Still Turned On Asks:
Thanks for your store and your great attitude. I've been looking through your question and answer archives and agree with you that communicating with a partner about sex is key. However, my partner (of several decades) never wants to talk about sex. Even outside the bedroom, she is uncomfortable talking about sexual pleasure. I would like to find out how to pleasure her more, but she won't tell me. Says she doesn't know. Any suggestions?
In a perhaps related question, my partner does seem to enjoy penetration occasionally, but seems to be turned off by receiving oral, genital touching, and even passionate kisses. This is true even if we are having a romantic evening snuggling on the couch. I am totally into foreplay, so I'm not sure what to do about this. Once again, any suggestions?
Dear Still Turned On:
Ah, yes, most of us know that communication is often the answer to many sex related questions. But what if your partner absolutely refuses to communicate?
I'm going to be honest here: this is a tough one! Considering you've been with your partner for decades, we are talking about breaking down years of closeted emotions, and a simple conversation of "can we talk about this" may not do the trick. I suggest seeking out the help of a third party who specializes in these matters. If you are in the Santa Cruz area, I recommend setting up an appointment with local sex therapist, Melissa Fritchle (see my previous post about what she offers, cost, etc). Melissa and others in her field offer a non-biased, non-threatening third party opinion, encouraging more open communication between couples (or individuals, triads, etc).
Now consider obstacle #2: Getting your partner to agree to go to therapy. This is where all of that non-threatening, "I" statement-filled communication comes in. Sit your partner down somewhere OUTSIDE the bedroom (other suggestions include while going for a walk, driving, etc), when you are both in a good mood and have nowhere to be. Let your partner know how much YOU want to be able to communicate with them (emphasis on the "I" statements here), and suggest meeting with a therapist as something that may help to strengthen your bond. Remind them that it's not a big commitment; all you ask if that you attend one session together, and if you both hate it, then you never have to go back again.
I wish you the best of luck! And kudos to you for putting so much thought into pleasuring your partner!