By: Starielle Hope
I have experienced so many reasons why I hold back from asking for what I want in bed:
- I’m embarrassed
- I don’t know exactly what I want, just that it’s different from what’s currently happening
- I’m afraid my partner won’t want to do what I want and won’t do it
- Even worse, I’m afraid my partner won’t want to do what I want but he will do it anyway and then become annoyed or turned off by me
- I’m afraid he might get offended and withdraw from me
- I’m worried about being “too needy”
...the list goes on and on.
There are so many reasons why it’s hard for us to share what we want with our partners. In general women are socialized not to want sex, and women who do want sex and talk openly about it, can be seen by some as brazen or “too forward”.
Meanwhile, many men are focused on creating the sexual experience for their partners and can lose track of their own desires in the quest to make sure their partner is having a good time.
It’s completely understandable to feel hesitant about sharing your desires and needs in the bedroom.
At the same time, we want our partners to tell us what they like and want in bed, right?
Let’s look at what happens to our sex lives when we aren’t comfortable sharing what we want. Usually one or both of the following occurs:
- We become resentful and take our frustration out on our partner in other ways
- We have trouble becoming aroused because we know we’re not going to get what we want, which eventually leads to less sex and less physically intimate connection with our partner.
Less than ideal right?
And these scenarios are completely avoidable if we do find a way to share. Most people appreciate feedback from their partners if it’s delivered in a kind and loving way. What if, instead of those frustration and less arousal scenarios above, sharing your desires could lead to an opportunity for deeper connection and better sex? Would it be worth the discomfort?
If you’re with me so far, you might be thinking, “Ok you’ve convinced me to share my desires with my partner but how the heck do I do that without making him or her feel criticized?”
It’s all in the delivery.
There are the actual words you use and then there is the attitude or energy you use to convey them. You’ll also want to decide if this is something that would be better brought up during sex or in a conversation that happens outside of the bedroom.
I recommend tuning into any tension in your physical body first. If you’ve been wanting something for awhile and haven’t been receiving it, there’s a high likelihood that you may be holding some resentment in your body. If you deliver this message from a place of resentment it will likely come out as frustration or anger which is a lot more challenging for your partner to receive.
If you feel this tension, take a few moments to breathe and feel into it. Sometimes simple awareness and breath can clear the tension. If not, you may want to explore moving this energy through movement and/or sound. This could look like anything from going for a hard workout to screaming into a pillow. Try listening to the tension and see what it wants. If you’re not getting a clear answer you can try any combinations of breathing, moving your body, and/or making sounds to release the energy.
If you want to try something new, I recommend speaking with your partner about it first outside of the bedroom, then use communication during sex for real-time feedback and small adjustments.
If you are feeling nervous going into the conversation, honesty is the best policy. By sharing with your partner first that this is “hard for you to say” or you want to share something that you feel nervous about, it will immediately help put them into a more empathetic and open state to receive what you want to say, and will probably give you more allowance if you stumble through what you want to share.
The next key is to frame what you want to ask for as positively as possible. Instead of saying, “I’m so bored with our sex I need to feel more intensity from you”, you could say, “I love when I feel your intensity during sex and I would love to explore even more of that with you.”
Same goes for when you’re in the bedroom. Instead of saying, “I don’t like that, do something different,” you could say, “Ooh I really loved what you were doing before” and maybe suggest that you’d like to try something a little different that would feel really good as well.
The hardest part is the first conversation! Allow yourself space to feel (and maybe even be) awkward about it. I know that with a welcome energy of openness and communication in your relationship that first awkward conversation will be the start of a much deeper understanding of each other and probably even better sex!
Photo by Isabella Bejarano