My post 6 Things That Women Want In Bed was well received by many readers who said I hit the nail on the head.
A male reader asked me to write the same post from the male perspective.
I responded that most men are pretty vocal about what they want in bed, but then I realized that they are probably just as bad as women are at explaining WHY they want what they want in bed. And that’s where I can help
Here are 6 unsexy things that men want in bed:
The greatest misconception of the 20th century (I love hyperbole) is that men do not like foreplay. Sure, some men either don’t like foreplay or are bad at it. But in the majority of couples I see where the woman’s libido is lower than the man’s (read: the majority of couples in the world), it is the woman who offers “quickies” as though this is some sort of compromise where the man gets his rocks off, which she mistakenly thinks is his goal, and she gets to, well, have less sex.
This is as ridiculous as if a woman wanted date nights and her husband thought her entire goal was to eat dinner, so he drove like a maniac to the restaurant where the meal was pre-ordered, encouraged her to shove it down her gullet, and raced back home, then turned to her and asked why she was upset.
Men, or people with a physical touch love language in general, want to be touched, they want the erotic experience, and they want sex to take at least a half hour and hopefully a couple of hours (not every time, but also not only when the moon is in the 7th house of Aquarius). This is what they mean by sex; if they only wanted an orgasm, they know how to masturbate.
2. To please your partner
The majority of the men I see would rather make their wives orgasm than orgasm themselves. A woman’s orgasm is the height of eroticism and excitement for a man. Hearing the sounds of their wife when she is feeling aroused is equally as exciting. If you don’t believe me, ask your husband.
When you don’t try to be fully present and potentially have an orgasm during sex, and you lay there as a dead sea creature washed onto a shore or someone who has been roofied, we are back to the horrible date night analogy.
3. Imagination and variety
Another huge misconception, maybe I’ll call this one the greatest misconception of the 21st century, is that men’s idea of variety is swinging their partner into a million (well really like 3 or 4) different sexual positions on the bed and jackhammering at her in all of them.
While this may float some men’s boats, I genuinely believe that this is what men try to do to unilaterally approximate “variety” with women who are unenthusiastic about sex with them in the first place. For some reason, women who won’t try, for example, saying anything at all verbally during sex, will tolerate a couple of different positions within an encounter, especially if they aren’t expected to orgasm.
But this is not all that men want. Men want a partner in an erotic world, someone who will share their fantasies and try new things, from lingerie to talking dirty to new sexual techniques. If they cannot get that, a far distant second (like a second in a different galaxy) is flipping their semi-comatose wife from her front to her back and back again.
So, try some roleplaying. This doesn’t need to be some ridiculous setup where you’re the damsel in distress and he is the knight in shining armor (unless you guys are Ren Fest types, in which case I can see it). Some slight domination or submission on your part or his part would be enough to make many men happy. Power is sexy unless it’s the power to be the sole gatekeeper of your husband’s minimally satisfying sex life.
4. Sex as stress relief/respite
Before you say you are not your husband’s stress ball, keep in mind that this actually dovetails with a major thing that women want.
Sex is an escape from life. The common theme in the lives of most married women ages 30–60 is that they feel stressed out.
Sex can be an escape from the banalities and frustrations of life, and your bedroom can be a respite from everything that makes your wife unhappy or irritated. In order for this to happen, there needs to be a lot of emotional foreplay during the day, which continues through the first few minutes (at least) that you are in bed together in the evening. If you want your wife to see you, and sex with you, as an escape from life, you need to build positive associations with yourself, sex, and your bedroom in general.
Men want to be able to come home after a hard day and have sex with someone who also had a hard day and who joins them in the desire to have sex as a way to escape from the daily grind. When women can reframe sex into a stress relieving activity, often because they are with men who are patient, loving, and give a lot of back rubs, this yields a significant improvement in their sex life.
5. A confident and assertive partner
Men want to make their wives happy in bed, but there is no way to do that without their wives giving them feedback and direct instruction. When women say “Touch me like this,” a man feels armed with the knowledge that he is going to make her happy, which is sexy to him.
(He may lose his erection during your instruction, which is not a bad thing. I tell clients that this means he is engaged in Learning Mode which may be incompatible with erections. The erection will return like a phoenix when he has successfully figured out whatever you’re teaching him.)
Also, men generally do not care what their wives’ bodies look like after childbirth or after gaining some weight, and if your husband is rude and critical of your looks, I’m certainly not exhorting you to do anything with him in bed besides look up couples counselors together. But if your husband thinks you are attractive, then be confident, wear something sexy in bed, and assert your needs and desires.
As I discuss in this post, closedmindedness and particularly squeamishness are associated with low sexual desire. Men want a partner who wants to hear about their sexual needs and desires, who wouldn’t laugh at their sexual fantasies, and who wouldn’t reject them for trying something outside the box in the bedroom.
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An important aspect of open-mindedness in the married-sex arena is that the woman is open to the idea that, to her husband, sex is way more important than she could fathom, and that, to him, sex is just as important as whatever her love language is. Being open about this idea in and of itself will likely lead to an improved sex life and marriage in general for most couples.
There you have it! Please leave your comments and tell me if there are any I’ve missed. Note: a male reader did this! Hey wrote:
Something missed: to be proactively desired. Like being pulled into the bedroom and being the center of her attention.
I think this hits both variety and assertiveness, and also sex as an expression of love.
If you’re a man, send this to your partner as part of a compliment sandwich, like “You know I love having sex with you, I thought this article was interesting, did I mention you looked beautiful today?” But in all seriousness, do share it as a conversation starter, particularly if you have not been able to clearly articulate these points before and if you think that, at least on some level, your wife truly desires to be closer to you and improve your relationship.
dr Samantha Rodman Whiten, aka Dr. Psych Mom, is a clinical psychologist in private practice and the founder of DrPsychMom. She works with adults and couples in her group practice Best Life Behavioral Health.
This article was originally published at Medium. Reprinted with permission from the author.