As a gay woman who only came out when I was 20, I don’t have a huge amount of sexual experience but I do know what I want in bed. I’m lucky enough to have an amazing partner who’s caring and communicative during sex, always checking in and asking what I like and what will make me feel good. And yet, I still really struggle to actually tell her. What gives?
It’s vaguely embarrassing. I love my partner and I’m comfortable with her, but when it gets down to voicing my sexual desires, suddenly I’m not comfortable with anyone, not even myself. I blush and stutter and can’t get out what I want to say. It’s like I’m asking her out on a date for the first time. I know I shouldn’t feel embarrassed but I do, and that makes things difficult.
I’ve only had one healthy sexual relationship—this one. My partner and I communicate and only do what the other person enthusiastically consents to, as it should be. But in the past, I’ve been in relationships with men who were not so great in that department. Bad sex definitely warped my view on sex in general for a while. Now I know what healthy looks like, but it still is hard to voice my personal desires because in the past that wasn’t an option for me.
My desires are just a little strange. I don’t think I’d be so embarrassed to say what I wanted if my desires were “normal” and “vanilla” but they aren’t. That being said, I’m not into anything extreme or dangerous, and what I am into, my partner has expressed desire in too. I’m not going to get into specifics, but suffice it to say that there’s no fear that she won’t understand, but it’s still strange to ask for something particularly kinky even if I suspect it’s something we’ll both enjoy.
Just talking at all during sex is hard. In movies, romance novels, and porn, it seems talking during sex is the easiest thing in the world. But when I’m in the swing of things, I find it very difficult to voice anything. First of all, I’m frequently out of breath. Secondly, it feels weird to say anything in a prolonged silence. Because of this, asking for anything specific in bed is doubly hard.
I don’t want to disappoint my partner. This is completely irrational, as I admit many of my reasons are. Still, there’s a fear in the back of my mind that if I ask for something my partner isn’t comfortable with, she’ll be disappointed in me. I know she won’t because we have a good, honest relationship, but it’s still hard to shake that feeling.
I don’t feel like I deserve pleasure. Because I’ve had a hard time with sexual relationships in the past, I’ve gotten it in my head that I don’t deserve pleasure. I don’t deserve to feel good. The idea of having someone take time to make sure I feel good just because they love and care about me is hard to get used to. It helps that my partner does tell me over and over I deserve to feel good, but it takes a while to internalize.
I get worn out very easily. This is mostly just a logistical issue. I know a lot of people can have sex for hours, but I get worn out after too long. If I start the night off doing something spontaneous with my partner, it’s hard to transition from that to asking for a specific fantasy. By the time we’re done with one thing, I’m pretty much ready for bed.
I’m very happy in my current relationship without sex. Don’t get me wrong, my sex life is great, personal hangups aside. But my relationship outside of sex is great too. Just being with my girlfriend and spending time with her is amazing. It kind of feels like I don’t need any personal fantasy or desire fulfilled because everything is so great as-is. That makes it hard to push myself to ask for anything because I don’t have a ton of motivation.
I’m learning to speak up more but I have a long way to go. Despite all my hangups and how hard it is, with the help of my partner, I’m getting better about asking for what I want. Is it hard? Yes. Is it worth it? Definitely. Not only because it means I get what I want in bed, either. It also means that I’m growing as a person and that my relationship is getting stronger. The ability to not only be honest and open about things but also to bring up specific desires brings us closer together.
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