Wifey Wednesday: Does Your Husband Want More Variety?

Does Your Husband Want More Variety in Bed? Thinking through the issues...

It’s Wifey Wednesday, the day when we talk marriage! I introduce a topic, and then you follow up either by commenting or by writing your own post and then linking up! On this blog I tend to talk marriage and parenting from a Christian point of view, but I do tackle Christian sex (if there is such a thing), too. So here’s today’s topic: What do you do when your husband wants more sexual variety?

I get a lot of emails about this exact thing, and they tend to go something like this:

My husband wants to do things in bed that I’d rather not. Do I really have to?

Excellent question! So let’s look at some background before I get really practical.

1. Our Bodies are Meant to be Enjoyed!

Honestly, sex is supposed to be fun. God designed us women with the clitoris, a little knobby bit of flesh that has absolutely no purpose except for making sex feel great. And the clitoris even has more nerve endings in it than the penis! So God wanted us to enjoy our husbands sexually. And to me that means there’s a lot of freedom in what we do. The body is not something that we have to be ashamed of. Many women just don’t like thinking about different body parts, and can’t say the names. Now, that’s okay. That really is. I know lots of women who can orgasm during sex but cannot actually say the words for different body parts without blushing.

But I’d encourage you to start thinking more about the wonderful body that God did give you. The whole body is holy, not just parts of it. In fact, the idea that the body was bad and the spirit was good actually came from a cult, not from Christianity. It was Christianity that brought back the idea that the body is actually something beautiful. We’re going to be resurrected with real bodies, based on these ones. God didn’t get rid of the body entirely, or make it just for this earth because He had to. He chose to give us bodies, and bodies are good.

So there is nothing wrong with having fun in bed, and there is nothing unholy about certain body parts or even certain positions. The “missionary position” is not the holy position, which God lets us do just to be nice, while He denies us everything else. In fact, many women who responded to my anonymous surveys for The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex reported that other positions actually felt physically much more satisfying to them.

That doesn’t mean that absolutely EVERYTHING you can do with your body is good or right; some of the degrading things women act out in porn are obviously not okay, and certain sexual practices (like anal sex, for instance) can lead to harmful medical problems. So I’m not saying you have to do everything. But many things that women say no to are perfectly okay!

2. We Aren’t Supposed to be Coerced in Bed

At the same time, sex isn’t supposed to be something which makes you feel uncomfortable or where you feel coerced. If you feel that your husband’s request for sexual variety is really out of sexual selfishness or something dirty or odd, you don’t have to say yes! But if you do say no, then make sure that you make the things that you do feel comfortable with really great for him.

3. We Shouldn’t Enable Any Porn Habits

If part of what your husband wants you to do is sinful in and of itself (like watching porn together), obviously you say no. And if he wants you to act out things he’s seen, be careful, because this could be solidifying some porn addiction. Sex should be something that allows you to connect spiritually and emotionally as well as physically. If you’re concentrating on more and more bizarre sexual practices, then chances are you’ve missed the aphrodisiac qualities that come from making love while you really feel spiritually connected.

4. Men Have Different Sex Drives than We Do

Just because we shouldn’t emulate porn, though, does not mean that everything that your husband wants to do besides missionary position sex is like porn. Remember that men’s arousal works differently than ours. They are very sight oriented, and so they may enjoy things where they get to see more. Different positions can also feel tighter for them, and that can be very physically pleasurable. So they may want to do more things not because they’re perverts but just because it’s really fun for them!

5. Sometimes Women Find one Way that Works and We Want to Stick With It

Let’s face it, girls: having an orgasm during intercourse isn’t the easiest thing to do. It takes a lot of concentration, total relaxation, and the right physical stimulation. Often it takes women years to be able to accomplish this (and many of you reading this haven’t yet), and when you do get it, you want to keep doing it. But since you’ve figured out the way that works for you, you may not want to try other things to mess it up!

There’s nothing wrong with one way, if it feels really good. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t use other things as foreplay!

So with that background, assuming that the sexual variety he wants is something that you’re comfortable with, here are some practical ideas to see your sex life become ramped up:

1. Go to Bed Earlier

It sounds silly, but often the reason that we don’t want “sexual variety”–which usually involves us moving around a little bit more than we’re accustomed to–is because we’re simply tired. Don’t give your husband your leftovers. Every now and then, retire early and have fun. Or make love in the morning when you’re not tired!

2. Have “His” and “Her” Nights

One woman in my survey had exactly this issue. She liked plain old missionary position sex. She tended to orgasm that way, and she liked looking into his eyes. He wanted to try a variety of positions and things and drag it out. So they would make love once her way, and then once his way. And once a month they’d also have “Fantasy Nights” where they stretched each other’s boundaries a bit–within proper limits. He was really happy, but she also got what she wanted. I think that’s a good compromise!

3. Take the Initiative

Sometimes, if you’re nervous about trying something, taking the initiative helps. If you’re the one who is doing it, or you’re the one calling the shots, it may not seem quite so intimidating, silly, or far out. So if you know that your husband would like “more”, then you be the one to arrange it. Spend all day thinking about it. How can you make it really fun for both of you? And then follow through! When you take the initiative and plan, you’ll likely find that you’re looking forward to it, too!

4. Frequency Matters

Finally, The Generous Husband, in a recent post that he wrote on sexual variety in marriage, remarked that many men would rather have plain old sex–if they could simply have it more often. So if you really find stretching your boundaries intimidating, then do what you do enjoy much more frequently! You’ll likely find your husband is very satisfied with that.

Now I know this is a post that will make many uncomfortable. And often I write about regular things, like trusting God with your life, or parenting, or how to forgive. So I’m sorry if this is a little bit too edgy. But the truth is that so many women are asking these kinds of questions, and they don’t have anywhere good to go. The church doesn’t talk about it, and if women turn to other internet sources, they’re going to get lots of bad advice. So I think Christians have to be talking about it! So I hope this hasn’t offended anyone, but I felt like I needed to say it, given how many emails I get on the subject!

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  1. Again, I LOVE that you are willing to tackle such sensitive topics — in such a godly way! Thank you for your ministry, Sheila! I think The Generous Husband has a great point, but at the same time, it may be a case of “try it, you MAY like it!” :-) You have some great suggestions here.
    Sarah S. recently posted…Moving OnMy Profile

  2. Thanks, Sarah! My husband always says that sex is a lot like pizza. When it’s good, it’s really good. And when it’s not so good, it’s still pretty good! I think that’s the way a lot of husbands feel :). But you’re right: try it, you just might like it is a better way to live!

  3. I like what your husband said, Sheila. A girlfriend and I used to joke about “bad sex,” wondering exactly what bad sex was because, hey, it was still sex! (Admittedly, that was pre-new-mommy-coma days.)

    My quick take is that there is a big difference between a dash of variety and bizarre bedroom behavior. The former introduces different positioning, activities, and fun games, etc. into your intimate life. The latter can make you feel like a human sex toy. Sex in marriage is supposed to increase intimacy. Sometimes, however, we gals aren’t willing to be vulnerable in trying something new. Your approach is a great way to look at it!
    J (Hot, Holy & Humorous) recently posted…If Only I Could OMy Profile

    • Thanks, J! Yes, bizarre sexual behaviour is just wrong–and has us ignore the “holier” side of sex. But I think many women assume too many things are bizarre sexual behaviour–when they’re not! Appreciate your willingness to speak up on the subject, too!

    • yeah – i used to wonder what bad sex was also? isn’t all sex good? at least that’s what i think even if you don’t have a happy ending!!!
      nylse recently posted…Experience and ExpertiseMy Profile

  4. Sibongile Ntombela says:

    Good evening (in South Africa) Sheila. Thank you so much for your blogs I enjoy them and learn a lot from them. I just thought I should share with you my thoughts on the issue of divorce, especially when it comes to Christian brothers & sisters. My view is that we should be very carefull & slow to mention divorce as part of the solution for our “difficult” marriages for the simple reason that God hates divorce, also I believe that marriage is at the centre of God’s heart since it was the first relationship He created after creating the Heavens & Earth, and that marriage between Adam & Eve was put under the test by the devil for the couple to defy God, and since then I believe marriages have been under immense attack, the devil is on a big mission to prove to the world that marriages dont work, however I know that prayer changes everything. To stress the point I would like to further refer you to this teaching that I read & agree with all that it teaches.

    Adultery Does Not Give Permission to Divorce: See more info here: http://www.jesus-is-savior.com/Family/Marriage/divorce_is_a_sin.htm.

  5. Hahahaa I love the Salad Bar illustration. You made these points so beautifully. Every time you say that it may take a woman years to have an orgasm, I get sad though. I’m glad for the community here that makes it safe for the gals to ask honest questions and get real answers. And – long live the God-given orgasm.

    • Gina, me too! But from the surveys I’ve found, it does take women on average that long. I’m not sure why, and I hope my book (which goes into how to reach orgasm) helps, but the good thing is that we have decades to get it right!

  6. My husband told me not too long ago in a very blunt discussion we had that he was bored. It was very hurtful to me, as I am always paranoid that if I don’t please him he’s just going to run off with some girl at church who WILL please him. *sigh* So thanks for your posts Sheila. I just pray that God will continue to work on me to be a better wife! (and he is not being unreasonable – nothing bad, just wants more spice and variety) Thanks again.

    • Nicole, it’s great that you want to make your marriage wonderful! But I’m sorry that you fear he’s going to run off! That can’t be a nice feeling. If you don’t mind a suggestion, I’d just say to make sure your friendship is rock solid. Sex is wonderful, and makes men feel loved, but the thing that really keeps you together is being able to laugh together and just enjoy being together. So keep having fun–in bed and out–and hopefully you’ll feel intimate enough that you won’t be so scared anymore.

  7. Great post! The main thing in all of this is communication. We’ve tried some really fun things, and some things that didn’t work so well- things we even ended up laughing about. If you’re open and honest, and keep expectations reasonable, there’s not much between the two of you that won’t be at least interesting to experiment with. My hubby is all for variety! :)
    Christine recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday- HopeMy Profile

    • Yes, Christine, I’ve been there, too, with the things that didn’t work out so well :). But it does bring a lot of laughter, and laughter is good for a marriage!

  8. You share so many great insights here, Sheila. Thanks for challenging us in this very important area of our marriages. Also wanted to let you know that I found you through Pam Farrel’s Tweets. Just thought you’d like to know that your friends in high places like you a lot! :)

    • Awesome! Had a great time getting together with Pam and Bill about a week ago when they were up in Toronto. Wonderful people!

  9. I laughed when I read the intro to your post today, because today WAS indeed my first day to read your blog.
    Thank you for your candid comments on a touchy subject. I think most of us wonder about things, but are certainly afraid to ask. I appreciate hearing the answers to some of my questions in a non-threatening manner.
    Blessings to you!

    • Welcome, Jennifer! It certainly was an interesting day to show up for the first time, wasn’t it?

  10. This one really frustrated me. I ask my husband if there’s anything he’d like to try, and he says, “I don’t know, I guess I’ll have to think about it”, and then he never gets back to me. As you can imagine, that doesn’t do wonders for my self esteem. Apparently he doesn’t think of having sex with me. And our regular sex life isn’t so fantastic that he’s totally satisfied.

    • That’s tough! I guess what I’d say is the two-pronged approach: a great sex life tends to grow out of a good friendship. So really work on laughing with your husband everyday. If you can keep that connection solid, it makes it easier to talk about sex! And then as for sex itself, I’d just take the initiative. If he doesn’t want to try anything new, you always can! But for sex to work well, that connection has to be there between the two of you. So keep working on communication and friendship, and keep trying to connect sexually. I’m sorry it’s so difficult for you right now!

  11. What a great post! I found you through Org Junkie and I’m so glad I did – I can’t wait to read your book when it comes out. I am co-leading a discipleship group of a bunch of college girls and the topic is sexual purity (and sexual issues in general.) As leaders we let them know that any topic is up for discussion and we will be as open and honest with them as we can without crossing any boundaries.

    Two of the girls are now engaged and will be married in June. In today’s group we spent a lot of time talking about honeymoon expectations; what the world conditions us to expect of ourselves and our husbands; what we come to expect based on how the church handles sex; how we have to be open with our husbands about sexual details, etc. I mentioned your book and how excited I am to read it since it promises to be a great resource in an area that is sorely lacking in godly wisdom. The two engaged gals wondered if this would be appropriate for them to read before they get married – I just took a peek at the Amazon page and see that you do say it is appropriate for the newly engaged and new brides, so I will for sure pass this link on!! Who knows, maybe the other group leader and I should purchase one for each of them as a gift. :)

    Thank you for being willing to discuss sex in a godly way!

    • Oh, Erin, that’s so exciting! Listen, it is PERFECT for engaged girls (though it’s good for married ones, too). There’s a whole chapter on the wedding night (which you can just flip through if you’re already married), but I definitely tell girls to get rid of the expectations that this has to be a PHYSICALLY stupendous night, and just focusing on having fun together! I tell them everything they should expect, and how everything works, but my main message is that you’ve got a lot of time to get this right. So don’t pressure yourself about the one night. Just have fun and enjoy being together, and it’ll be awesome!

  12. Sheila,

    Great post. I addressed this issue to husbands recently – How much variety does it take to have enjoyable sex? http://bit.ly/vkXrjZ

    The wife who takes the initiative on a bit of variety is wise, and she more than likely avoids hubby ever getting too frustrated.
    Paul H Byerly recently posted…Having a better marriage – the prayer factorMy Profile

  13. Lemonhead says:

    It frustrates me that it’s always assumed that the husband wants more variety and will be frustrated if he doesn’t get it. I’m the wife and I want more variety in our sex life, but every single thing I ever read is doesn’t apply to my situation at all! Soooo frustrated!!

    • I can understand where you’re coming from. I’ve written before about wives who have the higher sex drive than their husband–you can see the post here: http://tolovehonorandvacuum.com/2011/09/posts-3/. I certainly will address this from the other angle soon; it’s hard to hit everybody in every post. But I know where you’re coming from, and you’re not alone.

  14. What I have a problem with:

    “At the same time, sex isn’t supposed to be something which makes you feel uncomfortable or where you feel coerced. If you feel that your husband is asking something unreasonable, you don’t have to say yes! But if you do say no, then make sure that you make the things that you do feel comfortable with really great for him.”

    So, as women, we need to make up for the fact that we are uncomfortable with something? Why is he suddenly more important than me in this? The way you say this makes it as though the woman saying “no” to something is mean.

    • I would answer it this way, Jane. We should be concerned if our spouse is not enjoying his sex life. We should WANT him to have a good time. If he is unhappy, that doesn’t mean that you have to do everything he wants to do. But you can go that extra mile to make things fun for him in ways that are okay with you. Why wouldn’t you? Yes, I believe that we have an obligation TO EACH OTHER to make our sex life wonderful. He has an obligation to you; you have an obligation to him. To say that he should just “suck it up” isn’t really a recipe for a good marriage! That’s where I’m coming from. So it’s not that he is more important; it’s that as a wife, his satisfaction should be extremely important to us–just as hopefully ours is to him.

  15. My husband wants sex more often, but we cannot get pregnant again. We are 19 years old and already have 2 kids and we are struggling financially already. We do not want to use immoral contraceptives, and we’re practicing the cycle-method and he pulls out, but it hasn’t worked. I know it’s God’s plan whether I should have another child, but is there anything really wrong with using condoms? I have friends in the church who are up to their necks in debt from college and having kids, and we cannot handle another child. I’ve been praying but I’m really worried about being able to raise my children in the stable environment which I wouldn’t be able to with me out of work.

    • Erin, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with condoms. Not at all. But did you see the post on birth control that I wrote? It goes over all the different methods that are available, and the pros and cons. You can also visit Christian Family Planning, which can teach you how to track your cycle really accurately. If you do it right, it does work! They’re right here: http://christianfamilyplanning.net. Condoms during your fertile days are really effective!

  16. Great post !!!!
    My husband wants no variety ! We’ve been married for 40 + years and the last 30 have been sexless and no intimacy at all. The first 10 years or so we maybe had sex a dozen times. He said I was boring, and sex with me wasn’t worth his time. So he just shut it off and moved down stairs so he doesn’t have to be talk and be near me. I’ve been so lonely, unwanted and well I get so upset. I just want some body to hold me so I can just cry. In my 60s now and I’ve accepted the fact that I’ll never have any one to run to. We have a dcent pension and medical benefits. I should have left years ago but its way to late. Theres alot more to the story but I just can’t write any more. Thanks for letting me rant alittle.

    • Oh, Ann, I’m so sorry! That must be so difficult for you. It sounds like the problem is with your husband, and not with you. It is not normal for a man to reject sex like that, so he is the one with the issue. There is nothing wrong with you. I hope that you can surround yourself with good friends and a good church and find some peace, even if it’s not the happiness you originally wanted and thought you were getting. I pray that you’ll find the God who can comfort the most brokenhearted.

  17. In the article, you state,”the idea that the body was bad and the spirit was good actually came from a cult, not from Christianity.”

    What cult are you referring to?