How to Tell Your Partner You Want to Be Sexually Degraded

How to Tell Your Partner You Want to Be Sexually Degraded

What you want to do in the bedroom is up to you, but what you actually do is also up to your partners. Everyone involved has to agree to it — it’s called consent, and it’s pretty fundamental. There aren’t many “right” or “wrong” things to be into as long as the participants are willing, but it can be difficult to approach a partner with proposals or ideas that fall outside what you might think is the norm — especially if what you’re asking for might be considered degrading. Here’s how to do it.

Figure out what you’re into first

Experimenting with another person and figuring out what you like together is great, but we recommend going into encounters with at least a general sense of what you want to try, personally. It’s really special to find someone curious and open-minded in the same ways you are, and to do wild new stuff with them — and not every partner will be like that — but you still need to talk about it a little first. This isn’t the movies. Most times, you’re not going to hop into bed with someone new and intuitively know you’re both down for the same activities, whether they’re vanilla or a little spicier.

The conversation doesn’t have to be overly complicated or intense, but it’s beneficial to have a solid idea of what you want to do before bringing it up. To find out what you might be into, think back on former encounters. What were you hoping a partner would do that they didn’t do? What were you too shy to ask for? Read erotic novels, open a private internet browser for some research, listen to your friends recount their dirty exploits at brunch — be open to your own feelings and reactions to better understand your own desires.

Know your partner

There are countless casual hookup apps that can set you up with likeminded bedmates, and while it might seem like linking up with someone from one of those platforms to engage in less-than-vanilla sex means you’re going in blind, you’re actually not. You do know something about them: Off the bat, you know they’re into what you’re into.

With a long-term partner or someone you didn’t meet through mutual interests, it can be a lot harder to broach these topics. Go into a conversation armed not only with information about what you want, but what you already know about them and their proclivities. What you might think is too degrading or embarrassing to ask for might not seem the same to them.

“This is highly dependent on the parties involved. And as long as those parties are enthusiastically consenting adults, it’s less about a physical act and more about intent,” said Lil Government, a New York hairstylist and femdomme. “For one person, dressing in lingerie and high heels might seem degrading, whereas to another it is hot and powerful. Spanking is humiliating for some, and to someone else it’s just part of being in the moment during otherwise vanilla sex. Even if you and the person you’re with enjoys the same things, the reasons behind that may be different, and keeping that dialogue open makes it less shocking when there’s something new that either of you want to explore.”

Don’t panic

It’s easy to imagine that your partner will somehow be angered or disgusted if you ask about their openness to degrading you or being degraded in the bedroom. And to be honest, they might be, but that doesn’t have to be your problem. If getting that kind of action is non-negotiable for you, consider that a monogamous setup with them might not work out. It’s better to know than always be left wondering “what if.”

“The repression industrial complex is strong,” Lil Government added. “Many of us grow up being told that discussing sex openly is inappropriate, all porn is bad, dressing a certain way invites harassment, etc. Views like this shut off healthy communication about sexuality, in society and in our own bedrooms, allowing puritanical shame to flourish. With your partners, the fear may be rejection or being seen as weird or fucked up. These fears are valid, and we all must weigh the risks of derision or judgment to find a deeper sense of ourselves and our community.”

Remember that you deserve to ethically explore whatever you want to, sexually and in all the aspects of your life. Don’t repress any part of yourself out of fear that someone else might not accept it. Life is too short for that and you always have other options.

Go ahead and ask

Just ask the other person. You can do it over dinner or maybe even after being intimate. It can be as simple as, “That was fun. Hey, what if next time, we tried…”

Try starting by putting the focus on them. Ask, “What’s something you’ve always wanted to do but haven’t gotten to try yet?” Remember it’s important for you both to express yourselves and help each other fulfil your desires. From here, they’ll likely ask about your fantasies, or you can share yours and suggest that you try each other’s. Compromise works wonders, as does a willingness to work with them on their needs. You need to give to get.

Lil Government said she’s “a big fan of just asking.”

“If you want to be doing the degrading, make sure your partner has any interest in that dynamic, period,” she said, noting that asking how they’d feel about certain acts is less aggressive and intimidating than telling them what you want to do. “Start by treading lightly and leave lots of space for them to say no.”

Keep the communication lines open

Again, life is not a movie. You won’t intuit your partner’s every need and desire. Don’t just talk about this stuff beforehand, but during any encounter, too. As Lil Government points out, “Fumbling through sex without anyone expressing their needs is awkward at best, and dangerous at worst.”

If you’re dating this person, you need to be communicating about everything, not just intimacy. If you’re not dating them, communicating about intimacy is the bare minimum. Beforehand and in the heat of the moment, people always have the right to say no. You have the right to ask for what you want, too. This is a back-and-forth, but the communication has to be ongoing.

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