Jane

Friday, February 06, 2009

Question

My live-in boyfriend has always enjoyed sex more if I dress up beforehand. But now he wants more. He wants me to wear makeup, dresses, and high heels all of the time, unless I am at the gym. He says this will keep the excitement in our relationship.

I find most "sexy," feminine lingerie to be uncomfortable. I can put up with it for sexual purposes because it doesn't stay on that long. I don't wear much makeup because it makes my face break out. I don't want to wear a thong or a pushup bra to work. It would irritate me, and I feel that it would send the wrong message to my boss, my co-workers, and my clients.

I love him and I want him to be happy. I also want to keep on having scorching hot sex. How do I talk to him about this?

Answer

I can't bring myself to use the pseudonym you picked. I doubt you're "plain" just because you would like to control the way that you look. You are an adult, and you have a right to make your own decisions about what you look like when you run errands or go to work. Women don't have to wear makeup or stereotypically feminine attire to be attractive.

The way that you have described your boyfriend's "request" makes me decidedly uncomfortable. There's a big difference between saying, "Hey, honey, could you wear some black silkie undies? It really turns me on," and making a bid to make over another adult's public image 24/7. Has this guy tried to take over any other aspect of your life? Is he separating you from families or friends? Does he belittle you or give your accomplishments scant reinforcement? Does he try to make decisions for you in areas where you're accustomed to figuring things out on your own? This relationship has a high potential to become emotionally, if not physically, abusive. Please make an honest assessment of what is going on here. Don't assume that just because someone says he loves you, he is prepared to have an equal, healthy relationship.

I don't think you should have to talk about this at all. The original "request" was outrageous, and you shouldn't have to explain or justify a refusal. If your roles were reversed, I think you'd be able to see how messed up this is. Suppose you were to tell your boyfriend that you want him to be more masculine in his everyday appearance. Tell him that you want him to go on steroids, work out for at least two hours every day, and dress so that he displays his muscles. Ask him to wear a tank top and a pair of jeans to work that will display his package. Or tell him you want him to grow his hair out and wear ruffled pirate shirts so he looks like a model on the cover of a romance novel. Request that he get his body waxed so you don't have to put up with unsightly hair any more—including his banana and balls. How do you think he would react?

Best of luck with getting him to see reason. Maybe the easiest thing to do would be to just show him a copy of this column. That way, he can be mad at me instead of you. Best of lucky, sweetie, I'm sorry your Honey Bunch turned out to be a Looney Lunch. Wait—I'm sorry. The term "looney" is politically incorrect. What would be the politically correct thing to call him? Oh, yeah, a sexist asshole.

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