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How to ask for what you want 

HTHGS: Not getting what I want (written by Dr. Feintech)

Ask Dr. Feintech,
Hi. I have been with my boyfriend Steve for almost two years. I am his first girlfriend so we have been taking slow physically. After a long period of time, I have finally gotten him to start fingering me. I can only be close to an orgasm if I am fingered or if given oral sex. Last night, he confessed to me that he does not like to finger me because the last time he did, his fingers smelled funny for about 2 days. Steve has never gone down on me and now I think he never will. I have never had an orgasm and really want to experience it. So I am very hurt and disappointed with what he said. However, he did say he wants me to be pleasured and have an organism but he can't finger me anymore. Steve suggested using a vibrator on me. I still feel kind of weird for him to do that. I am just so hurt that he can't do what I want him to do anymore. I feel so dirty and yucky even though Steve says not to feel that way. He says he knows it's part of being a female. Is there anyway I can get him to change his mind and continue to do what he had been doing? How will he ever go down on me? This is the man I am going to marry. How can I marry someone who hasn't been able to give me physical what I want?

Dear Disappointed in CT,
You and your boyfriend do have some issues to address here.   Let me see if I can help you identify them.

As you are his first girlfriend, he apparently has a very limited experiences with vaginas and vaginal odors.  Basically, there are two groups of vaginal odors: The first group is what we might call the normal, healthy, robust, musky, odor of a healthy, reasonably clean, vagina.   This odor varies from woman to woman, with some women being mild or slight in odor and other women being very robust or strong.  It also varies within a woman, depending on hormonal factors, state of sexual arousal, etc.  The majority of males find this odor unobjectionable or even exciting....Actually, nature intended it to be exciting as it contains "pheromones",  natural chemical odors which are actually designed by nature to attract the male.   I am assuming that the type of odor your boyfriend is objecting two is in this category.

The second group of vaginal odors are more objectionable, and more related to poor hygiene or the presence of an abnormal vaginal condition, such as a yeast infection, a ph problem, or other difficulty.  If the odor which is present falls into this category, the solution is better personal hygiene or a medical consultation to rule out an abnormal vaginal condition.

Under the assumption that whatever vaginal odor is present for you is of  type I (healthy, normal smell of a natural woman). Your boyfriend's negative reaction may say more about his lack of experience, naiveté, or perhaps a personal hang-up or immaturity than it says about you.   He of course, is entitled to his esthetic preferences, but he may have to look long and hard for many years before he finds a woman whose vaginal odor doesn't offend him.   If you are understanding what I am saying, a certain level of robust messiness,  odor, and wetness, goes along with the territory and his difficulty in accepting you may say much more about his level of maturity than it does about you or your vagina.

So, this having been said,  Why are you taking it personally and allowing his hang-up or immaturity to define you as "dirty and yucky".   If you are using him as a mirror for your adequacy as a woman, you are in trouble.   The impersonal solution of using a vibrator is about as satisfactory as him wearing rubber's not very sexy or intimate.   

The problem here is not that he cannot give you physically what you want.  It is that he cannot give you emotionally what you want.  You are well advised to rethink marriage and you might want to think about taking a lover who rejoices and glories in your femininity and experiences you natural odors as a turn on.     If you truly love this person and want to make it work, your best bet is to consult a qualified sex therapist to help you and he sort out what is going on here.   In the meantime,  self validate your worth as a woman instead of using him as a mirror for your desirability.   That is to say, because he doesn't desire you doesn't mean you are not desirable.
Good Luck,

Ron Feintech, Ph.D., FACAPP
Licensed Psychologist
Certified Sex Therapist, AASECT



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The Founder: "Alex" Caroline Robboy, LCSW, QSW, CAS

Ms. Robboy is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of The Center for Growth Inc and How To Have Good Sex Inc.  Alex practices marriage and family therapy and sex therapy, and also conducts periodic seminars about human sexuality throughout the northeastern United States.

Ms. Robboy graduated from the University of Pennsylvania where she earned a Masters degree in Social Work, a Certificate of Advanced Studies in Human Sexuality Education and a Post-Masters Certificate in Marriage Counseling & Sex Therapy. Through the American Board of Sexology, she is a board certified sexologist and through the American Association of Sex Educators Counselors and Therapists a certified sex therapist.  Additionally, she is a licensed clinical social worker and a member of the American Board of Marriage and Family Therapy.


  Our Philosophy sex is like dancing, it changes every time. It depends on culture, atmosphere and mood. Sometimes it is done alone, with a partner or in a group. It can be fast and hard or slow and soft. Sex is a combination of non-verbal negotiation and verbal cues: a scream, a twitch of the toes, or a flush of the face. There is no one 'right' way to move, only what feels good to all those involved. 
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