When I told my husband my fantasy, he stopped making love

* During foreplay last month my husband asked me to tell him a fantasy of mine. I told him that I wanted to dominate him.

He stopped making love immediately and says that he no longer feels the same way about me. I am hurt and embarrassed and cannot see a way out of this situation. He is refusing to have any physical relationship with me and is frosty with me in day-to-day life.

>> Ouch. You’ve clearly hit a nerve, which must be galling since it was his big idea to “share” in the first place. He must have presumed that his request would elicit something romantic, or even geographic (the Mile High Club), but he clearly hadn’t anticipated you taking charge. And you obviously didn’t realise that the minute you air a sexual fantasy it acquires a real-world significance that can not easily be retracted.

Privately, sexual fantasy provides an unparalleled opportunity to explore our deepest and darkest desires, but as you have discovered to your detriment, people who risk sharing their sexual fantasies often wish they hadn’t. Unless you are absolutely clear about your partner’s sexual predilections, it is risky to share any fantasy other than one in which your primary partner is the star of the show.

Fantasy may be fiction but it has the power to stir up tangible emotional responses.

The way in which people react to fantasies may be a window into the things that they are most afraid of. It is hardly a surprise, for example, that there are identifiable links between homophobia and latent homosexuality. Even though the PVC-clad dominatrix is practically a visual cliché, you can only ‘dominate’ a partner who is ” ‘submissive’, and I suspect that your husband’s reaction is simply an adverse response to all that implies.

Though it is thought that about 10% of the population engage in bondage and domination activities, it remains less socially acceptable for a man to surrender himself to sex with a dominant female.

If your husband believes that domination is synonymous with emasculation and ignominy, his response becomes more understandable. However, there are many ways to interpret the idea of domination and I suspect that this is where you and your husband are at odds.

For many women, domination is really just an invitation to their partners to lie back while they do all the work. From what you say, you harbour no desire to wear leather and beat your husband, so I suspect that it is a simple misunderstanding about what it means to be dominated that has left both of you feeling hurt and confused.

What concerns me is that an otherwise happy couple should not be able to sustain this kind of stand-off for a month without talking to each other.

When things go wrong in relationships, as they do all the time, the defining factor in determining whether a couple will thrive is their ability to communicate. Talking doesn’t have to happen immediately. In fact, sometimes it is quite good to sulk, sleep on things and not try to iron out issues when both parties are feeling sensitive.

Eventually couples who love each other will find a way to broach the problem, preferably with sensitivity, generosity and, in this case, a sense of humour.

How you begin this difficult conversation will predict how it ends, so avoid sucking on a lemon and issuing a “we need to talk” ultimatum. You will need to soften him up with an undeserved apology and convince him that this has all been a big misunderstanding. Unless, of course, it hasn’t. In which case you should don your PVC catsuit and discipline him for his bad behaviour.

* Email your questions to: suzigodson@mac.com


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