Dear Amy: My husband and I have been married for almost eight years.
I’m 44, and he is 38. We have three kids, ages 5, 3 and 1.
We’ve always had an amazing sex life and a great relationship in every way.
We also have the usual stress that comes along with raising kids (paying bills, running a household, etc.).
We’ve always taken comfort in each other.
My issue is that I’m tired of the sleaze and vulgarity that has always been a part of his way of trying to get me “in the mood” when he wants to have sex.
I’ve never once turned him away when he wanted it, and I believe our sex drives are equal.
I’m not sure if it’s because I’m getting older or because of the constant neediness of my children, but when he starts with the constant sexual innuendos, getting handsy, grabbing my body and breasts — it makes me feel disgusted. I feel like a piece of meat.
When we were first together and up until a few months ago, it didn’t bother me.
What’s wrong with me?!
By the time I’m done dealing with my little ones and their constant need for mommy and then my husband acting like a grabby teen, I want to just shut down. His methods are just not a turn-on for me anymore.
I want him to be more mature and respectful in his approach.
I’d like to sit down and tell him how I really feel, but I don’t want to embarrass him and make him insecure.
What should I do?
Pawed: There is nothing wrong with you.
Your husband plays out a particular script when he wants to initiate sex with you. He will continue to do what he always does, because he has no idea of how it makes you feel and what a turnoff it is for you.
So what do you think your loving husband would prefer: to unwittingly humiliate and disgust you with vulgarities and breast-grabbing in the name of foreplay and have you grow so turned off that your built-up resentment deepens a fault line between you — or to talk about it, risking some momentary discomfort?
Sex is all about communication, and right now you two are on vastly different pages. You have as much a right to express your desires as he does!
It’s natural — and healthy — to switch things up as the circumstances of your life change. In a quiet moment, sit down and talk to him, before you erupt in the moment and react in a way that would genuinely embarrass him.
Help to write a new script. Think about what you WOULD like in terms of foreplay, and lead with that. (c) Ask Amy
That’s interesting! I love interesting questions.
This could just be me, but I’d slap his hand away, raise an eyebrow, and say, “Hey! No touching during the day when the kids might be underfoot, Grabby McGrabber. That’s very naughty.” Then I’d grab his grabby hand, put his finger in my mouth, and run my tongue around it in a circle. Next, I’d put his hand next to my chest and finger-flick it really hard. “Let that be a lesson to you.”
“Ouch! What’s gotten into you, woman?”
“Don’t be naughty anymore. Momma doesn’t like that. Our bedroom, 10:00. Be there, or know the reason why.”
I’m rolling my eyes at myself, though. I’m not very sexually knowledgeable. I finished the first volume of my series, and it can best be described as G-rated smut. I’m the only writer out there who could pull off that fine balance. [Eyeroll.] And if I were to act the above scene out for a camera, like for an audition or something… good Lord. I would stink. Unless I was auditioning for campy porn, I’d never get the part.
Dear Amy: My father-in-law has been greeting me every time I see him with a kiss on the mouth.
I was a bit taken aback the first time this happened, but he really is a sweet man and a wonderful father-in-law and grandfather to my kids.
In no way do I feel like he is trying to be inappropriate, but it does make me feel uncomfortable.
Since the pandemic I’ve had a good excuse to turn my head away for a kiss on the cheek or forehead, but it always feels like he tries a little too hard to land on the lips.
We are all vaccinated now, and I believe he thinks it’s okay to resume the lip-kisses.
Am I being oversensitive here? Should I just let him kiss me, should I say something, or should I just keep turning my head?
— Kissed Out
Kissed Out: I’ve known a couple of very sweet (older) men who do this. And, yes, it is definitely uncomfortable for those of us who don’t like it.
I also need to share the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s caution about vaccinated people hugging and kissing others outside of their “bubble.” They suggest waiting.
When the all-clear comes, make eye contact with your father-in-law and say something like, “Let me offer my cheek for a hello kiss. Let’s go cheek-to-cheek from now on.”
Oh my. I think I’d rather have the grabby husband than the lecherous father-in-law. Kissing on the mouth? Maybe it’s a cultural thing, but I can only kiss people like that in a romantic context. Otherwise, not in a million years. Although I have heard that it can be different in other parts of the world.
I wouldn’t even go cheek-to-cheek, so I don’t favor Ask Amy’s advice here. So it becomes an issue of how to break precedence, since the father-in-law has come to expect that he’s allowed to be all kissy. Hmm…. what to do…. this is just me, but I’d stop him at the pass. As he’s moving in for the kiss, I’d throw my arms around him and yell, “Hug!” And then, during our embrace, I’d gush, “Kissing is out, but hugging is in. Oh! I could hug you all day long, you wonderful father-in-law.”
For anyone uncomfortable with hugging, also, then that wouldn’t work. So another solution would be to use the coronavirus as your scapegoat. “Father-in-law, I know we’re all vaccinated, but I’m no longer comfortable kissing. This whole pandemic has showed me how much we should fear contagion in a broader sense. Can we just hug [or fist-bump, or whatever] from now on?”
In no way do I feel like he is trying to be inappropriate, but […] it always feels like he tries a little too hard to land on the lips.
Oh, buddy, I’ve got your number. Do we understand each other? Yes? You might have the letter writer fooled, but if you were to try to kiss me, the fur would fly.
Lying has its place, and I’m a firm believer that it’s okay to lie if you’re feeling uncomfortable about being assertive. This lie harms no one. I’d recommend it as a last option but a valid one, since she has to extricate herself from this somehow.
Dear Amy: You have referred to Mindfulness as a way of changing behaviors.
When my clients seek to stop angry or snarky comments, I advise them to “breathe out before you breathe in” before saying something angry or hurtful. The breath out, which takes half a second, creates a tiny moat of calm between intent and action, allowing judgment to catch up.
Chris: “A tiny moat of calm.” I love it.
That’s brilliant. A little mindfulness can go far. I think I need to add this to my life coach’s suggestion of asking questions. But she did also say to count to ten. The funny thing is that if I were really to count to ten, it would terrify everyone around me. I’d do it out loud, and with my scary face. (Just run.) And people would be like, “Dude, why’s she counting to ten?” And someone else might say, “Maybe because we have that long to get out of her presence?” And I’d nod and say, “Nine, nine-and-a-half, nine-and-three-quarters… ten!” And then I’d just unleash it.
Oh my goodness, that photo of me is dasdardly. I think it’s from three years ago when we had a cold, dry spell, and my hair paid the price. I’m looking better these days. I got a new haircut. Hold on…
Yeah, there we go. That’s some sort of disastrous hairdo before-and-after, or something. Like, remember that episode of Full House when DJ got a bad perm, and Uncle Jesse had to call in Alejandro, his stylist, to fix it?
DEAR MISS MANNERS: Back in the 1970s, my mother-in-law wanted me to call her “Mom,” and every weekend, when my husband and I went to her home for Sunday dinner, she started the hug hello and then the hug goodbye.
This felt foreign to me. “Mom” was reserved for my mom, and I don’t feel like hugging anyone unless there’s an extreme reason to, such as if someone is ill, or close to death, or if you haven’t seen them in some time. I was an only child and brought up to be more reserved. My husband was also an only child, but apparently in a more huggy family.
Fast-forward and I think, did it really hurt for me to hug her? After all, she never had a daughter and lost her husband and mother in a three-week period. It was acting on my part maybe, but it made her feel good. Like they say, “Pick your battles.”
GENTLE READER: Huggy time has now passed, the pandemic having made us learn ways of showing good will without touching. And as hugs were overused, Miss Manners is not sorry to see them go as a routine greeting, but she will miss handshakes.
However, she appreciates the lesson you learned from this experience: that sometimes it is worthwhile to make trivial compromises in order to make someone happy. (c) MISS MANNERS
Huh. Well, I agree with picking your battles, but I’d choose this one differently. Now, I am indeed more huggy than kissy, as we’ve established. But something just feels wrong to me about forced hugging. I think that hugging should be spontaneous or special (e.g., not done at every meeting) or more meaningful. Hmm…. I think the last person I hugged was Sonya. This would’ve been a year ago from December when she saw me off in the Prague airport. She’d asked if I wanted to grab lunch, but I said no, I’d find something in the airport. And it turned out that they didn’t have any food I liked. Travel. Hmmph.
I finally settled on a fruit cup and a slice of banana bread (I think). The banana bread must’ve been expensive, because I love banana bread but only bought the one slice. I was hoping for junk food. Note to self: the Prague airport has no junk food. (Duly noted.)
So I haven’t hugged anyone in over fourteen months? Meg needs a hug. [Sad face.]
Blogging has been fun, and now I’m in a much improved mood!! Hugs all around. But don’t try to kiss me on the lips, unless it’s seductive, or something.