Dear C and Dr. B;
I’d been going out with Greg for over a year when he proposed. Ten months later, we got married. It was a relationship that felt very solid – we both had the same ideas about children (wait two years, then start a family), about careers (we were both starting to go somewhere with our own), and we both wanted to buy a house instead of rent. We enjoyed doing things together, and could talk out problems and solve them together. The only slight problem was our sex life. It wasn’t bad, it just got to be uninspired after a while. The thing is, we didn’t fall together because of sexual chemistry, it was for reasons that were very meaningful on a deeper level, and sex was never the main priority. Like I said, not a big thing.
Then, one day after being inspired by a sex therapist talk show, I decided that Greg and I should spice up our sex life. It seemed like it could do nothing but make a good thing better. I suggested some ideas to him and he was game to play along, but more curious than aroused. At first, it was fun, and it really did make sex more exciting. The problem started to develop as time went on. Our play time seemed to give permission to all sorts of impulses that Greg never had before. He started getting more and more into kinky stuff, and bought an array of toys that kind of scared me. Now I am starting to feel like I let a monster out of the box. I don’t want to keep going into the world of kink that Greg’s getting obsessed with.
Now I don’t know what to do. The thing is, it was all my idea. I don’t want to criticize or show him how put off I am, because he never would have gone there if I hadn’t pushed him. But he’s turning into someone different than the solid, sweet guy I married. Help!
Dr. B says: Humans are sexual creatures and you didn’t create a sexual monster – you introduced a new art form and your husband found he liked it and is good at it. However, sex is a dance between two people. The more you don’t say what’s on your mind, the more you are letting him take the lead. Relationships are an ongoing conversation, and currently you aren’t having one. Please let him know you like a little but not too much. Ask him to run it by you before he buys that new motor powered sit-on thingy. You need to explore together, which means sharing thoughts, feelings and boundaries. Tell him you like to explore but personal boundaries still need to be maintained if you are both to feel safe and respected. There are infinite avenues that can be explored and tried, but first they should be discussed.
Another very important issue here is that there is a difference between fantasy and reality. Some scenarios can be explored via imagination, but that doesn’t mean you should actually do them. I recommend against inviting other people into your relationship, or any of the hard core or demeaning S&M stuff, and I’d stay away from any potentially dangerous behaviors that include exploring where E.coli live. There are consequences to behaviors – and some boxes, when opened, are hard close up again.
C says: One thing you can never forget about men is that they are very task oriented; you asked Greg to spice up your sex life, so he’s on the job. Haven’t you ever had a cat who would hunt and proudly bring back their kill to show you? Well, Greg is doing something similar, but instead of leaving dead rats on your door step, he is bringing home sex toys. If you want him to stop, you have to tell him in no uncertain terms, or the next thing you know, he’ll be bringing home hookers.
This is probably the first time that anyone has encouraged Greg to explore his sexuality, and he’s like a kid in a candy shop. You gave him permission to go nuts, so he is. It doesn’t necessarily mean he’s been hiding a kinked out sex maniac under a civilized veneer; but if you don’t let him know that you are becoming uncomfortable, he’ll just keep going.
You and Greg have a solid relationship and you’ve been able to solve problems before. This is just another problem you need to solve together – and it certainly is more fun than that leaky pipe in the basement.
You can visit Dr. B’s blog at drbrilliantcliche.wordpress.com