My husband wants me to engage in ‘dirty talk’ during sex and play along with his fantasy of a threesome, but I am repulsed by it and have therefore started feigning illness to avoid getting intimate. Any attempt of communicating my discomfort falls on deaf ears. He has now started getting angry with me over little things because I avoid intimacy. What should I do?
Ans: You have highlighted two issues here. Your husband asking you to talk dirty and his desire for a threesome. Additionally, there is the third issue of you having to fake an illness to avoid sexual intimacy with him.
If you say you’ve communicated with him on the matter and it falls on deaf ears, perhaps it would be expedient to either change the manner in which you communicate or bring a mediator such as a relationship counsellor, who will help you articulate your thoughts and teach you to either speak for yourself or even add impetus to a perspective you’re trying to get across to your husband. Lying to your husband about poor health is unsustainable as there’s always the risk that he may begin to see through your lies and may further resent or confront you.
Your discomfort must be communicated with assertiveness and not apologetically. You have a right to feel what you feel. If your husband is a man who loves and respects you, he will gladly take a seat at the negotiating table to find ways in which the sexual act could be made more mutually pleasurable and comfortable for both of you. Your husband’s anger is his problem since anger is always a chosen response. Anger is not something that happens to you. While writers may angle at describing anger as some force of nature like a lightning, this is far from the truth.
Anger is a result of a frustration of needs or when an agenda stays unfulfilled. Anger also has the tendency to be the cover for other less volatile and perhaps vulnerable emotions — that may not be discussed as often — for example, humiliation, stress, fear and disappointment. One doesn’t supply a marriage or relationship; one participates in one. For a marriage to work, couples must help each other out with a little bit of trust, respect and patience. One’s comfort may be non-negotiable, but that doesn’t mean one has to sidestep discussions on uncomfortable topics.
It is commonly observed that the fear of STD’s or the general disgust associated with being treated like a ‘commodity of pleasure’ or ‘sex object’ is what particularly disgusts women when it comes to threesomes. Sex is an intimate, rewarding and highly emotional experience shared by two individuals. Treating it like a mere ‘itch’ that needs to be reached and dealt with may make a person feel objectified.
A threesome is also popularly viewed as immoral, coarse or shallow. This is influenced by cultural upbringing and also the fact that it is a ‘depersonalised’ sexual experience — which is understandably why it can make some people feel like they’re being treated like a ‘participative and sentient toy’ rather than a ‘individual who enjoys exclusivity and intimacy’.
Talking dirty is a quirky exercise that couples may turn to, to spice things up. If you’re uncomfortable with this, that’s probably because you are shy and that’s okay. If your husband truly cares about your feelings, he will find a way to address your discomfort. If your husband doesn’t care about how you feel, perhaps you would like to process that information first and consider going for counselling to find a dignified way forward.
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