The top reason women give as to why we tolerate touch we don’t actually enjoy is that we are afraid to offend our partner.
I have lived this; I understand. I used to have a partner who got offended even when I said something like, "F*ck me harder!" He would stop and huff, "Don’t tell me what to do!" Then we’d fight. Yes, that relationship ended badly.
Because of experiences like these, most of us have learned some version of "keep quiet to keep the peace" in bed. This yields very short-term gains (i.e., he’s not offended right now) but does long-term damage (i.e., you lose your sex drive, bristle when he touches you, and start thinking about having an affair).
Yes, you might offend your partner as you begin to share your needs and desires about sex. But you know what? He’s an adult. If he gets offended, I’m sure he will survive it. Keeping your feelings to yourself is going to end your relationship eventually. So you might as well be honest about your feelings while there's still a chance you can save the relationship.
If you’ve got a hard truth to tell (for example, "You always touch me too hard and I don’t enjoy it"), it can help to first affirm the value of the relationship before you begin sharing your feelings, and also express why making the change you’re asking for matters to you.
"Our marriage really matters to me, and I want to have incredible sex with you." And follow that up with, "I really want to relax and open up to you. Would you please touch me more gently? I want to show you how."
Telling the truth in love is the best thing you can do. If your partner can't accept loving, constructive criticism, that's a problem that extends outside the bedroom. It might be time to consider getting professional help in addressing the deeper issues at play.
Want more insight into your relationship? Find out the things you should always be selfish about in your partnerships and the questions that could keep your marriage from ending.