Q: My husband calls me rigid as I don’t like experimenting sexually. I’m also a diehard romantic and expect a slow build-up with conversations and emotional foreplay before we engage in love-making. He says I’m from the 1960s, laughs at it, gets impatient and wants to jump in bed and get things started quickly. I feel sad that my feelings are disregarded, but also get have self-doubt about whether I am normal for wanting physical intimacy to be a culmination of emotional intimacy with romance and long conversations. Yet at a gut level, I feel ‘right’ and aligned with who I truly am. Please shed some light.
Ans: The 1960s? What happened in the 1960s? I wasn’t around back then so it’s hard for me to comment on the days and ways of the past. Who’s to say that the past may be stereotyped as conservative and regressive? I bet they had parties in the 1960s. Didn’t the hippies follow shortly after? Everything you experience is largely influenced by socio-cultural markers based on where you live and with whom you live. There are no general rules of what it means to be old fashioned or with the times. It’s all a part and parcel of how you have been conditioned.
The slow build-up of conversations and the emotional foreplay before ‘doing the deed in bed’ are what makes romance such a magical and mesmerising exercise between human beings. Romance is hard work. Apart from Disney movies, one seldom spots the idea of romance in the ‘animal kingdom’. Is sex about the perpetuation of the species? Is sex just something fun that one can engage in at a certain age? Is sex the bond shared between two individuals as love and trust drive them into each other’s arms? These are questions that one may do well to ponder over.
For you to feel like you are living well, it would be expedient for you to let your husband know that his dismissive attitude towards you makes you feel invalidated and mocked. We all laugh differently at different things in this world and yet when the laughter stops, something else may, unfortunately, step in to fill that vacuum.
In your question you’ve stated your self-doubt about being ‘normal’. What really is normal? Aren’t these things subjective? Is it normal to like the colour red? Is it normal to enjoy sleeping with two pillows beneath one’s head? Is it normal to enjoy eating ice-cream when it’s snowing? Who decides these things? Normalcy is a subjective and constantly altering index that has no real definition except in the minds of the person assigning something or someone a label and parameter that must be matched and adhered to.
Is it normal to want to skydive from a plane without a parachute? Is it normal to swim with sharks? Well, if it works for you and makes you happy about having done something adventurous and novel, then I suppose it’s worth every storytelling credit you reward yourself with after having dipped your toes into the hot and cold waters of life.
The romance, long conversations and serenading are your needs and it is your responsibility to communicate your needs in a crisp, empathic and clear manner to your partner. You need not be apologetic for your desires but sometimes a little vehemence can go a long way. If you feel like any attempts to talk to your husband are being blocked then maybe a visit to a marriage therapist may help him learn to be more sensitive to you.
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