Dr. G Hits the Spot: I miss being a wild childI was a wild child before I settled down and got married. My spouse is sexually conservative in nature, and I find myself longing for my wild days. What should I do?

I often wonder why people “settle down” in order to get married. Who decided that getting married means that you have to change who you are and the way that you have fun? Can you help me understand your decision to combine your life with someone who has such different views in such an important area? There is certainly nothing wrong with finding a companion with whom you find balance, but when you have to change who you are and what you really enjoy in order to be with the person you love, there are inevitably going to be difficult issues. That said, you are married, and I am going to assume that you are happily married, save this particular piece of the pie. Let’s, therefore, have the communication talk. (It is almost as scary as the sex talk you had with your parents, but not quite.) Communication is absolutely the key to issues in most every relationship. When it comes to marriage, in particular sex within marriage, letting your partner know what you do and do not like is a big piece of making both of you happy. Let’s back up, though, and make sure that you understand that when you communicate, you are not just making statements. Communicating means listening, talking, and asking questions to understand, so that both partners feel heard and connected when the conversation is done. There are many ways to explore and enjoy sex that allow both partners to feel sexually fulfilled without one of them feeling uneasy. (One caveat: if you have a system of belief that doesn’t allow for exploration, or disallows certain sexual ideas, fantasies or otherwise, that is something you need to take up with your belief system, not your spouse.) When you are having this discussion with your spouse, be sure to ask why they feel the way they do about your non-conservative ideas. You might be able to work through those thoughts and feelings, and you may even become aware of events in your spouse’s past have lead to the conservative ideas. In general, when people feel loved and respected during sexual intimacy, they are willing to trust and explore with their partner. Remember, feeling loved and feeling respected means something different to everyone, so be sure to address that with your partner. Believe it or not, what feels good and intimate for one person can feel disrespectful or controlling for another.

We change in many ways as we grow older. Some people want the same thing for dinner every single night of their lives, while other people start out wanting beef and potatoes, but end up loving artichokes, Brussels sprouts, and squid if they are introduced to it the right way. Just as our food palate changes, our sexual preferences and abilities can and do as well. (Viagra is a thing for a reason!)

With all of that being said, you might ask yourself why you were attracted to someone with a conservative sexual palate in the first place. Did you give off the false impression that you wanted conservatism in the bedroom in order to get the spouse you now have? If you were a “wild child,” what made you decide that you didn’t want another “wild child” for a spouse? We’ve all heard the saying, “a lamb in the kitchen but a tiger in bed.” Kinda makes me wonder who has done the changing?

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