How do I tell my long term boyfriend what I like in bed?
January 16, 2011 7:51 AM   Subscribe

How do I learn to be more sexually communicative/assertive about what I like?

My boyfriend and I have been together two years. I am female and pretty much anorgasmic. Basically at the start of the relationship he would always try really hard to arouse me. But now that we've been together a while things are getting a bit routine (and not so hot for me).

But, in addition to that, I really want to start trying to figure out more things that work well to get me aroused and what doesn't and have my boyfriend implement these strategies. I have things in my head that I would like him to try (some of these things have been there for like, a year. Terrible on my end, I know) but I just can't say them. I'm worried about bruising his ego. He's a really sensitive person too so I'm worried about criticizing him. Sometimes he does things that are uncomfortable or even hurt and I just don't tell him.

Weirdly enough, I am TOO assertive/open/whatever about everything else in the relationship. It's just difficult for me to say oh move your tongue like this, or arouse me more before penetration. I'm usually fine with being anorgasmic but that's because before I felt more satisfied.

Masturbation isn't really my thing. I find it reaaaaaaallllllllly inhibitingly difficult to get aroused without a partner. And, being female, just because my bits are engorged (as just idly touching myself or a sex toy would do) doesn't mean I feel aroused mentally.

So, how do I tell my boyfriend what I want? Especially since recently I've felt I've spent a lot of time pleasuring him, we have sex (which sometimes hurts but I don't want to make him feel bad), then he falls asleep. We recently moved in together and living together sex is much different than what we used to do, which generally had at least an hour of foreplay. I kinda feel like he's given up on me coming which is fine to me but I feel like it means to him, well no point in getting her super worked up or anything for no good reason, when I quite like being super worked up.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (16 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

Well, if he's a sensitive guy, start with compliments. Tell him about the things you most like that he Does do, the things that get you super worked up, and that you find that hot. In order to tell him about the other stuff you'd like to try, make it all about you trying to figure this out for yourself, not knowing yourself what the answers are, and wanting to explore and find out. That way it makes it seem more like it being your problem about not having known what does it for then about his having screwed up, and he gets to Help You Solve it. Treat it like a team exploration that you guys get to experiment with together; it IS a fun new adventure. Keep that attitude when it's not awesome the first time, and try again - a lot of things are more fun the 12th or 20th time.

Folks often say it's best to have these conversations in non-sexy times. But it's ok to start with the compliments when you guys are in bed, and even to mention the other stuff you'd like to try "sometime", then follow up on that conversation later.

It's completely worthwhile to have those conversations, even after years of not saying anything.
posted by ldthomps at 8:04 AM on January 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

n+1 the above.

Also, if things are great elsewhere, bring this up with him. He probably knows. Acknowledge that it has been difficult for you (for whatever reason, be it psychological or physiological) to get off, alone or with him, but that you're interested in experimenting with new things, and would love his help.

If he loves you, he is interested in your pleasure.

Think about making it kind of likea game. 'lets find some new ways to get anonymous off.' rather than 'i cant get off, and we are going to work at it'

Also, stop faking it for his benefit. It does no one any good.

If you approach it more as an exploration than a problem to be solved or any kind of deficiency on his part, things will go a lot more smoothly.

good luck!
posted by softlord at 8:13 AM on January 16, 2011

I don't have an answer, but just wanted to post a thought that crossed my mind

And, being female, just because my bits are engorged (as just idly touching myself or a sex toy would do) doesn't mean I feel aroused mentally.

So... what do you think about when you masturbate? For me, I arouse myself mentally (fantasizing, this and that) and then the physical playing around follows.

I'm wondering if you thinking about sex privately will help you build the confidence to talk about sex with your partner.
posted by p1nkdaisy at 8:23 AM on January 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

Don't fake it, and don't allow things that hurt, like penetration before you are ready. (That's different than things that hurt in a good way -- enjoy those, but don't allow things that hurt in a bad way.)

I like the game idea. And I'd suggest thinking of this as a long process involving a lot of experimentation and probably a lot of failure. You've had a long time to build up some anger and resentment -- it may be hard to keep focused on making things better rather than just expressing the anger.
posted by Forktine at 8:25 AM on January 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

Remember that most people (men and women, alike) would really appreciate a little direction, even though it can feel awkward to give it. I'm sure he would LOVE to get you more worked up.

Can you be the one to initiate (and sustain) extended foreplay? Maybe he's just looking for cues from you--and they don't necessarily need to be verbal ("do this, do that").

If you already have "these things in your head" can you think of some non-verbal ways to express them? Maybe send him some suggestive texts? Is there anything you can physically demonstrate on yourself, encouraging him to follow your lead? Or what about initiating a general conversation about, say, fantasies (yours AND his)?
posted by pourtant at 8:36 AM on January 16, 2011

Also, make sure you aren't being that person who just lays there passively and has this really long list of things that must be done in a particular order while they make critical comments. Sex should be fun, and it should be mutual. Make the foreplay as much about doing as it is receiving, and I think you will be in good shape. Right now what you are describing sounds really unbalanced against you; make sure that you don't just reverse this.
posted by Forktine at 8:40 AM on January 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

Be brave and just a little dirty to get his brain engaged, starting a few hours before sexytime so he has plenty of time to stew. You want him thinking about it for awhile. I suggest some variations on:

"I want you to lick me for three hours tonight and don't stop until I am screaming. And then tomorrow night I'll do whatever you want."
posted by rokusan at 10:17 AM on January 16, 2011 [3 favorites]

read dan savage!
posted by ameliaaah at 11:04 AM on January 16, 2011

Lot of good suggestions here, but I just wanted to add a meta-suggestion: Don't tell him that you've been faking it or that it hasn't been good for you for a long time. He'll never get 100 percent over that.
posted by Etrigan at 11:18 AM on January 16, 2011

I have always found a partner that can tell me what they want a real turn on, so I have always heartily encouraged partners to call out any changes in technique they might enjoy more.
posted by Samizdata at 12:18 PM on January 16, 2011

If you're having a hard time starting the conversation, you could start by owning up to your role: "I know it has been frustrating to you that I don't have orgasms [substitute your favorite euphemism as necessary]. I'm sorry, I know I never gave you much help in figuring out my body. I don't know it that well myself. But it's a New Year, and I resolve to start working to change that starting later tonight! It may take us a lot of practice though! *wink wink*" I don't personally think you have to feel bad, but this would let you talk about wanting a new era without blaming him for the past.
posted by salvia at 3:33 PM on January 16, 2011

Also, the more you know about what kind of talk you finds sexy and he finds sexy, the more you can have the conversation in a sexy way. "I've decided to become a dirty girl" or "I want you to make me tell you what I like" or "I've been so bad for not telling you" or "tonight you'll be a pupil in Ms. Anon's sex class" or whatever. Even the process of talking about it can be a first step in getting into a sexy headspace, if you want it to be.
posted by salvia at 3:35 PM on January 16, 2011 [1 favorite]
posted by DrtyBlvd at 4:40 PM on January 16, 2011

Boo. Not sure what went wrong there! Here :)
posted by DrtyBlvd at 4:43 PM on January 16, 2011

How about a game of "You do it to him, then he does it to you." This won't work if your requests are extremely specific as in, "put about more pressure on the clitoris and slow the sideways motion". Both of you should take turns being the leader and the follower to keep things on a fair footing.
posted by Jane the Brown at 7:25 PM on January 16, 2011

You're hesitant to criticize your boyfriend, but you don't really need to criticize him (though kinda sounds like he has it coming). If someone goes to fist bump you when you want a high five, you don't go, "What's wrong with you? I hate fist bumps, never give them to me!" You stick your palm out there and go, "Dude, how about a high five?"
posted by milk white peacock at 9:50 PM on January 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

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