My husband refuses to lead in love

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dominant lib INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS Its one thing to be strong, another to be turned into a pseudo-dominatrix who has to stride round the bedroom issuing orders. PICTURE: ANDREW INGRAM

QUESTION: My husband said when he met me that he liked strong women (we both run our own companies), but I didn’t realise then that he would want me to be so dominant in bed. Over the eight years we’ve been together he’s become increasingly unwilling to take a sexual lead, saying he wants me to take charge and treat him as my “plaything”. But I find it sexier when he’s the boss, and I’m so tired after work that I just want to lie back and relax. What can I do?

ANSWER: It’s one thing to be strong, another to be turned into a pseudo-dominatrix who has to stride round the bedroom issuing orders. If you run a company, I’m sure you get quite enough of that at work.

This is one of the ironies of modern life: none of us would wish to return to the days when a woman had to lie back and think of England, but neither do we want the restful missionary position to be completely out of bounds.

There are days when it’s a relief to recline and let your partner take the initiative. I also understand that while it sounds generous and modern for your husband to say: “Do whatever you want,” it can also be a way of avoiding responsibility - especially if he does it every time you think of making love.

I wonder if he, too, feels exhausted from being in control at work. Stress affects men’s sex drives more than any other factor in middle age. It’s not unusual to seek flight from the role of boss in the bedroom, but it is trying if he won’t vary roles at all. I also wonder if your spouse grew up with a domineering mother, or another influential female who behaved that way? One businessman I know, a self-confessed submissive, links his impulses to the stern nanny who ruled his childhood.

You may wonder why it has taken time for this side to manifest, but after eight years he probably feels utterly safe in your affections.

When people are first with a partner, it can be hard to confess all their desires because they fear rejection. Men, in particular, are under pressure to be macho and to make the running in sexual terms.

You need to talk to your husband and tell him he’s casting you in a role that makes you uncomfortable. Try to explore where his urge comes from. Explain that you want to be his equal. But do bear in mind that he probably feels he’s been thoughtful, since he urged you to have your way with him. Plenty of women would welcome this. And isn’t it good that he relishes a powerful woman?

Without drawing up a wall chart, find a fair way of alternating roles. You want to avoid accusations of “shirking”, and be honest about your desires. If you run through his favoured scenarios in one session, then marital decency demands he does the same for you next time.

And surely there are times when no one has to captain the ship? One lovely thing about spooning during sex is that it’s so democratic because both of you are on your sides.

Increase your repertoire to include things that require reciprocity, and calm the anxiety about who is on top. Marital sex should be a partnership, not a power struggle. - Daily Mail

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