Dear Dr Ren,
I’m a university student who has been out since midway through high school. I’ve had several long-term girlfriends and am now involved in what I had hoped would be a permanent relationship.
“Gwen” and I have been together for six months, and this feels like the most authentic relationship I’ve ever experienced. We are well matched in terms of values, dreams and living styles. We even fight well. We have been talking about moving in together this summer when school is over. Sex is languid, intimate and gratifying for both of us.
The problem (if it is one) is that when I try to introduce anything new into our lovemaking, Gwen balks. I bought a sex toy for Valentine’s Day and presented it with some sexy lingerie. She said the lingerie made her feel like a stripper and that she should be enough “without props” to turn me on. Though we made love, she didn’t touch the sex toy, and when I tried to use it on her, she suggested we use it “next time.” That hasn’t happened yet.
I am afraid I’ll never be able to bring her to where I really want to go, to exploring beyond soft and gentle. Nothing pervy, but sex that gets hotter and wetter, you know?
Can you give me some tips for tempting my lover to experiment sexually? I don’t want to push her or turn her off, but I don’t look forward to years of the same old routine, lovely as it is. What do you think are reasonable timelines for experimenting with sex?
You and Gwen have been together for six months, enjoying the honeymoon period when sexual heat is its most pronounced. You say you have been in a few other LTRs, so I’m guessing you know that as time passes that fervour cools to a warm, sustainable glow.
If Gwen is balking at dressing up and buzzing you now, you can be pretty well assured that she isn’t going to suggest paddling your bottom till you cry out for mercy (or more!) when you have settled into cuddling on the couch and planning the next home renovation.
Six months into a promising relationship we all think the potential problems we see are little ones. We also believe our partners will love us enough to change those irritating patterns to accommodate our happy life together. Both beliefs are myths.
It takes a year or more to learn enough about another person to know if we could love them. After six months, you are both still on your best behaviour. Of course it feels authentic and fantastic. Didn’t your other affairs at this point?
Gwen may be all you’ve dreamed of in a partner, but she could be very expensive in terms of what it may cost you sexually. You will both feel frustrated if you don’t fully appreciate what she brings to your bed and if she has to abide your desperate wanting.
You ask what are reasonable timelines for experimenting with sex. What would your answer be? Ask Gwen the same question. If you say “right away” and she votes for “later” or “never,” the truth is that you have different sexual personalities. It sounds like you already have a mismatch. It rarely gets better.
Consider this: how would you feel about going on a date with someone who not only met but exceeded your sexual pace? Maybe after dinner at her place, she blindfolds you and introduces you to the delicious sensations of a flogger. She paces the intensity with your moans of pleasure.
Or maybe you are standing together in a doorway. As you kiss her, she whispers in your ear, ”Forget the movie. I have a toy box under my bed. Wanna go root around in it?”
If these fantasies appeal to you, you are likely kink-inclined (or “pervy” as you put it), an appreciation that seems to be hardwired. Some describe it as discovering a new sexual “language” and realizing that they are naturally fluent.
Will it replace the sex you have known? Of course not. It is additive. But how content will you be without sometimes exploring the boundaries of your senses with another trusted traveller?
Am I diagnosing you as kinky? No. However, you have told me enough to suggest you consider your options carefully before committing to a relationship that may lack opportunities for sexual growth. Have these conversations with Gwen, too, and listen carefully to her responses.
If Gwen asked you to abandon toys and sexual experimentation altogether, what would your reaction be? You would probably feel saddened and judged and resent her for attempting to control you. Since our sexual expression is core to who we are, it is no more fair for you to ask her to be someone she is not.
Sex is complicated, intricate, evolving. Determine who you are (or think you might become) and settle for nothing less than a mate who meets you at your deepest and highest levels.