This is the sixth post in the 1/2 Marathon being orchestrated by the Christian Marriage Bloggers Association. I have a bunch of questions left from the A Males Perspective teleconference I spoke at last week. As such, I’ll be using this marathon to answer some of the questions I received. Please note, these are my perspective. I cannot vouch for all males and when I’m giving my perspective on women, I certainly cannot vouch for all women. Also, all references to gender traits are based on the average population, there are exceptions of course. Please do not be offended by these if you are not “neurotypical” for your gender. So, on to the question:
Does it hurt a man’s feelings when we give instructions to him in the bedroom on what we like and dislike as a woman in bed?
I hate this answer: it depends. But it does, and it depends on mainly two factors, and to illustrate, I’m going to use a decision matrix, because, well, it’s rare that I get to use them. So, the two factors are the wife’s attitude and the husband’s attitude. They both need to be in the right place for this to work as it should.
So, let’s start with the wife’s attitude, because she’s the “instigator” in this little scenario. The wife has really two options when she wants to confront her husband about an issue like this.
I think the default is to be mean, uncaring or ignorant. Really, those all amount to the same sort of reaction. The wife just blurts out “you’re not doing that right” or “that doesn’t feel good at all” or “you don’t have a clue do you?” or slaps his hand, or pushes him away, etc., etc.. Sometimes it’s because what he’s doing really does feel awful and a part of the wife wants to retaliate. Sometimes it’s just so bad that it’s instinct to slap or push away. Sometimes a wife has no idea what sort of impact her words/actions have on their relationship and just said what came to mind. They all have the same instantaneous and long-term effect: emasculating your husband. You have just taken something he needs to feel he’s good at and told him he’s terrible at it. I think the equivalent would be to tell any loving mother “You’re really bad at this parenting thing, aren’t you? What were you thinking, having children?” Anyone would be hurt by that and should be.
The other option is to be loving, aware that your words and actions can hurt and phrase your concern appropriately. Something like “Why don’t I show you what I really like?” or “Why don’t we do something we’ll both enjoy more?” or if he’s really persistently bad at something he won’t give up, then at least going easy on him and saying “I know you want to bring me pleasure, and I want you to as well, and I think we need some work to find the best way of doing that, so let’s start exploring together.” Most men won’t admit how fragile our egos are when it comes to sex. If you listen to any talk show about sexuality for a decent amount of time, you will invariably come across a call from a guy or girl or couple who all of a sudden find the man is experiencing erectile dysfunction even though he’s young and healthy. Nine times out of ten it comes out that she’s said or did something to shut him down and he is so scared of rejection subconsciously that his body won’t even respond lest it gets put in the same situation again. It’s amazing how often a simple apology fixes those cases.
So, if the wife takes option 1 (the mean/uncaring/ignorant route), her husband is either going to be hurt or angry or both. But, if she’s compassionate and caring and takes the time to go slow and gentle with his ego, then we’re on to the husband’s attitude to see how he’ll handle it.
Now, a well-adjusted man will understand that he doesn’t know everything there is to know, that he certainly doesn’t understand women, and thus should not be expected to completely understand their bodies. I mean, who could? They change day to day, sometimes during the day, and after a pregnancy or two (or four), what used to give your wife a guaranteed orgasm in minutes now has her cringing and pulling away. I often joke and say that I married my wife because she’s the best toy God could ever give me, a puzzle that I can solve one day yet is still a challenge the next day. Sometimes it’s frustrating, but wow, the prize, if you can solve it that day, is great! Anyways, back to the topic at hand, so a well-adjusted male will understand this and if he’s smart he will listen very carefully when his wife is telling him how to make her happier. My best friend growing up said one thing over and over when I was engaged “Happy Wife, Happy Life” and while it’s not the whole truth, it’s a part of it. That said, something has to be wrong with a guy who will not accept a clue about how to make his wife happier, especially coming from the wife.
On the other hand, a man who is not well adjusted, who is insecure, whose ego is so wrapped up in performance that he can’t take a hint even if it would save his marriage, it doesn’t matter how the wife phrases it, he’s going to balk and sulk and yell and get upset. He’s going to feel personally offended if someone even suggests that he does not know how to please his wife, even if that person is his wife. This guy needs help.
So, I’m afraid there is no 100% positive method of teaching a man that he will accept, it will depend on the man, but a wife can raise her chances by choosing her words and actions carefully.
Men: Are you willing to learn? Or do you think you know everything?
Women: Are you willing to baby our egos when teaching us how to please you so we can both be happier?
32 thoughts on “Does It Hurt A Man’s Feelings When We Give Instructions To Him In The Bedroom On What We Like And Dislike As A Women In Bed?”
If the husband really loves his wife more than himself, he should not get mad. He should be glad his wife wants him to please her. Yes, as men, we tend to believe we know everything. But, we should humble ourselves to the fact that we must learn from our wife how she likes to be pleased. Learning from an outside source like porn is adultry.
Agreed, but if he loves his wife more than himself, then he’d be willing to learn, which puts me back to the matrix I drew up.
I 100% agree, porn is adultery. Any sexual energy focused other than towards your spouse is.
I think a husband will welcome his wife’s suggestions when she speaks the truth in love.
I think it depends on the husband. Some husbands just aren’t at a good place. I’ve seen way too many wives complaining about this very issue, that they cannot get their husbands to change tactics in the bedroom no matter how they approach the issue. Sometimes the heart just needs to change before it can accept instruction.
Look at Israel and God in the bible, supposedly a relationship similar to a wife and husband. God is always loving and compassionate, but Israel continued to be stubborn in theirs ways no matter how many times God told them how to love him.
I agree completely with your assessment! There must be a softening of the heart on both sides. It’s unfortunate that a few spouses seem to miss that sex would be so much better if they considered their spouse and not just themselves. Thankfully, most spouses really do want to have a good sex life, so if one of them makes a gentle effort, the other will respond favorably.
Yes, sex is amazing when your are working at pleasuring your spouse and not just yourself.
Great post! Your chart is a brilliant way to look at this (and would work for so many other things in marriage). Thanks!
Thank you. As I said in the other comment, I cannot take credit for the chart, I just adapted Pascal’s Gambit.
I love this post. I agree that it depends on the attitudes of both wife and husband. Love the table!
Thank you, I first saw this sort of table way back in high school learning about Pascal’s Wager (or Pascal’s Gambit).
He was thinking of whether or not he should believe in God. So he drew up a matrix. The side was Follow God or Not Follow God. The top was “God Exists” and “God Doesn’t Exist”
If you follow God and he exists, you go to heaven.
If you follow God and he doesn’t exist, nothing lost.
If you don’t follow God and he exists, go to hell.
If you don’t follow God and he doesn’t exist, nothing lost.
Since you cannot know for a fact that God exists, the logical response is to follow God regardless because the potential gain far exceeds the cost. I have never forgotten that illustration, it will be with me for the rest of my life.
I take great pleasure boosting my husband’s ego. I also take great pleasure in letting him lead in the bedroom. Something I appreciate about him is he’ll ask me to tell him if something is uncomfortable or painful, and he reassures me every time we have sex. I also make it a point to be willing to try new and different things when he suggests something and give things a fair shake. I’d encourage all married women to be sensitive to their husband’s needs and emotions and to focus on teaching her man what she likes, rather than focusing on the negative – what she doesn’t like. I find my husband is a quick learner. ;o)
Sounds like you guys are in the right box in the decision matrix. Good for both of you!
There are definitely times when even with the most gentle word, feelings are hurt because of his insecurities, but in general what you shared is true.
Really puts it into perspective when you compare it to saying something extremely insensitive to a mother, whose only desire is to be the best mother ever! Sometimes I have instinctively smacked my husband’s hand, never thinking about how it would make him feel. Now that we are “healed” in general, I find that we don’t really have this issue anymore. If I want him to do something, I try to guide him. If I don’t like what he is doing, I will still sometimes blurt out “stop that” but I’m learning and for the most part, because neither one of us are caught up in sexual sin ourselves, our marriage and sex life is just better in general. It’s easier to communicate when we care about satisfying each other sexually.
We absolutely must ALWAYS be students of our wives.
I actually really like when my wife tells me what she likes and what she does not because I really want to give her pleasure and when she communicates what feels good, it allows me to do those things more often and avoid the things that do not bring her pleasure. When I do that, she responds better to the sex in general and it is a more exciting and pleasurable experience for everyone involved! Not to mention that it gets us talking….dirty sometimes…which of course only serves to get me more turned on! That’s always been awkward for me; what exactly do you talk about while having sex? Well, telling someone what you like and want is a good and easy way to get started! Most men I know love to engage all of the senses in the experience so I love to hear when she is enjoying something with moans, requests, affirmations and even some instructions (“kiss me [insert location]” or, “please do [insert sexy action here] to me right now!”); it encourages me to be enthusiastic about it and also to make sure the experience is mutually pleasing.
That’s fantastic! I believe that is how it should be as well.
As a Husband for 18 yrs now I can honestly say that no husband who loves his wife (or wife who loves her husband) should have any problem having their spouse letting them know when they’re doing something wrong or that doesn’t feel good. While it can be a little intimidating to have your love one tell you that you need to “slowdown, rub softer/harder, move this way/that way, etc”, it’s important to remember that they’re the ones on the recieving end. If it were us one that end we’d want to be able to speak up too.
My wife and I when we got married agree early on that we’d let the other one “teach us” how they like it and how they want us to do it. At first it was kinda akward for both of us becuse we were both virgins when we got married so niether of us had any experience knowing what to do or how to really please the other person. We were lucky that the college pastor (and his wife) who married us had taken us both aside as individuals before our wedding day and taked to us about expectations and what we should really expect in the day, weeks, and months to come when it came to marriage and sex.
The best advice I was given was to really listen to her when she says “ouch” and let her redirect me as needed. It was odd for her and I at first to have to have her show me what felt best for her when it came to touching, rubbing, etc but she did nad I got better at what I did. She would at time have to take my hand and show me, and other times she could just tell me and I would “get it” after that. I had to do the same for her at times and as a result we learned how to take and recieve instruction from each other. It made sex sooo much better.
Now, that’s going a bit far I think to say that if they have a problem hearing criticism, they must not love their wife. There are a lot of broken marriages and relationship in the world, and some are broken in such a way that the marriage is not yet safe for criticism. It takes time to re-build that relationship in some cases. So, I can’t agree with you there.
But, I wholehearted agree with the rest, being each other’s teacher in the bedroom is a great idea!
Actually what I was saying was that if you you and your wife love each other than it shouldn’t be an issue to have them give you correction in what they like or don’t like when it is given in a loving way.
Of course there are a lot of broken marriages where trust and intimacy need to be rebuilt and criticism is hard to hear by one or both partners whether it is in the bedroom or any other place in the marriage. My wife and I have 1 Cor. 13:4-8a posted on our wall so that we are reminded everyday that this needs to be one of the foundations that a marriage should be built on. But because we live in a fallen world most marriages fall short of this ideal in one way or another.
It took us years to get to the point where we really started to understand each other and where the others heart really was when it came to sharing the deeper things of marriage with each other. If it seemed like I was implying that “if they have a problem hearing criticism, they must not love their wife (or husband)” then I apologize because that wasn’t even close to what I was saying.
I was only referring to within the bedroom when it comes to sharing ourselves with each other, that if given in love, a husband or wife should be willing to listen to each other for the mutual benefit of what the other one needs to enjoy sex and to feel safe with them.
Thank you for the clarification, and I agree.
As a woman, reading this is aggravating. Being sure to take into account the make ego all the time is tiring.
Men need to work on their ego & views of self worth just as much as we need to be kind. This article seems very one-sided & masaginistic. Especially stating that the woman is the “instigator”. In an alternate perspective, the man is the instigator when he fails to recognize his own error or do his own research so that he’s not clueless yet thinks he knows what he’s doing. 🙄 I believe a lack of self-reflection & self-awareness instigates just as much as an unkind retort.
In my current relationship I find it challenging to be kind in some situations when I hear in my head,” are you kidding me?! Are you really that aloof? Broaden your thinking!” It’s better than what went on in my mind earlier, ” IDIOT!!! I need to end this relationship now!” But then I did some healing & realized that 1) just because someone thinks differently than you does not make them stupid. And 2) remembering that everything has balance of positive & negative factors Haha took a couple years for #1 to settle in 🤣
I knew your comment was a recent one Rainbow. I’m so glad the tide seems to be turning in attitudes (particularly in women) about sex. If a husband can’t respond maturely to a wife’s kind and good natured requests and direction, then he’s probably too immature for marriage. No more pandering to egos! I can see Sheila”s influence here. Oh yay!
So, rather than teaching women to love their husbands where they’re at, you’d prefer they burn the marriage to the ground because he’s not mature enough – with no examination of the contempt in her comment? I mean, how mature is mature enough? We should all take egos into account – you’re not going to be able to get rid of them completely. I believe the biblical teaching is to love people where they’re at. That’s what I see Christ modelling for us. But this attitude of “well, you need to grow up before I love you” is … well, unfortunate.
I have plenty of posts calling men out, but waiting for spouses to be perfect before you treat them in a way that is kind of loving isn’t productive.
This was a post about where most men are, not where they should be. That’s not misogynistic. In what sort of twisted world is it that showing love for men means it’s hatred of women? Love and men and love of women aren’t mutually exclusive – I don’t agree with that battle-mentality, zero-sum game philosophy.
Now, if you want something showing misandry (hatred of men), I think your comment probably qualifies. Your internal comments (“Are you kidding me? Are you really that aloof? Broaden your thinking”) show a real disdain and contempt for men. Even if you don’t say them out load to him, it betrays your view of them, which I’m sure comes out in a plethora of ways.
Of course, men should learn to grow past this. I have many, many posts on that. But, as I said, let’s not wait for people to be perfect until we bother to show care and kindness for them. We love them where they are, and then encourage and support them in their growth.