He Needs The Map From You

Dear Karen,

 My husband is a good guy; he really loves me, and he tries to me happy.  I love him very much.  Here’s my problem: I am not getting my needs met in the bedroom (this is so hard for me to talk about).  He just doesn’t seem to “get” me and get what I like/want, and it makes me feel frustrated and unsatisfied.  I know this is spilling over into other areas of our marriage.  Is there any hope here? – Joan

Dear Joan,

The two subjects most couples don’t talk about: money, and sex.


Have you noticed how consistently your man will do those things that he already knows he’ll do well? (Work, or sports, or crossword puzzles, fixing broken stuff…whatever his particular specialties are.)

You’ve probably noticed how consistently he’ll steer clear of anything he’s afraid he’ll fail at (that could also include, by the way, having conversations with you about issues where you have conflicts – you are going to probably out-think/out-talk him…every time…and he knows it).

So, how do you help your man get to a place where he feels more confident that he can do a good job?  He needs to know what “doing a good job” looks like.  In short, you have to ask for what you need, and do it in a way that he gets.


Women (and I’m right in there with everyone!) tend to have a hard time asking for things.  You may not fall into that category, but in my years of working with women, it’s been my experience that it’s pretty pervasive.  We may hint, we may hope, we may even get resentful when we’re not getting what we need, but coming right out and asking – and doing so in a way that is clear, loving, respectful – is not that easy for most women.

What a dilemma!  Men need to be asked, and women have a hard time asking.


Hopefully we’ve established that your man wants to do a good job with you in bed, right?  And since he doesn’t have ANY of the same “equipment” that you do, he has no idea how yours works.  Even if he’s sexually experienced, what he’s learned is what makes other women happy.  He needs to learn from you what works for you, what feels good to you, what makes you happy.

Approach the conversation with him from the belief that he is eager to please, he wants to know what will work with you, he loves you, and that, over time, you two will figure out your dance of physical intimacy.

Be patient, have a sense of humor, and appreciate every single little effort he makes to try to please you.   Whenever possible, steer your thoughts away from irritation or impatience (or, if you’ve gotten far off track, you may even be feeling angry/resentful – very dangerous!), and steer towards thoughts like:

“This is our time to connect intimately”

“This is our way of communicating our love for each other”

If you took your wedding vows seriously – and I trust you did, then this is one place where your commitment to your marriage will carry you through the learning curve of learning how to ask for what you need, and helping you teach your husband how to succeed in making you happy.

He wants to.