Dr. Ruthie ,
My girlfriend and I have a good relationship, but sometimes I feel like she has no idea what I like sexually. She is good in bed, but it feels generic and sometimes I wish she would slow down more when she is touching me. Sometimes I make these suggestions afterward, but then she is angry at me and won’t do anything for a long time. How can I ask her for better sex without that happening?
Mike – Thanks so much for dropping me a note. This sounds like a frustrating situation, and I applaud you for continuing to try to work toward a better way. It sounds to me like you’re seeking two things: different touch and greater intimacy. Here you are, a guy who knows his sexuality well and wants to share his insights on his body with his partner, only to have it backfire. Here are a few things that are going through my head:
- Use words of love after sex. I’m so glad that you want to openly tell her the ways you most enjoy your sex together. May I suggest, however, that you reserve the post-coital snuggle & snack time purely for positive conversation. This is a particularly vulnerable time, and whatever you say will be heard many times more intensely than you meant it. Use that to your advantage (and your relationship’s) by dedicating that time to loving words and compliments.
- Approach from the positive. There are at least two ways to say everything, and probably more. Surprise her with a new way of encouraging her to slow down and connect with you. If you want her to stop going so fast, then I assume you do want her to linger. I would prefer to hear my lover say “Right there! Yes! Your fingers are like silk on my skin, and I adore every touch. Today I caught myself daydreaming about feeling them on my body. Please let me feel them more…more…” instead of “Please stop rushing. I hate that.” This also communicates that you pay attention to her touch, you value it (and her), and that she is on your mind in sensual ways. Plus, it’s a seductive and complimentary approach that she can brag about to her friends. Everyone wins!
- Try taking matters into your own hands. If she is the type of person who likes this sort of thing, you might place a hand over hers and guide her a bit. This can be done in a very sensual and complimentary way, perhaps combined with the phrasing above. Trail your fingers slowly down her arm, explore the crevaces between her fingers, and caress her hand as you begin to move together in a slower way.
- Finally, focus on how you seduce her and how well it matches with the ways in which she wants to be seduced. When one partner ceases to meet relational expectations, it’s natural for the other to want to pull back. After all, what are they doing to deserve special treatment from us, right? Give ’em what they give us, we say! Sometimes problems from outside the bedroom jump tracks into the bedroom this way: one is mad about the dirty dishes and refuses a kiss, etc. This becomes a vicious cycle, and the first one to step forward and invite the other to end the battle might be the one who really wins. That means setting an example not by doing what you want for her, but by seeking to do more of what she wants for her. I can’t begin to guess that that is, but one of the great things about sexual intimacy is that we can always become even better lovers in a variety of ways. Don’t forget to look for those ways both in and out of the bedroom. I am confident that you can take steps in an intimate direction, and that doing so may help motivate her to relax and connect with you at a deeper level.
Mike, I hope that these thoughts will be useful to you, and I would be interested to know how things go. Remember that sexual intimacy is one of the most vulnerable and essential forms of body language that we have. Be mindful of what your bodies are telling each other, and how they hear each other. If hers says “I’m stressed, rushed and dissconnected” yours can still say “I love you anyway. I’ll keep working with you to fix things. I’ll keep inviting you to rejoin me.”
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