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.
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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!
The Orgasm Series:
- You Are Not Broken if Orgasm is Elusive
- The Orgasm Podcast
- 5 Things that Make it More Likely that She Will Reach Orgasm
- What Sex is Like for Women Who Don't Orgasm
- How Do I Not Feel Self-Conscious about what it Takes to Reach Orgasm?
- 10 Things Husbands Who Are Great Lovers Do
- Figuring out What's Holding You Back from Orgasm
- What to Say to Your Husband if He's a Selfish Lover
- The Orgasm Course Launch
- Start Your Engines Podcast: When your wife has difficulty with orgasm
- 5 Ways Husbands Can Bridge the Orgasm Gap
- Why Don't My Orgasms Feel That Great?
And don't forget to check out:
Sheila Wray Gregoire
Founder of To Love, Honor and Vacuum
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