Whether you’re pretty comfortable with your sexual desires or not, you might still have a hard time expressing them. Admitting to a need for something that could be considered anything from silly to morally questionable involves making yourself vulnerable. You might think vulnerability would be easier when it’s with one of the most important people in your life, your partner. But that can also be the situation with the highest stakes. If this person rejects your desires (and unintentionally, by extension...you?), that could feel awful.
We often believe our sexual needs and desires (both what they are and their existence) say something about who we are as a person. We assume that our identities line up very neatly; maybe wanting to be submissive means you can’t handle responsibility, or wanting to have ‘vanilla’ penis-in-vagina missionary sex means you’re secretly really boring? Fortunately, this is not true. Many parts of our identities are related but this isn’t automatic or guaranteed and our sexual interests may have very little relationship with the rest of our lives. Consider your preferences for food: we don’t usually attach a great deal of meaning to someone liking donuts over cake. That’s just how they are. Although, in this case, team cake all the way.
Our sexual dislikes and discomforts are also very personal. Just as it’s never ok to shame someone for what they want in bed, it’s also never ok to make someone feel bad about what they don’t want or feel conflicted about. That includes yourself. It’s totally cool (of course!) to want to explore new things and broaden your horizons, but that’s best done from a place of curiosity and safety, not of fear or the desire to prove something about yourself.
It can also be really hard to tell a partner that there’s something we don’t like. Maybe it’s something you know they’re keen to try and you don’t fancy it, or it’s something you’ve been doing together for a while and it’s stopped working for you (or it never really worked). A lot of us would rather endure something uncomfortable than risk hurting our partner’s feelings. It can be hard to feel like the ‘bad guy’ by being the one who brings something difficult into awareness. Not raising these issues protects them, but it also diminishes us, because it reinforces the idea that our desires are less important than theirs; this is never true. Never.
Try to not judge your desires. Going back to the person who likes donuts over cake, cookies or ice-cream: maybe that’s because they were only exposed to donuts as a child and have never known anything else. And what’s wrong with that? If that person wants to change, they can try a bit of cake and see how they feel. But if not, that’s fine. Donuts are good too.
Take yourself seriously. It can be tempting to downplay a sexual need, especially if it feels trivial. Maybe sex hurts a bit for you in your partner’s favourite position? Or you’d love for them to make more noise but it feels a bit demanding to ask. What would it be like to really indulge these wants, openly?
It’s very difficult to communicate anything to anyone if you don’t know what you want. This isn’t just a case of just having no awareness of what feels good or not (although it might be!), but also making sense of this when it might shift or change, and communicating this unsureness might be especially challenging.
The second one takes a lot more trial and error before you can be confident of it and communicate it to someone else.
We also tend to hide parts of ourselves that feel unacceptable - sharing them with others might be challenging, being honest with ourselves about them could be even scarier sometimes. Below are a few things you’ll learn during your Blueheart plan that will help you with this.
To learn more communication skills, and if you feel ready to get back in touch with sex again, check out how with the Blueheart app here.