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Sex talk: Where did your playful side go?

I know many people do not have a light-natured bone in their bodies, but if you want your marriage to eventually not be drowned in boredom, especially when it comes to sex, you better learn how to bring some fun to the table.

You used to be fun to be around and humorous; what happened?

You used to be cheeky and playful; where did that go? And don’t say you grew up! [Eye-roll.]

A lot of the sex in your marriage in the earlier years started out on teasing, spontaneous foreplay. Not anymore. Like a multitude before you, you have allowed the stresses of the world to dictate the mood in your marriage.

Marriage involves two people – well, mostly – and they are charged with keeping each other invested in the union.

Bringing the sex regularly is not enough; keeping your spouse from rolling her eyes, or mocking you with his mouth while at it, is also important.

Do you always deliver your lovemaking in the same old position, foreplay (if any) and talk (if at all) week-in, month-out? Yawn.

With time, like someone dutifully laughing at a loved one’s unfunny joke for the sake of not hurting their feelings, you will reduce your spouse to faking their ‘enthusiastic’ response to you.

Otherwise, if they were blunt, they would fall asleep during your ministrations. Does this mean couples have to pretend or put on a show for the sake of keeping spouses interested? No. Just try being yourself; all yourself.

We all have a child within. We all have a light side to us. But in many cases the light, funny side is saved for siblings, work colleagues and friends, and all your spouse sees is this grave, money-hunting side to you.

Your family only gets the growling disciplinarian the children cower from; the screaming, angry woman the maid quakes in her slippers over; the abusive husband that takes work frustrations out on his dutiful wife.

I often tell the true story of the bored Ugandan wife who lost her life to Aids in her quest for excitement. She was the naturally bubbly girl that married a husband who simply never played.

She narrated a few months before her death – rest in peace – how she once rubbed her farming husband’s shoulders (to knead out the fatigue, I guess) in the sitting room, and he angrily barked: “Ozannya biki ng’abaana balaba?! (Stop playing when the kids are watching!)”

But it was never different away from watchful eyes; he was always irked to find her in bed in her night dress on a night he had notified her he would be ‘claiming his conjugal rights’.

Eventually, one adventurous blunder on her part and she brought HIV back to her marriage with fatal consequences.

I still wonder from time to time how different things could have been if only the husband had occasionally let his hair down a little. After all, isn’t marriage about compromise and sometimes doing things for the sake of your spouse’s happiness?

“Our cultural script tells us that women never leave or stray unless the men they married have done something awful to them,” Naomi Wolf wrote in her book, Vagina: A New Biography.

“But I cannot count how many perfectly nice, reasonable, sane, considerate women have confided to me that the reason they left or strayed is that they ‘couldn’t stand’ the sexual boredom caused by the good, safe, nice, predictable man.”

She reasoned that husbands in addition to their provider role that many wives deeply respect, need not abandon the “provocateur role” that keeps a wife interested and excited.

Similarly, in addition to the domesticated, in-control role many a husband desires in his wife, wives need to keep a sunny, sensual side that keeps their husbands hooked.

These things of walking around looking, sounding and smelling horrible can leave even the most excitable husband feeling only exhaustion most of the time.

Watch this silent killer of good marriages that is on the prowl: boredom.

So, change positions. Do fun things together. Travel. Introduce sex toys that are acceptable to both of you. Laugh more. Slow-dance more…

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