What To Say To A Partner If Your Needs Aren't Being Met In The Bedroom

Sometimes we find ourselves in relationships where our sexual needs aren't being met. Sometimes it's a matter of different libidos, other times it's because one person's idea of what's hot isn't the same as the other person's, and well, honestly, there can be many reasons why someone might not be getting their needs met in the bedroom. But no matter the reason, it can't be ignored. Sex may not be the only component of a relationship, but it's still an important one. After all, research has found time and time again that happy sex lives lead to more fulfilling relationships (via Greater Good Magazine).


But, despite this, it's not always easy to know what to say to your partner about your sex life. Especially when the topic is that you need more or something different in bed from them.

"Sexual preferences are as unique as the individual," licensed marriage and family therapist Bianca L. Rodriguez tells Insider. "There's no wrong way to express your sexuality, provided you have consent from your partner(s). Knowing this can make it easier to talk with your partner about your sex life because it can diminish judgments you may have about your partner or yourself."

So, take a deep breath, and get ready to tackle the subject.

Decide when and where you'll bring it up

If your needs haven't been met in a long time and you've just been too afraid to bring up the topic, then there's no time like the present. However, you do want to map out when and where you'll bring it up.


For example, bringing it up after a long day at work isn't the time. No one wants to hear from their partner that they need to step up their bedroom game after dealing with work-related issues all day. You may almost think that addressing it after having sex might make sense, but people tend to be more vulnerable when they don't have their clothes on, so that's not the best idea either.

"Never be afraid or ashamed of discussing sex with the person you're having sex with," certified sexologist and couples' counselor Anka Radakovich tells Greatist. "Bring up the subject when both of you are relaxed and happy. Or take a tip from the swinger crowd: Give them a nice back massage. Swingers know how to relax people."


Once you're both in a good space where you're relaxed, then bring it up slowly. Sexual problems in a relationship aren't uncommon, but what is common is people going out of their way to not bring them up (via Psychology Today).

Give them a heads up about what you want to discuss

Whenever anyone hears "we need to talk," their mind can go in so many directions. In fact, these four words have been found to be some of the most anxiety-inducing words out there (via Stylist). So instead of triggering your partner, be upfront that you want to talk and what that talk will entail.


"This is helpful as you don't want your partner to be blindsided," licensed psychologist Dr. Rebekah Montgomery tells Insider. "[This] gives them a chance to prepare for the conversation and you get to be sure that they are in a receptive head space when you start opening up... You might say things like, 'I want to talk more about sex and I know that can be hard.' Or 'I feel nervous but I want us to be able to talk about our sex life, are you open to talking about it?'"

You want the discussion to go as smoothly as possible, so keep your partner's feelings and concerns in the front of your mind.

Tell them what you really enjoy

No one wants to be bombarded with negative comments about their sexual performance, so you want to be positive and let them know what they do that you really like. If you lead with that, it will soften the blow and, ideally, put them at ease.


"[Make] suggestions about what you want them to do to you, what you want them to do more of, less of, and what's not your 'favorite,' but you love when they do this instead," sex expert Laurel House tells Bustle.

It's also a good idea to you use "I" statements when having this conversation. When we use "you," it can come off as aggressive and accusatory, and that's the last thing you want to do. Not only will it be potentially hurtful, but can make your partner really defensive. There's a lot of power in our words, so you want to choose the right ones.

Then tell them how things could change

If you know what you want differently in bed, then great! But, if you know that you want something different, you're just not sure what that something is, then you'll want to figure it out in advance. Telling your partner you want to talk about your sex life but not having any ideas of what you want is like showing up to play a baseball game and not having a bat. 


"I think the reason why we don't ask for what we want and we don't talk about it is because we don't know what we want," sex therapist Emily Morse tells Popsugar. "And so that's why it's important to really figure out what we want on our own through masturbation and exploration, and to really figure out your erogenous zones and what feels good."

There are very few things that are more annoying than, "I don't know. What do you want to do?" So don't be that person. Know what changes you want and need, then tell your partner.

Make sure you tell them that this is for both of you

A great sex life is about everyone's needs being met. So while you're bringing this up and addressing your current needs, you want to point out that it isn't just about you; it's about both of you and is very much for the good of the relationship. Talking about sex, in general, with your partner is the first step toward a more fulfilling sex life and relationship satisfaction (via Well+Good).


"Sex talks should never be a solitary conversation," sex expert August McLaughlin tells Elite Daily. "See it as an ongoing conversation that will likely get easier with time... Talking about sex can feel really vulnerable, which can lead to deeper intimacy and more pleasurable sex. If you're framing things positively yet things get rocky, take a breath and gently keep trying. Or suggest that you talk about it again another time."

The best part about bringing this up, as McLaughlin points out, is that it opens the door to talking about sex on a regular basis. 

Ask them their thoughts

Because this isn't strictly about you, you want to ask your partner their thoughts on your sex life. For all you know, you may not be meeting their needs in the bedroom either, but they just didn't want to bring it up. So give them a chance to tell you what's on their mind.


"Park your emotional response, and try to be curious, detached and present," psychosexual and relationship therapist Krystal Woodbridge tells The Guardian. "Say to your partner: 'Tell me more about that.' And you must try to accept what you're hearing. We are hardwired to think that our reality is the only one, and that other perspectives are wrong."

If your partner was decent enough to hear you out, then you should offer them the same safe space. As they say, "communication is a two-way street," so to be truly effective, each person needs to be receptive and honest.

Suggest seeking professional help

According to Mayo Clinic, "talking about your sexual needs can help bring you and your partner closer together and promote sexual fulfillment." This is something to not only keep in mind but to share with your partner so you can keep the conversation as positive and productive as possible.


However, if you have the talk, it went really well, then when you put everything you discussed into action, and things didn't go as planned, then it might be time for sex therapy.

"It is really important to understand what sex therapy is and what sex therapy is not," psychiatrist and sex therapist Dr. Elisabeth Gordon tells The New York Times. "Sex therapy is not requiring you to have sex in front of your therapist. Sex therapy is talk therapy," adding that sex therapists have heard it all, in case that's a concern of you or your partner.

There's no shame in not having your needs met or not being able to meet your partner's needs. Sex in a relationship is forever evolving, and there's always room for improvement and more exploration. You just need to say the words and get the communication going.