Q&A: Resolving Conflict Over Sex Acts

We recently received a number of emails from a husband who greatly desires to receive oral sex, but his wife is unwilling to offer it in the way he wants to receive it. Cumingirl has previously written an article that addresses many of the issues surrounding this struggle. Her article, Overcoming Reservations About Oral Sex, may be helpful to a degree, but it was written more for the wife who wants to grow in this area along with some tips for husbands on making it easier for them.

While I could deal specifically with the topic of oral sex, it seems to me that it would be more beneficial to consider this more broadly. There are so many acts that a husband or wife could be hesitant to incorporate while their spouse desires it. Since every couple is individual in their desires and preferences and way of relating, I offer this article as a general guide to help those who desire a certain sex act that they are not currently experiencing in their marriage beds.

To begin with, I want to say that if your spouse has an aversion to an act, but is generally a generous lover in other regards, be cautious about placing too much importance on that act. If it becomes your focus so much so that you are distracted from enjoying the intimacy they do offer, you are in danger of finding yourself in a place where a preoccupation with that act begins to master you. This is unhealthy for you and unfair to your spouse. I have repeatedly heard men in particular say that they desired a certain act and their wife did not want to do it with them, but another woman approached them and offered and they said yes. This is a direct result of the sex act having mastery over you. Sexual intimacy is about serving one another and if you are more concerned with your spouse serving you with a certain act than you are of serving them, this is a problem.

While I encourage wives to push out of their comfort zones and try new things with their husbands, I also encourage husbands to be a safe place for their wives to do so. If a wife is feeling that they dissatisfy you, they are not going to be motivated to grow in these areas. The same applies to wives who want their husbands to try a certain act. Let him know that he is the man and gives you much pleasure, and then have a conversation.

In your conversation with your spouse, gently and respectfully ask how they feel about the act? Do they feel it is sinful? Do they lack the confidence to do it well either because of their own insecurities or because of expectations you have placed on them? Is there anything you could do that might make it more relaxing or pleasurable for them?

If your spouse makes an effort to try it, be encouraging and supportive. Show appreciation that they are trying it and keep yourself from negatively criticizing their technique. If you would like to see them improve something in their technique always go the route of “That was great. What if you do _____ with your ____? Does that feel better for you? I like that.” Speak positively and be thankful that they are making an effort to please you. If they genuinely try an act and are not comfortable with it, you need to respect that. There is so much joy to be found in the journey towards intimacy that becoming overly focused on one act will end up robbing you and your spouse of what the Lord has for you.

The bottom line is that you have far more control over yourself than you do over your spouse. Yes, I want men and women to be generous towards their spouse. Yes, I endevor to speak this freedom to the women we minister here, but when a woman is not in a place where she is experiencing this freedom, drawing her in with kindness and grace rather than pushing from behind is going to be more benefical to both of you in the long run.


  1. My DH wants to try different things with me, but when we do, I find that they are painful. He likes “cowgirl” and I like “missanary.” For me, it’s a pain issue. I have Adenomyosis and Endometriosis. I think he thinks I’m just not up for change, it’s really the pain. Any suggestions?

  2. Missionary and cowgirl aren’t your only two options. If he thinks you aren’t up for change, look through our list of positions and pick one that you think would be comfortable for you. One that is totally new or that you haven’t done in a while.

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