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Sunday, 25 March 2001

Cultural Clash In Marital Sex

Written by  Marsha Ellentuck

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QDear WholeFamily Counselor,

I think my husband is really a pervert. He wants threesome, anal sex, pierced bellybutton and a tattoo. I don't want any of these.

Then my husband said I don't really love him. He just can't accept my decision. I started disliking sex. I don't want to have sex rest of my life. He said I am closed mind.

I am Japanese and my husband is American. Maybe culture gap or something. We are not open for sex. At least when I was growing up. I want my sex is private. I can't talk to anybody about this.

Please give me your honest answer. Am I too conservative? I can't compromise these things. How can I make my husband understand my decision.

ADear Culture Clash,

It is not easy living in a cross-cultural marriage. Differences in mentality and values are a challenge to deal with and often one person in the couple feels like he or she is doing too much of the compromising that allows for the marriage to function. It is important that both people in the couple be clear about what is of prime importance to them - things they would find against their integrity to give up on - in other words, their bottom line of "this is who I am."
The things your husband is suggesting, "threesomes, anal sex, pierced bellybutton and a tattoo," don't qualify him as a pervert, but you certainly don't need to go along with things that are against your principles.

The things your husband is suggesting, "threesomes, anal sex, pierced bellybutton and a tattoo," don't qualify him as a pervert, but you certainly don't need to go along with things that are against your principles.

In your case, it seems that your differences go beyond "culture gap." Many couples from similar backgrounds have problems around sexual issues, where one person wants to try different things and the second person is not interested or even disgusted by these ideas. Resolution of these problems involves the same process as what I mentioned in relation to the bottom line of "this is who I am." The things your husband is suggesting, "threesomes, anal sex, pierced bellybutton and a tattoo," don't qualify him as a pervert, but you certainly don't need to go along with things that are against your principles. It might be a good thing to examine each suggestion separately and see how it would affect you. For example, threesomes are often quite dangerous to a marriage because of jealousy issues as well as the physical dangers of diseases. Anal sex can be very pleasurable if done in a way that is comfortable for both partners, but some people don't find it enjoyable because of physical reasons or beliefs that this type of sex is dirty and disgusting. What's important to look at is what these issues do to you, to be open to explore with your husband the meanings of these issues for you, as well as his desire for them.

Your husband said that you don't really love him because you won't agree to do all the things he wants. It would be helpful to know how he came to this conclusion. What does love mean for him? If you disagree with him on other issues does he feel you don't love him?

You state that you don't want sex for the rest of your life. Is it because of the pressure you feel coming from your husband about things you don't want to do or because there were problems with your sex life from before?

If these issues cannot be discussed in a constructive manner with your husband on your own, I would definitely recommend counseling, before things escalate even more.

Sincerely,

Marsha Ellentuck, M.S.W.

Last modified on Thursday, 12 January 2012 14:00
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Marsha Ellentuck

Marsha Ellentuck

Marsha Ellentuck is a licensed sex therapist as well as a couple and family therapist. She received her master's of social work in 1978 from the University of Pennsylvania. Her work as a community organizer led her into the field of sex education, first with teenagers, later with all different populations, including parents of young children and pensioners. During her training as a couple therapist, Marsha realized the need to combine her sex education knowledge with her therapy skills and continued her training in sex therapy. Marsha Ellentuck works in a wide variety of settings -- a family therapy clinic, a sex therapy clinic as well as in private practice. She also gives lectures and workshops on many different subjects concerning sexuality.

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