Connect with us

How Do I Date

How To Negotiate Sexual Preferences With Your Partner

sexual preferences

Libido

How To Negotiate Sexual Preferences With Your Partner

Are you trying to reach a compromise with your partner regrading each other’s sexual preferences?

“How about something on practical negotiating tips for sex? She likes X and Y but not Z; he likes Z but not X. Negotiation can be difficult to do on the easiest, most mundane of topics (which restaurant, what to have for dinner, etc.). When it comes to sex, I think it can be extremely difficult, and many people approach it with great trepidation. So how about something on how to do it — how to bring up the subject of what you like, or don’t, in the easiest, least-confrontational, most comfortable way?”

The above is a quote from my Sexuality Forum in response to my request for essay suggestions. It’s a good topic and I happily tackle it. Somehow, however, it feels as if I ought to label this an Advanced Class or “Do not do this at home without considerable preparation”. It’s not that I think that stating your sexual preferences to your intimate should be fraught with peril. It’s that so many people seem to have difficulty talking about sex at all, let alone admitting that they actually like Activity A, and Activity Z, which seems to be your favorite, does nothing at all for them.

I am reminded of an awkward first time with a new partner that took place many years ago. As he was doffing his clothes he smiled at me lying provocatively on the bed and asked amiably “So, what would you like?” for all the world like an eager to please restaurant server. My immediate response, which came to my mind but not to my mouth was “So, what have you got?”

I have always felt that sex at its best is an extemporaneous dance between two people, alternating initiating and responding, as they create together an event that will be pleasing to them both. Given the realities, many people have to somehow convey specifics: “I don’t like to be touched there; I’m ticklish” or “I really enjoy sniffing body scents so please don’t shower for me” or some such that needs to be explicitly said in pursuit of a mutually enjoyable time. Yes, stating such a thing baldly might cause momentary embarrassmentfor one or both parties, but not saying it will definitely take away from the experience.

Let me state the obvious that sexual communication often doesn’t need words. One simply puts the other’s body parts where they are wanted or places one’s own where they are accessible. Changing positions to halt what’s going on or simply beginning a new activity are ways to let one’s preferences be known. But if words are required below are several non-confrontational methods of saying what you like or don’t like.

“I read the other day about a woman who… What are your thoughts on that?”

“Let’s play a game. The winner gets his or her heart’s desire.”

“Have you heard the story about…? I really liked the idea.”

“Let’s watch this erotic movie and then talk about it, okay?”

“Look at this (photo or illustration). I’d like to try it.”

“Last night I dreamt you and I were doing… I woke up smiling.”

If none of these has the desired effect of beginning a productive sexual discussion or at least planting a seed for future use it may be necessary to be more verbally direct. “I’ve been missing Y in our life and I’d really like more of it” or “Sweetie, I’m sorry to have to tell you this but I really don’t enjoy Z that much and would like a rest from it for a while.”

If you say what you like plainly and your partner responds with something like “But I don’t like that” it need not close the door to possibilities. Ask him or her to tell you more (not an accusative “Why not?”). Uncovering a reason such as it causes pain might allow you to rethink your methods or to find a solution. I have often said that two excellent problem solving methods are more lubrication and more communication. Can you propose a solution to your partner’s aversion like showering beforehand or letting him or her set the pace? If the activity is one that you yourself are averse to, can you propose a condition under which you might be willing to try it?

We are all entitled to our likes and dislikes, especially in an area as personal as sexual satisfaction. The other side of that coin is that your partner is too. If the two of you differ on how to achieve it there really are few options beyond doing without or learning to problem solve with good grace. No matter how difficult the first time, honest discussion is surely worth a try.

[Isadora Alman]

Isadora Alman, M.F.T., is a California licensed marriage and relationship therapist, a Board-certified sexologist, author and lecturer. Her syndicated sex and relationship column “Ask Isadora” ran in alternative weekly papers worldwide for 25+ years. Web surfers can find her columns on her online free interactive Sexuality Forum www.askisadora.com (link is external).

She is the author of two collections of Q & A’s from columns: Let’s Talk Sex and Ask Isadora, as well as Sex Information, May I Help You?, a peek behind the scenes of a sex help phone line which still flourishes in San Francisco today. Doing It: Real People Having Really Good Sex is a collection of helpful hints and titillating tidbits culled from column readers and Forum web site users. Her novel Bluebirds of Impossible Paradises: A Sexual Odyssey of the 70’s is out in paperback on Amazon.com. She has also contributed chapters to several books including Herotica (Down There Press), Dick For A Day (Villard NY), The Moment Of Truth (Seal Press) and Single Woman Of A Certain Age (Inner Ocean Publishing, Inc.) Isadora has been a talk show host and frequent TV and radio talk show guest, and a lecturer and workshop leader on a variety of communications topics. She conducts her private psychotherapy practice in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More in Libido

Best Dating Sites

Categories

Must Reads

To Top