Aunt Vadge: am I wrong to want vaginal intercourse?

Hi Aunt Vadge, 

Can you tell me am I being cruel or within my rights to want vaginal sexual intercourse only instead of submitting to performing oral sex on my fiance when it is sickening to me. He actually has diabetes (and probably mental hangups about penis/vagina insertion) and uses digital insertion.

He says I am not all in by not gifting him with oral sex and that he can’t trust me because I don’t want to do it. By the way I tried and find it humiliating.

Yours,
Humiliated
Age 72, USA

Hi Humiliated,

Thanks for writing. Your email was absolutely chocka-block full of interesting stuff. You sound like you are battling with shame, blame, and unsatisfactory sex in your relationship – tough stuff.

I have had to resist the immediate urge to use Dan Savage’s favourite phrase – Dump the mother f*cker already! – because that isn’t always the solution (though it often is!).

However, I would like to say first up that what you have said is awful – that your fiance is guilt manipulating you into oral sex, and using your commitment to the relationship as fodder for his argument as to why you should go down on him.

This is simply unacceptable. How you deal with this is up to you, but that needs to stop immediately. Humiliation has no place in a relationship, and definitely no place in your sex life.

Relationships are hard, and the only way to navigate through them with any success is by talking about your thoughts and feelings, and understanding your responses to specific situations, in this case, your fiance wanting oral sex, you not wanting to give it, humiliation, shame, and guilt manipulation all mixed up in there.

The thing is, you should know by now if the man you are supposed to spend the rest of your life with has a hangup about penis-in-vagina sex. You should know this! This is key information!

Communication is the key to good sex and a happy relationship. If you can’t ask for what you want out of your sex life because your partner is unresponsive, or have your requests turned down without a valid reason, find someone else to have sex with. You are the boss here.

You should never, ever feel humiliated while you have, or think about having, your fiance’s penis in your mouth. Ideally, you should want to make your partner feel good because you like and love him, which is why oral sex is fun for many people – they like it.

Both people like it. If one person in the couple doesn’t like it, then you really need to talk this through, and talk about what you want, what he wants, and how you can both get it with joy.

Your email was full of the unspoken. It doesn’t seem like you are talking to him about how you feel, and it is causing you distress and really yucky feelings. That isn’t conducive to a happy relationship.

On top of that, diabetes and age can wreak havoc on your body and be rough on sexual function for both of you. This requires understanding and kindness from both sides. You have to work with what you’ve got, so if he isn’t physically able to have sex with you in a way that satisfies you, he might not want to do it at all.

Fingering your vagina may seem like a safe option for him, but you find it unsatisfactory. You need to know why this is all you are getting, so talk, talk, talk, even if it’s awkward. Push through the awkward.

Talk about other sex options, like dildos and sex toys – if you can’t or won’t do the thing each other likes, figure out other ways of finding sexual satisfaction. There are many! If you really want this to work, you will find solutions.

Tell him about your feelings but do so without blaming – a good way to do this is to say, When you do X, I feel Y, and I’d like to see how we can change that and do better. Ask him lots of questions to get to the bottom of it, and reassure him that you are not out to blame or accuse, but to get to the bottom of the issue and find a solution you can both agree to.

We are all insane, don’t forget, and we can have some pretty wonky perspectives on things that need shifting before we can get what we need, and give others what they need. Relationships can get mucky when our ability to express ourselves is impeded, so work on fixing that, and you will start to solve the problems you are having.

You may want to light him on fire, but it’s important for you to take care of your feelings and not make him responsible for how you feel – you are the boss of your own feelings.You choose how you feel, you choose to stay in a relationship where you are not getting the sex you want, and you choose how to approach the problem of your somewhat off relationship dynamics.

It is within your control to either figure out how to get what you need, or if you are not getting what you need and there is no hope of you getting what you need, deciding whether to stay in the relationship or not. Feeling humiliated is not an option any longer, so the minute it creeps in, solve it, even if that means making hard choices. Humiliation is a terrible feeling and your fiance, as a person who loves you, should be actively trying to make you feel good about yourself, about your relationship with him, and about sex. Otherwise, what’s the point? We don’t have to be in a relationship – we choose it because we like it.

Watch Brene Brown’s TED Talk on shame and her other talks on vulnerability. They are wonderful and help us to gather our feelings around shame and talk about them more openly.

There is more going on here than just the material sex facts. It is also helpful to see a counsellor when things get tricky – relationships are hard, for everyone, and having an impartial ear to get past the crap can be so useful. We often get bogged down in the miniature, and more often than not, this isn’t the real issue. Your email sounded suspiciously like you are in an unhappy relationship. This may be wrong, but whatever the answer, something needs to happen.

We are all entitled to the sort of sex we prefer, and if we are not getting this, we have to make some choices: can we live without it? Your fiance needs to answer this too.

Can he live without oral sex? Can you live without sexual intercourse? What other options could you investigate? Lay it out and get real about it. Life’s too short to be voluntarily miserable!

Write again anytime.

Warmest regards,
Aunt Vadge

Jessica Lloyd - Naturopathic Practitioner, BHSc(N)

Jessica Lloyd - Naturopathic Practitioner, BHSc(N)

Jessica is a degree-qualified naturopath (BHSc) specialising in vulvovaginal health and disease, based in Melbourne, Australia.

Jessica is the owner and lead naturopath of My Vagina, and is a member of the:

  • International Society for the Study of Vulvovaginal Disease (ISSVD)
  • International Society for the Study of Women's Sexual Health (ISSWSH)
  • National Vulvodynia Association (NVA) Australia
  • New Zealand Vulvovaginal Society (ANZVS)
  • Australian Traditional Medicine Society (ATMS)
Read more about Jessica and My Vagina's origin story.