Rowan Pelling's sex advice column: He buys me tarty lingerie…but I'm a cotton undies type of women



22:52 GMT, 11 November 2012

Question: I feel lucky to be in a great relationship in my 40s after six years on my own. However, one thing about my partner throws me. He's always giving me ultra-sexy underwear for birthdays and anniversaries. I've tried to tell him I'm a plain cotton undies type of woman and feel silly in tarty lingerie, but the gifts keep arriving. I've worn the things once or twice in bed, but they made me feel inhibited. How can I resolve this without hurting his feelings

'I've tried to tell him I'm a plain cotton undies type of woman and feel silly in tarty lingerie, but the gifts keep arriving'

'I've tried to tell him I'm a plain cotton undies type of woman and feel silly in tarty lingerie, but the gifts keep arriving'

Answer: If your only serious relationship woe is a difference of opinion over ladies' underpinnings, you're a lucky woman indeed.

Mind you, I once had a two-hour argument with a boyfriend over his declaration that plain, sports-style bras were sexier than Agent Provocateur's finest offerings, so I know what a contentious issue lingerie can be. No one wants their taste in intimate apparel to be derided by their beloved.

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The fact is, different things rock different people's boats and once your erotic tastes are fixed (as they tend to be by your 40s) it's hard to change them. So I'm not going to say you must learn to love black lace panties and push-up bras when they don't pop your cork.

Good sex is all about being in your comfort zone, so you can relinquish inhibitions and be the most passionate version of yourself.

You need to explain tactfully to your partner that, while you appreciate his generosity, you can't help feeling constrained by such overtly saucy underwear.

The key thing with this conversation is to acknowledge that your boyfriend was acting thoughtfully. He obviously thinks you're a very foxy woman.

The other thing to bear in mind is that your man's taste in scanties almost certainly dates back to his formative sexual years.

I'm presuming he's around the same age as you, which means he would have been a teen in the Eighties. This was the grand era of strumpet brassieres and torn fishnets, as sported by Madonna and Pamela Anderson. The women who were young in that era have mostly moved on, but their male contemporaries' fantasies often stayed locked in that era.

So, while you may feel silly in the full black lace regalia, your chap clearly thinks you look seriously hot. It's not unlike that time-honoured argument where a woman tells her husband he looks gorgeous in black-tie and the poor man feels like a wally and can't wait to put on jeans.

Women are every bit as capable of pants-based prejudice. Plenty have a prejudice against budgie smugglers, while others says boxers make them cringe.

This being the case, is it possible to broker some kind of bedroom deal Could you place an embargo on further purchases of eye-popping lingerie, but agree to wear the occasional item of sexy kit (from your existing stash) for high days and holidays

In return for your largesse, you could maybe request concessions of your own; for example: 'I'll wear seamed stockings if you do more foreplay.'

If everything else with your partner is great, don't turn this issue into a dealbreaker. It's more flattering than living with a man who gives you woollen long johns.