How about A LOT of great vanilla?

This post is, in part, a reply to some of the comments on my I sinned, I expect you to pay for that post. It is also a practical solution for something I see in many new marriages. 

Young men are, in general, far more excited about sex than young women are. Some of this may be cultural, but I think a great deal of it is based on innate male/female differences. Men have a stronger physical drive, their genitals are out there for them to see and touch, the sight of their beloved naked drives them wild, and for men sex is easy, fast, sure to “work” (they reach climax) and low risk. Women tend to have less experience with their sexual parts, due to culture and to their bits being hidden. They have a much weaker physical drive, especially during their teens and twenties, and many can be content without the sexual part of a relationship. Finally, for women sex is not easy, or fast, or sure, and there are far more risks both real and imagined than for men. The first time we men learn sex involves our penis entering a woman’s body, we generally do not find the idea unpleasant. However, many women (most?) find the idea far from pleasant when they first learn about it! Sex is invasive for women, which makes it more personal and maybe a little threatening.

Based on this, even when a sexually inexperienced couple gets married, his sexual interest is significantly higher than hers is. She is thinking about moving to the foot of the mountain while he has long since started to climb. This difference creates a problems: he feels held back, and she feels dragged along. He is frustrated at her, and she at him. If the difference is not great, and they can both be loving and offer grace, they can work it out. The greater the difference in their starting places, the more trouble they are going to have. If he is well up the mountain before she even starts, the frustration and problems are significant, and without some help or one person sacrificing significantly, they are never going to be on the same level.

Woman rock climbing ©

If he has used porn, he has moved up the mountain, possibly a great distance. This means the difference in their starting places is far greater than it would normally be, and they are going to have a very hard time. She needs to get her feet wet slowly, and he is way past that. He is too excited to slow down, which means she does not get what she needs. Sex becomes increasingly difficult, with him being frustrated she is so slow and far behind, while she is hurt he will not slow down so she has a chance to catch up. His porn use has caused a significant problem, and expecting her to catch up is not only wrong, it expects of her something she cannot possibly do.

The usual response from the man it to push for everything he wants. He does not simply push for more sex, he pushes for variety. She has not even gotten the basics down, and he is demanding things well beyond the basics. It is as if she is learning addition and he wants her to do algebra. She does not have the basis for what he wants, and no amount of complaining will change her ability. The nearly inevitable result of this is the woman pulls back sexually, in all ways. She says no more and more often because she feels she has no hope of ever satisfying him. Her best is not good enough, as he has made very clear to her, so why should she bother?

If the man has created the problem, then it seems he is the one who needs to change and sacrifice. Beyond this, on a practical level, it is the only real solution. 

What exactly is the solution? Limit yourself to the basics – to the most vanilla of sex. I am not talking about sex without passion, just keep it simple. Kissing, manual breast play, manual stimulation of the genitals, and sex in a couple of basic, face-to-face positions; no oral sex, no wild lingerie, no sex toys, no rear entry, just simple sex. I realise this sounds boring if you have gone way beyond it in your mind with porn or in the flesh with some former girlfriend. Again, this is your sin and you, not your bride, should be the one who has to deal with your sin. I am not saying you should be punished; rather you need to limit your sex to the basics to give your bride a chance to become comfortable with sex. Let her learn how her body works, how your body works, how they fit together, and how great sex can be. Let her learn to feel a build-up of sexual tension and pleasure. Let her learn to climax with ease. Let her learn how to give you pleasure and to feel good about being able to do so

Wounded rack climber ©

While you stick to the basics, work on having sex often. Practice does matter, so the more often you do it, the better. This is another reason to limit what you do – it is easier to get good at a few things than to work on many things at once.

This approach, with a focus on frequency and not on variety, is far more effective than trying for both more sex and more variety. This approach is one she can actually do, and it allows her to learn and grow. 

Does this mean nothing but vanilla sex the rest of your life? First, realise a lot of great vanilla sex is better than what most men have. If you never have more, you still have a great deal – vanilla sex can be awesome. That said, the odds are she will eventually be open to more; she might even suggest more. If she feels comfortable with sex, if she enjoys it and knows she is making you feel good, she can risk moving beyond the basics. Once she has a solid foundation, trying to add more is no longer a scary thing. She will still have things she is unwilling to try, or things she tries and does not like, but that is different than feeling pressured to do things she does not even want to think about.

As someone suggested in the comments, this is how Lori and I handled it many years ago. And you know what? It worked. It took me a couple of years to wise up, and I did a lot of additional harm before I did, but once I backed off everything other than frequency things started to change. I gave her a safe place to heal, learn, and grow. I gave her a consistent goal, and she was able to find a way to meet the goal. We both felt a lot better once I backed off, and after that any growth (and there has been a lot more) was just a bonus.

Someone said in the comments this is not the only way to deal with this problem. I agree, it is not. However, it is successful far more often than any other way I have seen. 

Links may be monetised
Image credits, in order of appearance:

Shop AmazonShop to give links page
We are donation supported – thanks for your help!

12 Comments on “How about A LOT of great vanilla?

  1. Thank you. It is especially true if you are separated a lot due to work.

  2. This only works if your wife really is willing to do frequency. I did everything you suggested, but she wouldn’t respond or take any responsibility for this part of our relationship. That is my question: how do you get a woman who is carefully attended to and has had frequent orgasms to be willing to consider her husband’s needs and wants and to actually make time and energy to do so.

    • Andrew Jardine – Yes, it does depend on that. Of course a woman who fights frequency probably fights variety too.

      Ultimately either you make enough noise that she does something, or you don’t. When I say something that is everything up to telling you to shut up about it or she will leave you. If you really, really keep on it, she will probably do something. Then you have to decide what to do with what she does.

      The other two things are 1) making sure you are meeting her needs. Not her sexual needs, but the needs she thinks are important. 2) trying to understand why she won’t do it. How you work on it depends on why she won’t do it.

  3. My wife and I just had a conersation about frequency issues. It helps that she was willing to accept that there are certain differences between men and women. I would recommend spending a good deal of time acting toward her with a “bond servant’s heart” before attempting to have this conversation. When you do bring it up, do not demand it or condemn her for depriving. Let her know that you know there is a difference between a refusal and being deprived.

  4. There has been a lot of discussion about this post, and the one mentioned at the top, on The Marriage Bed forums. You can see that here, with registration.

    Based on what was posted there, I have a list of points about this:

    • I think the Bible tells us not to refuse. I think that is talking about frequency, not what acts are performed.
    • If a person is willing to have as much intercourse as desired, with whatever else is needed for mutual arousal and climax, I think they have fulfilled the requirement of 1 Cor 7.
    • My thinking here assumes that the wife (spouse) does not want to engage in certain acts. And not a simple “I’d rather not” but a stronger dislike , aversion, or problem with the act. If none of these exists, they can do whatever they like and that is the end of that.
    • My concern about porn is not that he learns of a sex act from porn, but rather that porn causes him to want that act far more.
    • Porn always skews the viewers sexuality. In small amounts it may not matter, but if a man (or woman) has viewed dozens of hours (or hundreds of hours) of porn, their sexuality has been changed. I also think that the change is difficult to see in one’s self, more difficult to admit to, and impossible to judge accurately.
    • Seeing an act over and over in porn causes a man to view that act as necessary and usually results in him being unreasonably demanding of that act, while at the same time making it difficult for him to realise how demanding he is being.
    • Asking/expecting your wife to engage in sex she finds distasteful, degrading, immoral, or a turn off, is unloving, selfish, and destructive to both the couple’s sex life and their marriage as a whole. Sane, healthy, loving men don’t do this.
      Simple sex can be deeply satisfying on every level. If a couple can’t enjoy simple sex, adding “wild things” won’t fix their problem.
  5. The bible tells us not to “deprive”. Refusing is different. The underlying issue here is our ability to love our wives as Christ loved the church. We can try browbeating our wives about sex, but when that doesn’t work we should try living as the bond servants that we are. When she does not meet your needs in this department try teaching her how to selflessly serve her spouse by example. Jesus taught by example and with love. We can cherry pick and misunderstand passages in the Bible if we want to but it has never told us to do less than love our wives as Christ loved his church.

  6. This post is so incredibly insightful. Just shared it on Facebook and added it to my list of “Favorite Posts of 2012.”

    So good. Thanks Paul.

  7. I do have a desire for a greater variety of sex acts than my wife, but that was not enhanced by seeing those acts in porn. As you said, men tend to be higher up the “mountain” than women from the get go. My wife is very averse to giving or receiving OS. (Neither of us have ever tried it but I would like to – both ways.) She has even said something along the lines of, “Mouths were never meant to go down there!” There are two problems for me as I try to deal with this.
    1) I feel rejected. She still wants to have sex with me, but is not fully accepting of all parts of my sexuality, even though I believe my desire for OS is healthy, normal, and good.
    2) Part of me hopes that we will come around someday. Part of me thinks I should just forget about ever having/giving OS and never think of it again unless she brings it up. But then I feel like I am denying my true desires and not being honest with myself or with her about who I am and what I want.

    I am not sure how to handle these feelings constructively. If anyone has any advice, please reply.

    • NJ – It sounds to me like your desire is just fine. But I don’t see her as rejecting you, or a part of you. I understand why it feels that way, but given her thinking that is not what it is. I don’t know if that helps you at all, but if you are sharing with her that you feel she is rejecting you that is just adding to the problem because that is not what she is doing.

      It’s sort of like saying “You can develop a taste for wine” to someone who finds the taste of wine disgusting; even if they believe they can learn to enjoy it, they don’t feel the results justify the cost.

      As to your second point, letting go of the “hope” does not mean denying your true desires. You have, I assume, been clear with her about what you want, so you have been honest with her. I would tell her you still want to try it, but you realise that holding on to that h0pe is harmful to both of you. Tell her you will do your best to set it down, but at the same time you encourage her to work on being able to try it, and let you know if she gets there.

  8. Thanks, just found out your article – after 8 yrs of struggle marriage – in the sexual/intimacy area. Hubby got frustrated from day 1 – our wedding night, followed with 1 wk of honeymoon (disaster in his opinion) .. followed with yrs of unsatisfied sex. Now, he is tired of trying or waiting .. he wants to leave or he’ll die in this marriage out of unhappiness. I feel a failure — all.the.time- whenever we are having sex, nothing I try is good enough. I don’t believe in divorce but he always has a plan B (divorce). He had an affair 2 yrs ago (but I forgave him, wanted this marriage to work), been going to see many counselors – no result. I am for the first time – at lost! Ideas – anyone?

    • GB Liem – It seems that in his mind the problem with your marraige is sex – probably he thinks that is the only problem. While that may be a big issue, I doubt it’s the only one, but you have to work with him where he is.

      You need to find someone who will help the two of you talk and work through the sexual issues and find a sex life that both of you want and enjoy. Along the way you will stumble over some of the other issues in your marriage that need to be dealt with, and if there is progress with sex he is likely to be willing to work on the other things as well.

      I am not saying this is the best way to deal with the problems in your marriage, but there is a good chance it is the only way he will be willing to try.

      My prayers and blessings,

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: