It’s Okay To Set Sex Rules For Your Spouse

by Alyssa McBryant
Originally Published: 

I dated a lot of guys before I met my husband. Which is to say I fucked a lot of guys before I fucked by husband, and I ended up down some pretty wild roads. For example, some of the best sex I ever had involved my boyfriend putting a small dildo in my butt while he used the other door. I always loved having my ass touched, rubbed, and an occasional finger inserted. In fact, we did just about everything.

My husband does not touch the back door. No way, no how. He does not take the dirt road.

I also had some exes who loved to engage in role play. Not just some light bondage, either. Like full-on, adult-let’s-pretend role play. I loved it. My husband? Not into role play. In fact, he’ll honestly tell you he’s one of the most vanilla dudes on the planet when it comes to sex.

There’s a great Beck song that goes, “I can’t define/ The logic of our sex laws…” Which is a pretty great lyric off Midnite Vultures and a pretty terrible sentiment. I can totally define the logic of our sex laws. My husband is just not into this shit (no pun intended). Some of it makes him uncomfortable (he had a bad experience with anal). Some of it he’s just not interested in (AKA adult role play). And I respect that. Because I care about him. And because everyone has the right to make their own boundaries when it comes to sex. Everyone. That includes spouses.

Look, just because you’re married to someone doesn’t give you exclusive and total rights to their body. That’s where the term “marital rape” comes in. That’s why we don’t fuck our spouses when they’re sleeping (rapey) or drug them into sex (also rapey) or otherwise coerce them (rapey, rapey, rapey). Sex should be a consensual act between two people, both of whom respect each other’s boundaries. Full stop. No question. Consent is vital in all relationships, including marriage.

Here’s another example. As I’ve gotten older, I don’t like girl-on-top. It’s just not my jam. My husband adores it. But he knows that it makes me uncomfortable, so he doesn’t ask me for it. I was also raped in the past, and sometimes, I need to keep my shirt on to feel safe. Yeah, it’s no fun for him, because he likes to see my breasts. Yeah, sex is supposed to be all naked and junk. But it’s what I need. And he respects it, because he knows that at that moment, it’s my boundary, and my body and my choice.

It’s healthy for spouses to talk about boundaries in the bedroom. In fact, if you don’t, you end up violating them and feeling like an insensitive jerk. Or even worse, one partner ends up feeling violated by the person they care about the most. This is very uncool and can start a serious fracture in your marital life.

So first, you need to know your own boundaries. Like, really know them. You have to think about them, think, “What are my sex rules? What do I like, and what are my no-gos?” I’m a no-go for full-blown anal, but my husband would never ask. He’s a no-go for cock rings now that they stopped giving him a good sensation. Once you’ve decided on your sex rules, you have to do the hard thing: you have to speak up. When your spouse asks if you’ll take off your shirt, you have to say, “No, not tonight, baby.” When he wants me to ride him like a cowgirl, I have to say, “I’m not into that right now.” You can’t just sit there and take it: be it BDSM or just having your nipples twisted. You have to speak up. You have to speak out. Good sex comes from open, honest communication and respect.

If your spouse respects you, he or she will follow through with your requests. If they badger you, if they won’t give it up, you have to ask why something is so important to them. Why do they want to give you a pearl necklace so much? Why do they insist on this one position or fantasy? What’s behind that request? It takes some dissection, and some frank discussion that may be uncomfortable. But you have the right to choose what happens to your own body. Just because someone put a ring on it doesn’t mean they have the right to do whatever they want to you. That shit’s a holdover from the Victorian age, and it is completely unacceptable.

So, we’ve each got our own set of sex rules. We just need to figure out what they are, which means figuring out what feels good and what feels bad. We mostly know what makes us feel bad, or afraid, or demeaned. Those activities are now off the table, no matter how much our spouse likes them. And if he or she loves us, if he or she respects the rules of consensual sex, they’ll get it. And your sex lives, and marriage, will be better for it.

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