Struggling to be more dominant
I’m really struggling to be more dominant, I guess you could say, with my wife in the bedroom…
We’ve been married since June and together for over 2 years now, and every aspect of our relationship/marriage is and always has been amazing. She’s my best friend and the love of my life all in one.
She’s also the first person I have ever slept with, and I am perfectly happy with that.
She was in two long term relationships before me, so she was not a virgin as I was. I don’t mind that; it helped, actually, because she was able to sort of take charge and guide me at first. And honestly I actually really enjoy that.
I’m not submissive exactly. Not like THAT, anyway. But I do love the fact that she takes charge and likes to be on top etc.
(Obviously we have tried other things, and I have been the one to be on top too!)
She’s been badly abused and SA’ed in the past, and I have always been very careful with her and gentle with her, never rushed things, never forced anything, let her guide/lead me…
Over time, she’s definitely become much more trusting and vulnerable with me, and has allowed herself to be more feminine with me, if that makes sense.
We are both very vanilla lol and we’re perfectly happy that way, but she has also expressed that she’d like me to be a little more dominant with her and take charge. She doesn’t mean dominant as in like BDSM or anything like that! Just…taking the lead more, I guess? She also wants us to slowly introduce dirty talk… something which both of us have been incredibly uncomfortable with up until now.
I’ve been really really trying to do both of these things. But for some reason, I just can’t seem to?
It makes me very uncomfortable, and I end up not being able to go ahead with it, or I feel so embarrassed and can’t continue.
She is too nice to say anything, and is very understanding, very patient, has never gotten mad at me or frustrated. But I can tell she’s a bit… unsatisfied? By this?
Don’t get me wrong, I can and do satisfy her, if you know what I mean, but she seems disheartened by the fact I struggle with these things. But she’s so nice about it and says it doesn’t matter, and we can try again another time.
And I just end up feeling awful and like I’m just shit in bed. Even though she’s never actually given me a reason to think that, and she’s never faked anything…
I really want to take charge more like she wants me to, and I really want to do these things with her, but I struggle so much when it comes down to it!
I really want her to be able to be fully feminine with me, and not have to be so take-charge all the time. I should be doing that for her, and I feel like I’m just letting her down. I feel so embarrassed and inadequate. Even though she’s never actually made me feel that way. I know it’s me that feels it.
What can I do to get rid of these fears and stuff, and actually be a bit more dominant with her? Whilst also being sensitive to the fact she’s a SA survivor… That is definitely another factor that worries me… I’m so terrified of hurting her, scaring her, traumatizing her all over again… I could never forgive myself if I did.
Any advice please? I feel like such a pathetic excuse for a man.
"she has also expressed that she’d like me to be a little more dominant with her and take charge. "
Well - well done, you! This means she's regained her lost confidence from her past abuse!
However, when you met her, she was wanting to be "this much" dominant and you, "this much" submissive" and obviously you fit that way. Now you're facing an adjustment.
Um.... I'm confused all of a sudden:
"She also wants us to slowly introduce dirty talk… something which both of us have been incredibly uncomfortable with up until now. "
If she as well as you has found this incredibly uncomfortable up until now, then, how come she's wanting to continue with it?
It makes a lot of blokes uncomfortable, in fact. Not least because it represents being made to perform intellectually to-order, which makes most blokes awkward, even when, say, the wife says, Show John that hilarious voice you did the other day! Result: Clam Man. So that's not unusual. In fact, I've known blokes who can't - as in, aren't capable - utter a single word during the sex act. In which case:
"But I can tell she’s a bit… unsatisfied? By this?"
And her saying you can try again another time?
Er....a case of Tough titty, surely? And try something else. Or is she making you feel you have to keep going with something that you've made crystal-clear makes you uncomfortable? If so, I don't like this. And it certainly sounds like it.
Nor this...I mean, if she were REALLY so nice about it, how come you feel like this:
"And I just end up feeling awful and like I’m just shit in bed. "
You are not an emotional island. How she feels AND THEREBY BEHAVES, NO MATTER HOW SUBTLY, will - WILL - affect you. E.G. SHE SEEMS DISHEARTENED. ...Especially you...you are crystal-clearly highly empathetic. THAT'S RARE IN A MAN. BLOODY RARE. And it makes him GENTLE. Oh, and most women's wet dream, I think you'll find! (Don't you listen to most women's constant complaints about men not being sensitive enough? Crikey!)
And - OH, NO, YOU ARE NOT SHITE IN BED. NO MAN WHO CAN TAKE THE TROUBLE TO POST SOMETHING THIS CONSIDERATE AND SENSITIVE IS SHITE IN BED. ALRIGHT? Don't want to hear that nonsense again, thank-you. And FOR your information: the most popular flavour - of ice-cream AND in the bedroom - is Vanilla. So up her bum (not a suggestion).
You're not her free sex therapist, alright? If you don't want to try something or do it a second time, then, that is that IS THAT - end of discussion, move to next set of ideas. OR NOT. Nothing will work unless it's entirely Consensual.
"What can I do to get rid of these fears and stuff, and actually be a bit more dominant with her? Whilst also being sensitive to the fact she’s a SA survivor… That is definitely another factor that worries me… I’m so terrified of hurting her, scaring her, traumatizing her all over again… I could never forgive myself if I did. "
Well, she's clearly over it so I wouldn't worry about that, nor let it affect you. For example, I can hear you tiptoe-ing around her from here! Stop it. Demand a sit-down talk and BE HONEST about what you do and don't like and are and are not willing to try/do again, and HOW you like it.
You are not letting her down. Re-read her original Mate For Sale advert - and then yours back then - see how compatible you were and that it is NOT YOU who is "suddenly dissatisfied". You have not failed to fulfill what was contained in your original Sales Advert, you have done nothing wrong and are just being you. Unless you think you have issues that make you overly/unusually passive?
"I’m so terrified of hurting her, scaring her, traumatizing her all over again"
As I said, her change in bedroom behaviour shows she's no longer in that state. But, frankly, WERE she, now or ever, then I'd say - what's she doing, trying to run a full-on, romantic relationship?
Maybe I didn’t word it very well, but she hasn’t actually said or done anything wrong? She hasn’t “behaved” in any way?
It’s just that when I try to do anything, but fail to, she says it’s fine, don’t worry about it, and is very understanding and we just carry on as normal. No issues there.
It probably sounds crazy, but just sometimes I see that her eyes will ever so slightly look hopeful, but then when I can’t do it, she looks almost…? Well, not SAD, but I would say that’s the closest thing I can think of. But she’s never actually made me feel bad about it. It’s just how I feel personally.
I know the problem is me and my anxiety, she hasn’t actually done anything wrong to make me feel this way.
We’ve discussed this at length many times, and she has said that she completely gets it, especially after what she’s been through. There’s no pressure on me, no rush, no expectations etc. She just wanted us to try it out and see how it would go.
She changed her mind about it due to her becoming slowly more and more comfortable with me over time, and comfortable in the bedroom.
The same as I have with her. But I guess due to my lack of experience, I’m still a bit weird about stuff?
As I said, she doesn’t actually mind and she isn’t pressuring me or anything. It’s just that *I’d* like to be able to get to that point for her. Well, for both of us, really.
Also, she’s definitely not “over” what happened to her. She probably never will be. She does still struggle with her PTSD, but we are both very comfortable with each other and trust each other, so I guess that’s why she finally feels able to want to explore new things.
Our marriage/relationship itself has no issues. She’s a great wife; she’s supportive, encouraging, understanding, patient, affectionate and we have a great time together.
She’s really helped me come out of my shell!
I have a lot of anxiety (long story that I’d rather not get into!), and yes, as you’ve noticed, I’m a sensitive guy.
That was a main factor in why I got rejected so much before her, I think? But she likes it, and with her I can be completely authentic with it, and not have to worry about it.
She doesn’t think me any less of a man for it like so many have done before. Actually her exact words were: “it’s amazing to finally have a man who treats me well, and who is calm and I can just be me without having to worry about shoving walls up or wonder if I’m going to be dumped or abused from one day to the next. I feel at peace and completely secure with you, and vulnerable but in a good way.” Which was a huge relief to hear, I gotta say!
I just wanted to clear those things up because I think you misunderstood what I was trying to say? Or I didn’t word it right? But no she definitely hasn’t MADE ME feel bad.
I just do feel bad. Anxiety…
I want to try and do these things with her, for her, for me, for US. It does sound fun but I guess I’m just too wimpy or shy just yet. She doesn’t care exactly, it hasn’t caused any problems.
She’ll look a bit disheartened for a sec but shrugs it off and we carry on. She doesn’t make a deal out of it or anything, as I’ve said. She gets it.
But I think it’s just something we both want to try but don’t have the confidence to, yet, which is disheartening yeah I’m not going to lie.
I just want to get over my anxiety and go for it, but that mental block is there and I don’t know why. I’m so comfortable with her in every other way?
No, I get that everything else is going wonderfully. It's just that I think she's being unfair in the bedroom. However, I can accept she might not be even realising she is - and can also appreciate WHY she is, because it's in fact very common for someone with her background who has re-entered the mating ground (again, unwittingly) that bit too soon (still injured).
How to explain...
Okay, let's analogise, using playing Catch with a medicine ball...
Your wife has been in psycho-emotional hospital with broken arms. They got weakened then finally broken from playing ball with prior partners who threw too forcefully (either not a good shot or deliberately trying to underhandedly weaken her). But playing ball is something your wife, intrinsically, like most humans in-love, is very into. All those rough ball-games as caused serious injury, made her nervous and needing to be in control - which was still in effect when you and she met and started becoming ball-playing partners, during which interactions, she obviously preferred to set a slightly unorthodox game-rule whereby only she was ever the thrower, and the bloke (you), the catcher.
On the one hand, it's "well done!" to you for being so cathartically gentle and non-pushy in that area, but on the other - this is what happens when someone's been stuck day after week after month after year in a hospital bed, arms out of action, medicine-ball-playing out of the question, and then Rehabiliation therapy starts and...finally, seemingly "suddenly", arrives the day where you could play Catch again - in fact your arms are far stronger than before they got broken. "OH JOY!"
I call it Harry syndrome - from the film When Harry Met Sally:
Harry has an ephiphany - that Sally (whom he'd lost through commitmentphobically messing her around for too long) is the ONLY woman for him, without whom he doesn't want/can't to live the rest of his life. So he runs for miles to find her at the NYE party she's attending, breathlessly delivers his apology speech, then proposes to her. She (pissed-off with his timing because she'd thought she'd made good Getting Over Him progress) basically asks him - Why here, why now? He replies -
“I love that you get cold when it's 71 degrees out. I love that it takes you an hour and a half to order a sandwich. I love that you get a little crinkle above your nose when you're looking at me like I'm nuts. I love that after I spend the day with you, I can still smell your perfume on my clothes. And I love that you are the last person I want to talk to before I go to sleep at night. And it's not because I'm lonely, and it's not because it's New Year's Eve. I came here tonight because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.”
― Nora Ephron, When Harry Met Sally
Ditto your wife. You've helped speed her recovery massively and has early-hit the point where she wants to "have it all" now-now-now! But, suddenly expecting your dial to go from 2 straight to 11 isn't exactly intelligent thinking for not taking your need for re-adjustment at your OWN pace into account. So she's being thoughtless due to latent frustration build-up, into impatience, whereby it's all about her needs, rather than both of yours so that you're BOTH happy with the What and the the How Much and By When.
ALSO...do you even WANT to become more dominant or do you just feel you should?
Did she perhaps make the mistake of thinking that, that entire time you were merely, deliberately keeping yourself dialled-down out of sensitivity for her sake, rather than considered that you were NATURALLY a gentle bloke, hence You in EVERY department, and therefore thought that the minute she was ready to play harder, you'd spring "back" into action to-suit?
Because, knowing what women want, I don't consider you inadequate, I consider you the opposite - The Holy Grail for most women out there your age (and then some!), and it quite a bit of a shame if you actually changed and lost that great quality. Maybe just a SOUPCON more "aggression" in the bedroom, but, I wouldn't change that part of who you are - because that, most definitely, is what two people in-love are supposed to be expressing in the bedroom, make no mistake...it's supposed to be the pair of you "in the raw". Therefore, perhaps you should go into this expedition, thinking of any new skills (styles) you master, as a package to be kept in a 'compartment' for, say, a once-per-week treat, e.g. Saturday nights?
Put another way: don't let any new styles BECOME you. Keep that Holy Grail-ness.
I'll get onto how you can develop those skills in a min...
...But, back to how you're feeling and seeing this (or vice-versa):
Is your wife one of those types whose face is very expressive, whereby being able to read her feelings (Face Subtitles lol) is standard for her?
Because, all of these, are COMMUNICATION. Since the early 60s, we've known that communication is MAINLY non-verbal. One of the clinical researchers that discovered this fact (Dr Mehrabian) in the 60s, devised a formula to describe how the mind determines meaning: 'Interpretation of a message is only 7 percent verbal, 38 percent vocal (e.g. grunts, sighs..) and 55 percent visual. The conclusion was that 93 percent of communication is “nonverbal” in nature'.
"In his first experiment, subjects were given three recordings of the word “maybe” — one to convey disfavor, one to convey favor and one to convey neutrality. Participants were then shown photos of female faces expressing the same three emotions and were told to determine the emotions of both the recordings and the photos. The subjects more accurately guessed the emotion conveyed in the photos by a margin of 3:2."
I just want to know: is she INCAPABLE of hiding her *signalling* to you in the form of her initially Happy Anticipation Face followed by Disappointed & Despondent Face?
Faces speak..so, in fact, it might be a really good exercise for your wife if she IS that easily-read, to start to make an effort to be a little less readable because I'll tell you something for nothing - to have been put IN her state takes having had one or more relationships with not-very-nice to downright malignant Narcissists, oh yes. Having a readable face - yes, should be natural, normal, and part of normal human-human interaction but, these bozos ruin our right to that freedom and relaxation until such time as we've known a person long enough to trust that they WON'T EVER use ANY information we issue, no matter via what communicative media, later on down the line when we're hooked/incarcerated against us, as weapons of drip-drip destruction. Example: narc asks, Like my new aftershave? He's chosen one with, let's say, musk, not knowing she hates that smell. She sniffs and out of consideration or under-assertion, says, Mmm, yeah, quite nice WHILE HER FACE IS SAYING "EW, UGH, ACH!". So what does the Narc do, next time he's pissed off with her (i.e. hours or days later)? Smothers himself in it. A SENSITIVE bloke, however, on reading her face, would get it and ditch the musk - diff/diff (because HE wants to PLEASE her). (And that's a fairly benign example, they can go for your wounds and sensitivities in far more damaging, sinister ways.) So being that readable - IF it's standard - is technically not good for her, given the erstwhile and ongoing 'narcissism explosion'.
That would help you in the bedrooom AND her out of doors (e.g. at the office or when socialising). Plan, Stan?? RSvP.
MEANWHILE (over to your bit - because this is a mini-democracy, meaning, any changes decided upon have to be a genuinely joint decision and effort): You need ideas (and I don't get the impression she has many of her own). But what you DON'T need, are toxic ones. So...over to your CLASSY, HEALTHY, EQUALLY-beneficial kind of pornography - using the search phrase "porn for women", which, apparently, has proven as popular with the male halves as the female, to wit:
"It’s strange how “porn for women” has become its own genre. The only differences between female-friendly porn and mainstream porn are the portrayals of women and members of the LGBTQ, nonbinary and gender-nonconforming communities. This schism has caused all sex-positive depictions of female pleasure to be deemed “porn for women,” when it should be the norm in the first place. All porn should be female friendly porn."
You should probably check it out yourself, first, to see if you're comfortable with it, before introducing your missus to it.
PS: I deliberately haven't looked, just gone by the highly positive reviews...no "awks" here, thanks, lol.
"Any advice please? I feel like such a pathetic excuse for a man."
Don't ever say that again because - there are LOADS of people out there who'd find you all-round as perfect as can be. LOADS. There is NOT just one special one. Soulmate-dom is a QUALITY..a verb BEFORE it can be considered a noun (diff/diff). Had "one and only" ever been the case - imagine before global transport. You live in Sweden, she lives in Africa. Great...what a waste. Humans would have LONG died out by now! ...either from lack of pairbonding or from abject misery!
Anyway, I'm glad you put "feel like" rather than "feel that I am". But if ever you feel that way again, over any aspect of a relationship, here's an easy antidote. You ask yourself:
If *I* were my own partner - i.e. my partner were literally my double bar being the opposite sex, with my heart, soul, intelligence (as facilitates sensitivity, oh yes), upbringing, morals, integrity, hard-work ethic, face, body, how I treat people and behave towards my loved-one(s), etc.,...everything I do and am... - would I count myself lucky or even be chuffed to bits (or had won the pigging Lottery)?
Healthy, highly intelligent thus highly empathic people are always their worst critic so you're pretty-much guaranteed to get an honest answer. :-)
How is she being unfair? I don’t believe she is being at all unfair to be honest? I literally just explained that she hasn’t said or done anything wrong?
She isn’t being unfair at all. She’s merely expressed a desire to try something and I want to try it too. I have literally said this in both posts… I even said that *I* am the one who is struggling and I know it’s down to my anxiety.
Yes I do want to do it. Nobody is making me or forcing me.
She can’t help her facial expressions?
I spoke to her about this last night actually, and she said that she doesn’t actually care/mind because she’s happy with things as they are, she just wanted to try it, that’s all.
When I asked why she seemed disappointed the last time, she said that she wasn’t disappointed exactly; she was surprised because I had said before that I wanted to try this and that I was ready to (that’s true; I did say that).
But I’ll state it again because you seem hell bent on blaming her for something she hasn’t done even though I have already said twice now that it’s not the case: SHE IS NOT PRESSURING ME. She isn’t being unfair or pushy or anything like that, because she knows how it feels.
I’m the one who is disappointed in myself for not being man enough to take charge a little more, and I feel like I’m not satisfying my wife, despite her saying otherwise.
I’m embarrassed to speak to any of my friends about it. My dad isn’t in my life so I can’t talk to him and even if he was he’s an abusive pr*ck, so I wouldn’t want his opinion on anything, anyway.
Also she stated in our conversation last night that she’s concerned that the only reason I’m holding back might be because I’m scared of hurting her, and if that’s the case/only reason, then she wants me to know that I don’t need to be, because she trusts me and knows I would never harm her.
But that if that wasn’t the reason, or there were other reasons, then it’s fine. It’s no big deal, she’s happy with how things are.
That’s not her being unfair in my opinion. She’s a highly sensitive and empathetic woman herself, she’s not the type to be pushy or anything like that.
Crikey, I thought I'd just spent ages trying to convey that it's the SITUATION (and its speed of evolution) that's unfair? And where in there did I say or intimate that she was pushy or being pushy?
Could you read my posts again, this time more positively-minded? It may be that our communication styles differ?
I reiterate: one can be unfair by way of creating an unfair situation, without even realising nor meaning to, i.e. accidentally - even from a positive, like, over-enthusiasm- I thought I'd made that clear? ...This case, by her non-verbal communication, or so you kept making it sound by referring a number of times to what you stated you could tell/see from her face/eyes:
" can tell she’s a bit… unsatisfied?...she seems disheartened by the fact I struggle with these things."
"sometimes I see that her eyes will ever so slightly look hopeful, but then when I can’t do it, she looks almost…? Well, not SAD, but I would say that’s the closest thing I can think of."
"She’ll look a bit disheartened for a sec".
I can only go by the information you provide, and evidence shows you've been a bit 'mixed messaged' there.
However, I now gather that the answer to my question about whether her face is naturally expressive and whether uncontrollably, is - yes and yes.
Again, do me the honour of re-reading, see what difference in makes?
Other than that, if you've since had a further discussion which has cleared a lot of things up for you as well as her - well...GREAT! :-)
PS: what about the link? Do you think that site could be helpful?
I can read perfectly fine. I read it the first time.
How is the situation “unfair” if we BOTH want to do these things?
All she did was bring up that she’d like it if I could take the lead a little more, be a little more “dominant” (for lack of a better word), and slowly introduce some mild dirty talk, to which I said that I would like to as well.
That isn’t unfair. SHE isn’t being unfair.
And no she can’t help her facial expressions…I don’t think anyone (who isn’t a psychopath) can?
She’s done and said nothing wrong in this situation, I have expressed this multiple times so I fail to see what is “unfair” about a situation we BOTH want. Or how she’s being “unfair”?
You’re making absolutely no sense; there’s no other way that can possibly be meant…
I don’t feel she has been unfair at all. The issue here as I have stated multiple times now, is with my anxiety.
Nothing to do with her having done anything wrong or said anything wrong. SHE isn’t making me feel shit in bed; my anxieties are. My anxieties are what are causing this mental block, and making me question and second guess everything.
Not my wife. Yeah I’d like to satisfy her more, I think most men (the non-selfish ones anyway) would want to make sure they can satisfy their own wives/girlfriends etc.
Thanks I guess, but I’m done with this conversation.
It’s clearly going nowhere, and I’m tired of having to keep repeating/explaining myself and defending my wife.
I’ll figure it out on my own.
You're welcome, "I guess". As for 'done' - what - after all of that, you think I'm not?
You didn't *need* to keep defending your wife, let alone so over-rigorously, when I'd just finished lengthily reassuring you that I wasn't attacking her nor saw any reason to. But, yes, for yours and any readers' information, healthy people *can* hide their disappointment, even on their face. It’s called making the effort to be responsibly thoughtful & considerate and in-tune with your partner’s sensitivities, especially when it’s in one's interests not to even inadvertently affect their partner’s confidence to try something again next time - or having that occur to you. But I’d already conceded that she genuinely can't keep her face neutral (‘yes and yes’), despite now you’re acting like I didn’t. (And I’m supposed to believe you’re giving anything I’m saying proper attention and concentration?)
Maybe 'unexpected' would have been a better word. And maybe your “anxieties” are affecting you far more than you realise. IRRESPECTIVE - anxieties and/or feeling misunderstood, especially when you're asking a complete stranger to dedicate their own free time and effort on your behalf, meanwhile subconsciously leaking mixed or contradictory messages all over the shop (despite you obviously don't see you should take any 'blame' for that, as if you believe it doesn't take two to tango), are never an excuse to turn on a sixpence and suddenly start acting like a belligerent, demanding 'begins with A', whom the world owes, thereby breaking Forum Etiquette – this case, unbelievably enough, directly with the rule-enforcer!
Or are you just practising your (cough) "struggle with dominance" on me? "Hmm..."
Count yourself lucky I was the respondent, rather than some other kindly poster/visitor, or I'd be coming down on you like a tonne of bricks right now, officially issuing a ban, rather than a mere, stiff talking-to for that offensive tone plus over-entitled hence wholly ungracious and ungrateful attitude of yours.
I therefore suggest Your Royal Alias-ness try an online sex-therapy website - preferably one lacking interpersonal standards and boundaries (as well as insight), or better yet, keeping all emotionality out of it, if your issue is as surface, straightforward and purely mechanical as you believe. For example, ‘I’d love to know how to become more masterful towards my new and lovely wife in the bedroom – any suggestions?’ - and leaving it at that. Too easy, surely!
...But not nearly as ‘satisfying’, huh.
And while I’m at it - how come you’re such an expert on a lesser-known intricacy of Psychopathy - and making mention of the topic to begin with? (There you go again, look...Curiouser and curiouser, said Alice.)
Anyway, consider yourself newly/finally educated on how grown adults know to behave, no matter what, towards kind-hearted volunteer-strangers whose help they claim to want and need.
(The problem with a person- I mean, people like you is, you think I can’t see you. In fact, this strange talent of mine is one of the main reasons this forum owner appointed me.)
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