Reader Question of the Week: My Husband Wants Something in Bed I Think is Gross

Reader Question: What do I do if my husband never tries to fulfill me sexually? Every week I try to answer a Reader Question. I’ll give my own thoughts, and then you all can comment, too!

Here’s a really common question I get:

My husband wants something in the bedroom that I think is just gross. (editor’s note: she spelled out what it is; I want to leave this vague so that my answer applies to more people’s situations! So if you’re struggling with this, insert your own idea here). Do I have to do it?

Great question!

My quick answer would be, “No.” Sex is supposed to be mutual. It isn’t supposed to be selfish. But that being said, here are just a few thoughts to help you figure this out in your particular situation:

My Husband Wants Something I Think is Gross1. Dare Yourself to Make What You Do Enjoy Awesome

It’s honestly okay to say no to some things in the bedroom. Vaginal intercourse–no, you can’t say not to that (I mean IN GENERAL–like you can’t say “we can never do this”, though of course you can say no on certain nights. I’ve got more on that here). Intercourse is the height of intimacy. But other things? Absolutely. No one has to do everything.

But if you do say no, I just dare you to make the things you are comfortable with awesome for your husband! Really throw yourself into it. Dedicate yourself to having a fulfilling sex life–which means getting yourself in the right frame of mind so you can enjoy it, too. If you’re really struggling with this, pick up the 31 Days to Great Sex. It’s only $5. And seriously, it will help. This is what it was written for!

2. Ask Yourself, “Is it Sinful?”

If your husband wants something you don’t, ask yourself, “is it sinful?” Now be careful here, because we often assume that because we don’t like something it must be sinful. But I don’t think the Bible calls very many things sinful in marriage. Anything involving a third party (porn, affairs, fantasizing about a football team): sinful. Enjoying each other’s bodies: nope. (now I think there are things which are definitely a bad idea that don’t involve a third party; but I’m still not sure they’re sinful. I think they’re more in the “everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial” category).

Why is this important to determine? Because sometimes we’re quick to label things sinful and then we cut things out of the bedroom entirely. And we also start to think of our husbands as perverts. It honestly is okay to say “no”. But just be honest and if it ISN’T sinful, realize that you’re saying no because you don’t find it appealing, not because he’s a pervert. That’s an important distinction!

And sometimes by realizing it isn’t sinful (if it’s something that isn’t), it does help us stretch ourselves a bit. And for many couples, that can be a good thing!

3. Be Careful of Porn’s Influence

Maybe the answer to “is it sinful” honestly is yes, though. Then what?

Then you just need to talk about this. And I think it’s a really good idea to ensure that he’s not using porn. Porn fuels the desire for things that are sinful, and lessens the appeal of being truly intimate. If your husband is using porn, start here and read on about what to do about it.

4. Be Careful of Substituting Other Things for Intercourse

One thing I’ve found with couples who explore a little more is that sometimes that thing that one of you wants to do starts taking over. Let’s say he enjoys something else more than he does intercourse, and he starts asking for that. In fact, he’d prefer it. This is really dangerous.

I’m all for play! I think play is great–hence the term foreplay. But it is FOREplay. It shouldn’t be the whole thing.

That doesn’t mean it can NEVER be the whole thing, but if another sexual act becomes your regular sexual encounter, rather than vaginal intercourse, there’s a real danger and a problem. Now sometimes, when health concerns arise, that’s necessary, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But intercourse was designed to unite us spiritually as well as physically; we’re supposed to be feel one. Sex isn’t supposed to be about getting the greatest orgasm; it’s supposed to be about feeling close. Now, when we feel close the physical ALSO tends to feel better. But our pornographic culture has really infiltrated the bedroom so much that we almost use each other more than we make love to each other. I don’t think that’s a good dynamic.

So if you want to explore, that’s great! But make it about play, not about replacing intimacy.

5. Have His Nights/Her Nights

If there’s something he likes that you’re willing to do, but you really don’t like it, consider once a month having his nights/her nights. Once a month you’ll make love totally for him, and once a month for her. And then the other times you’ll just do it as you prefer to together.

That way he doesn’t feel deprived, but you both get what you want. Maybe your night starts with a long back massage. That’s totally fair!

If, of course, you absolutely CAN’T do it, see #1. That’s totally fine. But if you just dislike it, here’s another way to handle it.

6. Open Up to Him Yourself

The hardest thing for many women is telling their husbands what they’d like in the bedroom. Sometimes it’s because we just don’t know. Sometimes it’s because we’re shy. Sometimes we’re ashamed.

31 Days to Great SexAnd so we clam up, and we don’t tell him what feels good, or what we like, or what gets our engines going. And so then the only way he has of spicing things up is going with his own fantasies.

But what often really arouses a man is understanding what arouses his wife. If you can become more in touch with yourself, and more open with him, you might find that this “thing” he wants diminishes in importance because he feels closer to you and you are being more exciting in the bedroom. Again, that’s what the 31 Days to Great Sex is for. It gets you talking about this stuff! But I’d really urge you to try and open up. You really do feel incredibly close when you do that, and that’s part of what makes sex so intimate!

So there you go. Six points to hopefully provide some balance to this issue, from very different points of view. I hope you can glean something from that that’s helpful! And now you all can comment.

By the way, it’s my birthday today! I’m heading out with hubby tonight overnight, and we’re going to do some major nature walks/bird watching tonight and tomorrow. If you want to give me a birthday present, can you like my Facebook Page (if you don’t already?) I’d love to get to 10,000 fans today! And tell your friends about it, too!

The Good Girl's Guide to Great Sex

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  1. Happy Birthday!

  2. Great points, Sheila! I would add one more step. Pray about it. When Hubby & I talked about it, we made lists of things we like in the bedroom & thinks we’d like to try. We honestly went through the lists & said which ones we would never do & which ones we might try. I asked Hubby to not mention those things for a few months to give me time to pray over it.

    As I prayed, a few things I still had issues with. But with most things, I found it was either a preconceived notion it was sinful (no one ever talks about these things) or it was a odor/cleanliness issue. On the later, it helped to ask Hubby to shower before we moved on. We then had some exploratory nights (his & her). During those nights, the one “driving” was to try some things from the other person’s list. The other person was not to say anything except to say if it felt good or if it didn’t. No coaxing the explorer to do something! It was a safe environment for me to relax & venture outside my comfort zone.

    Over the last 22 1/2 years, God has changed my heart on a lot of things that I hated when we first got married. God has also removed some things that Hubby wanted from that list that I just could not do. Pray about those issues & communicate, communicate, communicate with your spouse!
    Lea recently posted…God is FaithfulMy Profile

  3. KellyK(@RNCCRN9706) says:

    Happy Birthday Sheila!! Hope you have fun with your hubby tonight!!

    SO for the topic of the day, I’d say that if one spouse is totally put off by the thing the other spouse wants to try then it’s a no-go. If the other spouse is persistent, I’d offer that maybe try it once and if you still don’t like it, that’s ok.

  4. forgedimagination says:

    Just a quick note: I think it’s important to be very clear when you make statements like “you can’t say no to vaginal intercourse.”

    Yes. Yes, you can. As a wife, I get to decide what happens to my body, and my marriage does not grant my husband eternal consent. I have the right to say no, even to vaginal intercourse.

    • Sorry I wasn’t more clear! Good point. I agree that you can say no on a particular night–you’re too tired, you’re too sick, etc. But you can’t say no as a whole in your relationship. We aren’t to deprive each other, and sex is an important part of marriage. It’s okay to say no to certain ACTS, but not to sex itself in your relationship.

    • According to the scripture your body is not yours but his. A gate keeping mind set militates against the generous permissive sexual exchange that we find in Song of Solomon. Having said that being husband means caring for you.

    • no you don’t have that right you are suppose to have sex with your husband God commands it it’s no longer your body you and your husband are one.

  5. Happy birthday Sheila.

    Mine will be May 27th; I wonder if that’s why I like you so much, LOL!

    Have good one!

  6. I think this is really fair and balanced advice. I would encourage wives to try go outside of their comfort zones a little, like a lot of us might hope our husbands would do romantic/emotional things for us that could be outside of their comfort zones. You never know what might happen! :)
    Megan G. recently posted…just life, and some adoption thoughtsMy Profile

  7. Great post!

    One warning on #3 – don’t assume something is from porn. I’ve talked to guys who can’t suggest anything sexual because they get accused of looking at porn.

    • userdand says:

      It seems no one ever stops to think about why some of the things in porn are there to begin with. It isn’t like there is a board of porn that sits around and comes up with sex acts they “think” might be interesting. Sex existed before porn. Even if “pornographic” acts were found painted on cave walls, the sex happened first. My point is that it isn’t necessarily a case of life imitating “art” (a little editorial license here please) with porn. Porn depicts acts that existed before porn and before it was widely available. If your husband suggests something besides PIV intercourse, it doesn’t stand to reason he got the idea from porn. I don’t know of any man that had to consult porn to discover and develop his masturbatory technique or consider oral sex a possibility. I don’t even consider this a chicken/egg conundrum in most instances. Every day people are coming up with new ways to do old things based on ideas that come to them in their sleep. A man probably dreamed of going to the moon many centuries ago. He didn’t see it in a movie or read it in a book. He just wondered, “What if…” Your husband or wife may have just wondered “What if?” Don’t automatically assume porn was the impetus for their suggestion or desire.

  8. I have been married for 20 years and there are things that I was not comfortable earlier on, that I found gross, in that I now enjoy. I think it is one way to keep your love life interesting because you try new things later on.

    • That’s so true, and something that I found when doing my surveys for The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex, too. It’s not the honeymoon years that are the most adventurous and most fun, but often several decades in!

  9. Testing. Just want to make sure the blog is working again!

  10. I just wrote about this, whether you should go along with your husband’s sexual fantasy. I agree with all of your points, Sheila. I think it’s important for a wife to ask herself WHY she’s opposed to the idea. She may have a very good reason, but she may not.

    Ultimately, I end on the side of believing that once you’ve truly entertained a notion from every which way, you can still say no to a specific act if it just turns your stomach. That said, she might suggest an alternative–something that is adventurous and could be enjoyable for BOTH of them.

  11. Crystal says:

    I am not sure if I am supposed to recommend a book on here. So if I am not, feel free to delete. But “Real Marrage” by Mark Driscol is great! It has a chapter specifically on what is “permissible” and/or “beneficial” in marriage. He takes Song of Solomon & really digs deep into the meanings. The whole book is good though.

  12. I’m a little troubled by how No. 4 seems to almost define “intimacy” as “vaginal intercourse.” You do make an allowance for “health concerns,” but there are entire seasons of life in which vaginal intercourse may not be the best way for a husband and wife to maintain sexual intimacy. And there may even be husbands and wives for whom, for whatever reason, vaginal intercourse is never, or rarely, the best way to maintain intimacy and/or achieve orgasm. Idolizing intercourse can put unnecessary performance pressure on couples. We received some “Christian” education along those lines as newlyweds that we’re just now recovering from, 20-plus years later.

    • I would recommend the book Sexual Intelligence by Marty Klein Ph.D., therapist. It advocates re-framing sex as not just intercourse for a number of reasons. He also would like to see the words “normal” and “sex” never used in conjunction with one another. Within the bounds of safety and mutual agreement he says, in part, that it is up to the sharing couple to determine what is “normal” for them and beyond their domain it is not subject to the purview of others. He does not openly advocate BDSM, CDD, TTWD, or D/s, but he also doesn’t take a position against them either. He tries to be objective and balanced with his advocacy. His writings may not be Sheila approved, but I’m not Sheila. I am a Christian, but not a legalist, and I do believe in all things being permissible, but not necessarily advisable to bring into a relationship for any number of reasons both theological and personal.

  13. I have been on the receiving end of the gross response. So I will try to do my best to not be defensive in my response.
    First of all, to be told that an act involving my body is gross destroys your self image. I am not saying I get my self image from my genitals, but, that word gross carries with it a lot of destructive baggage.

    Secondly, I agree with all you wrote, and the 6 points are all good. but what happens when the sex act you are asking for used to be an ok but not liked activity, suddenly becomes gross. So I used to know how awesome it felt, but now it is not allowed. (deleted by self).

    Don’t get me wrong, I love my wife, but after a very long time of no intercourse due to medical reasons, masturbation only and nothing else once a week makes a guy pretty frustrated.

  14. I am a bit concerned about the new Comment Policy. Will that be used to limit comments from truly hurting spouses, especially husbands ?
    I would like to enjoy something as innocent as French kissing with my wife, it was enjoyable for 20 years, but now she finds it to be disgusting.
    In another post i read the guideline “Wives, do not be so quick to shut down your husbands reasonable sexual requests, such as oral sex”. I have never enjoyed oral sex, either giving or receiving, but it must be quite pleasurable and intimate for both spouses.
    And there are 4 verses in the Song of Solomon extolling oral sex, so it cannot be considered sinful.
    My wife says these acts are gross, and her main reason for refusal is this “Prostitutes do that, and I am not that type”.
    But this reasoning confuses the act with who does it in what relationship. I was told even this “Sex (as in intercourse) is not a part of marriage.” But it really must be an important part of marriage, honestly, as it is the part of a relationship that is supposed to be exclusive to marriage only. And there are so many Bible verses in praise of frequent sexual union of a husband with his wife.

  15. I was informed by my wife that something we enjoyed for the past 5 years is now “gross”. She did reveal that it had to do with some issues from her childhood. I would never ask her to do something she was not comfortable doing…but now I have lost a part of our union I really enjoyed. She is not interested in trying anything new, so what now???

  16. Also is it harmful to your body? Annal sex is harmful to your body. (Sorry to be blunt.)
    I know a lot of women who will not give their husbands a “treat”. There really is nothing sinful about it.
    Great post by the way. We should feel free to explore each other in the marriage bed. We should feel free to enjoy each other, and to please each other. Marriage is beautiful and the marriage bed is beautiful also.

    • Jack Lopez says:

      This is a really good point Pamela. Sodomy, or anal sex (which is very much condemned in the Bible) is harmful to the body both physically and spiritually. More than a few scholars interpret Romans chapter 1 (a woman leaving the natural use of a man) to be about Sodomy rather than female on female-relations (which is not condemned in the Old Testament) Not to be gross, but there are a lot of people that lose the ability to hold their stool after repeated anal intercourse. (regardless of what any porn starlett may say for the trailer, there is nothing sexy about a colostomy bag or having to wear depends)

  17. Great post : )

  18. I’m wondering what your thoughts are for pregnant women? My husband and I substitute “play” for sex sometimes because intercourse has become very uncomfortable for me. It is difficult to find a position. I’m trying not to be graphic, and I’m sure you know what I mean as you have children.

    • Oh, absolutely, Sara! I think when you’re pregnant you do what you have to do to still have fun and feel close! Woman on top and spooning are really the only positions that work at the end of pregnancy–and they’re not always the most comfortable. I think that’s just a special and unique situation.

      Blessings on your baby!

  19. my husband make love to me once in two or three weeks if I initiate love making and sometimes he will push me away if I try to romance him for sex”:

Comment Policy: Please stay positive with your comments. If your comment is rude, it gets deleted. Any comment that espouses an anti-marriage philosophy (eg. porn, adultery, abuse and the like) will be deleted. If it is critical, please make it constructive. If you are replying to another commenter, please be polite and don't assume you know everything about his or her situation. If you are constantly negative or a general troll, you will get banned. The definition of terms is left solely up to us. Sheila Wray Gregoire owns the copyright to all comments and may publish them in whatever form she sees fit. She agrees to keep any publication of comments anonymous, even if you are not anonymous on this board.


  1. […] have to make love twice a day. Marriage is compromise! Nor do I believe that if your spouse is demanding weird or kinky sex that you have to do that (and I have had emails saying, “my husband won’t have regular intercourse because he […]

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