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My new wife sunbathes topless and I've seen other men looking

Tagged as: Big Questions, Health, Marriage problems, Troubled relationships, Trust issues<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (2 January 2018) 18 Answers - (Newest, 5 January 2018)
A male Cyprus age 30-35, *eorge1234 writes:

We are in honeymoon. My wife did topless tanning in a beach with a lot of people. I dont feel so comfortable with this so I discussed with her. She didnt like it and she told me that I am jealous and that she did it only for tanning. I accepted it because I trust her but when she took her bikini top off again, I saw other men watching on her boobs. I felt upset, I told her again and we clashed. What can I do???? Is it true from my wife?

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (5 January 2018):

Just look at the responses when a woman asks how can I stop my husband looking at pretty women . She gets shot down with comments like 'get over yourself ' and he's just being a typical man you need to take a look at you self esteem '

Why oh why is there such a double standard ? Men do what the hell they like because , well hey they are men right ? and women's feelings can go to heck. Poor poor men , women are expected to pander to their husbands fragile egos if another mans sneaks a look?

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A female reader, CindyCares Italy + , writes (5 January 2018):

CindyCares agony aunt Look, OP, try to see it this way :

your wife does not need to be topless to attract the avid glances and lustful thougts of other men.

This is something that happens every day to any attractive woman- or, actually ,to any not totally repulsive woman.

And I am not talking about women wearing shorts or miniskirts, or showing a lot of cleavage. I am not talking about openly sexy , come -hitherish clothing.

Just about , say, a normal pair of jeans which perhaps you fill a tiny bit too much because you have gained a couple of pinds. Or, of a fully covered slim waistline. Even of elegant but fully shod and stockinged feet.

Every part of the female body CAN have an erotic appeal to somebody , arouse his sexual desire, or his sexual attention at least, push that certain particular buttons.

As unappealing the thought may be to you, yes OP, probably tonight wife will appear in the wet dreams of some guy she has crossed path with at the local supermarket while she was wearing a normal, modest sweater.

A breast is more " transgressive " , more unusual to be seen, feels more taboo- but the principle is the same. People can " perv " on a boob or on a thigh or on ..a knee, indifferently. It's the whole female body which has been sexualized and made object of erotic consumption.

As traditional Islam realizes very well, so they took a very drastic approach to the problem. Since a woman is most likely to arouse impure thoughts in a man ,whether she wants or not, let's cover her up. Long, loose dresses, head covers, gloves even ! Abayas, niqabs, burqas etc.etc.

But, it only works if you live in a Muslim theocratic country.

In western countries the general idea is that if you male have impure thoughts looking at some part of my body, gee, too bad , male, but that's your problem, it does not concern me as long as you keep your thoughts to yourself, and I do not have to hide or cover or disguise my body, I am free to show exactly how much of it I want according to place, occasion and my best judgement, and that's nobody business but mine.

Therefore , OP, you should try to keep in mind 1) that you married this girl, bit you do not OWN her. You do not own her body or her boobs, which are hers to do whatever she wants with them, show them or cover them . This , as a a matter of general principle. In practice ,then, OP, pardon me but ,gee, much ado about nothing, what's the big deal, she is baring her breast on a Mediterranean beach, for Pete's sake !, not at Sunday Mass ! I don't know, maybe because Italian beaches are topless -friendly since many decades already, .. I just don't get what's the commotion about. I DO realize that there are cultures and countries where people dress more modestly than in Europe, and are uncomfortable with showing skin,- and that's fine; but then , why choosing as a honeymoon destination a place where you KNOW you'll be uncomfortabe with the local customs ?? 2 ) that, whether you like it or not, your wife is ALREADY getting male attention and inspiring erotic thoughts, even with her bra on, even fully dressed . SO ? Let them look, let them think and desire.... at the end of the day, she is YOURS not theirs.She has sex with you , not with them. Let them feat their eyes, poor sods.

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A female reader, jls022 United Kingdom + , writes (5 January 2018):

I think the reason many of the women posters, including myself, react negatively to posts like this is because it can get a little tiring having to constantly adjust our behaviour in a way men don’t.

I do understand where you are coming from OP, but sometimes it just seems unfair. Men can sunbathe topless and get an even tan no problem; whereas women can’t because our bodies are more ‘sexualised’ and other men can’t keep their eyes to themselves. So we have to adjust what we do to suit them.

It’s not just sunbathing either. We are constantly being told to modify how we dress; what we say; how we act; pretty much everything; all to either encourage or discourage male sexuality. Go too far one way and we are disrespected (even assaulted in some cases); too much the other and we are ignored.

Sometimes it would just be nice to be afforded the same luxury as a man and be able to take our tops off on a summer’s day without being chastised or worrying about what sort of impression it is giving off.

So my advice to you OP is this. By all means talk to your wife again and let her know your concerns about this, but don’t make out she’s doing anything wrong because she’s not doing anything you’re not doing. Even if she understands that the top half of her body is more ‘sexualised’ than yours in today’s society, maybe she’s just sick of that always having to be her problem to solve.

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A female reader, Andie's Thoughts United Kingdom + , writes (4 January 2018):

Andie's Thoughts agony auntOP, you can't "let" her do anything - you don't own or control her. She does it because she wants even tanning and can choose for herself.

I completely understand why you're uncomfortable. I'd be uncomfortable if women stared at my boyfriend - I'm not actually in much of a different situation, as people would hit on my boyfriend when he's out with friends. He'd turn them down, but it doesn't make it sting any less.

So, OP, I get it - I do, but it's not something you can change. She is allowed to do what she wants because she's an adult and you need to respect that. I know it feels horrible, but some men will always stare at women, whether they are topless or not. She shouldn't hide herself at a beach, when tanning, just because guys won't keep their eyes to themselves. Blame the guys, not her.

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A male reader, WiseOwlE United States + , writes (4 January 2018):

I think everyone is missing the point as far as your feelings as a man and a husband are concerned.

Women may not see it the same way men see things. Sometimes the point intended is entirely ignored or misjudged. This is due to the ill side-effects of double-standards, sexism, or typical chauvinism which forces women to circle the wagons in defense of womankind. I don't feel that is necessary every-time a male expresses an opinion regarding a woman's body! That's unnecessary, paranoid, and absurd!

As men, we are rarely allowed to openly express our emotions. Not by society, other men, or women! Sir, I feel you! I'm sorry if I too hurt your feelings. They are valid, but only to some extent. You should have known your mate better. Yet, these things do workout. You may just get used to it.

My own boyfriend read the other responses and mine, and he said by no means does he want me showing-off my bare man-parts out in the open. He doesn't like gay-cruises or alternative clothing-optional resorts for this reason. "People flaunting their giblets, muffs, and flappy-parts all outdoors!" As he put it! He doesn't care what everybody else is doing. He's adamantly against it. I concede and submit to his feelings about it. I love him that much. No problem here.

She is your wife, possibly the future mother of your children, and your faithful mate. You both took vows of loyalty. You promised to forsake all others out of devotion to her and the sanctity of your union; and the very institution of marriage. In spite of the new-age philosophies others may take towards wedlock; which accounts for why so many don't last!

We tend to follow trends, listen to the general consensus of society, and accept the new "anything-goes" lifestyle. After-all, it is the 21st-century!

Whatever we do when we are single, it does not directly follow that we continue while married. Be that the case, what's the point of marriage? To be totally honest, I don't want any mate of mine displaying their private-parts for just anyone to see. I still make it a point to be free to make my own decisions; but modest for the sake of the feelings of my partner.

Sir, I didn't mean to dismiss your feelings and sensitivities regarding your wife's body; and how other men objectify and stare at her lustfully. The stares aren't done in a objective or disinterested-way like a doctor during a medical-exam. Sometimes it's like horny panting dogs around a bitch in heat! They are gawking and salivating in a contemptible way. That's where the hypocrisy falls; when females get jealous when you gawk at other women!

I didn't mean to give any impression that I condone that sort of behavior from other people towards me, or my partner. I think some may have (not to exclude myself) missed your point. We have to see things from all sides, to be fair.

I can can only suggest that you try and make an emotional appeal to your wife how uncomfortable you feel when she allows men to salivate over her publicly. Barring when she's fully-clothed. Don't be ridiculous! Explain it is because you do find her exceptionally beautiful and very sexually-appealing; and you'd feel better if she bared her chest in a more secluded (but sunny) area. Where she can still get the same results.

I think she is somewhat of an exhibitionist and all these dismissals and rationalizations to defend her don't take your feelings or the restrictions of marriage into account. She is no longer a single-woman. She is now your wife.

I have to remind you, she is a grown-woman. It is her body and she has to voluntarily decide that she will reserve full-exposure of her breasts for you. You can put your foot down, but to no avail. I think that will only get more resistance; because it becomes an issue of control, not about your feelings.

You have to ask her to consider your feelings, not go forbidding her to do it. To do so, may come down to a battle of wills; and a power-struggle within your marriage.

Simply put, ask her nicely and tell her why it hurts your feelings. If she still refuses; like I mentioned before, your leverage is doing whatever pleases you that displeases her. Negotiate and compromise. You have no right to bully or demand her to stop or to do anything. If she wants to keep a husband, she will also have to do what that takes.

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A male reader, N91 United Kingdom + , writes (4 January 2018):

N91 agony auntWhether you like it or not you wife wants to do it.

I can completely see your point of view but at the end of the day you have no control over what she does, therefore you need to drop the subject. You have expressed your feelings and she responded in a manner that didn't suit what you wanted to hear so as far as the topic goes, it's over.

I think it's fair to say she's in control of what she does with her body.

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A female reader, chigirl Norway + , writes (4 January 2018):

chigirl agony auntYes, it is true from your wife that she does it for tanning. And yes, it is also true that other men stare.

I think you should discuss it with her again, but without accusation. Do not suggest she lies. Instead speak from your heart. Other men are looking, and you are not comfortable with it. Tell her she can do it while with girlfriends or alone, but not when other men are around, because it makes you uncomfortable to know other men are looking at her breasts.

Just tell her you are not accustomed to it. To you, this is too much. A relationship has boundaries of what is ok and what is not ok to do, but what crosses the line is different for each person. To her, sunbathing topless is ok. To you, it is not. Then she should respect it, and not do it. But try to always compromise. It is a new marriage, and putting down too many restrictions or "rules" at the beginning will make it feel like a prison. Instead I suggest you bring up only a very few things that bother you. Write everything else down and discuss it with her in another 6 months or a year. You need to give it time.

Also, when you talk to her one last time, never mention it again after. She is not dumb. She knows. She will adjust, in time, but she needs time. You should not expect changes immediately. She needs time to get accustomed to you, and you need time to get accustomed to her.

So for a new marriage, my recommendation is to allow more things than you normally would, and accept many things even if they bother you. In time, these things will stop or will change. And if they don't change, after telling her and give it 1 year, then you can bring it up again OR accept that this is part of who she is and find a way to live with it. You are married, but you are still 2 individual people with 2 different minds, and that is OK.

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A female reader, Honeypie United States + , writes (4 January 2018):

Honeypie agony auntWell, OP

I'm Danish (living in the US) so I grew up with nude and topless beaches back home. And it's just not a big deal to me. It's a body. A semi naked body. I'm not saying YOU have to feel that way too, I'm sure there is a bit of cultural difference between the Greeks and the Danes, but from MY point of view I don't see the "problem" the same way you do. So I am giving you MY viewpoint, that of a woman.

So again, no my husband could be top or bottomless on a nude beach if he wanted too. I myself have gone topless but never bottomless - I just never gave a hoot about THOSE tan lines - the ones on top? Yes, it was nice to have no tan lines at all. But I have always considered the place I was in before sunbathing topless. As in, if there were no one else doing it, I wouldn't either. If it was illegal, I wouldn't do it either. I have never had a partner who told me I couldn't do it.

I do get that people have certain standards when it comes to modesty. I get it. If you and your new wife are in your 30's you have both developed your own set of standards for what YOU think is the "right" way to behave and do things. For HER, she is OK with tanning topless - for you, it's NOT OK for HER to do it. Maybe because she is now a wife? Your wife.

If you have expressed how you feel and she doesn't agree, then what? You are always right because you are the man?

And when you two talked about it, did you TELL her what to do or did you express WHY you don't like her being topless?

She is supposed to be your EQUAL partner, your wife. Which means (at least in my book) that she should have a say when it comes to HER body.

And if you two are daily newlywed there are going to be times where you two don't agree. THAT is why you need to talk about it. Not dictate a set of rules YOU make up alone.

I know there are many women who would never go topless - not because of their partner but because they do no feel comfortable with being semi nude. And that is OK too. It seems though that your wife IS comfortable with her body and with others looking.

If you feel SHE is putting herself in danger by bathing topless, then again EXPRESS that.

Talk to her.

You might find she has a different perspective than you. And that means you two have to find a compromise that works for both of you. Not just ONE of you.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (4 January 2018):

Do you Ever look at other women's breasts either in real life or in porn? If so you have zero right to complain about her getting attention. From other men !!!

Men just don't seem to get this very simple fact . They give their visual attention to other women but they seem to get very upset when we receive attention from other men

Sorry but this double standard is no longer acceptable in this day and age and women will happily take attention from other men when we know our men are always looking at porn and other women and we no longer have to act like women were made to a hundred years ago !

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A male reader, anonymous, writes (4 January 2018):

Honeypie would you have a problem if your husband sunbaked in public without pants? Believe it or not but us males would feel it is a very similar thing!

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A reader, anonymous, writes (4 January 2018):

Well, I do understand where you are coming from.

I would be pissed if my boyfriend walked around showing his junk, and it is the same with a woman going topless. And Honeypie, we have to agree to disagree, it is a lot different for a woman than a man to go around topless. there is more there anatomy wise. It is certainly more sexual, sensitive place (more sensitivity) for a woman in most cases than men's undeveloped chests.

That said, I have to agree with the others that ultimately there is nothing you can do, it is her choice. You can present your viewpoint, but that is all.

I will give you my personal opinion so you might raise some logical points with her (which she might disagree with, but at least it will start a discussion).

I personally don't like topless sunbathing because it DOES attract the attention of various males and why would you want other people's boyfriends, husbands and partners looking at you sexually? That is also encouraging other people's partners to ogle you and I do not find that respectful to myself OR to the other men's girlfriends or wives who have to stand by OR my own boyfriend. If we are realistic, if women show their boobs men will look. WHY do you want that attention except maybe alone on a secluded beach with your partner?

I also believe it invites to much body comparison between females. I would just prefer to put on a more modest two-piece than invite comparisons and stares everywhere.

But some women get their kicks from showing off, or feeling free. She seems like one of these women and it will be hard to change.

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A female reader, Honeypie United States + , writes (4 January 2018):

Honeypie agony auntI don't have a GF, I have a husband.

He can go topless ALL he wants in summer, for all I care. His body, his choice. I can't do the same (not while living in the US) as it is considered indecent exposure.

And I get that you don't want other men to look at her. I do. But you do not OWN her. She isn't property made for only YOUR eyes.

Respect her.

Do you think she is disrespecting you or the marriage by sunbathing topless?

And talk to her about WHY you don't like others looking. Buy her a gorgeous bikini if she will wear it but it's NOT your job as a husband to dictate what your wife can do on the beach with HER body.

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A male reader, george1234 Cyprus +, writes (3 January 2018):

george1234 is verified as being by the original poster of the question

Honeypie I let her do it but I feel nervous when people watch on her boobs. I am not a guy with old mind but I dont like this. When your wife/girlfriend do this, you would maybe understand me

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A male reader, WiseOwlE United States + , writes (3 January 2018):

You clashed because she sees no problem with it; and it is well known to be the norm in that particular location and that area of the beach.

If your wife is an attractive woman (or just a woman): she will be stared at by other men, whose eyes will undress her even when she's fully-dressed.

I believe there are some customs you'll simply have to adapt to; if she refuses to comply with your demands. If you demanded she not tan topless, that might have triggered her to take a stance to let you know that you will not boss her around. She is a grown-woman, it's her body, and it was apparently something she has always done. She still has to adjust to things married-women might not do, if it causes her husband distress or discomfort.

Be patient and tolerant. You're newly joined in marriage. There is going to be an annoying habit of yours that she will have an absolute aversion to. You can negotiate. You won't do what she doesn't like; if she doesn't bare her breasts publicly on the beach. If she won't stop; then you won't bother to stop either.

Don't deliberately pick fights just to get your way. You have to learn to give and take. She wants to be evenly toned. Offer to pay for a nice tanning spa.

Better yet, get used to it.

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A female reader, Honeypie United States + , writes (3 January 2018):

Honeypie agony auntYou live on Cypress?

First off, GORGEOUS island!! Been twice (long time ago) and enjoyed the sun and the lovely food!

Cypress is full of Scandinavian and British tourist - who ALL like to sunbathe topless, it's kind of no big deal and my guess is for many people living there, it's not an uncommon sight. So the fact that your wife is COMFORTABLE enough with her body to do so as well, I don't really see the big deal.

And while people will look, because boobs... No one at the beach will judge her or follow her home because they saw boobs.

What did you expect her to do at the beach? Be covered up? Because she is now YOUR wife? So now that you are married YOU are the only man who can look at her? If so, then that is what you need to convey to her, but that also means YOU can't look at other women's boobs either... right?

People will LOOK at other people REGARDLESS. Being married doesn't mean SHE stops being attractive or that men will STOP looking at her.

You can tell her it makes you uncomfortable but George dearest, you don't OWN her body or mind - you are her husband.

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A male reader, Phil052 United Kingdom + , writes (3 January 2018):

Phil052 agony auntI wouldn't worry about this. The other men are only looking, but you get to enjoy your wife fully! My own wife chooses to keep her bikini top on, but it wouldn't worry me if she wanted to go topless.

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A male reader, anonymous, writes (3 January 2018):

You must put your foot down and tell her exposing her tits to other men is hurting you and she must respect your feelings. If she presists on doing it you go and flirt with a couple of girls on the beach and see how that grabs her.

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A female reader, Andie's Thoughts United Kingdom + , writes (3 January 2018):

Andie's Thoughts agony auntIt may be for attention, but most women who do it like to because it creates an even tan. She can't help guys looking. Leave it alone now.

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