Reader Question: “I Love Lingerie, My Partner Doesn’t. Is There Any Way We Can Enjoy it Together?”

Lascivious FW 2013

Lascivious FW2013

I recently discovered my love of lingerie. I’ve just been accepted into my school’s intimate apparel design specialization, and I dream of saving up for beautiful pieces. My boyfriend respects my career choice, but when it comes to us, he doesn’t really “get” lingerie and isn’t particularly turned on by it. While I love wearing things for myself, it breaks my heart a little that it can’t be something we can share. Any tips on getting your partner to enjoy lingerie?

I was recently asked this question on Tumblr and it really got me thinking. So often lingerie bloggers (myself included) go out of our way to assure people that lingerie is about ourselves, NOT our partners and that we personally can derive satisfaction from it. The truth is though, lingerie does play a part in the interactions within a couple, so it is definitely relevant to address the difficult question of how to deal with a partner who doesn’t show quite the interest you do in something that is so personal.

You can’t control what turns people on. But when you’re in a relationship, you hope you and your partner might be on the same page and sometimes lingerie is part of that equation.

I have to admit, I have some knowledge of this subject. When I first got together with my girlfriend, she had zero knowledge or interest in lingerie, openly expressing that she preferred me in a T-shirt and boxer shorts. 3 years later, she has officially announced that Fleur of England is her favorite lingerie brand, so it seems not only has she been converted, but she has excellent & expensive taste. How did we get here? Here are three pieces of that puzzle:

Discussion

Honestly, if you want your partner to take an interest, it helps if you tell them. Lingerie sometimes has a weird aura around it, so if you want your partner to give you positive feedback or notice when you have something new, mention it! Straight up communication goes a long way.

Maybe ask him (or her) if there is anything in the realm of lingerie that does turn him on? He may not be very attune to the world of lingerie and hasn’t really thought about it. Or maybe there is some reason lingerie makes him feel uncomfortable? If you talk about it, you might even discover things you didn’t even know about each other, which is always interesting.

When I talked to my girlfriend about this subject she referenced a ‘tightrope between enjoying and objectifying’ as an explanation of why she was originally hesitant to express appreciation for lingerie. Lingerie can have a excessively sexually adventurous connotation that can make a partner who is unfamiliar hesitant to engage.

Education

Given that I write this blog, it may be obvious that I talk about lingerie all the time. Basically, the more time you spend time with me, the more you are forced to hear about lingerie and bras and lace (somehow conversations always turn to this subject). What I do find though, is that enthusiasm is often contagious and as the people around you learn more about your passion, they start actually getting interested.

You can never convince other people to have the same tastes or interests as you– but some explanation of just why you find it so fascinating tends to get people listening, and sometimes agreeing!

Acceptance

At the end of the day, you might have to simply accept that lingerie is not something that you and your partner share. And that’s okay! Sometimes you just have to dance around in your underwear by yourself and realize that no one will truly understand you. You know what’s funny? I think that almost every lingerie blogger that I’ve talked to has a partner who is totally ambivalent to lingerie. It’s weird how that turns out, isn’t it?

Strangely enough, in some ways I think it’s better that way. As much as we all want affirmation from our partners (as they should give– and a listening ear), at the end of the day, it’s kind of nice to know that lingerie is your thing that no one is pressuring you into. Truthfully, my girlfriend probably still prefers me in a T-shirt and boxers.

 What do you think? Have you had experience with this scenario?

 

17 Comments
  1. Show your partner that lingerie is part of your wardrobe just like any outerwear you use. Does your partner like you in a short black dress with heels? Then they should know that for you nice black bra, garter belt and stockings are all part of it. And when it comes to jeans and sweater then a color coordinated bra and panties come along.

    As for the “[not] particularly turned on by it”… This is a lingerie blog, not a sex advice column, so I don’t know how detailed I can get in regards to this issue. But I will say that you should tell your partner that appreciating and enjoying lingerie is part of who you are when it comes to preferences and trade offs.
    Also, assuming that by now you already know some things that do turn your partner on, try to incorporate them when lingerie is part of the equation, on you or otherwise. Hope that helps.

    • Excellent points, Annmarie! As you said, this is *not* a sex advice column, but I think there are definitely ways to communicate on those issues in a way that is relevant to lingerie.

  2. I think it’s also important if you’re a lingerie fiend to appreciate the little things you partner might do. My partner very rarely puts effort into her undergarments so when she gets a new one she would like me to notice, and as someone who’s drawn to frills and lace I don’t always see a new color addition to her collection, while she was pretty horrified that I like my new pair of bloomers so much. Different strokes, I guess, but we try to be kind and courteous to each other.

  3. Great post and I’m right there with you! My husband really doesn’t care at all about lingerie and has similar tastes to your girlfriend. I love how you wrote about the gray line between sexuality and objectification. I think that’s why a lot of lingerie bloggers also focus so much on body image and feminism aspects precisely because of that gray line.

    I will say that he does appreciate lingerie in the sense that I need to buy it and it serves a purpose (helps me to avoid severe back pain). He’ll also notice when a bra fits or doesn’t (due to my ever changing size with pregnancy and breastfeeding). But beyond that it really just isn’t interesting to him and I think part of a good relationship is respecting your partner’s wishes even when they differ from your own. I do find lingerie pretty empowering and closely tied to my own happiness, so it’s an expense that we invest in on occasion. He has his own interests that fit into that category that I personally don’t care about but am willing to put money towards because I feel it’s something that he needs for his own happiness.

  4. Yes, my partner doesn’t particularly care about what lingerie I’m interested in, but he thinks it’s a cool thing for me to care about and research. Sometimes he’ll notice something (a new bra) and say “it’s very you”, which makes me happy. I should tell him that I enjoy when he notices or compliments such things.

    • Yeah, it sounds really nice that he notices like that! When someone supports your passion you really feel like the ‘get’ you, even if they aren’t personally interested.

  5. My partner isn’t excited by lingerie, but has come to appreciate the importance of a good fit and is very helpful in finding that. I can expect assistance on fit issues, but not on style – that’s up to me. Sometimes I suppose it would be nice to have that pretty but ill-fitting piece of lingerie for bedroom wear, but I don’t think I’m missing too much if I stick with bras I can wear daily.

  6. Sometimes I think I must live in a hole…somewhere very deep and oblivious to other concerns…the different partners that I have had all … yep every one…loved any new lingerie that I would wear…and most were either vocal or showed their appreciation in more intimate ways. I always thought that this was because of the way I would feel wearing my newest piece…be it panties, bras, corsets or whatever…because I spent so much time finding the right items…is there not something about how one feels wearing their sexiest or best lingerie that gets her partner to enjoy her more? I always thought so until I read your very thought provoking post..

  7. I loved this post! My ex was very indifferent when it came to lingerie so I’m a bit baffled when my new bf keeps noticing all the little details and actually admires them. I know it might not sound like a big deal but there’s always the matter of showing appreciation for things that are important to me. This is why I was almost offended when my ex kept ignoring all my pretty stuff I had lovingly selected and saved money for… I know, I’m a bit stupid 😀

  8. This post definitely resonated with me. I’ve been fascinated with lingerie for years now and my significant other is only just beginning to understand it. He wonders, “What’s the point if you’re going to take it off anyway?” Hahaha. He and I are quite opposite in that way: he has a hard time seeing and appreciating beauty around him, whereas I find beauty in almost everything. Over the six years we’ve been together he has grown and changed immensely, but his drive for all things practical is hard-wired and oft his gut reaction to everything. This used to cause tension when it came to lingerie. How could he NOT appreciate something that I love *and* that he’s conventionally supposed to be crazy about? There it is right there: “conventionally supposed to be crazy about.” There are all sorts of misrepresentations about lingerie in the media (and our heads) and one of them is how significant others are “supposed” to perceive it. As a lingerie blogger, I’m often defending my interests in lingerie, bondage, leather, kink, etc. In the same way we’re allowed to be interested in these things and pursue them, maybe it’s just not your SO’s digs. They’re allowed to be disinterested. And guess what? That’s totally ok.

    My advice to anyone struggling with this would be to be patient, and don’t force it. The last thing you want is to create additional tension around the subject. Think of it this way: it would be like your significant other taking a brand new interest in ice hockey and expecting you to enjoy it the same way s/he does: go to every game and have fun! Go Rangers! Right? Don’t you care that they just swapped out the team’s veteran goalie for the rookie and it’s only 2 minutes into the first period? You won’t. At first. And that’s cool! You’ll respect that s/he has this interest and you will try to understand it. Maybe you will like it more, maybe you won’t. But wouldn’t it be awful if you had to spend three hours every Sunday watching the game against your will? You could probably learn to like it though, once you understand it more and see how it makes your SO happy.

    Understand that it’s within their power to appreciate and respect your desires and passions, but also understand that as a couple, you’re totally entitled to have your individual passions. Lingerie is so tricky because it does involve the other partner, but if what s/he likes most is you in a tee shirt and briefs, you need to respect that. That’s what being in a relationship is all about: understanding and respecting each other. Thankfully, not everything needs to be aligned to work :).

    After about four years of lingerie obsession, my partner knows that lingerie makes me happy, so to the extent he can without feeling phony, he now enjoys it and, more importantly, he enjoys that it makes me feel good.

    I hope this helps!

    • Your insight is so helpful! I think that you made an excellent analogy– sometimes you won’t be perfectly aligned, but what’s important is that you communicate and appreciate each other’s perspectives.

  9. This was a great post! One of the areas where we see conflict sometimes in the store is when partners aren’t on the same page with lingerie. In some case, it can be a partner who wants his/her significant other to wear something sexier than what she can justify or prefers. However, more commonly, we see a woman who loves to feel sexy in her lingerie while her partner is “meh” about it. S/he doesn’t care one way or the other, and it gets disheartening for the woman wanting feedback on what she wears. Open communication is the best way to figure out what is at work, and whether you can find a compromise point or if, as you say, you just dance around the house in your lingerie by yourself. :)

  10. Bah. I want to be seen as a sex object. As someone whose lingerie collection is worth more than my jacket and shoe and purse collection put together… it is infuriating to have a partner who isn’t visually stimulated and doesn’t really care what I wear.

    • Mmmmm…so let’s see….This is probably not what one may call “a thoughtful, considerate, politically correct comment”. But what the heck, YOU CERTAINLY GOT IT RIGHT!!!
      And I suspect other readers are giggling with agreement while reading this…

  11. Lingerie occupies a strange zone somewhere between fashion and sex or something like that. Friends, family and even strangers react “uniquely” to my telling them I am in the “lingerie” business. So it comes as no surprise that many partners and others are either indifferent, offput or perhaps excited about lingerie and someone who has a passion for it. I know my husband was not all that interested in it in the beginningn and often told me of people’s comments or reactions to learning I was in lingerie. Over time though even he has come around as my interest was infectious. Kind of like a germ I suppose. I would have to completely agree with the suggestion that patience is the key. After all lingerie is just a form of clothing. It is how we perceive it that gets in the way.

  12. Fabulous post

    AnnMarie made a profound statement that stuck like superglue: if your partner loves you in a short black dress and heels, for you that means a black bra, garter belt and stockings are all part of the outfit.

    I struggle to understand what’s not to love about lingerie. Its so feminine. The options: Corset, girdle, belt, garter slip. The stocking options: ffns, rh&t, patterned, garter hose, silk, opaques, ultra sheers, contrast seams, colors, lycra and so on. Teddies/babydolls to bed make going to sleep something to look forward to. What could be more thrilling than your partner pulling down her jeans and revealing her legs adorned in a sexy pair of stockings attached to a sheer belt. Ooo La La.

    It is challenging to be with someone who does not appreciate things important to you. Its like a Democrat marrying a Republican. Tension from the get go. Anything can work. How much time has to be invested in order to make it work? No relationship is workfree, but having some common important interests makes things so much less stressful.

    It is difficult to find a partner who shares an equal interest in lingerie. Bringing the subject up early while getting to know each other is honest and forthright but… Afterall are you a pornfreak, perv or both? It would be so much easier if it were 1947.

Comments are closed.