How to Say What You Want in the Bedroom

How to Say What You Want in the Bedroom

How to Say What You Want in the Bedroom

By Emma McGowan

Chances are you, know what thoughts and images run through your mind and turn you on. But somehow you just… can’t… share. And we get it! It’s really vulnerable and scary to share your desires! What if your partner says no? Judges you? Thinks you’re weird? Celeste Hirschman, MA, sex coach and co-founder of the Somatica Institute, tells The Pelvic People those are just a couple of many reasons why people have a hard time talking about their sexual desires.

“Maybe they’re afraid they’re going to hurt their partner’s feelings, Hirschman says. “Another is that some people are afraid they’re ‘too much’ in a relationship and they’re afraid to be a burden. They might be afraid that their partner might leave them if they’re too much. And sometimes they don’t know what they want.”

The fear of rejection or embarrassment keeps many people from sharing—and therefore getting—what they want sexually. But staying silent will only lead to lackluster romps, pent-up frustration, and missed opportunities for mind-blowing sexy time. It’s time to get brave, take a deep breath, and say what you really want in the bedroom. Let’s take a look at how.

Identify your desires

To get what you really want in the bedroom, you first have to know what that is! Take some time to explore your desires. Hirschman suggests to her clients that they become “a kind of detective” about their own desires. She encourages them to ask questions like: What turns me on? What fantasies do I have? What porn do I watch or erotica do I read? What scenes turn me on in movies? All of those are great places to start in your Desire Detecting.

“Some people have to start from scratch,” Hirschman says. “People, especially women, are sometimes taught to distance from their desires and they expect their partner just to know.”

With that in mind, Hirschman recommends getting out of your mind and into your body in a very real way.

“A lot of things can distance you from your body: trauma, shame, society,” Hirschman tells The Pelvic People. “So embodiment exercises, like learning how to breathe into your pelvic floor, can help awaken parts of your body internally. That means when you’re ready to ask for what you want, you’re already tuned into your body.”

Once you’ve turned inward, it can also help to turn outward. Think about messages you’ve received from media, religion, family, or past partners regarding sexuality. Work to separate what you truly want from what you’ve been told you “should” want. Make a list of emotional hurts, hang-ups, or areas of discomfort in your sex life—your deepest desires are often hidden behind these barriers.

Once you’ve identified some possibilities, try them out in your mind. See how thinking about certain scenarios or acts make you feel. Notice if some desires keep coming back to you or make your heart race in a good way! Those are clues to what you really crave.

How to say what you want in the bedroom

Now that you know what you want in the bedroom, it’s time to speak up! Which is easier said than done, right? The fact that it’s actually really difficult is why we’re all here!

Hirschman points out that talking about our sexual desires is one of the most vulnerable things a person can do. For people who are having trouble getting started, she recommends doing a “flirtation exercise.” You start by looking your partner in the eye and thinking about what you want. (And it’s okay to laugh! Sex can be really silly!) Then, imagine flirting with them in your mind. Once that image is clear, say, “I want to blank to you” out loud, sharing a specific thing you want them to do. Then they repeat the whole process back to you and, suddenly, voila! You’ve shared your desires!

But that’s just one approach of many—and we all know that sex is definitely not a one-size-fits-all kind of deal. So here are a few more things you can do to help get the ball rolling on the conversation. Maybe only one will work for you or maybe they all will! But the important thing is that you start trying.

  • Start by testing the waters with some small, straightforward requests. Build up your confidence from there. Ask your partner for an extra kiss or to stroke your back. Keep things light and casual. Say something flirty like, “I’d love it if you kissed my neck.” Or suggest taking things slow, “Let’s start with just kissing tonight.”
  • Ask for a little bit more. Once you get comfortable making little asks, move on to bigger ones. Be enthusiastic! “I’d find it so sexy if you talked dirty to me.” Or, “I really want to try [fill in the blank] position tonight. Are you game?” Your enthusiasm will get your partner excited too. (This is also one you can do while things are getting hot and heavy. Talking about what you want is great dirty talk in the moment!)
  • Don’t be afraid to lead the way physically. Take your partner’s hand and place it where you want to be touched. Whisper in their ear exactly what you want them to do to you. Guiding their hands and voicing your desires shows them the kinds of touches and stimulation you crave.
  • Have the conversation in a relaxed, casual setting like over dinner or drinks. This helps take the pressure off and makes talking about intimate topics feel more natural. Discussing desires outside the heat of the moment also gives you both time to process the information and ask follow up questions.
  • Be honest but gentle about your needs and interests. Say something like, “I’ve really enjoyed it when we’ve tried blank. Would you be open to doing more of that?” or “I’d like to explore blank together. How do you feel about that?” This approach shows you value your partner’s comfort and consent.
  • Focus on one new thing at a time. Don’t overwhelm your partner by listing 10 things you want to try all at once. Pick one desire or fantasy to start with, then revisit the conversation again in a few weeks or months to discuss other interests. This gradual progression will make the process of sharing and trying new things feel more natural for both of you.
  • Reassure your partner and offer reciprocal listening. Express how much you appreciate them and value their needs as well. Ask open-ended questions to learn more about what they want and be willing to compromise. Building intimacy is a two-way street, so make sure the conversation is balanced and collaborative.
  • Stay playful and have fun with it! Laugh, flirt, and maintain a sense of adventure. Sex can be really silly and fun! Keep things light and playful, rather than treating these conversations like a serious business negotiation. (As sex advice expert Dan Savage likes to say: Telling someone your kink shouldn’t feel like you’re telling them you have cancer.) Maintaining a sense of fun and spontaneity will make the whole thing that much more pleasurable for you both.

Focus on “I” statements

When it comes to communicating your desires in the bedroom (and, honestly, pretty much everywhere), “I” statements are the way to go. They allow you to express how you truly feel without accusing or putting your partner on the defensive.

Focus on using phrases like “I feel...” or “I would like...” to convey what's on your mind and in your heart. Say something like:

  • “I feel so attracted to you right now. I would love if we could slow down and really explore each other.”
  • “I've been thinking about you all day. Want to do that thing we talked about last week?”
  • “I love it when you kiss my neck. I feel so turned on and connected to you.”

Now that you know how to identify what you want in the bedroom and communicate it clearly to your partner, go make it happen! Speak up and don't hold back—your pleasure and satisfaction are worth it. Think of it as an adventure—discovering new sides of yourself and new depths of intimacy with someone else.

Now get out there, be bold, and get what you want! The future of your sex life is in your hands.

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