You’ve already saved my marriage once, and someday I hope I can tell you the whole story.

    Reply
  8. Marie

    I have had a number of conversations about sex not being fulfilling for me over the past 5 or 6 years. But my husband’s response is almost always the same, “Well, I guess I’m just a terrible husband.” “I just can’t make you happy.” “I’m just a lousy lover.” “Maybe you made a mistake marrying me.” “There’s nothing I can do about it.”
    Maybe I’m not giving him clear enough ideas….maybe I’m trying to communicate too much. But it still seems like the bottom line for him is that there’s nothing he can do. He doesn’t seem to have any interest in searching out answers or actively taking responsibility. I just don’t know how to move forward.
    He’ll try a few things if specifically recommended, but soon gives up. Or if he tries something and I’m still not excited about sex, he’ll get upset that “it didn’t work”. So now I don’t even want to suggest changes because then there’s pressure that everything needs to be fixed if he tries what I say.
    I’m just so discouraged and don’t know which way to go. I like the idea of the orgasm course but feel like it could end up being more of the same pattern.
    Any suggestions?

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Hi Marie! I actually think The Orgasm Course may help, especially if you get the husbands’ edition to go along with it. It’s not as long as the woman’s, but it definitely says, “this is not her fault. You need to deal with it and stop making her feel broken/guilty.” He may just need that tough love. But also, if he keeps saying that, it’s okay to say, “I understand that you feel inadequate and attacked when I say that I want more from sex. That is not my intention. I simply want to make this great. I would appreciate it if you would think less about your own feelings and more about me, since I’m the one who isn’t reaching orgasm. I’m not trying to attack you, and if you didn’t take it as a personal attack, I think we could have some fun! But that can’t happen if you’re defensive about it.” And then if he gets upset, then you can say, “I’m sorry you’re upset, but I hope you understand that it is me who didn’t orgasm, not you. Until we’re able to really figure this out, I think I’d like a hiatus.” You don’t have to keep having sex that does nothing for you when he isn’t really working on helping you feel good. Biblical sex is mutual and passionate; if he isn’t interested in the mutual part, then he’s ignoring the Bible. But I do hope the Orgasm Course can help you. I think it can!

      Reply

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