Communicating your sexual wants and needs is an important part of being in a relationship, but it's also really freaking hard for most of us to do! Many of my clients take the brave step of asking for what they want in bed, only to feel like their desires are being ignored. If that's the case for you, here's what might be going awry.
Photo by Katie Tegtmeyer
You're Asking At The Wrong Time
Many people make requests right after sex, like: "I'd really like you to be more assertive next time." This strategy tends to backfire. Talking about sex is hard. Talking about sex in the bedroom -- especially right after sex! -- is even harder. It can feel too vulnerable and too easy to get defensive. Or your partner might be in a blissed-out post-orgasm la-la land, incapable of really hearing or understanding what you're asking for. I'd recommend opening up a conversation when the two of you are relaxed and outside of the bedroom.
You're Not Actually Asking
When it comes to asking your partner for what you want in bed, the operative word is "ask". You don't want to demand, cajole or pressure your partner into doing things for you. You'll probably get met with resistance if you're too bossy. Ask questions like: "How does that sound to you?"
Your Partner Doesn't Understand What You Want
You can go overboard in the other direction with your ask, by downplaying it, being too vague, or acting like it's not important. You've got to be like Goldilocks and get it just right! You may feel like you're being clear about your request, but your partner might not hear it the same way. You may need to be way more direct than you ever have before.
Or your partner may be the kind of person who needs details in order to follow through. Try to describe what you want is as much detail as you can. Ensure that your partner understands by asking questions like: "does that make sense to you?" You can also play an adult game of "show not tell", and try showing your partner what you'd like them to do to you.
There's Too Much Pressure
Some people don't like the idea of giving details because they feel like explaining what they want takes the fun out of it. I get it; it would be nice to have a partner who could magically intuit your needs and give you exactly what you wanted. Unfortunately, that's just not how sex works in the real world. You put a lot of pressure on your partner when you don't fully describe what you want. You're essentially asking your partner to read your mind and take a shot in the dark -- which isn't likely to leave either of you happy.
You're Not Reciprocating
If your partner isn't responding to your requests, it's worth taking a moment to consider if you're being the type of partner you want to have. Have you been neglecting or ignoring any of their requests? Are you being generous and giving? Right after you make your requests is a great time to ask your partner, "what can I do to take even better care of you in the bedroom?" You'll both feel way better about the conversation if you can make it a two-way street.
Your Partner Doesn't Want To Do It
In the end, after all this, it's possible that your partner just doesn't feel comfortable fulfilling those desires. There are no "rights" or "wrongs" when it comes to consenting adult sexual desires, but not everyone likes the same thing. If you suspect that may be the case, ask your partner questions like "is this something you're interested in?" or "is this something you're willing to do for me?".