My wife moves around the house in her underwear

What you need to know:

We enter relationships with childlike hope and enthusiasm and bring our best selves forward for our partner

My wife moves around the house in her underwear and says I should not have any objection to it, especially since we live alone. However, I find it very uncomfortable. What is your suggestion please? Benjamin.

Dear Benjamin,

Relationships are vulnerable spaces. They allow us to experience a special kind of freedom and acceptance that we might have never experienced before. We enter relationships with childlike hope and enthusiasm and bring our best selves forward for our partner. Hence, it is understandable for one to feel hurt and frustrated when our sincere requests are not treated with seriousness. It becomes imperative at such instances to convey ourselves with honesty and respect. If we communicate with aggression or insult, our partners tend to be less receptive to what we are saying.

Before having this conversation with your wife, however, I would encourage you to explore your own thoughts about nudity.

What does a naked body signify for you? Why is the body of someone you love seemingly unattractive? Why does it cause such immense discomfort for you? What is your definition of attractive?

Reflect back upon your ideas about nakedness and the messages that you received about your body growing up. Do you feel comfortable being naked as much as your wife does? If not, why?

As children our bodies are rarely ever censored. However, as we grow into teenage and adulthood, we develop more restricting behaviours around nudity. One of the reasons is linking our bodies to sexuality.

However it is important to note they are not one and the same. Our naked bodies are not always meant to be bared for consumption, they are allowed to exist as nature intended for them to.

Culture plays a big role in our underlying beliefs about nudity. Growing up in conservative households where women mostly wore floor length nightgowns subconsciously created our default ideas about appropriate dressing.

Sometimes, things we dislike in others are representative of banished parts of ourselves that we need to work on accepting. Once you have answered some of these questions for yourself, try to understand where this need to censor your partner’s body is coming from.

Sometimes, our reactions do notstem from others behaviours, but instead, from the underlying messages these behaviours symbolise. It is likely that being naked is a sign of freedom and comfort for your wife while to you it is inappropriate and uncivil.

Exploring these questions with your partner will enable you to put perspective on her seemingly dismissive behaviour.

You should also consider the fact that nudity is also often associated with body confidence. One study found that spending more time naked can help increase body image, self-esteem, and life satisfaction. Naturally, the more comfortable we are with ourselves, the more comfortable we will be with a partner. And that feat, small as it may seem, will land us at a lot more successful sexual encounters.

“Stripping down is a great way to practice feeling more comfortable in your skin,” says Brianna Rader, a relationship  and sex educator and founder of the Juicebox Sex and Relationship App.

And, according to Rader, it is also a great way to pass the time with a partner. “Try getting your partner to spend more time naked with you,” she says. “It will give you both an opportunity to touch and admire each other.”

“The key is not to jump to sex each time,” she explains. “At first practice being naked and close without initiating sex. Once this is normalised, you can enjoy the benefits of being naked together regardless of whether it leads to sex.”

Reader advice

Body confidence

Jane Mukisa. Maybe this is your wife’s way of accepting her body as it is. When you hide your body under layers of clothes, you are not really doing a lot to accept it. Body confidence is such an issue these days and it is something we should all try and overcome. By spending time naked at home, she is seeing her body as something normal.

It is okay

Harriet Sheryl. I do not see anything wrong here, especially since it is still just the two of you. It would be an issue if you had children or other people around. As long as she dresses decently when in public, let her be.

What do men want?

Katrina. Something is definitely wrong with men. When a woman wears long dresses while at home, men complain when they do not, they still complain. What do you want?

Talk to your wife

Hilda Kahunde Abwooli. From some men I have had a chance to speak to, this is not a good thing. For many, the interest in their woman reduces since nothing is left to the imagination. There is basically nothing to look forward to. Talk to her and tell her why you would prefer her to put on some clothes while walking around the house.

This is advice

Mukye Pidson Da White. This is advice to all other women out there. Please dress decently and sit in a responsible manner while at home. If you do not, your husband will lose interest in you.

Buy her underwear

Rash Rashid. I have a feeling it has everything to do with the type of underwear she is wearing. If this is the case, then buy her nice lingerie that will also be pleasing to look at. This is your wife and as long there are no children or visitors in the house, her being naked is just fine.

Stop it now

Jay Njabulo Vilakazi. Forbid it because the attraction will diminish on your part. The excitement of seeing her naked will eventually disappear and she will blame you at the end of the day when it happens yet you still have a chance to nip it in the bud.

Covering up is sexy

Moses Earthe. The more you show your naked body to your husband, the more he gets used to seeing it and it becomes less attractive to him. Cover up and you will make him desire to see what is underneath.

Read between lines

Phoebe Miriam. Sit her down and tell her you are uncomfortable with the arrangement but also learn to read between the lines as a romantic husband.

Evelyn C Kharono Lufafa Counselling Psychologist Sermo Therapy Consult