50 Shades of Grey – Relationship Expert Explains Obsession

50 Shades of Grey has received marked attention as so many women appear obsessed with this book/series. Why, is the question asked to this relationship expert by women, men, and the media. This blog article shares my analysis and the 3 key reasons.

The first book (the specific focus of this article), often referred to as “mommy porn” is not my type of read personally due to my instinct to analyze the characters from a professional lens. Therefore the book does not serve the meal it is supposed to for my palate. The dynamics of relationship development, relational-sexual discovery, sexual power, dominance and submission, sexual negotiations, sexual exploration; all of this is mentally stimulating and a sexually arousing topic in and of itself, which is why many women do enjoy this read and I too am interested personally and professionally in such topics, when written in a different style, a different form, presenting in a much different way. Although, this in and of itself is not enough of an answer for the obsession for so many women, therefore let us look further. For this blog is not an opinion piece as to my opinion on the book. Rather, this blog intends to go at it from a different angle, specifically my understanding of women’s desires per women’s report and reaction to this book.

Although many people ask me personally what I think of the book, and I hope I have now answered that question, it is more so my professional opinion as a relationship expert with a specialty in women’s and men’s issues that many are interested in, so let us examine my theory further.

Why are so many women obsessed with the book 50 Shades of Grey:

From a relational and human behavioral lens, a marriage therapist perspective, and from a psychotherapist’s mind’s eye, I will share that this book taps into what many working women and mothers want to read about because it is what they yearn for as they do not have these components in their sexual marital relationship and that is; the passionate and intense exploration of sexual self and one’s sexual self in a relationship.

The reason why this particular book has brought in so many readers is that it offers 3 concrete things that so many women of this generation of working women and mothers want and need, long for and are far too often not receiving in their marriage/from their spouse.

  • 1) Women want to be taken:

Women want to be wanted and desired by a man who is aroused by them and takes them because he not only is so turned on by her, in addition he considers her a sexual human being, and sees her as such. A man who knows what he wants and takes it, and what he wants is you and takes you is; hot, sexy, desirable, and makes women feel sexy, sexual, and sensual. Powerful men are so desirable because typically they know what they want and they take what they want. The thing is, a man does not have to be powerful at work, successful and accomplished to take his woman. Whether you are a house-spouse, are your own boss, work at a gas station, are a doctor, lawyer, chef, nurse, work in construction, or any job, the point here is; your wife wants to be taken.

“Women want you to want them”Click to Tweet

Men, here is what women are stating: “Do not ask if I am in the mood, do not roll over and hint mildly that you are interested in having sexual relations”. None of this is sexy for a woman. Women want you to want “it” from them not just because you want sex. Sex in and of itself is not enough. Women want the “it” to be that you want to have a sexual party with them in particular and that you as the man will create that party, lead that party, take the party to where it is a blast. Specifically the party desired is to include; cake, frosting, sprinkles, and the cherry on top too. Women want you to whip this tasty treat together from scratch and bring them to the cake, give it to them, serve them this cake, and eat it with them. The cake should not be the exact same recipe each time either.

Bottom line: the working woman, the mother, who is your wife, wants you to take her.

  •  2) Women want sexual relations to be exciting:

Working women and mothers and sometimes, if not often, are indeed both, experience sexual relations as one more thing on their ‘to do’ list for their husband. The sexual relationship is not about me it’s about him is how they often feel. This is the reality of what has become for far too many couples.

“Sexual creativity is a lack of monotony”Click to Tweet

Sexual creativity is a lack of monotony, and women want creativity and are super bored and sexually frustrated from the monotony that has become their sexual relational existence.

Sexual excitement and adventure is what women want and need. Many women do not even admit to themselves this is what they need or want. They put sex on the back burner due to taking care of all the responsibilities in their life they view as priority over sex. Over time women start to believe they do not even need sex or want it for that matter, until a book like this comes along and reminds them that they have closed the door to something that wants to be re-opened.

Women never learned sex is a priority and therefore most do not view it as such. Sex is the one area in the life of a woman that they desperately need to feel free, free of themselves, their worries, their obligations, their responsibilities and want you as the man to be the creative exciting one so they can feel free to enjoy. Sexual exploration can be an opportunity to escape the everyday and one’s mind, yet for many working mothers due to the lack of exciting sex, they not only are not escaping the day’s thoughts and enjoying their sexual interaction, rather they are thinking of all of the things they need to do while having sex. This is a prime example of why there are far too many women who want the “bad boy”. It is not that women want to be mistreated emotionally. Rather, often the “bad boy” is sexually invested, creative, and exciting in the bedroom as all heck. So men, if you are a “good guy”, know that as much as your wife adores you and appreciates the man that you are, her sexual self needs sexual excitement and this responsibility is on you to access your bad boy sexual self while remaining the good guy that you are!

For many married women the sexual exploration of self and the sexual relationship has become dull, whereas at one time, most likely during the early stage of the relationship, the sexual relationship was exciting because it was new. Sex is no longer new for the working woman, for the mother, for the wife, it is old, stale, boring, and predictable. Women want the man to make it exciting and keep it exciting. This book has awakened the sexual side of many working women and mothers that has been laying dormant and was waiting to be re-awakened and stimulated.

Bottom line: Women want men to be sexually creative, so, do the work men.

  • 3) Communicating is exhausting! Women want men to know what they want sexually without the women having to ask:

Communicating your needs, sexual or otherwise has become the accepted method to help one’s spouse, or any person you are in a relationship with know what you need and want. Therefore, communicating your needs has become accepted as the key to good sex, but over worked women and mothers spend so much time communicating outside of the bedroom what they need, want, what has to be done, that to have to communicate in the bedroom too, is frustrating and exhausting. Therefore, women often choose not to communicate their needs because they feel it is not worth it, it takes too much energy and they feel spent. They are spent from communicating! Besides, “the man should just know what to do”, is how many women feel.

“Women want their spouse to know how to please them”Click to Tweet

Far too many married women are sexually starved. Why then do these women not communicate what they need if they are sexually starved? As explained above, women are exhausted from communicating what they want. In addition to being sick and tired of constantly communicating what they want and need, most of these same women spend so much time pleasing others and attending to others’ needs, that they yearn to be pleased! Women simply (or perhaps not so simply) want their spouse to just know how to please them so they do not have to communicate one more thing they want.

Many women feel overly responsible in their life feeling they are constantly serving the needs of others (e.g., family, work). It is these very women that desire one area of their life where they can give up responsibility for and rather be served. They want their man to figure out what to do sexually and explore the sexual relationship and their body out of raw desire, interest, passion, and creativity that their man has in their woman.

Bottom line: Women do not want to communicate what they want sexually, they want the man to know what they want, and if they do not know then make it look like they know, figure it out by taking action.

  • Summary of why so many women are interested in this book:

It is what women do not have that they are enjoying reading about, hence why so many women are enjoying this book. Too many working women and mothers are lacking the 3 pieces of the sexual relational puzzle mentioned above and thus are getting it from this piece of literature.

  • Important Note – Being “taken” in a trusting sexual relationship is the desire, women do not wish to be raped:

Women desire a trusting relationship and wish to be “taken” sexually within that trusting healthy relationship. In a healthy relationship that is missing the sexual fulfillment ingredient lacking in sexual excitement and exploration – that is the relationship piece that so many women want to be added to their relationship. Therefore it is important to note that the particular sexual choices made between the characters in the book may not be what the reader wants in their sexual relationship. Rather, it is the theme of the 3 ingredients shared above that many working women and mothers are looking for that 50 Shades of Grey has tapped into, not necessarily for their significant other to follow the book as though it is a script.

The inference is not that a woman wants some man she does not trust to “take” her against her will, inferring that women wish to be raped, which some question. No, being “taken” is about wanting to be taken not forced to be taken. Being “taken” in a trusting relationship is not comparable to a trauma such as rape. Forced sexual relations against a woman’s will is never acceptable and some wonder, question, and worry that this book/series infers that is what women want. No, women do not want to be forced to do something sexually they do not want to do! Women do not want to be raped.

Click here to learn about my secrets for a happy and healthy marriage.

  • FOX 25 News Boston interviews Dr. Karen Ruskin:

If you wish to view the special report on FOX 25 News Boston May 23rd 10 PM with reporter Sara Underwood’s interview of Dr. Karen Ruskin discussing women and their obsession with 50 Shades of Grey, click here.

Added note 6 months following the publication of this article: Available for viewing on demand a 30 minute panel discussion with Dr. Karen Ruskin on HUFF POST LIVE with host Abby Huntsman – check it out.


60 thoughts on “50 Shades of Grey – Relationship Expert Explains Obsession”

  1. I just want to comment that this article is symptomatic of the problem with gender-biased relationship “experts”, which would be on either side (toward the woman or the man, depending on the expert’s own gender).

    Are you seriously suggesting that your 3 items are:
    1. Men, change what you do to please your woman, even if it’s not what you like.
    2. Men, “Do the work” (that’s your quote, are you kidding me?).
    3. Women are too lazy to communicate, so again men, it’s all up to you to develop ESP and READ HER MIND???

    Side note 4. But wait, we want to also be equal and share 50% in all decision making and have our opinions 100% respected when we have the urge to contribute.

    It just does not add up.

    1. Thank you Scott for taking the time to request clarification on the points I am making and sharing your concern. As the topic of the sexual relationship between 2 consenting adults in an emotionally safe relationship is an important one to be understood. (I specify for if noticed, my article focuses more so on the married couple who are certainly not newly weds, and/or couples in a longer term relationship).

      I will address your points one at a time.

      First, your quote of the word “experts” stating I have a gender bias. This is inaccurate. Some “experts” are simply calling themselves an expert because they are of a certain group. E.g., a “relationship expert” because they have been in many relationships, or a “parenting expert” because they are a parent, or a “women’s issues expert” because they are a woman, and so forth . . . Indeed I am a female, know this, my expertise is not speaking as a female suggesting many women want something in particular that I am suggesting, and that I know this simply because I am a woman. Rather, I wrote the article in response to the personal reports of the hundreds of married women that I have spoken to about their sexual relationship. They expressed what is lacking, what they yearn for, and this is years before the book ’50 Shades’ was even published and was expressed to me in their therapy sessions. Once the book became an obsession by so many women, I considered deeply and processed the communications of these married women that I have worked with throughout my 20+ years as a Psychotherapist, Marriage & Family Therapist and relational and individual mental health practitioner. I then spoke with women to further understand why they were so excited by and obsessed with the book ’50 Shades’. Perhaps an article on men’s feelings would be of interest to you. Which I care about the male voice deeply. Know that this article had a specific focus, which was to explain the obsession.

      As far as the 3 items that you have taken as your interpretation of the article, let’s address one at a time. For you are not the first man, nor will you be the last to misunderstand. As I care about and am vested in healthy male-female relationships, it would sadden me if my article was misinterpreted. As it is my genuine goal each time I take the time to write an article to share what I believe will touch the lives of others in a way in which to help promote insight and awareness to offer what I know from real people, in my work with real people, and to pass that wisdom along. As it is my greatest passion to help people to help themselves by providing real information, not assumptions, not guesses, rather qualitative information taken from real people’s reports.

      1. No. I am not suggesting men should change what they do sexually to please their woman if it’s not something they like. The sexual relationship in a mutual sexual relationship is about finding your sexual couple-style. If a man does not feel comfortable being assertive in the sexual relationship, “to thine own self be true”. I am all about self actualization and living an authentic life. The article was informing men from the voice of many women the theme of which why such an obsession and what many of these women are yearning for. Do know though, sometimes in a couple relationship whether it is the man towards woman or woman towards man, it is indeed quite acceptable to do certain things for one’s mate that you know feels good for them even if it is not your favorite. I am supportive of that if that is acceptable by the man and/or woman. As long as both the man and woman feel that their mate does for them too. It is healthy to do for one’s mate, because we adore that person and want to do for them because it makes them feel good even if it is not our favorite action. Perhaps this sounds contradictory, it is not. In a long term relationship if you wish for it to continue to grow and feel sexually satisfied, the mutual consideration of one another’s needs is important.

      2. No. I am not kidding you. Yes, men, do the work I am sharing with you. The “you wanna do it tonight” verbal request just isn’t sexy nor promotes the woman’s desires. That does not mean women should sit back and do nothing. In my work with men and women my entire philosophy is: take ownership of what ‘I’ can do today to help myself and my relationship be all that it can be. My motto as a therapist that I share with clients is; take action on one’s life, not to wait for your partner to take action. My belief is not about finger pointing about what the other is or is not doing, and rather my philosophy is all about teaching others to think through the lens of; what ‘I’ can do right now, each day. So, now that you know my philosophy and style, hopefully my article makes more sense in context. For the focus of the article is on why so many women are obsessed with ’50 Shades’, offering insight into the few key top points within the minds of many women. This is not inferring that women should not do any work in the sexual relationship! Rather it is explaining why the obsession/what many want. And know this; it is not about what women want for each and every sexual encounter. In my book; ‘Dr. Karen’s Marriage Manual’ ( https://www.drkarenruskin.com/dr-karens-marriage-manual/ ), and in my office in my work with my clients, I discuss different types of sexual play styles and there is indeed a wide range of needs and wants. This article is a specific focus, and I am hopeful with this further clarification can be taken as that. Thank you for asking about this as I am sure many men are wondering.

      3. No. Women are not too lazy to communicate, that is absurd. I am hopeful if there is any man that is reading my article, if he thinks that is the inference as Scott is asking about, that you re-read my article to fully absorb and digest it. This is such an important point to understand, for woman after woman after woman share this very complaint in their therapy sessions. The complaint for many married women/long term relationship women is that they feel they are consistently asking for what they want in all areas of the relationship. They feel like they are begging, they feel like nags, they feel like a broken record. They feel they are repeating themselves over and over again. Women through the years discuss with me their frustration and exhaustion that they even need to ask repetitively their spouse to share in all of the life-responsibilities. Women report they don’t want to be the boss nor the parent in the marriage to ask, and rather want a partner who takes action without asking. When in a long term shared partnership relationship living with someone, and especially when you have children, (if you noticed in my article I addressed that “mommy porn” is the term often used in reference to the ’50 Shades’ reader), at the end of the day, men wonder why their wife is not interested in sex. Yet, when ’50 Shades’ came out, these very same wives who seemed like they lost their sex drive and/or were disinterested in being sexual with their mate (from the man’s reported perspective), were suddenly quite interested in sex. There were many men who reported that their wives seemed to have shifted from disinterest to a true thirst for sex triggered from the reading of ’50 Shades’. Many women shared the need to initiate sex and craved it triggered by ’50 Shades’. There were also many women reporting that they were very interested in the book and were chatting with their girlfriends about it, and/or staying up late at night to read the book, yet were too tired or disinterested in being sexual with their mate to stay up to be sexual with their mate. So, why were so many husbands experiencing either of the aforementioned reaction from their wives? Many men wondered, asked, and tried to make sense of this. This article is a brief explanation to help men to understand so as to answer that question. No, no it is not for you to develop ESP and read her mind, as you ask. I will explain it to you, and the many men trying to understand their partner. Women want to feel you want them, you yearn for them, that they are sexy and that they are worth it for you to take the time to create a sexual experience that is pleasurable, creative (not same ol’ same ol’) and meaningful not just for your sexual release, but rather that she is worth the time for you to put forth energy into the sexual experience for both she and you.

      As far as your #4 side note. It adds up completely and I am hopeful that what I have shared in this response has helped you and any other man that was wondering what you are wondering. Once again, the sexual relationship is not about each and every time the man is the one to initiate and create. I work with couples on the importance of both having a voice in the sexual relationship and being mindful of taking turns with who is creating the sexual stage, so to speak, so each partner feels loved, valued, wanted, sexy, stimulated and satisfied. This article’s intent and focus was to explain the obsession and what woman want/yearn for as per their report in direct relationship to the ’50 Shades’ phenomena. Look at it like this; the sexual relationship is a menu of choices per each interaction. Some sexual interactions; pizza is the meal. Other times, a burger. Other times, turkey on a wrap. Other times, a salad. Other times . . . The point is that if there is never pizza (pizza can be seen as the metaphor for what I explained in the article many women are missing in their sexual relationship and report they desire hence why ’50 Shades’ is so appealing to them), they do want pizza.

      The sexual relationship is sometimes quite confusing for men in terms of what women want and do not want since the same woman may want one action one time and another behavior another time. Yes, this is true. Yup. Eating a turkey wrap for 15 years for each meal gets boring. And sometimes a woman does like to be cooked for, and would enjoy chicken Parmesan with pasta. Other times a crunchy apple is more their taste. As I explained in my article, ’50 Shades’ is not a script, no, no, no. If you follow it you will learn that many women do not want what is documented as the actions to take. That is a piece of the puzzle that many men report to me is so confusing for them. For they are taking the actions written in the book as the actions that their woman wants. Rather you will learn that if you can understand my explanation of why many women are obsessed with the book, you will have learned something of value. Do note, it is the first book specifically what my article was focused on, not on the series (as I type this response it has come to my attention that the first movie trailer was recently released, should be interesting to see the response for men and women). It is the messaging within the under-layer of the book with regards to the sexual needs of many women that appealed to them about the book in their self-report from me to my readers. With the intent that my readers will understand why the obsession, that is what my article is all about. Yes, women and men both each wish to be respected, and yes, women do desire to have a partner in which decision making is mutually agreed upon.

      I hope this helps/clarifies.
      Dr. Karen Ruskin

    2. On the one hand women are obsessed with the same amount of old constant talk of being stalked. I’m confused. You say you don’t want to be stalked which is why it is not clear this is not an option to have men pursue you at the same time. The only concluded opinion is women want their cake and eat it too.

      1. You are confused Brian? Thank you for writing in. I am hopeful my response will help you to no longer feel confused. My experience in hearing the thoughts and feelings of women is they are not obsessed with talk of being stalked, nor do they wish to be stalked. Having a man pursue a woman vs. having a man stalk a woman are two completely different things. Entirely different! If you sincerely do not understand the difference between how to pursue a woman vs. what stalking is, it is my genuine recommendation that you schedule an appointment with a therapist who specializes in relationship dynamic issues. Perhaps you may only need a few session, to have an educational opportunity with a professional to help you to learn and discover what it means to pursue a woman vs. stalk a woman. There is an important distinction! Women do not wish to be stalked.

        Furthermore, I certainly have not experienced any women of whom got the impression from ’50 Shades’, that stalking has anything at all to do with the story line, nor the experience that the female character had.

        For a man to discover a woman of whom to develop a committed healthy relationship with, knowing the difference between pursue vs. stalk – in theory, in philosophy, in concept, and in specific reality in terms of thoughts and actions – is significant. I hope you will reach out for further education to discover the difference, if you find my response does not resolve your confusion. For we are all on a journey of growth, and expanding one’s knowledge base, reaching out for help is courageous, in my opinion, in whatever context or for whatever reason that may be for a person.
        Dr. Karen

    3. Thank you Scott! You hit this right on the mark. There are good men in marriages who are being robbed of their masculinity because their wives are holding out sex and any intimacy with them UNTIL the wives get what they want from the Facebook stories. Not that it is right in any form or fashion, but I do understand why married men look for comfort outside of marriage.

  2. I have to say from a man’s point of view, who has had over 25 sexual partners in my short 26 year old life, the idea that a woman “wants to be taken” ( AND aside from the horrific consideration of the abominable crime of rape that is JUSTLY mentioned) is NOT true. Of my numerous sexuall exploits I have had many of shared spur of the moment passion, but only a few of absolute unexpected lustful male domination resulting in real and mutually beneficial sex. AND this was with a woman who EXPRESSED or COMMUNICATED her want to be dominated. My current and long term (3+ yrs) GF explicitly communicates she does not want this. Your article is only furthering the chauvinistic culture that is exemplified in this book. Like any other pop culture phenom, I want to know, if this stereotype is ‘true’ why is it so hated on? I think, bleh. It is a sexy romance story. Yeah, it is frustrating that so many people are obsessed with this book because it exemplifies BDSM culture, but aren’t women fed up and frustrated with men’s obsession with porn, BDSM, rape, ad nauseum???

    1. Hi N, The confusion many men are experiencing, you are not alone in this, is the belief that the book presents a specific message. A message of: bondage, dominance, submission, sadism, masochism. In my counseling sessions with women, and heck, not just in my role as a therapist in my office, when I was hanging with the other moms on the weekend watching our kids on the ball field playing sports, many of the moms were obsessed with ’50 Shades’. I would of course ask why. I was interested in understanding what so many women were experiencing from reading something that presented itself from my perspective as a trashy book. It is in the many chats with women in my office, to the ball field, friends of mine near and far that I came to understand what they were feeling.

      The fact that so many women were obsessed with the book when it came out, is quite confusing and frustrating for many men because in real life, most women are not interested in those themes aforementioned, within the sexual relationship. As you pointed out, you have had “many of shared spur of the moment passion, but only a few of absolute unexpected lustful male domination resulting in real and mutually beneficial sex”. As you explained, you have had “over 25 sexual partners” and you are 26 years old. I will share that what the wife and typical ’50 Shades’ reader; the working mom, wants, craves and yearns for in their sexual relationship with their mate is symbolic for their desire in their day to day relationship with their husband. The 3 main points I explained in my article is the underlying problem, what is lacking in many marriages from the women’s point of view (which is the focus of this particular article). The sexual relationship is a symptom of the problem which is; many women who have been in a relationship with the same man for an extended period of time with shared responsibilities (e.g., home, chores, kids) want their man to take action. As many women feel they run the show, they are the mother, the boss, the decision maker, the organizer, the cook, the house cleaner, and they are exhausted juggling work, home, family, chores, kids, spouse, self. So, in the sexual relationship they yearn for their mate to do the very 3 things I stated in this article: 1. take them, 2. make sexual relations exciting, 3. come up with ideas/be creative. These 3 things if understood by men, they perhaps can recognize that it is about sex and it is also about the other areas of the committed relationship. Sex and the relationship whole in contexts other than sex are intertwined. Often in short term relationships (as you have shared is your current lifestyle with having “over 25 sexual partners” in your “26 year old life”), the woman does feel taken. As a man will initiate intimate relations in an excited sexually interested way. Sexual relations early on in a relationship often is exciting due to the simple newness of it. And as far as the woman not needing to communicate what she wants, early on she often does not because the man is trying different things and excited about and interested in cues to see if what he is doing she likes or does not like (such as body response to his style of touch). And in other contexts of the early on relationship, the sexual relationship is the way in which couples connect as they do not see each other as often as the long term live together couple. In addition, the level of interest the dater has in the life of their partner, is different in communicative presence of style in that it is in short spurts, vs. the longer term couple. In essence, painfully and regretfully, in longer term relationships for too many couples when they have been together for years, and indeed typical of those couples who have been together for years, the couple no longer functions as a dating couple it rather functions as a couple of whom one another takes each other for granted. And, just like other aspects of their life (household chores, coordinating driving to and from activities for the kids, etc.), life becomes routine.

      Married men often think their wives are not sexual beings. That is a mistake. Many women simply yearn for the 3 points I explained, and they are tired of wanting it every day after day after day in the varied aspects of their shared lives, to where in the sexual relationship, when a book came out that includes those 3 pieces, they drank it in. Or should I say they devoured it like the starving women they were for these 3 pieces. Bottom line: it is erotic to be wanted, to experience excitement and creativity and not have to ask for it. It is not about the specific examples of what the characters in the book did, it is the concept of the 3 pieces.

      The fact that I had to explain in my article that rape is not what I mean when I say women want to be taken, is such a clear example of how confused men are about what women want. The book on the surface is about bondage, dominance, submission, sadism, masochism. The surface message is not the message women received, it is the message men received, and hence the confusion. The message women received is of a story about a young woman who is just starting out on her journey of self-discovery and relational self-discovery (of which all women relate to), and on her journey she experienced feeling wanted (taken sexually), stimulated (sexual excitement), and she was worth the effort to create (sexual creativity). The journey of self-discovery (I.e., her voice), the discovery of what she wants and does not want along with the pull and tug of his powerful voice and the relationship dynamic of whose voice is the voice heard – is what women experience in their relationship with their mate and their journey in life. Thus women identified with this and were excited by it. The analysis of the book in what women took away from it is not at all what it appears to be in terms of the surface of the book and what men are understanding it to be. And this is not because men are stupid, not at all. Quite frankly, as I mentioned in my article it is not my type of read. And there are many women who did not and do not get a rise out of ’50 Shades’ if taken on the surface. But . . . , it is important to understand what it is about this book that oh so many women found so arousing if we are to understand at least a piece of the female puzzle.

      Dr. Karen Ruskin

      1. I first would like to say I’ve read every word up to this point and I understand what your saying. I appreciate what your doing here and don’t let these people discourage you from your work. This is an important topic some men can’t seem to grasp. I’m reading this very insightful reasurch in hopes of becoming a man that can connect with his womon on a more passionate level. Everything you have said thus far makes since and I will use this knowledge to better my relationship with wemon. I can’t thank you enough for this helpful information. I’ve had a pretty bad love life but now I can see why thanks for your time and effort it was not in vain.

        1. Hi Christopher,
          Thank you so much for your kind words, encouragement and positive feedback. I appreciate you taking the time out to share your thoughts. In response to your thanking me, I sincerely say: you are very welcome.

          I am so glad you have found this information helpful and I hope it helps you on your journey of love.
          Dr. Ruskin

  3. You are full of it. A snakeoil sales-woman further pushing the agenda of this trashy culture of uneducated, watered down drivel. I really, honestly hope you do not give out professional advice to people and charge them real dollars. Men feel hopelessly lost and confused because of trash like this. And women complain about their guys watching porn. How about we learn to open the lines of communication instead of (paraphrasing) saying “I’m too tired to talk about what I want in the bedroom”. This is the problem nowadays. Don’t you think? People, husbands and wives, afraid or too LAZY, to talk to eachother. Instead they read porn novels and ignore eachothers real human need for connection. Eventually leading to disconnection, distrust, infidelity and dissolution of marriage. Let’s not put this on the poor old caveman again. Come on Doc.

    1. My intention Joe, is not to push the “agenda of this trashy culture of uneducated, watered down drivel” as you reference. If you read what I wrote I clearly explained that I do not enjoy this type of read. Rather, my article is to share what women were sharing with me. Don’t shoot the messenger. I am all about communication – I help couples with understanding the importance of healthy communication along with offering practical tools to communicate more effectively. Again, I am simply sharing the underlying issue that many women reported what they feel and why. Indeed, it is confusing for men, oh yes indeed, and hence why I wrote the article – both to help men and women to provide clarity on what women were articulating. My apologies if sharing the voice of what many women shared adds to the confusion. I tell it like it is. Best, Dr. Karen Ruskin

      1. I am not “shooting the messenger”. As a doctor, since you claim to be one, more empirical evidence should be displayed here before you published this poorly researched article. It sounds to me like you polled your friends at your kids tee-ball game. No offense. Honestly though, do you, as some sort of counselor think it’s moral or even remotely healthy to tell men that they are the problem when it comes to bedroom issues? Remember something that all out parents taught us…. It takes two to tango. I am terribly sorry to say this but your advice is dangerous. I am not trying to pick an online fight with you but I ended up on your website for a reason and honestly I have proven to myself that we, as a society, haven sunken to new lows. Communication whether regarding sexuality, parenting, friendship, work or chores around the house is what makes a relationship thrive not games, guesswork and Christian Grey mommy porn extraordinaire let’s be serious. I am terribly sorry but put the straw man back in the barn your argument is weak. In fact you link some pretty crazy junk to be posted to twitter.

        IE “Women want their spouse to know how to please them” – Click to Tweet

        You also say you help couples with understanding healthy communication yet in your post you say this:

        3) Communicating is exhausting! Women want men to know what they want sexually without the women having to ask

        This is just a sensationalist blog. I thought I would get some good advice here about some sensitive issues going on in my marriage and all I got was this mess. Please try to help people with real solutions instead of trying to get hits for your page. Sorry if this sounds harsh but your writing and response to my comment is so contradictory I had to tell you how I feel.

        1. You are obviously hurting Joe. I shall respond in bullet point form in an attempt to respond to each of your points.

          • This blog article is qualitative research, not a quantitative research design.

          • This blog does not state men “are the problem when it comes to bedroom issues”. This article informs men of what many women, not all women are stating, in an effort to provide insight. There is a wide range of bedroom issues and outside of the bedroom issues that are not addressed in this article for that would be a focus of a different article. This article has a very specific focus. It appears that you were hoping this article was going to be the magic pill for your marriage. As you mentioned you were looking for “advice” “about some sensitive issues going on” in your marriage. My blog is not meant as a substitute for counseling, nor can it attend to the varied “sensitive issues going on” in your marriage as the blog is specific. I strongly suggest you look into marriage counseling so you can experience a back and forth dialogue. For our written exchange nor the blog will be able to cover what it sounds like you are in need of. If you are unsure of how to find a marriage therapist I invite you to contact your primary care physician. Often they have therapists they have worked with they trust. Another helpful resource is http://www.psychologytoday.com as you can put in your zip code as well as your presenting problem and narrow down a therapist that may make for a good fit for you. http://www.aamft.org is another great resource to find a therapist.

          • I have been working with women and men both individually and as couples for 20+ years. My information is based on that. Then, when the obsession hit so many women who were current clients as well as the incoming new clients during the time period where the book was hot, my information is based on that. I pointed out that outside of the office simply in social gatherings, what I was hearing from women was consistent with what I was hearing in the office. For an example, on the beach and whether I was on the side lines during sports whether it was football, baseball or basketball. It was simply a point that the everyday gal was chatting out loud, not just the clients in treatment population.

          • Yes, it does take 2 to tango. Yes, communication in all aspects of the couple relationship is important. The point that seems contradictory to you I shall explain: communication is important AND taking action in your relationship, taking ownership of what YOU can do for the marriage, for your spouse without them asking, rather simply because you are passionate about your spouse and vested in the relationship is important. You seem to be misunderstanding and are confused thinking that only 1 point can exist. That only 1 or the other exists is a mistake that some people may make and that you are currently making. So, please allow me to clarify to you; communication between the couple is important AND taking action without communication is also important, one need not exist without the other. I am hopeful you can open your heart and your mind to understanding this is not an “either/or” inference and rather a “both/and” point. As this point may help you, perhaps.

          • You are upset at what I have written in this blog stating that it is “sensationalist” and that I am “trying to get hits” for my page. LOL. Why would I care how many hits I get? It makes no difference in my life. You have me all wrong and likely your misjudgment of me and what I am about is your pain speaking, your pain crying out and your feeling truly stuck in the problems in your marriage. My passion and focus is in helping people to help themselves get to a better place. I share what I know openly because I genuinely care. If “sensitive issues” are going on in your marriage I urge you to handle those issues differently than the manner in which you handled your upset regarding this blog. You handled what you have read by not even considering the possibility that YOU can take action. Rather you wish to argue the points in the blog, you wish to assure yourself that it takes 2. Perhaps this may be a piece of your marital puzzle. The point you seem to be missing and may be a problem for you is the point that although it takes 2, some days it takes 1 to take action to help the 2. But, I will not evaluate your situation nor circumstance for that is for you to do. I am not a judge nor a jury, nor am I providing therapy via blog response. Blogs and chatter post blogs offer the opportunity to offer insight, to allow one to consider what they may not be considering. My only hope is that the time I have taken to write to you can touch you in your life in some small positive way. And if it does not do that for you, if rather you wish to view my time spent is with a sensationalist focus rather than as genuine, then so be it. I cannot make someone know the reality of who I am, nor do I need to nor desire to. I know who I am and why I do what I do, and those who know me know the reality. In addition, I cannot make someone view things from a different perspective for we our own self are in control of our thoughts and actions. I simply offer insight. Take it and process it or throw it away, your choice, always a choice. If my writing should so help just but 1 person (whoever that person may be), that is a blessing and why I write my blog. So I respond to you not just for you, in addition to you with the intent to help others who may be struggling as well.

          • I am glad that you told me how you feel. It was brave. The fact that my points appear contradictory to you is of great significance, for know this: my words are not a contradiction. Your feeling that a few of my points are “crazy junk” I would suggest you consider you evaluate yourself in terms of why it upsets you so much. Why does it upset you that “women want their spouse to know how to please them”? Why does it upset you that “communicating is exhausting! Women want men to know what they want sexually without women having to ask”? Is this so upsetting because you feel like this slants in favor of women and against men? And that your wife wants you to make some shifts but you want her to make shifts in your relationship so you are in a stale mate? Clearly you are upset that I am suggesting what men can do. If you are looking for information that addresses the couple relationship not with a specific focus on the complaints of many women in it’s connection to the obsession with ’50 Shades’, then perhaps this blog article was not the article you were looking for. I would recommend a few great marriage books, but it is clear to me that whatever I say at this point you would think I have an ulterior motive as somehow I am linked to my recommendations. So at this point, I will simply say: I wish you all the best on your journey and the fact that you were looking on line for advice regarding sensitive issues in your marriage tells you there is indeed a problem in your marriage. You are looking for advice. My advice to you: take the next step and find a marriage therapist to talk to in person, and go into the counseling with an open mind.

          Best of wishes on your journey.
          Dr. Karen Ruskin

        2. Ok. I think the article is pretty on point, but I think something is being overlooked, what do men really want?

          Sure, if you have a sexually deprived male, or perhaps a male that has been “taught” to believe what common culture spews, then they might be questioning “why” 50 Shades is so popular and why they might be “confused” as to what women want.
          As a male, just entering my 30s, I think it is pretty obvious to myself and most other men that I know, what women actually want. And what you wrote is pretty much on point, about taking action, “taking” a woman, being “creative” and wanting to be desired.

          Here is the real problem, we tend to not care, and for good reason. To say these are first world problems would be putting it lightly. But after you’ve had however so many sexual relationships, if you are a healthy male, your mind wont linger on these fetishistic tendencies. Not that there is anything ultimately wrong with fetish, except well, its kind of silly. Our goal is to get our “rocks” off to put it plainly. And yes, when the moment presents itself we can be aggressive and interested, but not to the point of wanting or caring if we put on a show or are creative or if we create an experience. That stuff is nice and all I suppose, when you don’t really have sex regularly, have pent up anxiety and sexual frustration or if you are so bored with other things in life that the only way someone can express themselves is through sexual “creativity”.

          I mean it, I’m sure there will be a ton of guys who have some romantic notion of their relationship, their place in this universe and their insecurities. Yes, if you have insecurities, it can be very exciting when those shackles are broken, or if you gain confidence from an individual in a sexual experience.
          But what about those with little to no inhibition or insecurities? Well, being one of those people, I believe the stuff women “want” the things they “desire” are boring. Yes boring. 50 Shades of Gray, is just plain dull and boring and things like that can’t hold my attention. I enjoy sex, I enjoy sex with multiple women even, but the goal is to orgasm, for both parties. I’m sorry, but once it starts becoming about fetish and living out a fantasy, things tend to turn into utter nonsense and are just plain boring.
          So women can have their “obsession” and many men can be “confused” about it, but again these are first world problems. These are issues that tend to arise in those that can not keep themselves mentally stimulated and are bored by the “routine” of life. Well isn’t then the problem that their lives are routine and not that they need someone to “take” them sexually? Not for nothing, but those who are out there engaging themselves in other aspects of life, not just going through the motions, but engaging themselves deeply, tend to enjoy sex for what it is, orgasm, and then they move on.

          I think these women need to engage themselves creatively in other areas of their life and not just allow themselves to get creatively frustrated to a point where they have to act out on it in a sexual nature.


  4. Hi Dr K.

    I really enjoyed your article and found it quite informative. I started to read the first couple replies and lost interest pretty quick. Unlike the 26-year-old who replied, I am in my early 30s and have been married for six years. A strong sexual, extremely intimate bond between my wife and I is what got us started and keeps us going today.

    I have had my share of sexual partners during my life, but there comes a point when a man should find that one girl. I have found mine and even though we have a strong intimate bond, it’s articles like yours that reminds me to stay creative. I am a very confident male and I love sex. I am always seeking new ways to please my wife and usually have great success.

    Even though I am very confident in my sexual relationship with my wife, I feel it is extremely important tuesday fresh and try new things. I want to know what my wife is thinking and what she desires sexually. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and please continue to publish your informative articles

    1. Hi Jason, Thank you so much for sharing your perspective and positive reaction to my article. To state that it is articles like mine that remind you to “stay creative” and that you are “always seeking new ways to please” your wife usually resulting in “great success” is EXACTLY the point of this article. Keep up the great work! Whether I am in the office with my clients, on air, or as I shared in my marriage book, one MUST ‘water the plant of marriage’. I am SO super thrilled for you and your wife that you do indeed actively live by this very concept.

      Your “confidence”, your “love for sex” and the very point that you “want to know” what your “wife is thinking and what she desires sexually” are exactly the reasons why the “strong sexual, extremely intimate bond” between you and your wife shall continue. My philosophy is all about taking action and ownership, and indeed Jason- you are clearly doing both and thus succeeding.

      Thanks again for your positive feedback, I will indeed continue to publish my articles, absolutely. And thanks again for sharing your success. It is always so special to hear of success stories, and it is also wonderful to know that I am positively touching the lives of others, even if it is just but a simple reminder and validation to do what you are doing.
      Dr. K

  5. Dr. K

    I was very glad that I found this article. For the longest time I refused to read the books because I was under the impression that it was just promoting controlling, BDSM relationships in which I have no interest in. I finally decided to give them a chance and I was absolutely blown away by how “obsessed” I became. I read all three books in just 4 days.

    I am 25 years old, and have two young children with my husband of 6 years. Our sex life is very “vanilla” if you will. Between the kids, our jobs, bills and everything else that encompasses life, we are intimate maybe once or twice a month. We have talked, we have tried several things to “spice it up” but eventually it all goes back to “vanilla”.

    For a while I was disgusted with myself that I was so turned on by this book because I am a very independent woman who would never tolerate being controlled. After reading your article though, I realized that I still don’t want to be controlled, I don’t want the BDSM sex life but I DO want my husband to “take” me. You were 100% accurate in the fact that women want to feel wanted. I want him to gleam at me with sexual desire, I want to walk into a room and feel empowered as I watch him inhale with lust for me. I want to know that just being around me turns him on. After reading some of the comments from the men on here I realize that they are getting to wrapped up in the detail of the book. Women want to be wanted…and if we feel sexually desired from our partner then we will want to be “taken” by them.

    I think it all boils down to the fact that we just want to feel that all encompassing desire and passion from our partner. Now I just have to figure out how to bring that back to life in my relationship.

    Thank you for your wonderful insight Dr. K
    What I wouldn’t give to have real sessions with you!

    1. Hi C.D., Thank you so much for sharing with me and those who read this blog your perspective. I am SO glad to know that my article helped you to understand yourself better. You are not the only woman to feel “disgusted” with herself for feeling “so turned on” by the book. To know that you recognize that it is not that you wish to be controlled, and that being taken is what you want is glorious news. It is glorious because to understand one’s self is empowering and enlightening. Whatever you may have discovered about yourself, it is that you have self discovered- it is that very point that is so grand.

      I am so glad that the point I was suggesting is that women want to feel wanted, indeed was received by you, the reader. My goal is to offer helpful insights in my blogs, I am truly glad to know that is what it did for you. The way in which you have expressed yourself in this commentary, I believe is going to be helpful for many women who read it. I also believe that your commentary will help men who are having a hard time understanding how to translate the book in terms of the role it has played for many women.

      As far as your commentary that you “think it all boils down to the fact that we just want to feel that all encompassing desire and passion from our partner” and that you “have to figure out how to bring that back to life” in your relationship – you go girl. What I mean by that is: way to go for not just ignoring the sexual intimate side of the marriage and coming to acceptance with it’s “vanilla” as you referenced it to be. The mere fact that you are thinking about what role you can play in helping your relationship be more than it is today and was yesterday in and of itself is likely why you and your husband will enhance, grow and prevail.

      If both he and you desire “spice”, and it sounds like you both have tried to “spice it up”, the key is indeed to continue on that journey. If he has not read this blog and your commentary, you may wish to forward it to him so he can read all of the commentaries as well.

      Thank you for your thank you… It is my sincere pleasure. I am so glad that my insights were of value and I wish you all of the best on you and your husband’s journey of taking turns initiating and the style of that initiating, considering the environment your love making takes place in, the smells in which you experience, what is being worn, the sounds in the environment as well as the noises or lack thereof and what is being said or not said, if toys are or are not used- what kinds of toys, what type of commentary and lead up during the day is made and/or physical interactions planting seeds of want and excitement for the interaction to come… These are simply just but a few pieces of the puzzle that help the sexual relationship over time. Note: I do believe that there are additional components within the marital relationship that also affects the sexual relationship. There is a portion about that in my book: Dr. Karen’s Marriage Manual. https://www.drkarenruskin.com/dr-karens-marriage-manual/ (Sorry, lol, don’t mean to come off as sales pitch-y. I did think it was appropriate to throw it out there, as I do genuinely believe what I write as it is based on reality from working with couples as a marriage therapist for 20+ years).

      Keep on making the time and taking the time to be mindful of what you and he desire, and take action on those wants – both of you.
      Dr. K

  6. As a married woman I want to say you are completely right. These men commenting are idiots and that’s why we as women are overall not satisfied. No women do not wish to be raped, but in a consensual relationship we do wish to be want ravaged and taken. Plain and simple. It is a sexual fantasy we all have and telling a man to do it absolutely ruins the whole idea. To be “taken” consists of him spontaneously being overwhelmed with lust for you and acting on it, not complying with a request. So men, why are you complaining? You want it and we are saying come get it. Boo hoo.

    1. Hi Julie,
      Thank you for taking the time to share your point of view. And may I say: WOW- YES, the way in which you explained yourself is exactly the point I hear from so many women, and thus the point I have made in this article and in my commentaries. When speaking with married men, or men in long term relationships, it is a common complaint that their partner is not interested in sex. When far to often the reality is, that women are interested but they long to be “taken” rather than a same ol’ same ol’ approach.

      Nice job explaining it.
      Dr. Ruskin

      1. C.D. I just love your response and I am grateful for the feeling that other women experience many of the same things I do. It’s nice to discover that we are not alone.
        This line, in particular, is very accurate to how I feel:
        “I want him to gleam at me with sexual desire, I want to walk into a room and feel empowered as I watch him inhale with lust for me. I want to know that just being around me turns him on.”

        One of the most wonderful, and indeed most empowering experiences I know of is seeing my man’s desire for me almost exploding, and then be the one to give him exactly what he wants (and hopefully better than he expects) and fulfill our fantasty together. I want to BE his fantasy in real life. I also, of course, I want the same back from him: I want for him to be my “fantasy” and fulfill me too. (I hope this comes across correctly & isn’t misunderstood.)
        Seeing the near-uncontrollable sexual desire for me, in a man, really turns me on. HIS desire for me (and not being able to hide it) turns me on to the highest height.

        The other top point for me, sexually, is his degree of experience, knowledge, willingness, generosity and ability/execution. I want to feel like I’m in the arms of an “expert” and be able to trust him and feel assured that he knows how to satisfy me, so that I can give in and let him lead the way approx. half of the time too.
        Since I know how much I want this from my partner, I have sought to gain as much experience and skill myself, in order to be able to give the same thing from my side. It has to go both ways. This quote has made an impression on me many years ago “If you want a prince, know that he wants a princess.” I want a prince!
        I wanted to be a sex goddess and blow my dream guy(s) away. So I embarked on a journey of learning: asking guy friends what they like and what they want.
        I felt a burning desire to be the best sex partner I could possibly be. It may sound like a lot of work, but it is not as extreme as one may think. To me, it’s the same as any practice in life (sports, music, language…you need to learn, practice, challenge yourself and grow). If you are a master at the violin and meet a mediocre violinist, your improvisation together will suck. It can work if the less experience one has a zeal and passion to learn and be as good as they can be…but if not, you’ll never create magic, no matter how good you are yourself.

        It’s things like being able to give the perfect blowjob, or having strength in and control over my vaginal muscles, being a great reader of body language and the cues to know what he likes, listening to his breath and being acutely aware of him, and simply put knowing enough about the science of our arousal and g-spots, etc… In other words: to be a sex expert. A sexpert! Haha. 🙂
        This is all very possible. There are many courses one can go to, let alone the material one can find online. There’s aaaaaaall kinds of knowledge to be found out there.

        My dream was to have a sex master to teach me everything there is to know, but due to the limitation of reality I resorted to the few guys I dated over the years, as well as talking to men & women to get pointers, library visits… Later it was possible to google and read articles, as well as watch instructional videos. I mean, how old is the Karma Sutra?! My opinion is that we NEED to study this if we wish to have great sex, especially in committed relationships when the initial excitement can quickly wilt away.

        Also, I’m reposting a paragraph from Dr. K’s reply to one of the other commenters, because I CAN’T AGREE MORE with what she writes here!! –>
        “This is such an important point to understand, for woman after woman after woman share this very complaint in their therapy sessions. The complaint for many married women/long term relationship women is that they feel they are consistently asking for what they want in all areas of the relationship. They feel like they are begging, they feel like nags, they feel like a broken record. They feel they are repeating themselves over and over again. Women through the years discuss with me their frustration and exhaustion that they even need to ask repetitively their spouse to share in all of the life-responsibilities. Women report they don’t want to be the boss nor the parent in the marriage to ask, and rather want a partner who takes action without asking. When in a long term shared partnership relationship living with someone, and especially when you have children, (if you noticed in my article I addressed that “mommy porn” is the term often used in reference to the ’50 Shades’ reader), at the end of the day, men wonder why their wife is not interested in sex.”

        My partner and I currently go to a family/relationship psychologist and this is exactly what I have been expressing: the fact that I don’t want to play the parent role in the relationship. It frustrates me to the point where my sexual desire for him is affected, when I have to remind him or ask for action in something which I have asked for many times before and should be a natural part of our life by now (in my opinion, at least). Like the chores around the home, or planning and respecting each others’ time.
        I feel trapped, in a catch 22, because I don’t want to just give up and leave him over this. On the one hand, I hate being the nag and having to repeat myself (and YES, it is excruciatingly exhausting to have to “over”-communicate all the time!!) but on the other hand I can’t NOT nag, because if I don’t: it doesn’t get done, and then I feel upset, hurt, disappointed, and my faith in him starts to diminish. I say “over”-communicate, because that is what I feel I do when I have to repeat the same thing again and again (like expressing a need I have, or reminding him to fix the thing he promised to fix and “forgot” again, etc) and my partner doesn’t use his energy on listening acutely and remembering or being aware next time, instead letting me carry the burden of being a personal reminder-app or a nagging parent to him. I don’t want to have to ask: because when he does it without my asking, my desire for him grows, and I appreciate him more and more. THAT is romantic, and that is what I want.

        Julie, you said it!
        “It is a sexual fantasy we all have and telling a man to do it absolutely ruins the whole idea.”

        This is the same as asking your partner to buy you flowers and telling him what to write on a card for Valentine’s day. When HE does it, and makes the INITIATIVE with NO instructions on your part…there is a whole different, amazing level of joy and satisfaction that comes with receiving such a precious gift and unforgettable moment from your partner.
        I had a relationship with a tragically “dull” person, and when he failed to put money or time (let alone any creativity) aside countless times for romantic deeds towards me, it’s no wonder that I called to remind him that it was my birthday and that I would be really glad if he brought me some beautiful flowers this time or took me to watch a sunset and do something free but creative in he was broke. In short: I had NO libido in bed with this guy and it ended. If he truly wanted to keep me, he would have to “do the work” yes. Because there he was, getting a chance to be with a professional dancer and model, who has great experience in bed and is constantly working on herself and wants to grow as a team…meanwhile she (I) was receiving a half-ass attempt to be an ok boyfriend, and a boring partner in bed, as well as someone who felt he was a finished complete project and didn’t have to work on himself anymore. Who misses out in the end? I have guys lining up, and many who value the work I put into myself. Meanwhile he is still single, his standards for life are as dull as he is, and he will probably never get a chance at someone who is willing to give as much as I did: cuz I was younger and more naive and madly in love with him for some mysterious reason despite all that he didn’t bother to do and be. All the advice towards men from Dr. K is to help you get- or keep- a fantastic partner in your life by being as good as you can be. A princess wants a prince, not a couch potatoe. So if you want a princess, yes you do have to do the work…and love it too! It’s got to be a way of life: not just a temporary boost and go right back to where you were before.

        Matt: just as in sports, don’t be discouraged because you tried it and didn’t become olympic-level after a few sessions. If it didn’t work, it wasn’t done right or at the right time or with the right person… there are so many factors involved.

        Warren Bain, these were lovely words:
        “Its right for me and married guys should take (the points in the article) in if they love their wives like i love my girlfriend. Its really not hard to do the work and no guy should complain cuz its the best job there is.”

        Right back at you, from the perspective of the woman. It is the best job there is. ^^

        1. p.s. The reason this guy I mention is/was so dull, has much to do with his painfully swollen ego and sense of pride.
          Like Ahmed mentioned: “dont make it a question of ur EGO. this ego thing is bad for both husband and wife.”

          Excellent point Ahmed.
          Again, the guy I talk of above was so unwilling to admit he had anything to work with, and so persistent about being God’s gift to women just as he was (and was uninterested in listening to what anyone had to say), that he stagnated and didn’t develop himself anymore. Yikes. And all because of not wanting to lower his ego and pride.
          It really doesn’t serve us, this pride thing. Meditation and practicing humility (“humbleness”) will help to tackle the resistance one may feel. It will help against feeling offended when reading things like “you have to do the work”, as some of the people commenting here have expressed bothers them and angers them. Try to understand why this angers you: listen to it, follow the feeling to it’s root, and look within.
          Don’t become bitter! Become better!

          1. I don’t know this guy, but why is it definitely a matter of ego and pride? What if he just thought what you wanted was “silly”? What if he just felt that wanting something but not asking for it because it takes away the excitement was “nonsensical”? What if this person you keep calling dull in actually felt that you were dull and was literally “bored” by these EGOtistical urges to be “desired”? Is it any less egotistical to expect someone to know what you want? Is it universally agreed that playing these social and sexual “games” is “fun” and the opposite of “dull”?
            Personally, if I don’t want to do something I don’t do it. If I get “nagged” about it or someone keeps bringing up the same old boring thing, I might just give no response what so ever and allow them to frustrate themselves.

            Not to be an “a#&” but really,
            Personally I find the things you are saying you want to be done “dull” and boring even. I would much rather orgasm and then go do something else than spend an extra hour trying to live out a “fantasy”. I also think it is just as pride related and egotistical. In fact, I find the things you are upset about him not doing to be the ultimate in egocentricity. If you have to keep asking someone to do something, if you have to keep asking someone to have sex with you, it probably means they don’t really want to have sex with you.

            So what I am saying is, if there is a guy and you have to nag him to have sex, maybe he’s just not that attracted to you? Sure you can get him to pretend he is. Sure it might be exciting for the woman in this type of relationship, to all of a sudden feel like they are being desired, to think that their mate has built up this lust for them, but if it happens all of a sudden because of therapy and coaxing then does it actually mean something or is the man then just pretending to keep his wife happy?

            I really don’t understand why these subjects have gotten so utterly complex. The more complex you make these issues the further you get from the truth.
            The truth is, a lot of people are bored with LIFE in our society. A lot of people feel ashamed by their sex drive and suppress their desires. This leads to frustration and the ultimate feeling as if one needs to be taken.

            If you are the boss all the time and need to be submissive in bed, try not being the boss all the time elsewhere? If you are soo bored you need to pretend hurt each other and “pretend” whip and dominate one another, then try engaging yourself in other aspects of life that actually necessitate some level of actual creativity.

            50 Shades of gray is the perfect example of pent up sexual energy being channeled in an unproductive and silly manner. Take up a hobby, like painting, and then just go have sex until you orgasm.

            MANY guys, most that I know, again, find all of this stuff, silly, DULL and quite boring. If you want to excite us, it’s usually far more simple. Unfortunately, I do feel guys are not always as concerned about completely fulfilling their female partners ultimate desires. Which is also biological and natural by the way. So give us some slack for not really giving a S%$&, and in return we can overlook the silly games females want to include in relationships.

  7. I’m so sorry but there are huge huge huge pieces of the puzzle missing from this discussion. These are the pieces that bridge what the article talks about and the women express in therapy and amongst themselves and inside that they want. So yes I do believe women want this and express this and that is is what needs to happen. A woman being “taken” by her husband. But short and simple what’s not being addresses is the walls boundaries and even stronger notions women have put up that this is unexceptable and will not be met with a pleasant reaction and that you as such will be crossing the line of making a strong and powerful move for sex into rap, forced sex etc. Unfortunately current culture has not set the boundaries that rape can’t happen in a marriage or relationship. Date rape and even spousal rape apparently are real things. So what’s being completely ignores is the usual and expected catch 22 conundrum that women unfortunately are famous for creating in many aspects of their life especially sensitive and protective ones like sexual. So Dr. I pose the question how can you “take” someone who signals loud and clearly “no” early in the attempts and whom does this on any and all attempts of many creative and exciting natures. Certainly you only attempt this so many times get shot down and realize this is not going to happen. This is what so many men here ad saying in not so many words and is not being addressed. The fact is the and women who say they need this and want this in their relationships are utterly repulsed by it when it is attempted and shut it down completely.

    1. Hi Matt,
      I agree with you, date rape and spousal rape are real. That is NOT what THIS is. I feel repetitive about this statement. And, you cannot “take” someone who, as you wrote: “signals loud and clearly no”. If you are attempting the same “sexual move” each time and thus as you wrote, getting “shot down”, as you explained that you are attempting the same move, then it is time to have a new move, many new moves. Perhaps the style of taking is not working for your partner. Thus why the article discusses creativity. The article is not simply about taking your mate, as it is not as simply as grab and go. That doesn’t work, more effort needs to be put in. If you are stating that the woman is “utterly repulsed” by the style of the take, or just the take attempt itself, then I urge you to please sit down with your mate and ask them in an invested, interested non-confrontational and truly curious and compassionate way, what your mate desires. I am not talking about in the moment. I am talking about outside of the moment, having an analytical frank discussion about what you may be missing so you can truly learn on your journey.

      Hope this helps.
      Dr. Ruskin

  8. Hi Dr. Ruskin,
    I loved your article. I am 28 years old and have been in a long term relationship with my wonderful girlfriend for almost 7 years now. She is saying “where is the ring” now. Affectionatley ofcourse and i found your article to be insightful and it echoes alot of the things i have come to learn over the years. It hurts me to see some men can’t except this or are offended because if taken with an open heart there is some great advice here. In our early years, me and my girlfriend would fight about sex. We would plan it or i should say she would plan it but it omly made things hard on both of us. Since then i have learned to not ask or plan or suggest but to “take” as you might say. I have come to learn more about her and myself sexually then i ever thought. And i have also learned how to know if she is not into it and how to not feel rejected when that happens. I feel like now she loves me more then ever before and i don’t say that i dominate her in the bedroom but that i follow the points you made in your article. Our sex is always exciting and different. Often spontaneous and creative or daring and more passionate now then ever. Which brings me to my problem. I feel like i am now more sexually adventurous then she. I have never read ’50 Shades’ and probably won’t but i am interested in bondage and have been for a long time but i am afraid she is scared and i want her to be happy most of all. She has always enjoyed letting me take sex where it will go but i do feel she may be afraid of this. We have discussed it and she has expressed that she is okay with it but for me sex needs to be about us both enjoying eachother or i don’t enjoy it at all. This leaves me confused and unsure if i should pursue. How do we explore these darker sexual desires while maintaining a loving relationship bassed on equality and compassion?
    I did not mean for this to turn into a therapy session though. Initially i just meant to say your article is right. Not right for all but in my experience as a man. Its right for me and married guys should take it in if they love their wives like i love my girlfriend. Its really not hard to do the work and no guy should complain cuz its the best job there is.

    1. Hi Warren,
      Thank you for the positive feedback regarding my article. I am so glad that you identify with it, in that you implement the points in the article. And, what is very exciting to hear for you is that you understand it. That you understand “taking” is not about dominance. It is also wonderful that you have come to understand and read your girlfriend’s signals. I am very happy for you that you both have an exciting sexual relationship with passion.

      As far what to pursue vs. not pursue, you are wise to consider what would be enjoyable for her as well as for you. For certainly it is not pleasurable if you feel your partner is not into the sexual encounter. Within your question, therein is the answer. Your question is: “How do we explore these darker sexual desires while maintaining a loving relationship based on equality and compassion?” The answer is, exactly how you have been thus far. Just as you mentioned that you: “have come to learn more about her and myself sexually then I ever thought” and just as you wrote: “I have also learned how to know if she is not into it” – this is the process of which to explore new territory. The fact that the two of you have dialogued about the possibility of “darker sexual desires” outside of the bedroom, and she has expressed that she is “okay with it”, this process is indeed about going slow, in small steps to see if she really is okay with it, or rather if she likes it, or loves it, or hates it. If you genuinely believe she is afraid of what you are referencing is your interest in “bondage”, certainly you don’t want to go down that path. The question is: are you concerned she is afraid of it, or is she really afraid of it? And, what exactly have you both discussed as to what your definition vs. her definition of bondage really is.

      Given this wonderfully open and communicative relationship you both have, and given she is open to and “always enjoyed letting” you “take sex where it will go”, and if she has verbalized she is open to trying it, the key is pace and reading each other’s signals.

      I hope this helps. Indeed, this is not a therapy session. Blog commentaries are not a therapist-client relationship. Although I totally understand your point and I appreciate your clarification that your main desire was to state that my “article is right”. And I appreciate you writing in. Keep up the great process of enjoying the journey of your relationship with your girlfriend, and sounds like from what you have articulated, someday to be wife. The sexual relationship in a committed relationship is not a race, it truly is a journey. Take your time, be kind to one another and compassionate, have fun, and if you both end up trying something as you referenced as “darker”, if it doesn’t feel right to do it then don’t, and if it feels right to try it but doesn’t feel right while doing it or after, laugh together and connect and feel proud that you are in a relationship that is safe to explore and make decisions one day at a time…
      Dr. Ruskin

  9. Respected Karen

    I read ur article, the replies/comments and your explanations…. going back and forth. You got valid points. i am married for twenty years now (in numbers it seems long time but it does not FEEL that long). to my fellow men…… pl note that it is NATURAL, it is in her genes, it is from GOD, it is universal truth that woman wants to be ‘taken’. the steps to achieve ‘taken’ are: 1. appreciate her (about her cooking, working, house keeping, kids caring etc), 2. show your affection towards her (appreciate her looks, clothing, body, use sexy wording/touching in kitchen/lounge etc), 3. read her mind (get the thing done before she ask for it, e.g. buying her gifts, taking her out, helping her in housework… asking her to take some rest, appreciate her parents and siblings – if u dont like them dont discuss in -ve; do not compare/prefer her or her children on other women/children 4. be a good listener (especially when she is in bad mood);

    now my fellow men will ask ‘what about us?’ Well, my friends i know, it is natural and from GOD and universal truth that we men do as we like 🙂 we feel we are not answerable to anyone. so we r independent what else we need ! just try to follow above four steps and your FAMILY life will be great, i suppose. hey remember ups and downs come in family life so what…… dont make it question of ur EGO. this ego thing is bad for both husband and wife…. both of us should avoid it. stay blessed.

    1. What a beautiful response! Thank you for being the man that you are. It definitely gives me hope that there are more out there who share your wonderful way of seeing things on this topic <3

  10. Women do like a ”bad boy” in the bedroom. What that means to each woman is totally different.
    Im dating someone now who told me I seemed like such a ”good boy” except that im a ”bad boy” in the bedroom.
    No chains or whips needed though.

  11. @Julie and the Dr.

    The one thing you both are forgetting or maybe just not getting, is men ALSO like to be taken. We too want to feel like we are desired by our mates. When you are the only one initiating sex, you begin to feel like the woman is just “doing her duty”. Yes, I will admit my wife seems to like it when I just have to have her. Problem is, if I do not initate, I would be a good monk.
    So doc, are you saying men should not be made to feel wanted? That “to be desired” should only be a woman’s trait?

    1. Hi Rocky,
      Thank you for writing in. I am happy for you that you realize what your wife wants. As you stated: “I will admit my wife seems to like it when I just have to have her”. Because… if we know what our mate wants, that is the first step to achieving/fulfilling that desire. Second step: take action. The thing is, you do not appear to be excited about that. Yet, this very notion can be quite exciting. You have clearly explained perhaps why you are not excited about this in your commentary: “problem is, if I do not initiate, I would be a good monk” – this statement you wrote is exactly the reason why I also promote marital communication. Though, not the focus of this article. Of course it super stinks when one spouse is the only initiator. For the initiator longs to have the other want them, take them, desire them. I am hopeful for you that you will take time out this week to sit with your mate and discuss your sexual relationship in a non confrontational way. Rather, in an exploratory way. Explore what she adores about your sex life and what she would enjoy to be different. Discuss what you enjoy about your sexual relationship, and what you would enjoy to be different. The sexual relationship is for both man and woman in a relationship if it is to stand the test of time. This article was about helping men to understand the obsession, and to help women to understand themselves. What you do with this information is up to you.

      Your question, is in sync with what some other men have asked in response to this article: “are you saying men should not be made to feel wanted? That to be desired should only be a woman’s trait?” LOL. NOOOO! Oh goodness no. Of course not. Come on… really? This article provided for a very specific focus. This article was written to help men to understand why so many women presented with such obsession in response to ’50 Shades Of Grey’. That’s it! That was my mission for this particular article, for this article’s focus. And…that, is what this article achieved. If the article were entitled: “What a man wants” – then, I would have included as my bullet points: to feel desired, wanted, valued, appreciated. And more…This was not an article entitled: “Why women are obsessed with 50 Shades AND what a man wants in the bedroom”.

      What I shared in the article does not infer men should only initiate and women should never. It is simply and specifically addressing the answer to a very specific question: why the obsession for women?

      I hope this answers your question.
      Dr. Ruskin

  12. This article is such non sense. It’s as.if, according to the author, that all women think the same and expect the same from their spouse. I have known women that wanted it all the time, women who never wanted it, women who liked it kinky, women who didn’t, women who liked the light on and womed who didn’t. It’s written as if a.man is supposed to read the woman’s mind and take her there as if by some act of magic. I don’t care how you slice it, porn creates an emotional and intimate disconnection that will destroy that special bond between two individuals who were formerly happy with what they were giving one another sexually. I’ll be the first to admit, the porn could lead to some incredible and wild sexual adventures. But soon, things can’t get kinky and adventurous to satisfy either and the relationship has no where else to turn. Laws of nature are powerful things and no matter how hard we try to reinvent or redefine them, we are only fully expressing our ignorance. keep your marriage and relationship clean and it will survive the test of time and you and your spouse…….not just the male doing the legwork…..will figure it all out.

    1. Thanks for writing in Joe. No- the article I wrote is not suggesting ALL women think the same nor is it suggesting ALL women expect the same from their spouse. Nor is it even commenting on whether porn is or is not a good thing for a couple. Nor is is suggesting just the male do the legwork.

      This article is simply sharing why so many women were so obsessed by 50 Shades. That’s it. 3 points- 3 main reasons. Men can either embrace the knowledge to increase their understanding of many women (not all, but many), or not. Their choice. Women can either choose to communicate with their mate the reality of what they are really feeling (the 3 points) or leave their mate not understanding and leaving them simply thinking that if they follow a porno kinky script that their wife will always be turned on.
      Dr. Ruskin

  13. Women claim they want to be taken more by their men but when men try and get rejected, for whatever silly thing that isn’t perfect with life at the time, then they stop trying. Women get unhappy about not being pursued but they are the cause of their men no longer attempting to take them. As men we deal with so much rejection in our lives…the one safe haven we feel we should have from it…our partner….and we aren’t even safe there.

  14. I see a lot of men getting butt hurt reading this article and attacking your logic instead of just taking a step away from their ego to take the chance to see something from a different perspective. If your immediate reaction to this article was one that stung some insecurities in you I can understand the flight or flight response. But I’ll tell you there is a lot more power in taking responsibility for your short comings than blaming everything external. If you honestly believe that women should change to better suit your needs, then you’re not really in control, you’re not leading and playing the role of the man in “Tango”. In which case maybe it’s you that is the submissive in the relationship, and you know what there is nothing wrong with that as long as your women is happy being the dominate one who is in charge and taking responsibility. But if that isn’t her natural polarity than don’t be surprised when she is ‘taken’ by the bartender. Just saying.

  15. The Jason Andrew Jackson

    I did wonder what all the hype surrounding this ’50 Shades of Grey’ was all about. Especially, with seeing the ads for the upcoming movie. This article does give me good insight. I understand the three concepts with 100% clarity. It makes sense.

    However, it is not healthy. Look at things from this end for a moment. Men are visually aroused. That is why we gravitate to porn. We can lay our eyes on it. We go to the store and we can buy pornographic magazines full of pictures with beautiful, erotic women that we can lay our eyes on. Through those photos we can visualize ourselves being with those women. Or, we can go to the internet and watch pornographic videos with those same beautiful, erotic women. They will be doing things that we THINK we wish our wife would do. But we KNOW to love and respect our wife there are some things we could never allow them to do. As boys transition to men, we go through a stage where sexual experience is important. But it is not a healthy time. AND THIS IS NOT ALL MEN. Yet, some of us believe that we are SUPPOSE to have as many sexual experiences as possible. It jades our understanding of what sex is meant for. So the true understanding is often delayed or for some never attained at all. For men and women alike, sex is meant to be an expressive act of passion and love for another person, specifically your wife or husband, respectively. It is the quintessential gesture above all; holding hands, hugging, and/or kissing. As men, myself included, we have to educate our boys that sex is not a rite to passage. It is not a journey of experience. Sex with numerous women does not add value to you or your life it subtracts.

    My advice to women, if you want to be ‘taken’ by your spouse/boyfriend or husband, then allow him to take you. You cannot have your cake and eat it too. If any woman can’t articulate what they want to a point where their man can understand then it is her fault. Number one you should know how to get your point across to someone, especially your significant other. 99% of men will do what our woman wants us to do if we love her. First you have to have us believe that sex is important to you. That means when opportunity is available for sex you want to take advantage of it. Don’t go through the first stages of your relationship engaging in sex and then once you get engaged or get married dial down your desire to have sex. If a man sees a woman that doesn’t want to have sex with him, he’s not going to be very interested in sex with her. So have sex and enjoy it, let your man know you enjoy it and let him know how often you want to enjoy it. Getting fatigued physically, mentally, and emotionally from dealing with work, kids, and other happenings in life is all part of the job. You have to suck it up and keep your priorities in place. Men have done this for long time. You want the career and the kids and loving husband well it takes hard work and dedication. So if you want your husband to ‘take’ you can’t put a halt on his plans by saying “I’m too tired for sex, let’s wait until tomorrow”. When you get home from work or little Johnny’s ball game, if your husband grabs you and bends you over the bed to ‘take’ you then take it. He is giving you what you want because it’s what he wants. But if you put a halt on his plans, he will assume that is not something you want. If you don’t enthusiastically engage in sex multiple times a week your husband will moreover assume that is not something you want. Next, don’t allow yourself to engage in fantasy. It is the equivalent to porn for males. Girls grow into women thinking life including marriage will be FAIRY TALE. Let’s educate our girls this is not the case. Disney never shows the day to day life between the beauty and the beast nor Snow White and the prince nor the princess and Prince Charming. Life is routine and mundane for the most part. Novels, movies, and tv shows only illuminates the highs of the man’s pursuit of the woman. It show all the obstacles he had to overcome to capture her heart. But everyday is not a page from ’50 Shades’. Nor will it be the majority of your lifetime. Women please evalute your standards and expectactions of your husbands and make sure they are not unattainable. Then communicate this to your husbands.

    I hope this helps us all but at the least someone.
    Thank you

  16. Although you explained exactly why women are obsessed by 50 shades, i do believe you advice was presented ineffectively (as i am a male, who is in a 8 year, very sexually charged, heterosexual relationship). I found myself getting upset with your advice, so here goes….

    1) Yes, women want to be taken. She wants the to feel that you are so sexually turned on by her that you exert your power and take from her what she wants. Women are more interested in the emotions that inspire the action than the action itself.

    2) Yes, women do want sexual excitement. Try new things that new for both ouf youVariety makes everything better (unless you dont like variety). What the doctor is saying (i think/ i hope) is that as the man, women are inherently driven to follower a leading man, so LEAD! (she wants you to, but her inner feminist forbids her to say it out loud).

    3) Women want us to be so in sync with them that we both have the same desires, at the same time, to the same extreme. That requires a stroke of luck (like hitting the lottery, while getting an ace and a king in blackjack and avoiding that baseball thrown at your head that missed cuz you bent down to tie your shoe) or ESP. Both of these are impossible. BUT, what is possible is making it seem like you have ESP by paying attention to how she responds (not verbally, women are terrible communicator, despite what we are lead to believe) and keeping a mental note so that in time, sex with you will seem like magic (you and i know its not, but theres not need to spoil the illusion for her cuz she will think about how awesome you were and that will make her want to do it again).

    Ultimately, what no one told us (guys) is that we are the leaders of the relationship (equality be damned). If you want your women be more sexual, then view and treat her more sexual (random ass-slapping/informing her that shes sexy, even if she isnt at the moment/random kiss on the check or neck). So take her (when YOU want to), try new things that interest you (and her, if she has communicated it) and dont read her mind, read her body (dont worry about getting it wrong, it more important that you made the attempt. Also, DONT APOLOGIZE if you do get it wrong). The hardest job at any company is being the boss, but its the most rewarding.

    1. Hi Mike,
      Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Here’s a few thoughts in response:

      1) No, women are not more interested “in the emotions that inspire the action than the action itself”. From my understanding of women, from what they have shared with me, emotions that inspire actions AND actions in and of themselves are EACH of value. This is NOT an ‘either/or’ debate, this is a ‘both/and’ concept. (Which is at times indeed what men often find challenging and confusing about women for they wish sexuality and sexual relations was black and white, clear cut and the same concept to comprehend each time. But, alas, it is not).

      2) LOL – your sense of humor is funny here Mike. Ok, so, I am not suggesting that a woman’s voice in terms of her “inner feminist forbids her to say it out loud” in terms of wanting variety, wanting sexual excitement and wanting to follow a leading man. Though yes, I am indeed saying: lead! This does not mean each and every sexual encounter men must lead. Rather I am simply sharing that too many women in long term relationships feel that their mate stops leading over time and stops putting effort into the sexual growth and creativity of the sexual relationship. Many women report in their relationships that the “you wanna do it tonight” move, is as creative as it gets for far too many, and that style of initiating is simply not sexy.

      3) No, no, no, totally no. It has not been my experience that women are idiots in that they think their mate is going to “be so in sync with them that we both have the same desires, at the same time, to the same extreme”. Nor is the idea for you to have ESP. Rather what I am sharing is that when so many women share with me the same concept, certainly to ignore it would be ludicrous. The concept is that they feel they have expressed both verbally concretely and in physical body reactions what they like and do not like and yet they find their man not “hearing” them. When the man says they need ESP to know what their mate wants, the point is that women often share they have already through the years multiple times communicated what they want. I have the luxury of working with couples as a marriage/relationship therapist since 1993, so this allows me the privilege of hearing both the voices of men and women in session. And it is always quite fascinating that both men and women often struggle in comprehending one another for they often are speaking different languages, truly. Right before my eyes a woman will communicate her thoughts and feelings, a man will communicate his thoughts and feelings, and literally they are hearing something that is completely different then what the other is saying. In session I help them each to understand one another better.

      The intent of this article was that I was hoping to provide the voice of what women are sharing, specifically regarding their obsession with 50 Shades, the first book. Even in that though there are some men who are upset with this article I have written, as you are reporting, and other men who are appreciative and live this advice reality and totally get it.

      As far as your final point regarding “equality be damned”, gosh this is a sad commentary in reaction to my article. What I mean by sad is that I feel badly, genuinely, if that’s the message here. Allow me to clarify and state the following: words, actions, mind, body, communication – all are an important part of the sexual relationship. This article is merely explaining a very specific component of what is missing for many women in long term committed relationships (typically married women with children). This article is NOT inferring to leave out all else. To leave out apologies, to leave out respect – no. Of course; respect, apologies, communication, all are important. Equality is not about men no longer taking the lead in the sexual relationship. Nor is equality about women only taking the lead in the sexual relationship. When it comes to the long term male-female sexual relationship, there is a reason why women are so turned on by the 50 Shades first book, and why many will flock to the theaters for the upcoming movie. And, if men allow themselves the open mind to understand the 3 points I have shared in that it does not infer it is the only way to be in the sexual relationship with each and every encounter, then they are on the road towards comprehending why the obsession. Even if some men don’t like the information they are hearing. You see, there’s no “boss” in the “company” of ‘marital sexuality’ for each encounter. The pendulum shifts throughout time in the marital sexual relationship and needs to forever grow. If the pendulum does not ongoing shift with the inclusion of creativity and rather remains in monotony, and remains on the woman all of the time, then the woman does start to feel like the “boss”, especially when in the other areas of their shared life she feels as such.

      I am hopeful this response helps. And… FYI, kissing your mate randomly on the cheek or neck or the random ass-slapping and/or informing her that she’s sexy are good ideas not bad ideas. And of course, if this were an article geared for the understanding of why men are obsessed with some book of some kind, then I would gladly share that men too would appreciate many of the very same notions I have shared that women yearn and long for in their sexual relationship.

      Thanks again for writing in Mike.
      Dr. Ruskin

  17. I think that the point of this article is summed up nicely in the phrase “women want to be wanted”. If a man makes a woman feel wanted he will be surprised by how she responds. When we feel wanted and desired we become the goddess we are meant to be and men will be surprised at what the means for them. I’ve been in a loving and committed marriage for 15 years. I, like many women, struggle with feeling attractive enough. There are a million and one examples in a single day that make me feel less than as a woman. My breasts are too small, my butt is too big, my hair is too flat. You name it and I see it in big flashing lights “You are not desirable.” Even though my husband tells me I am sexy, says he loves me, compliments me on my nice ass. 🙂 The other voices are louder, much much louder. So at the end of the day as we are lying in bed those voices are so loud that they paralyze me. The last thing I want is to initiate sex when I am feeling like a big fat oompa loompa. Over the last few weeks I’ve been honest with my husband about these feelings. I’ve expressed my needs/desires to him. When he shows me I’m wanted, those voices become quiet and I only hear him. I feel more confident in my body. I feel like a sexy beast! I’m more inclined to initiate and take charge. My husband has been surprised by my response to him. For those men who are arguing with this article, whats the harm in giving it a try? Show your woman you want her! See what happens.

    1. Sandra,
      What a wonderful commentary! Thank you for writing in! I am SO happy for you that you confronted yourself and communicated to your husband about what you have been feeling. Nothing like an honest communication that leads to taking action on those very communications, to bring a couple closer.

      Thanks so much for taking the time to share your story. And… YES- EXACTLY!! Love how you wrote this: “For those men who are arguing with this article, what’s the harm in giving it a try? Show your woman you want her! See what happens”. Indeed! Oh yes indeed. You nailed it!
      Dr. Ruskin

  18. Hello Dr. Ruskin,

    I am answering you with this short message because I seem to be clearly “obsessed” with the film of Fifty Shades of Grey. I am in a long-distance relationship since 4 years, and though I love my partner, I have to admit that sex isn’t the way I would like it to be. He is indeed “the good boy” and each time I ask him gently to maybe do something else, or be the “bad boy”, he reacts extremely negatively. He always thinks I do not love him, or that he isn’t enough for me. I would like to know how to actually make him understand what I want without hurting him or without misunderstandings. I do not know whether there is some advice you could give me?
    Thank you in advance,

    1. Hi Mary, I am so glad you felt comfortable to reach out and write in. It is not uncommon for the scenario in which you describe. Whether it is for a woman wishing her man would be more _______ in his sexual style, or whether it is for a man wishing his mate were more _______ in her sexual style. Fill in the ______ however one sees fit. Whether a person wants one’s mate to be more assertive, or more fun, or more gentle, or more creative, or more expressive… the list goes on.

      There are many forms in which the sexual relationship is experienced between man and women. There is passionate sexual interactions, silly, fun, romantic, adventurous, exciting, exploratory, quickie, monotonous, assertive, dirty, great flow, awkward…. the list goes on. In my book: Dr. Karen’s Marriage Manual, where my points are for couples whether married or in a committed relationship, newlyweds, or married for a long time, I address this very concept we are discussing right now. I write about 40 relationship musts and 29 relationship destroyers. I also discuss intimacy, infidelity, communication… I mention this because it’s my way of validating your feelings by telling you that it is oh so common for couples to experience challenges in finding their couple sexual style. So common to the point that I included it in my couple’s relationship guide book.

      You see, when in a relationship each person is finding their own sexual selves, and who they are sexually in a relationship. This journey of discovery includes questions I would recommend one ask one’s self such as: Am I more dominant in my interaction and assertive in contrast to my mate? Am I the one to initiate not just the act of having intimacy, also throughout the sexual encounter? Am I more submissive in that I tend to let my mate lead the way, and thus steer the sexual ship? Is my sexual style because it is what I am used to, and anything else would feel like uncharted waters? Am I uncomfortable with exploring outside of my instinctive tendencies? Do I have fantasies but feel awkward acting on them? Are my sexual desires and needs to have a sexually fulfilling relationship in sync with my mate’s?

      One can love one’s mate deeply and still yearn for what one deems as a more enhanced sexual relationship. It is difficult as you report, in a case where one partner may feel safe and comfortable in the familiarity of one’s natural impulses, and perhaps even happy with the sexual relationship, to then have one’s mate want something different. So, in your situation, I would be interested in you finding out from him if he desires to add more to the sexual relationship or if this is exactly what he imagined and would want. If the sexual relationship is what he expected, what he wanted, whereas if for you, you rather desire him to provide more of what we are referencing as bad boy sex- it may indeed be leading him to feel like he is not enough, since he feels “bad boy” is not who he is in the sexual relationship nor in any context. In fact, he may not really understand what that means.

      You asked if I have any advice. My advice is for you to provide him with this entire blog. The article I wrote, along with all of the comments. Including yours. Let him know before you give it to him to read that you adore him so very much, you value and appreciate what he and you have together so much that you decided to research what you are feeling to try to find a solution so that way your relationship shall continue to grow together. Allow him to read your question and my answer.

      I hope you find this helpful.
      Dr. Karen Ruskin

  19. Karen, These messages, from you and other women, as well as your well-thought-out and considerate article have brought me to tears. Everything you say is so accurate; all the women I know share these feelings, even when afraid to truly express it. I have yet to find a way to explain this to my husband and other nay-saying folks (who, of course, have not read it and wouldn’t touch it with a 6″ pole!), who think that the only message of 50 is that of BDSM. The story of Christian and Ana is about redemption through love ~ but the sexual aspect, as you consistently point out, concerns the yearning of women for a relationship that is both loving and sexual – and, as Sandra eloquently expressed, where they are “wanted.” My Obsession with this trilogy, and my persistent returning to them time and time again, is that my yearning is somewhat satisfied thru reading, almost like a fairytale at this point. But I weep while reading at times because I believe I will never have this again, like in my 20s when I hardly appreciated anything even vaguely like it. Or that I will Have Ever – in the way Ana has experienced it. It is a yearning for someone to love me unconditionally, to be fulfilled in a way I feel I won’t ever be. I love my husband dearly, but I feel this other – obsession – is also a yearning for the unattainable. Human condition, that. I laughingly told some of my friends 50 Shades was my bible. Re-reading it sometimes gives me joy and; hope (esp when listening to Thomas Tallis’ Spem in Alium; I am a Renaissance singer and that is a Big Scene in the book), other times sorrow at my inability to ever BE Ana, have her experiences. It is the Everywoman aspect of it that touches us all.

    1. Thank you so much Miriam for taking the time to share your feelings, experience and commentary.

      I appreciate knowing that my typing out the key points documented in my article has touched you, and the lives of others, thank you for letting me know.
      Dr. Karen

  20. Dear Dr. Ruskin,
    I just wanted to thank you for the time you spend trying to help us. Your advice was very helpful. I am trying to figure out a way to apply it =) Thank you very much anyway.

  21. All I know is this 50 Shades thing has made me feel completely inferior as a man, and husband. It has gotten to the point where I’m seriously considering not ever going near a woman again including my wife, because obviously I’ve been doing everything wrong all those years, and instead of communicating with me or taking initative herself, she’s been just pretending she was satisfied all this time? Because if she was happy with our sex life, I don’t really see why those books would be interesting for her? Feminism encourages society to bring up boys to feminised men, and then women are saying they don’t get turned on by feminised men? It’s just not fair, and very soul-damaging.

    1. Hi Magnus,
      I am sorry to hear that you are feeling “inferior as a man, and husband”. Hopefully you can have a dialogue with your wife and recognize that perhaps she may have been both satisfied AND desire more. As contradictory as that may sound. And, if she is not fully satisfied and is interested in books that promote male creativity and male-female sexual exploration and discovery, and if that is affecting you negatively rather than leading you to experience curiosity to learn what she might be interested in, that is a shame for you. For there is an opportunity here for your couple-hood to grow for both of you. Why not embrace that? If one is not growing one is stagnant. For some, stagnant consistency is indeed satisfying, for others it is monotonous and one would appreciate more.

      It is an interesting commentary you are stating here to suggest that “feminism encourages society to bring up boys to feminized men, and then women are saying they don’t get turned on by feminized men”. I don’t believe that is what feminism encourages. I can understand how some men may have received that message, though feminism is about women and opportunity, women and rights, women and having a voice. It is not about feminizing men. I’d like to believe that women can experience empowerment, be leaders, have rights, have opportunity and have a voice WHILE men have those things as well. Does one gender have to become feminized and the other gender become more masculine? I think not.
      Dr. Ruskin

  22. Some interesting remarks here but sadly the elephant in the room is what you dismissed early on. The fact he is a billionaire, talented and sophisticated are the common elements in much romance fiction aimed at women. The sex is not that important. Women don’t want to admit it but they are awful snobs at heart.

  23. I am a man and, I have read your article in it’s entirety, have understood and agree, there is nothing here to refute. I am sad to report that in my non-professional opinion, I have some issues with this reality. First and foremost I have heard from many women that they are just not really into sex and this can be viewed as a chore, I have also heard quite the opposite, that women do enjoy and crave sex. It is my belief that that those women who have a distaste for sex from the start (barring any harmful experiences) have learned this from society it is taught it is a gained trait not a natural preference. This is a result of what I have decided to call beyond feminism (when feminism goes too far and hurts everybody). I believe that real feminists should empower women and tell them that it is okay to want and crave sex. We will all benefit from this.
    Secondly and most importantly, I have only once in my entire life experienced this taking my woman thing, it was absolutely amazing for both of us the effect on her was more appealing to me than the sex itself. However there is an innate problem with giving this a go. There is a very fine line at times between what is rape and what is taking your woman. that line is quite simple. Does she want this? The problem lies simply with that. If she want’s this then woo hoo great for both of us, if not, permission was not secured and well if she’s not into it at this moment she can and will see this as rape even in the event you stop immediately and apologize, it’s too late the rape ship has sailed, your relationship may now be doomed. I say this from experience. the very same woman I had that great experience with was at my side for 8 years. Somewhere in the middle of that run we had let me tell you we had quite a great day. I showed up up at her workplace bearing flowers and took her out for lunch. I picked her up from work later that day and ferried her directly to the shower. when she got out I had that dress she liked at Macy’s bought and wrapped. She put it on we went out for her favorite dinner. I said and did everything right. She said so herself. When we got home that evening I carried her over the threshold of our apartment and proceeded “Taking my woman” Passionately, very much the same I way I did 4 years before at the begining of our relationship. My advance lasted about half a second before I was met with a knee to the groin. She started screaming and yelling and the word rape escaped her mouth. I replayed the whole scenario over in my head. carried her in, set her on her feet, began to kiss her while walking her to the bed passionately, Knee to the groin. I asked her what happened she described it EXACTLY as I just did damn near word for word. She asked me to leave and after 8 years she never spoke to me again.So in light of this, I suggest it would be best not to encourage this kind of behavior until, women are taught that it’s ok to want sex again. We as a people are not ready to reclaim this part of ourselves. When society wizens up to this fact and lets us return to our roots as human beings I say to all men DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME your woman is not worth the risk! She is important to you and you don’t want to mess that up! Please Don’t teach this kind of behavior to the masses till the masses are ready to respond in kind. Decent men do not deserve imprisonment over a missunderstanding or the lack of ability to read her mind. This concept while seemingly to me to be accurate can spell a lot of trouble for a lot of people, P.S. this is also for those women not ready to be taken, you wouldn’t want them feeling victimized would you?

  24. I had a few issues with this article actually.

    1. The idea that all women even in long term relationships yearn to be “taken” is derived I can only assume from published quantitative research? If not then it would seem to be both stereotypical AND more than just a little chauvinistic. This is certainly *not* my experience, even in long term relationships where mutual respect not to mention consent would be incompatible with the entire inference of just “taking” someone. It is exceedingly rare in at least in my experience to meet someone for whom being “taken” in the manner you seem to infer is a gratification AND most would be mortified by the idea, and I have always been in relatively liberal relationships!

    2. Everyone alive bellow the waist wants sex to be exciting, but here you seem to lay responsibility squarely and solely at the feet of the men in a relationship, as a couples counsellor is this *really* your advice? IF it is then this is a problem. Sex is the equal responsibility of both members of any relationship. If one partner yearns for it to be more exciting or adventurous then what they need to do is communicate that AND also participate in pursuing it. Revealing in relationships is about trust, brining the idea of some new or what one side may see as an exciting idea into the bedroom is scary, what if your partner looks at you like you just sprouted an extra head? IF both sides are not putting themselves on the line by revealing their deepest desires, then the trust won’t exist and neither will.
    Simply wanting it and expecting exciting to be delivered on a platter by one’s partner strikes me as a sense or relationship entitlement. As an expert you ought know how corrosive that is to ANY stable relationship.

    3. Advocating less communication and instead espousing that men use intuition is absurd and flies in the face of decades of education and research.
    Women’s bodies are complex and variable and incredibly enmeshed with their emotional sense of being. What is good on any given day, may not be the next. Are you really advocating a mix of intuition and trial and error? Communication is key to *all* good things in a relationship, sex is no different.

  25. 50 Shades of Skepticism

    This article exhibits the same problem as does a lot of psychology and psychiatry – the issue is always with someone else who needs to change. Maybe, just maybe … men and women have different levels of sexual appetite and evolved biological needs. Otherwise why would most men and most women be so similar to others of their sex in this regard? The problem seems to be that most women are in monogamous relationships and the excitement and novelty they allegedly seek is statistically most likely to be found outside of this relationship. Or even better found vicariously by reading/watching so-called literotica. As someone stated above, they want to have their cake (monogamous security) and eat it as well (or in this case, virtual cake). Most men obviously have lower thresholds of excitement than most women, so the problem is not all that difficult to understand. They’re just more easily pleased!

  26. James Morrison

    I suspect much of the sexual frustration on the part of females probably stems from the fact that they have completely unrealistic expectations with respect to the liveliness of their sex lives, their own desirability, and the intensity of the male libido. These expectations are often established at a young age, and can be very difficult to dispel once formed. Adolescence is a very impressionable period, and adolescent boys tend to have very robust libidos. So girls grow up thoroughly convinced that they can just take it for granted that males will always have insatiable desires. But after the peak adolescent years the male libido diminishes, often quite rapidly, and adult females are often shocked and dismayed to discover that adult males just don’t have the strong desire they were expecting them to have, especially over the course of a long term relationship.

    Age takes it’s toll on the male libido, and so does monogamy. Males tend to get over the excitement of the “honeymoon phase” relatively quickly and their desire and intensity levels tend to decline more and more the longer they are with the same woman (this is known as the Coolidge Effect). Add to that the everyday stress, exhaustion and distractions from making a living, paying bills, health issues, etc, and it’s a wonder most men can perform their duty even at the most basic level, never mind at the bodice-ripping intensity of the typical romance fiction hero. And ironically, women’s libidos commonly increase with age, so women are often left wanting more and more at a time when their men can give them less and less.

    Another issue is the “Well, it just kind of ruins everything if I have to ask for it” attitude that women have. Sure, it would be great if everything you ever wanted/needed just fell right out of the sky and landed in your lap without you having to ask for it, and it would be great if people would obey your wishes and do your bidding without ever being told, but life just doesn’t work that way. If you really want something then you need to work for it, go get it, and yes, ask for it – even if having to ask for it ruffles your feathers or embarrasses you. A man can’t simply read a woman’s mind and know what she is in the mood for at any given moment. And even if he does somehow know she’s in the mood to be “taken”, what if he is not in the mood to “take” her? What then? Is he supposed to just fake it and pretend he has this uncontainable, animalistic desire for her, and then rip her clothes off and throw her down on the bed purely for the sake of fulfilling her fantasy? (Yes ladies, men fake it too, don’t fool yourselves.) And if it’s all fake then doesn’t that defeat the whole purpose of being taken? Or maybe women can’t see that it’s fake because they long ago fell hook, line, and sinker for the myth that “All men want it all the time” ?

    Every woman has fantasies of being an irresistible sex goddess who can drive a man so crazy with lust that he can‘t hold back his desire for her. But then harsh reality sets in and her hopes are inevitably dashed and her pride gets hurt. And that‘s just how it goes – we all have unrealized dreams and everyone‘s ego gets bruised, that‘s life. It’s not a tragedy, it‘s not the end of the world. If your single biggest problem in life is that your sexual endeavors are not as exciting and adventurous as you would like then you still have it better than 99% of the people in this world.

    Women can become addicted to romance fiction in an attempt to vicariously live out the idealistic sex life that they yearn for, but this only leads to more unrealistic expectations, and the cycle repeats itself as they become even more dissatisfied with their real lives. As an adult you must be able to distinguish fantasy from reality – you can’t expect your own life to be like a romance fiction novel, for instance. And as an adult you must also understand that things don’t just happen by themselves simply because you want them to. It seems like women can get so hung up on unfulfilled fantasies of being irresistible to men and being taken that they can fail to appreciate an actual, real-life experience for the wonderful, fun, healthy interaction that it is meant to be. The tragic thing about these situations is that so many women allow their fragile, inflated egos to stand in the way of true happiness.

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