Q: I am a happily married man except for one major marital issue. My wife of 12 years (who is extremely hot) refuses to give me oral sex or do anything beyond the missionary position. Before we were married, she would be on top, give me blow jobs occasionally, try new things, etc. I am more than happy to go down on her and even try anal exploration, which is a big no for her. Suggestions?

A: You're referring to your wife's sexual preferences as a "major" marital issue, which leads me to believe that it really is affecting your happiness, despite giving the impression that your home life is hunky-dory. If you're not getting the sex you want with your partner, then my first suggestion is to effectively communicate that.

Your wife has no idea you're not cool with her sex rules if you aren't letting her know. In a sensitive, nonaccusatory manner, tell her that you miss being able to explore her beautiful body in more ways than one. Tell her how much it excited you to see her so aroused from oral sex (if that was the case) and that, some days, going down on her is all you think about. Tell her the specific things you want to do, and that you feel restricted in expressing your love for her -- you've been married for 12 years, you can say stuff like that -- because missionary is all you can do.

Remember romance? Chances are you might have let a few things fall out of the repertoire over the last decade, so think back on how you used to get busy: in a parked car, in a hotel room, while she's blindfolded and splayed across the bed. Foreplay for women consists of lots of touching, and I don't just mean a few strokes on the clit and an "OK, baby, you ready?"

If you say the right things, then you can expect her to yield, if only just a little at first. Unfortunately, you might also expect a barrage of complaints. This might be hard to hear, but your wife might give in to your advances out of a sense of obligation, not desire. She knows that some kind of intimacy is critical to holding together your marriage, so she might do what she has to to keep things from falling apart.

Why might she be so disinclined to have sex with her own husband? It's no coincidence that the Council on Contemporary Families recently reported that wives have "greater feelings of sexual interest and affection for husbands who participate in housework." Have you been pulling your weight when it comes to domestic duties?

It's not that watching you squeegee the shower or starch and iron shirts literally arouses us ladies. It's that, by taking on a few extra chores around the house, you're ticking an item off your wife's to-do list and allowing her to come to bed with a clearer head. Not only that, but when you actually surprise her by doing all the laundry or loading the dishwasher rather than waiting until she asks you to do it, you'll give her a warm and fuzzy feeling inside that makes her want you inside her warm and fuzzy. Picking up your slack when it comes to household tasks creates feelings of sharing that, for many women, lead to feelings of intimacy.

If nothing here is striking any chords with you, then it's time to have a serious chat with your wife. The reason for her lack of enthusiasm for anything but perfunctory sex could be bigger than a lack of romance or splitting the housework. There's more to your marriage than the paragraph you sent me, so ship the kids (if you've got 'em) off to Grandma's, take her up to the North Shore for the weekend (away from daily distractions) and dig deep until you discover the real root of the problem.

  • Alexis McKinnis needs your advice question about sex, dating or relationships. Send it to advice@vita.mn or post it discreetly via her blog at www.vita.mn/alexis. Don't leave out any juicy details!