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Thursday, June 9, 2011

Should I Be More Sexually Aggressive With My Wife?

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I am a straight, married man who has been monogamous with my wife for 10 years. I've noticed a decline in my libido for the past five years and have tried taking some supplements, but I am looking for something to help increase my sexual appetite and demeanor with sex. My wife helps me be more open about sex and things she likes/dislikes, but I find it hard to feel confident and aggressive (she usually instigates sex). I have no problem getting an erection and find my wife extremely attractive! I would just like to shed my conservative niceties and be a sexually aggressive man to show my wife that I truly want her. I have a problem with words at times and feel I may come off too polite or too blunt. Is there a resource to learn how to speak more erotically and gain the skill to be the aggressor?

There are a few different issues going on here: one, a decline in libido; two, a desire to be more sexually aggressive; and three, a wish to be able to "talk dirty" a little more easily. That's a lot going on!

Sexual desire can change over time in the context of a long-term relationship; read the column  I wrote on this topic previously for more information. Loss of libido can also be related to physical or mental health problems. I would suggest seeing a doctor and/or counselor to rule out these possibilities. Taking supplements without talking to a health professional is unlikely to have an impact on libido.

I don't think being more sexually aggressive is necessarily the answer to your situation. Our culture stereotypes men as sexual aggressors and women as sexually passive, but for many people, these roles don't fit very well. It sounds like in your relationship, your wife is more aggressive and you are not, and this can be perfectly normal. The only thing that makes it a "problem" is if you or your wife thinks it's one.

In the long run, it's healthier for both people in a relationship to be authentic to their sexual selves rather than trying to play a role. If your wife feels that you don't want her because you aren't as sexually aggressive as we (wrongly) think men should be, talking about where those gender stereotypes come from and other ways that you can express your desire and affection for her are better than trying to fake something that you don't really feel.

For suggestions about erotic talk, I contacted Dr. Ruth Neustifter [www.ExploringIntimacy.com], author of The Nice Girl's Guide to Talking Dirty, out next month from Amorata Press. Although the book is aimed at women, many of Dr. Ruthie's tips apply to anyone of any gender. First, Dr. Ruthie echoed my sentiments about being authentic to your sexual self, saying, "She loves you for the man you are, and how you express your masculinity. There may be ways you can grow and enhance your personality, but the core of who you are is who she loves!" She also suggested having your testosterone levels checked by a health care provider to see if this may be affecting your sexual desire.

Regarding dirty talk, here are Dr. Ruthie's quick (and dirty!) tips:

  • There are lots of types of dirty talk, all of which can be highly enticing, and assertive dirty talk is only one route. Sensual language, romantic appreciation, drive-by flirting and a million other styles can all get the job done. The most important thing is to use dirty talk and flirting that is honest and authentic to your personality and how you feel about her. If it is something you have to make yourself do because it is unnatural, it will either fall flat or quickly become more about performance than pleasure.
  • You might try to use words to invite her to initiate. Sensual compliments, pulling her close to share an erotic memory from your past, a husky whispered compliment about the curve of her hips, or an invitation for her to talk dirty to you ("You're giving me that look... I want to know what's going in that mind of yours! And I want all of the juicy details. Maybe you should just show me.") might all be possibilities.

  • Dirty words are not necessary to convey a dirty thought, and neither is aggressive, assertive language. You can be bold about how amazingly sexy she is without changing your personality. If she naturally takes the lead in your sex life, then a strong signal that you enjoy her lead can be a powerful aphrodisiac. Next time she kisses you, why not look her deeply in the eyes and tell her, "I love the taste of your mouth" (or whatever feels natural), and then see how she responds—no blue language needed.
  • Try starting with a text message or another quick and easy form of flirting. If you're afraid you won't be able to continue the conversation in person, just tell her that she is so sexy that she leaves you tongue tied and then distract her with a bit of body language.
  • If you're dedicated to trying on a new persona to spice things up, then turn it into a role play so you can both enjoy an alter ego. Grab a book of erotica or a fantasy-filled movie (porn or mainstream) you both love for inspiration, then give it a shot with a heavy dose of humor. If nothing else, you'll both have a good laugh—and shared laughter can be extremely seductive!

Want Laura to answer your questions in SEXpress? Send them to laura@shepex.com. Not all questions received will be answered in the column, and Laura cannot provide personal answers to questions that do not appear here. Questions sent to this address may be reproduced in this column, both in print and online, and may be edited for clarity and content.

Laura Anne Stuart has a master's degree in public health and has worked as a sexuality educator for more than a decade. She owns the Tool Shed, an erotic boutique on Milwaukee's East Side.

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