Sex With Steph: I’m Married And My Sex Life Sucks

“I met my husband when I was 20 (he was 25). We dated for eight years, and then got married last year. I was totally insecure when we met. I stayed pretty insecure through most of my 20s. We went through some pretty rough times together (family deaths, job losses, etc). He’s a wonderful person and I could not have survived the tough times without him. But, I know I stayed in the relationship because I was afraid to leave. I was also a virgin when we started dating. We finally hit a smooth patch and decided to get married. Now, I’m regretting it.”


“I’m not so much regretting the place we were in when we decided to get married; I’m regretting staying with him at age 24 or 25 or 26. I wish I knew what it was like to date other people. I wish I knew what it was like to have other sexual experiences. A lot of this regret stems from the fact that he’s never really satisfied me sexually. He doesn’t want it with the frequency I do. He doesn’t have any sense of what satisfies me. (He recently made some innocuous teasing comment about my faking an orgasm, and I thought, ‘Wait, I have never had nor faked an orgasm with you!’ Oh, how I wish I had said it out loud!) I know I’m the guilty party here — I should have been more vocal about telling him what I want. But, how do you do that when you’re a 20-year-old virgin? And, how do you do it when you’re 29 and have to admit to the one person you’ve had sex with that they have never satisfied you? Can I get us on track or am I doomed to a lifetime of frustration? Or, heck, should I just leave?”

Hey, there, chica.

This one’s a toughie, partially because it’s not strictly about sex, but also because, despite how much you’ve revealed in your letter, there still seems to be so much left unsaid. I’m left wondering: Did you stay with him because you were afraid you would never do any better? Did you stay with him because you felt you owed him something? Did all those tough times you experienced together makes you feel as if you couldn’t leave? Do you love him?

I’ll get to your orgasm in a bit but, before we talk turn-ons and titillation, I think you need to ask yourself: Do you want to leave because you’re wondering what else is out there? Do you want to leave because you’re not on the same sexual page? Or do you want to leave because you don’t — and perhaps never did — love him? If it’s that last one, I can’t help you. The first two, I can work with.

After all, I was always the type of girl who thrilled at the thrill of the chase, but then lost interest the moment a guy succumbed. I dated men for two weeks to two months, but then tossed them, sure that there was someone better out there for me. I fell in and out of love quite quickly, always caring deeply for the person I was with, but afraid to commit because — honestly? — choosing a partner to spend the rest of your life with is a Big Decision, and it terrified me. What if I made the wrong choice?

Even now, happily married, I crush on other men all the time. But by this point, I know it’s only natural. After all, I’m not dead. My ability to be attracted to others wasn’t eradicated the moment I said “I do,” and neither was yours. And though there are a number of men out there who could probably make you (and me) very happy (and I’m of the mind that there is no one “soul mate” for every person; it’s just a matter of choosing one person among the many who could make you happy, and choosing to make it work), you don’t need to test them all out. If you know that you love the one you’re with, it’s so worth it to make it work, even if it means incorporating date nights, casual flirting, and other activities into your life together in order to keep things exciting.

Now about that vagina of yours. You already seem well aware that you’re responsible for your own pleasure. After all, men can’t read minds. In many cases, they can barely find our clitoris!. But now that nine years have passed, it’s too late to tell you what you should have done: explore your body solo in order to find out what makes you tick, and then communicate that to your sexual partner. Still, you’re going to need to take control of this situation if you want to experience sexual satisfaction. Luckily, it’s possible to do this without out-and-out insulting the poor guy.

Subtlety is key. Instead of saying, “I hate it when you do this,” or, “You’ve never satisfied me sexually in all the nine years we’ve been together and I’m thinking of leaving you,” cast things in a more positive light. Say: “I love it when you shower me with those soft, closed-mouth kisses; it makes my stomach do the samba.” Or: “It feels so good when you hit my X during Y. Could we try Z?” Or show him what makes you feel good. Lightly guide his hands while in the heat of the moment. Moan or use dirty talk to get him to do something more or less. Over time, the moves you enjoy the most will come naturally to him, because he’ll be so eager to recreate that whimper or sigh or flush-faced screaming O. Make an effort to be more intimate with him in non-sexual ways. If he’s not feeling sexually pressured, that shoulder massage or affectionate cuddling could possibly lead to something more.

I have my fingers crossed that you can figure this out. I’d feel terrible if you continued to stay in a relationship that lacked true love. But if love ain’t the problem, you have to at least try to make it work.

Got a question for “Sex with Steph” sex adviser Steph Auteri? Send her an email with your pressing sex questions!

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