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QUESTION: My partner of five months is almost silent during sex. I prefer this to an overly vocal lover, but I can’t tell if he’s enjoying sex. I’ve tried to get him to respond to me, but he won’t talk back. It’s beginning to make me feel insecure and loud. What can I do?
ANSWER: Volume control is often a fractious issue between lovers. Some people make love as if creating a movie soundtrack, while others pursue sex in the manner of silent worship.
Either way, it’s hard to break out of your natural modus operandi.
I would also stress the fact it’s tougher for a restrained type to become effusive than for an expressive person to rein themselves in. However, with a bit of mutual effort and understanding, you should find a happy medium.
Many men are trained from an early age to restrain their emotions.
It’s a delicate process when you start encouraging them to be more expressive, requiring much tact (you don’t want to sound as if they’re short-changing you) and, if possible, a liberal dose of alcohol.
You need to initiate the art of intimate conversation outside the bedroom before you can manoeuvre it under the duvet.
On the plus side, it sounds as if your partner hasn’t seen much pornography - many of the men who are most free with their exhortations have based their bedroom chat on dire scripts from the cynical sex industry.
Bearing this in mind, some people might question why your partner should change his ways at all. So let’s make one thing clear: no one is asking him to yodel his ecstasy from an open window. Nor are you asking him to talk dirty (a tough call for a reticent man).
It seems clear you simply want some vocal sign that you’re pushing his buttons. This is all about good communication, and you clearly don’t feel he’s expressing his desires well.
No one can carry on a one-sided conversation indefinitely. Eventually you’ll stop communicating too, as prolonged silence can make any lover feel demanding.
You don’t want his shyness to become contagious, so it constrains your exuberance.
Hard though it is to approach such a topic, you need to broach the subject with him before the habits of your love life become entrenched.
Perhaps book a weekend away, because it’s easier to try something new in an unfamiliar setting.
Make it clear you’re not demanding great soliloquies, just affirmative murmurings.
It’s possible his previous partners were inexpressive, too.
He may be labouring under the misapprehension that most women are demure and retiring in the boudoir. You could try watching some old episodes of Sex And The City to dispel that myth.
Of course, you may find your man relishes your sex life, but simply cannot bring himself to be vocal in bed - just as some men can never conquer their fear of dancing.
Several friends have come to terms with their spouses’ strong-but-silent style of love-making. One says: ‘Better to have a man of vigorous action between the sheets, than a man of words.’
As she says, many guys who talk the talk, don’t walk the walk. - Daily Mail