51 Shades


Dear Dharma,

My boyfriend doesn’t care if I get off when we get it on. Even though I really pay a lot of attention to his needs, he rarely reciprocates, and acts like it’s a bother.

We get along great otherwise and I really care about him, but this is a very bad problem to have. I’ve tried talking to him but he doesn’t seem to understand that this is A BIG DEAL. And when I tell him what I like (I’m kinkier than he is) he just says things like “you’re kidding me!” or “I’ve never had to tie a woman up…”

I’ll add that we’re from different cultures – I’m Canadian and he’s not. Also we’re not kids – we’re both well into adulthood.

What can I do?

Neglected in the Bedroom

Dear Neglected,

So it seems like this whole 50 Shades thing might just be making an impression out there in the world!

For sure there are cultures where women are not expected to have much of an opinion on such matters, and certainly wouldn’t be making requests for more kink, but it’s hard to say if this is a contributing factor.

I’m going to go out on a limb and say that you might have more of a problem than just in the bedroom.  Things like “my boyfriend doesn’t care”, “acts like it’s a bother” and “doesn’t seem to understand” are all red flags and I’m thinking it must translate into other parts of the relationship, non?

There’s a breakdown in communication – not that you haven’t been trying – and the message just isn’t getting through.  Or maybe the message he’s hearing is that he’s failing you, which causes him to brush you off and avoid the topic rather than having to deal with feeling inadequate.

If he was just resisting a ball gag and studded collar, okay, I can see how that might not be for everyone, but you’re saying he doesn’t care enough to meet the basic needs.  What he doesn’t understand is that when he dismisses you like this, he’s also dropping the ball on meeting your emotional needs, so you’re right, this is a big deal.

You need to find a different way to talk to him about this if you are going to save your relationship in the long run.  If your relationship is as great as you say outside the bedroom, you must have some success in communicating with him.  How have you handled other topics where you were both satisfied with the outcome?

The fact that he won’t tie you up is just the frosting on this cupcake, so don’t make it entirely about that.  I would start by telling him all the things you love about the relationship, but this one grey area is going to create long term damage if it doesn’t get addressed.  And maybe let’s leave the whips and chains out of it until you can get him to a place where he recognizes that simply satisfying you sexually is a valid thing.

And don’t be afraid to consider couples counselling should you be unable to get your point across. If he’s not open to that, and not willing to hear you and work this out so the relationship can thrive, I feel that you might be sending Dharma a different question in the future.



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  • Anastasia says:

    How about cutting him off completely? That’ll show him! How is it fair that gets his rocks off and you don’t? Isn’t sex supposed to be fruitful for both parties?

    • Anonymous says:

      I wouldn’t cut him off completely. He is probably insecure in bed and needs some warming up! You just need to seriously talk to him.

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