Help, I’m looking for your opinions and perspective, on communication about sexual needs, to do it or not?
I know that my personality and how I would interpret things and what I would expect is coloring my own response to this. I am wondering if this would truly be a good thing to do?
In a study I am doing, I have an assignment of listening to my husband and trying to understand more about his sexual needs. The two questions I am supposed to ask him are:
- Is there anything you feel that I don’t understand about your sexual needs?
- Can you tell me one thing I can do to become a better lover to you?
Further added directions are, “This is really important: whatever he says or doesn’t say, just listen. Don’t get defensive. Don’t hit him with ten more questions. Just listen and thank him for being vulnerable.”
Here are a few thoughts and questions going through my mind:
First, I am pretty sure I know what his answers would be. We have talked about these things, quite a bit. I have actually dedicated much of my life these past 6 1/2 years to understanding my husband and his need, and fulfilling them. Plus we were in counseling a year and a half and covered even broader needs. I don’t think there will be anything new said or revealed here.
Second, I typically don’t ask questions I don’t want to know the answer to, the biggest reason in this situation, is because then I feel this burden, need, or expectancy to actually DO, or act upon, the information I have heard. If I know I can’t do anything to help out, why ask and get hopes up? If I was in the place of my husband, and I was asked these type of questions and I put myself out and share vulnerable information like this, I would expect that person to act upon their new knowledge, and if they didn’t, that tends to send a very clear, and negative, message to me. It would be a rejection of me.
Finally, with all I have shared, would it be fair to my husband, to ask these questions, to stir a hope and expectancy in him, when I know very well, that I may not do anything different than I already am? Yes, he may feel listened to for a time, but will he feel worse and more unloved, when he doesn’t see the changes that these questions stirred a hope for?
I personally prefer actions over words. I get a lot of “talk” and when there’s no follow through, I know the impact and damage it does to me, and I don’t want to do that to another, especially my husband. If I was going off my experience alone, I will skip this assignment, because I only foresee more damage than good. BUT that is why I am asking for your opinion, of those who are created different than me.
What would you want your wife to do if you were in this situation?
You seem to assume that you already know what he’s going to say, and that it’s something you’re unwilling or unable to actually do.
Maybe you should ask the questions and find out what the answers actually are, and maybe this will lead to a dialogue about what you are and aren’t willing (or able) to do . I’d far rather have the conversation and understand why my wife didn’t want to fulfil my desire than live with the frustration of it being unfulfilled.
Yes, I’d want my DW to.
And I think you should ask the questions.
First, it is an assignment. Either you have committed yourself to doing it or your instructor is instructing you to do it (or both). It’s stuff like doing what is asked of you, submission, being open to learning more, suspending your own judgement, looking beyond your present situation, etc.
Second, as David said, you are using your assumptions to avoid. And to rationalize it away.
Third, I’m sure you know your personality and how you likely will feel one way or the other or respond. Perhaps this is an opportunity to go beyond where you are at now and either build on who you are now or enter another/new area of transformation.
Fourth, if you are truly concerned about whether it is fair to your DH or not, then, it might be beneficial to emphasize to him that this is an assignment and that you can’t promise to follow through with all that he might ask, desire, or hope for. (Though he or the instructor might ask, why not?)
So, yah, I’m more for communicating about sexual needs than not.
I get your hesitation regarding the second question. You have consistently made a conscious effort for personal growth in this area. It seems to me that you are already living the spirit of the question.
The first question is a different story. If, as you said, you two have already thoroughly explored this, his answer should simply be “no, you demonstrate a good understanding of my sexual needs.” I don’t see what the problem is in asking this question.
OTOH, if he answers differently, you have an opportunity to learn something. I remember you posting on the old TMB that you really wished your husband understood you, and understood what makes you tick. You felt like he didn’t. Even if our needs aren’t being met to our satisfaction, there is also a desire to at least feel like they are understood. If there is something he feels like you don’t understand, even if you are not prepared to act on it, you can still acknowledge it and validate it, apologize for not being ready to act on it yet but you will keep it in mind, and you appreciate the intimacy of knowing him better.
Permit me to answer (humbly offered to you) your questions from thinking about your story and situation, and then I’ll answer from my own perspective of our marriage bed relationship.
Without asking him these two questions, how about writing out what you believe his answers would be to them? You indicate that through years of conversation and counseling you have a pretty good idea of how he would answer you. Then, think about your response (action) if any to these perceive desires and wants.
Most important you ask, “Would it be fair to my husband, to ask these questions, to stir a hope and expectancy in him, when I know very well, that I may not do anything different than I already am? Yes, he may feel listened to for a time, but will he feel worse and more unloved, when he doesn’t see the changes that these questions stirred a hope for?”
I think you’ve already answered these questions . . . the angst isn’t worth the risk of asking him the two questions.
Would it bother me if Mrs. Oldbear asked me both questions and did nothing to act on my sexual desires or ways to be a better lover? Not at all. It’s somewhat relative for every couple to know and satisfy each other’s sexual needs and wants. For example, she knows that I would love to be treated ravishingly to oral pleasure. Because I know performing oral on me is something she would love to do but can’t do due to a severe gag reflex, I’m perfectly content to never experience that pleasure. We both know we fail to please each other, perfectly. However, we focus on pleasing each as best we can.
I think your assessment is accurate. If you’re not planning to do anything with the knowledge, don’t ask for it.
Not that it’s my business, but it seems to me that the friendship and sense of connection is what needs help in your marriage. Is your husband willing to address his issues, so you naturally have a more intimate, and sexual relationship?
It sounds like you need to have the conversation (as David said) and then address the issues that are brought up…or what you say you refuse to do, with a counselor. Yes, if you’re gonna ask, you need to be ready to listen and figure out the actions needed. Now, if you’re talking immoral choices that’s a different ball of way…BUT you would still need to address them with him. On the other had, you may need to also make some choices about following through and/or finding a way to compromise with his desires IF they are NOT immoral…and are reasonable in a Christian marriage.
@Seeking Change re: do you feel I should ask question #2? You know our current situation better than most.
Hmmmm….knowing that you were recently at your breaking point of “I don’t know if I can do this anymore” I can really see your point on this one. If you’re already facing sexual burnout, talking about “What more can I do” might not the best strategy in your particular situation. I really liked OWM’s suggestion of prefacing it with “This is for an assignment” and managing expectations. I also wonder if you might modify the question: “Is there something I can do differently to be a better lover…” instead of looking at it as adding on something extra, making it about changing or substituting something you’re already doing to make it more effective?
Thank you each for sharing your thoughts, I took them all into consideration. I had decided with SS first post that I definitely ought to ask question #1.
I then figured I would let how that went determine if I would venture into question #2. In the midst of #1, I remembered why I hesitate to ask these kind of things…. you would think it’s a simple enough question and answer, but with my husband I get pelted with many questions and comments, that go every which direction, so I have to constantly focus him back in, to get an actual answer. The answer was what I expected, he does not feel misunderstood and that I understand his needs and desires. And he was making sure that I understood that he was holding back in certain areas for my sake…. which yes, I know that.
I decided to go for Q2, taking the advice of OWM, and I set up his expectations…..”it’s an assignment, and just because I am asking don’t expect changes in the near future.” His answer wasn’t surprising, but I it did go a little different direction than I would have written down.
He appreciates these kinds of talks, and I think the angle I went about it helped prevent the disappointments I was concerned about for him.
@newwifenewlife, maybe I didn’t come across clearly, but there’s a great chance no further actions will be taken immediately, than what I am already doing. (There’s a huge backstory to it.)
Knowing that fact, in your opinion, do you still think it’s best to ask those questions, particularly #2 (because I see ShadowSpirit made a good point), when I know my limitations going into it? The chances are very high that whatever he shares, I will hear and tuck the information away, but won’t act on it immediately, maybe in the distant future, when I am ready.
@ShadowSpirit, I asked in your comments, but will ask here too…. do you feel I should ask question #2? You know our current situation better than most.
Hon, you know I love you. I would say based on your stated motivation, no. You should not have yet another conversation. If you should decide to move forward with it, make sure you are clear with him about why you are talking about it and ask him if there is any hope things will improve.
I would also tend not to make it a sit-down-and-talk kind of thing, but ask in the moment if there is something I can do right then to improve the experience.