How do I start a conversation with my wife about the disappointment I feel that she cut off any kind of kink we used to engage in, which she knew was a passion of mine before we married. I told her early on that I had a cross-dressing desire, was bisexual, and needed to be submissive to a dominant partner of some kind at times. She became my dominatrix for a couple of years, and we occasionally would dress in lingerie together and even chat with men online, as well as talk openly about our desires, which made sex so fun and nonjudgmental and free to new things.
Then very suddenly she announced she wouldn’t do
anything “perverted” anymore with little explanation but I’m sure she had
enough of the gay side of me. But she would never discuss why officially.
We have continued to have an active sex life, but honestly it feels like she’s getting what she wants and I have no choice but to give up on my needs because they are perverted and bad and I’m forced to limit my sexual desires because of her rules.
How do I broach the subject after a few years that I need her to meet me somewhere near the middle? How do I ask her to help me satisfy my needs occasionally, with her participation? What do I do to get her to open up again to communication? She was so playful before and now she’s not imaginative at all.
What if she ignores or rejects my concerns?
According to Urban Dictionary, cross-dressing is “the act of one dressing up as the gender that they do not normally find themselves living as. This is done usually as a hobby, in order to live out fantasies, for drag shows/parties, or for sexual excitement. Oh, and just to make it clear; Transsexuals do not cross-dress, and cross-dressers aren’t necessarily LGBT.”
WebMD says that fetishes are “more common in men. Many people with fetishes must have the object of their attraction at hand or be fantasizing about it, alone or with a partner, in order to become sexually aroused, get an erection, and have an orgasm. A person with a fetish might masturbate while they hold, smell, rub, or taste the object. Or they might ask their partner to wear it or use it during sex.”
Cross-dressing is a relatively common sexual experience for many men, and they are nearly indistinguishable from non-cross-dressing men using measures of personality traits, sexual functioning, and psychological distress. Your experience in cross-dressing appears to be something you’re comfortable with but your partner now sees as a perversion. You were right to disclose this early in your relationship.
What you have suggested is that your partner was more comfortable with this early in your relationship, a time when you both were more likely and eager to please your partner, perhaps compromising your values in the process. My guess is that your partner was willing to participate in this early on because she was eager to please you. However, as relationships mature, the erotic nature of the relationship naturally decreases, and her interest in this has diminished to the point where she now sees it as a “perversion,” indicating that she is now disgusted by this experience and no longer wishes to participate.
As I mentioned in another essay, “I Love My Husband and I Love My Wife,” as erotic desire in a relationship diminishes, as it typically does after the first year or two together, partners must concentrate on the other ways of loving each other if the relationship is to be sustained. For example, do you love each other in a more friendship-like loving relationship? This communication is critical if the relationship is to survive.
I cannot fairly interpret her behavior because I’ve never met or examined her. Based on experiences with other clients, I would suggest that this need you have is undermining her self-confidence as a woman. She might well be thinking, “Why is my sexual attractiveness not enough for him such that he must use these artificial means to have sex with me?”
I suggest that you use these talking points with her, but only if you can address them honestly:
- Do you find her sexually attractive without cross-dressing? If you do, then let her know that you find her sexually exciting without these “enhancements.” (It would appear that you do, since you are maintaining an active sex life, although she may not feel that you do.) You might say to her, “I find you very sexually attractive even without the cross-dressing and I want to preserve that part of our relationship.”
- “Sometimes I find it exciting to take a more passive role and that is often associated with wanting to wear lingerie.” She may be more uncomfortable assuming a dominant role than her issue with the lingerie. Perhaps she wishes sometimes that you would take a more dominant role with her.
- “I love you in so many ways, but I realize this may seem strange to you and make you uncomfortable. But I don’t feel it is a perversion since so many others experience the same thing, although it isn’t talked about very much. What has changed for you that this behavior is now considered abnormal and unacceptable?”
- “I realize that a sexual relationship must involve only those activities that we mutually enjoy, and I understand that you no longer enjoy this. Is there any way you can accept this part of who I am without it interfering in our relationship, for example, perhaps through online chatting with someone outside our relationship, as long as I maintain my highest commitment to you?”
- “Relationships evolve, and I understand that, but sometimes it is necessary to renegotiate the original marital contract. What can I do to help you find this part of me—that I don’t even understand—more acceptable to you? Can we reestablish a marital contract based on the fact that we now know more about each other than we did when we first got together?”
Thanks for sharing this concern with me. Issues between partners regarding fetishes are more common than most people realize. Keep me posted about your progress.