This is how we do it: ‘I love it when he orgasms as it feels like validation’

Therese feels like she’s always taking the initiative but Dev worries that he misses her cues

How do you do it? Share the story of your sex life, anonymously

Therese, 50

I still find Dev irresistible. I just want more of him

Dev and I have been together for three years, but it is only when he is naked and vulnerable that I am sure of his affections. I particularly love it when he orgasms, because it feels like a form of validation. For a few precious seconds Dev is all passion, and entirely focused on me – whereas outside the bedroom, he is a difficult man to reach. He is sunny and happy-go-lucky by nature, but he conceals more difficult emotions. Increasingly, I am aware that I rely on sex to establish an emotional connection between us – which is dangerous, because if Dev isn’t constantly initiating, I feel desperately hurt.

When I met Dev I was 47, and had recently separated from my husband of 20 years. My marriage was almost entirely sexless, which is why I am anxious about maintaining the erotic spark with Dev. My ex-husband was never particularly sexual and would often turn down my advances. Every time I tried to raise the issue my ex would become so defensive that sex gradually became this awful thing that neither of us dared to mention. We lived like that for 15 years.

I’ve rebuilt some of my confidence since that relationship, but I still fear rejection. Recently I knocked on the door while Dev was showering, but that is about as overt as my initiation tactics get. We didn’t even end up having sex in the shower: I started to soap Dev’s skin but he was unresponsive, which made me feel so overwhelmed with embarrassment that I got out. Dev is aware of my sexual history, and I wish he would initiate more to take the pressure off me. I fantasise about him surprising me while I’m doing the dishes, or having sex with me on our sofa. The kind of sex I crave is slow and luxurious. But when Dev does initiate, it’s always in bed, last thing at night, which feels to me like an afterthought.

Lately, I’ve been trying to practise some reverse psychology. When Dev reaches for me in our bed I will pretend I’m not in the mood, in an effort to make him desire me more. Occasionally I will even go so far as to give him half a handjob and then tell him I’m too tired to go further, to get him really riled up. The problem is that if he starts to touch me, the game is up; it feels so delicious that I have to give in. The bottom line is that I still find Dev irresistible. I just want more of him. He always feels painfully out of my reach.

Dev, 47

In bed, all of Therese’s boldness seems to melt away

I tend to wear a mask sometimes, around other people, but Therese is uniquely upfront, and confrontational. I still find it thrilling just to gaze at her, while she is giving a virtual stranger a piece of her mind. She’s beautiful, but it’s more about the sparkiness and the clarity with which she expresses herself. Her lack of inhibition has influenced me, and we have clear lines of communication on almost everything in our relationship, with one notable exception. We can’t talk openly about sex. In bed, all of Therese’s boldness seems to melt away.

Therese will rarely actually ask me for sex, and all of her nonverbal cues are so subtle, I usually miss them. For example, she might go and run herself a bath, and then get upset that I haven’t correctly interpreted that bath as a proposition. It’s confusing, because Therese has a lot of baths, and I’m meant to intuitively know which is a sex-bath and which is not. Her subtlety just breeds anger. Often Therese won’t tell me that I’ve missed a hint until some time afterwards, and by that time she will have been quietly resenting me for days.

My method for initiating sex is more immediate. I find Therese deeply attractive: I like the idea of turning to her in the night and simply smelling her, and then having spontaneous, almost animalistic sex. I sometimes want it to be fast-paced and deeply passionate between us, but Therese isn’t keen on all that. She prefers extremely patient, intentional, tantric-inspired sex that revolves around foreplay. She is longing for me to slow down every single one of my movements, but I’d prefer to lose myself in the moment and speed up.

Therese has shared the story of her sexless marriage with me, and I’m in awe of the way she has pieced herself back together. Because sex was withheld from her for so long, I think she can’t believe that I love her unless I’m having the very tender, controlled sex that she has decided signifies “love”. If I try to express my passion for her on my terms, she’s not comfortable with it. She confuses my excitement for a lack of care.

Sometimes I wish I could suck all of Therese’s insecurities out of her brain so that she was entirely free from worry, and then have sex with her. In the meantime, I’m trying to deliver sex on her terms.

Would you and your partner like to share the story, anonymously, of your sex life?


As told to Kitty Drake

The GuardianTramp

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