In this counseling answer:
• Some men, due to ego or fear of not performing well, will take it as an insult and get angry. Others will be excited and intrigued to learn how to please their wives.
• In marriage, communication is very important, as well as having an openness to learn about one’s spouse.
As Salam Alaykum sister,
Thank you for writing in with your most important question. Actually, your concerns are very common, sister. Having issues with intimacy is frequent, especially for newly married couples. It takes time for couples to acclimate and get used to one another’s needs and desires.
It also takes time for each partner to discover what feels right, which techniques are arousing as well as how to grow together on an intimate level. This is an important part of bonding in a marriage.
A lot of men who are new to sexual relations may be heavy-handed. They may be too rough as they have no experience and just do what they feel is natural. However, most will quickly learn that their wives have their own preferences, needs, and desires of how they wish to be intimate.
Some men, due to ego or fear of not performing well, will take it as an insult and get angry. Others will be excited and intrigued to learn how to please their wives.
Sadly, your husband sounds as if he falls into the first category. Thus, you have some work ahead of you!
It seems that your husband feels offended when you try to get closer to him by discussing your sexual needs and preferences. From his reactions of anger. it appears that he is taking the issue personally and feels it is an “attack” on his manhood.
Every man should seek to please his wife sexually, sister. However, some men may think that as men, they “know it all” when it comes to pleasing a woman and to suggest otherwise is a huge insult! This is just not true.
As you were both virgins when you married, sexual intimacy is a new experience! And with that comes trial and error as to what is pleasing to each partner. Even couples who are divorced and remarry and feel they have sufficient experience need to learn their partner’s preferences as no two people are alike in what is pleasing, arousing and comfortable for them.
In marriage, communication is very important, as well as having an openness to learn about one’s spouse. Your husband does not seem to want to communicate regarding this topic nor does he want to listen to your needs. He may find this topic threatening to his abilities to satisfy you sexually.
Sadly, he also appears to be absorbed in his own sexual satisfaction with little regard for yours.
In order to establish true intimacy and closeness, your husband needs to listen to you in a caring, compassionate manner and put his ego aside.
I kindly suggest sister that you find a time that is a calm and happy time to express your needs to your husband. I know you have tried before and received angry results. However, maybe a different approach will work. It may be during intimacy (although you have come to dislike these times due to his inconsiderate ways).
During intimate moments, if you can, insha’Allah, tell him things such as “oh, this feels wonderful, can you move your hand a little further… this feels really nice, but I want to know how it feels if you do this (fill in)”. Without getting too explicit on a public forum, I do hope you get the idea of what I am saying.
Insha’Allah, sister, if you praise his efforts and acknowledge what he does do that feels good – followed by a suggestion for what may feel even better -, he may respond positively.
Please, tell him that you long to learn of him in an intimate way and want to share yourself as well. Ask him questions about what he likes, what kind of touch he desires, does he find excitement in long kisses, etc. Perhaps by asking him first, he will be less on the defense and more willing to listen to you as you both share your needs. Insha’Allah, this will open a calm and loving dialogue between you.
Communicating in this way (positive reinforcement first) may negate any perceived “criticism” (this is how he takes it). If you first focus on what he is doing right, you may be in a better position to teach him how to be intimate with you in a way that is pleasing to you.
Insha’Allah, as time goes on, he will understand how important is to really listen to you and hear what your needs are as he gets positive results from these small but steady changes in his interactions with you.
Most husbands are turned on and try to please more when they get sexually positive responses from their wife. Plain and simple; it is a turn on. Your task is to guide him gently towards the techniques that you desire by expressing pleasure along with requests.
It may take some continued patience on your part, but once he sees your heightened sexual responses to his changes in techniques, he will insha’Allah be eager to continue to want to know “what turns you on”.
As he begins to understand what moves you as well as what techniques will elicit a positive response, insha’Allah his harsh and rough ways with you during sexual intercourse will diminish.
It is your right to be treated and a loving gentle manner as well as have your needs respected.
Patterns and Behaviors
If after trying the above suggestions without progress, you may have to engage him in a frank but calm discussion. His ignoring your requests in the bedroom to communicate your needs is indicative of someone who possibly has not shared himself with anybody before and is used to doing things his way. This doesn’t have to be only in a sexual way. This may be more of learned behaviors and patterns.
Possibly the friendships and family relationships that he had growing up were ones wherein his needs came first and no one else mattered. This would result in a person who is unable (at this time) to listen to the needs of others and make the necessary behavioral changes to adapt so they are happy as well. This is a pattern of learned behaviors. It can be changed insha’Allah but it is not as simple as the case wherein a person feels angry and rejected due to ego and missing communication points. In this scenario, once the communication is clear, the anger, fear of rejection and damaged ego usually recover and the person is happy with the results as their “self” has been positively reinforced.
However, if it is a pattern of long-term self-satisfaction and selfishness which is a part of their personality, it is more deeply ingrained, thus, harder to reprogram. In this case, sister, you can suggest marriage counseling which will insha’Allah incorporate techniques to help him become a more giving and selfless person.
Sister, you are doing the right thing by telling your husband what feels good and what does not feel good. You are communicating your needs and preferences in the hopes to draw closer to him in an intimate way. Whatever approach you take, please do reassure him of your love and desire for him. He does love you very much. He just seems angry at the moment as you are rejecting his advances due to his inability or refusal to listen to you and communicate in a healthy way. In reality, his anger is a hurt by the perceived rejection of his abilities.
As far as your sexual responses during and post-pregnancy, there are definite sensitivities and changes. Being pregnant and giving birth to a child is no small task. Your husband should understand this and be sensitive to your needs regarding sexual contact conduct.
Again though, this issue is tied up with his ability to truly understand and be secure in his manhood as well as be emphatic towards you. Insha’Allah, you may wish to give him literature or brief pamphlets about sexual issues and changes after giving birth.
In fact, you may wish to leave some lying around the house for him to see and insha’Allah piques his curiosity. This would eliminate insha’Allah a possible defensive reaction.
Sister, after you have tried the above suggestions if your husband still refuses to listen to you at all regarding your needs, desires and your preferences for sexual intimacy, then I would kindly suggest that you go for marriage counseling. In no way should you have to tolerate sexual activity that is unpleasant for you. That is your right.
You can state to your husband that insha’Allah you do love and desire him and want to get closer to him, but you feel that your marriage needs help and you would like to go for marriage counseling. Insha’allah, he will see the seriousness and respond positively.
Getting in sync with a spouse is not always easy, sister. Often, it takes time and a willingness to learn. It also takes good communication skills, empathy and a desire to please your spouse. Marriage counseling can Insha’Allah help spouses gain these skill sets.
We wish you both the best,
Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, its counselors or employees be held liable for any damages that may arise from your decision in the use of our services.