Steve wrote: “Hi Liz, do you think it’s okay to ask a partner to do something in the bedroom that you know they don’t particularly enjoy? I love anal play (receiving), my wife…not so much. She will sometimes offer it on special occasions (birthday, anniversary) and I try to hold off outside of those times but every once in a while I will inexplicably badly crave this type of stimulation and well, I’ll ask. This has happened maybe 6 times in the two years I’ve admitted to liking this activity. Sometimes or mostly she’s declined but other times she responded with a reluctant “get some gloves”. I feel pretty guilty that I impose on her to do something not just that only pleases me but that I know she would rather not do. Is it wrong of me to request this of her on these rare occasions when I have trouble shaking the urge? Also, unrelatedly, do you watch The Handmaid’s Tale?”
Liz says: No, I haven’t watched The Handmaid’s Tale yet, but I eventually will because it sounds like a deep and interesting show that’s right up my alley.
I do think it’s okay to ask your spouse to occasionally fulfill a sexual desire they don’t enjoy, as long as they feel free to turn down your request without being made to feel guilty and you understand the answer might be no. To expect your partner to always fulfill your request and then treat them poorly for declining to satisfy your “urge” is abuse. Based on what you’ve written she does decline your request sometimes, and I doubt you treat her badly afterward because you mention feeling guilty for even asking her to participate.
Marriage (and all healthy long-term relationships) sometimes requires compromising by doing things you might not love doing but your partner does enjoy doing. For example, one spouse loves taking road trips through the West and his mate obliges even though he’d rather never take a road trip again, and that’s because his partner obliges his desire to see Michael Bublé in concert whenever he can. But, and this is a big BUT, if one day he tells his partner “I love you and want to make you happy, but I don’t think I can stomach another Michael Bublé concert. I think I’m totally sick of him”, in a healthy coupling he will be okay with this.
So if she decides one day she’s done obliging you in this department, will you be okay with that? And would she be okay with you satisfying yourself by using sex toys? I suggest talking with her about your concerns.