Dear Dr. Jennifer,
My husband wants me to be sexy, such as initiating sex in a sexy way and talking dirty. I have no idea how to do this!
I’m frustrated because I don’t know how I’m supposed to know how to talk sexy. Where was I supposed to have learned this? I want examples of things that would be sexy to say.
A Frustrated Wife
Dear Frustrated Wife,
Thank you for your question, and I understand your frustration. I wish there was a “Wife Boot Camp” to address the unexpected challenges we face as wives. As girls, we are raised to not talk dirty, so it’s frustrating when a husband asks you to do something you have also been specifically taught not to do.
First, get more information from your husband on what he thinks is sexy. Give him a paper with the following written on it: “You have asked me to initiate sex in a sexy way and to talk sexier to you. Please help me understand what you find sexy by writing on this paper two or three ways I could initiate sex and two or three things I could say that would be a turn-on for you. I can’t promise that I will do all of your suggestions, but I will consider all of them. Please return this paper to me as you head out of the house because I would like to read what you wrote in private. Thanks for helping me make our marriage sizzle!”
You need to read his answers in private because men and women often have different opinions on which behaviors and words are sexy. It’s not uncommon for a wife to have these reactions when reading her husband’s list: a) “EEK! I’m married to a pervert!” or b) hysterical laughter. Either reaction would feel shaming to a husband, so read the list in private.
Second, don’t lose touch with yourself as you consider his list. If a suggestion strikes you as degrading or “not me, no way, no how,” then don’t do it. It’s counterproductive and destroys intimacy when a wife forces herself to do or say something in the bedroom that causes her distress.
You mentioned that your husband wanted you to “talk dirty.” If a suggestion would make you feel “dirty” in a bad way, then don’t do or say it. For example, a woman told me that during sex her husband would say teasingly “oh, you are such a bad girl” in an effort to talk sexy to her. He didn’t realize that her verbally abusive parents had left her believing, at her core, that she was bad. His comment, made in jest, always put a damper on her ability to enjoy sex. She found the courage to tell him how his words affected her, and he was immediately contrite. He had no idea that this bothered her. He never said it again, and she felt safer in their bedroom.
Third, consider how you could adapt his suggestions to make them work for you. For example, if he suggests that during sex you use certain words or phrases that turn you off, think of other words that would communicate the same message, but in language that fits you. What is he really asking for in his suggestions? The typical husband is turned on by hearing and seeing that his wife wants sex, admires him, finds him physically attractive, and finds sex with him to be so passionate, exciting, and fulfilling that she needs his body—so you will probably find that his suggestions boil down to one of those four areas. You mentioned that you wanted examples of things that would be sexy to say, so using those four areas, here are relatively tame examples:
“I can’t wait to have sex with you tonight.”
“I’ve been thinking all day about you and me naked.”
“You are an amazing man. You work hard every day and then still have energy to come home and put a big smile on my face.”
“You are great in bed.”
“You are handsome/a hunk/sexy/hot stuff, etc.”
“I love your __________ (name a body part and describe it in glowing terms).”
“That feels good, do that again, etc.” (statements or sounds you make during lovemaking that communicate that you are pleased and feeling pleasure will be a turn on to a man. Men thrive on pleasing women so let him know when he does something well.)
“That was the best sex ever. That felt incredible.”
Fourth, if you have signed up for the CWIVES Dare of the Month, you will receive an email each month with a fun way to initiate a creative sexual encounter with your husband. Many wives have said that doing the Dares each month has helped them to become more active and creative on their own in initiating sex.
Jennifer Degler, Ph.D.
Clinical Psychologist and CWIVES Founder