Overcoming Shyness in Bed

I have the feeling my husband wants me to initiate sex, but for some reason I have trouble with that, even though I truly enjoy sex. I'm affectionate with him and am very attracted to him, so it isn't that. But when it comes to seducing him, I feel silly, shy or somehow like a fraud. What can I do to overcome this? --M

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Dear M:

Your way of describing yourself is touching. It takes courage to tell it like it is. And I salute your intent to change your sexual pattern to become a more sexually assertive woman.

First, it's not that uncommon for women to feel shy about being the sexual initiator. Our society teaches that girls need to wait for the man to ask, that women who are pushy in bed are not usually the ones who get to walk down the aisle. So finding that place to unlock your own sexual power is going to feel awkward and new, like stretching unused muscles. But they are there.

I also sense that you are not sure what your partner really wants. So ask him. Find out how he would like you to be about initiating sex. Perhaps you can develop a special "sign" that indicates your interest, or use private emails, love notes or secret hand signals. That way you don't have to feel as if you are reciting lines from a bad porno flick to be the sexual person you want to be.

I love the movie Dangerous Beauty, which is based on a true story about a 16th-century courtesan who is mistress to all the men and is revered by their wives. She expresses true womanhood, without shame, guilt or holding back. Be sure to rent or buy it.

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