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Help! My Husband's Foreplay Technique Is Terrible
There are a number of reasons why foreplay can run afoul, but by being direct with your spouse, you can change the game. Here’s how.

Since you know what you want and he won't listen, you might be better off showing him.

If your husband does not want to learn how to please you, then you will please yourself in his presence, after requesting him to do what you want in a sexy way.”
Foreplay Is Terrible writes:

My husband and I have been married 11 years, together for 16. We have two kids under the age of 5 and get along well, for the most part. But I don't feel connected to him anymore and haven't for a while. Sometimes it feels like I have three kids, and he is the one who doesn't listen the most, whether it is about things in the house or more personal things. I've gotten frustrated by foreplay with him—something will be working, building to climax, then he'll change what he's doing and stalls it/stops it. And it isn't a recent thing, I've told him for years not to change something that is working, but he thinks he knows better—it is my body, I know what works!

You'd think after all these years together, he would get it. We've been in couples therapy, but it didn't seem to be helping, except to make me realize how unhappy I really am. Yet when I try to talk to him about my feelings about something he said or did, he'll dismiss it, saying he didn't mean it that way or I'm being too sensitive. I'm tired of avoiding sex, I don't want a sexless marriage, but I don't want sex with him when I don't feel connected and don't want to feel more frustrated than relaxed afterwards. Help!

Well, FIT, this situation is frustrating in more ways than one.  The sex itself is physically frustrating, but equally as frustrating is the fact that your husband is invalidating your feelings about your own body.  I am going to try and give your husband the benefit of the doubt throughout my response, because if he is just such a raging narcissist that he cannot conceive of the fact that you know how your body sexually responds to stimuli better than he does, there may not be much hope for improvement in your communication or your marriage as a whole.

The only way to deal with this situation is to be extremely direct about what you want your husband to do and how it makes you feel when he doesn't listen.  You can do this in a non-attacking way, but you cannot be indirect.  Again, I am hoping that your husband just literally does not understand what you want and need, or is anxious about his inability to please you if he were to try to go outside his comfort zone.  You did not elaborate on the exact nature of the foreplay technique that is lacking, so I will improvise (I secretly love to improvise anyway).

You: Hey, I want to talk about sex last night. (You're saying this when you're not in bed so he doesn't feel even more vulnerable and exposed. Maybe after the kids go to bed.)

Him: Pretty good, right?

You: (This thing is called a compliment sandwich.  Watch how the negative feedback is sandwiched between two compliments.)  I really liked the kissing, but as I have alluded to before, the foreplay really doesn't do it for me in that exact way.  It's a shame because sex itself was great and I wish I could have enjoyed the whole experience more.  (If you can't find two things to say, compliment his looks or just do an open-faced sandwich. If you can't think of even one nice thing to say about the sex, think harder.)

Him: You don't know what you want.  I try everything and, you know what, I think I'm able to tell when your body is into it.  (I'm making him sound like an arrogant sexist jerk here, so hopefully he's better than this in real life, but plenty of guys do talk this way.  It's bluster and bravado based off of them being secretly scared that they have no clue how to please a woman.  This insecurity starts when a man is cognizant that sex exists and continues until they are dead.)

You: Well, I do know what I want.  I want you to take more time touching me with your hand, and when I say "Don't stop," I want you not to stop.  I would love to show you exactly what I mean.  (You can get as graphic as you want, but I didn't want to make this page unsafe for work. My point is: you are assertive, but not demeaning towards him.  You are offering sex right then, to show him what you want, so the shame of not knowing what you want can be compensated for by the happiness that he gets to have sex, initiated by you.)

Him: I do that, but honestly, my hand gets tired. (I'm really making him out to be terrible here.)

You: [Raised voice] There is no way that your hand gets tired after, like, one minute. Are you kidding me? I am going to cheat on you with a 25-year-old bartender! This is a great metaphor for everything that is wrong with you, you lazy good for nothing! (Just kidding. Do not say this, even if you feel tempted. Instead say something like the following...) Well, if you can work through that pain, I can promise that I'll be a lot more into sex, and it will be more fun for both of us.  Also, I'll enjoy myself a lot more if you don't tell me that I don't know what I want in bed.  I do know.  I can even show you.  (You are offering to show him yourself how you like to be touched. He should respond to this, unless he is dead.)

Him: Okay, fine.

Now, let's say you start touching and, for the love of all that is holy, he does his same stopping thing again!  Here's what you do.  You very openly and vocally tell him, "Right there!  Don't stop, I am really getting close."  Say this 15 times if you have to.  But if he still stops, you just do whatever you wanted him to do yourself. I am hoping you have sex toys of some sort; if not, buy a vibrator and incorporate that too.

If your husband does not want to learn how to please you, then you will please yourself in his presence, after requesting him to do what you want in a sexy way.  I again am sincerely hoping that he is just still somehow unaware of what steps to take to turn you on.  So, by witnessing you doing these things to yourself, he cannot possibly fail to know exactly what you mean.

If this entire effort fails, I would go to a sex therapist with your husband, because you are 100% right that if you keep having bad sex, specifically sex that he seems to be making purposefully bad out of a severe lack of attunement and empathy with you, then the marriage is not going to fare well.  Also, he may be angry with you and acting out in this passive aggressive way to punish you.  This would be an issue to explore with a therapist that you both trust.

Till we meet again, I remain, the Blogapist who thinks that one of the two of you should be giving you the foreplay you want.

Visit Dr. Rodman on Dr. Psych Mom, on Facebook, and on Twitter. Dr. Samantha Rodman is a clinical psychologist originally from Brooklyn, NY, and now practicing in the DC area. She is married with three kids.

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Over 1 million couples turn to Hitched for expert marital advice every year. Sign up now for our newsletter & get exclusive weekly content that will entertain, educate and inspire your marriage.

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