Iris Caldwell has some things to get off of her chest.
The 27-year-old non-profit program coordinator is setting things straight about the things people aren’t seeing when they watch Married at First Sight weekly, particularly when it comes to the intimacy between herself and husband Keith Manley. While he has gone on record, in his confessionals, to say that Iris comes off as someone lacking sexual maturity, in a new interview with the site RealitvWithBee, Iris took issue with the reason she felt he had that impression of her — because of her lack of sexual partners.
“Sexual maturity, in my opinion, means that I understand sexual relationships are a shared experience. [It] involves getting to know the preferences of your partner by communicating with your partner about those preferences,” she said. “Sexual maturity isn’t based on how many partners you have. Maturity comes with understanding and learning. It is not limited to one’s actions.”
To viewers though, he seemingly called her that because of her discomfort with conversations about sex, her choice to make her secret reveal about swallowing a quarter as a kid, and her decision to not fully go through with that sexy dice game the pair played. However, she says the only reason she behaved in such a way was because she and Keith actually agreed to not go into depth too much about sex on camera since they both work with kids.
“Being able to be [sic] open up completely in front of cameras is difficult. Parts of my marriage I would want to be allowed to remain private and behind closed doors. I’d like to have off-camera talks with Keith,” she said. “I don’t feel comfortable licking, blowing or kissing parts of the body on TV. The dice rolled on things like, ‘Lick Nipple,’ ‘Kiss Boob,’ or ‘Blow Nipple.’ I did not feel those activities were appropriate on camera for all viewers, including family members and students [that are] watching.”
“This was something Keith and I both agreed we would not do nor talk about on camera because we both work with kids and did not want them influenced by our actions on TV,” she added. “It was upsetting to see Keith had an issue with this when we both discussed we wouldn’t talk about certain things on camera. I was surprised by continued comments referring to me as an ‘immature’ person because I wanted to keep some things private.”
Iris believes she’s tried to do her best to be a good wife for Keith and has attempted to let down her guard when it comes to facing her sexuality head on. However, she said he hasn’t helped her at all to feel like she’s ready to take that next step with him because he hasn’t been vulnerable with her.
“My role is to show Keith I am open and willing to experience intimacy with him, to break down walls and build up our sexual intimacy,” she said. “Keith’s responsibility is to show me he is vulnerable, open and that he actually likes me or cares for me.”
“Simple words of affirmation, romancing me or even just doing something nice for me will help walk me through this. Something as simple as cooking for me or cuddling in bed at night,” she added. “That’s what I need…to know he actually has feelings for me and wants this to work.”
Unfortunately, she said the efforts she’s made, including with the edible body paint, haven’t gone far.
“The edible paint exercises was [sic] a huge step for us and certainly brought me closer to Keith. But the disappointment at the end of that night was either Keith went out with his friends or didn’t talk to me once we got in bed,” she said. “He doesn’t open up to me about his thoughts or feelings. He has never done anything romantic for me or even voiced his feelings to make me feel warm and comfortable.”
Despite what it may sound like, in the interview, Iris didn’t bash Keith. She did, however, admit that he’s not making her feel like he wants to truly be intimate with her anytime soon.
“I can’t break down these walls when Keith is building them back up,” she said.
“It’s challenging to open up to someone who hasn’t opened up to you. Nor can I be vulnerable with someone who has not been vulnerable to me,” she added. “I have found it so difficult to grow sexually when he isn’t trying to help me do that. I want to be more vulnerable with him, but it’s hard when it feels I’m doing all the work by myself.”
For the record, Keith has said on the show that he isn’t sure if Iris makes him happy and that he doesn’t know if he wants to be the one to even take her virginity. He told his friend, and confessional cameras, that he was feeling immense pressure about the responsibility.
“Being someone’s first is a big deal,” he said in prior episode. “There’s always a possibility that our marriage doesn’t work out. I would feel terrible if I did take Iris’ virginity and then we broke up. That would be something that would forever be on my conscience.”
Sounds like a mental block that he should consider telling Iris about, that is if he truly wants to make it past Decision Day with her. To be honest though, based on what she had to say, it already sounds like he might be tapping out…