Tips For Making It A Little Less Intimidating To Ask For What You Want In The Bedroom

When it comes to asking your partner what you want in bed — especially if it borders on the kinky side — it can feel really intimidating. While you're certainly not telling them that you don't enjoy sex with them, you're still telling them you're looking to try something different or experiment in ways that might be more enjoyable.


"The place where I normally start with patients is helping them get curious about what's stopped them from asking for what they want in bed in the past," therapist specializing in relationship and sex therapy Casey Tanner, LCPC, tells Oprah Daily. "Folks often will come in with apprehension and anxiety around asking their partner for something. This is especially true for people who were socialized as women, taught that we can't take up space in that way."

But here's the deal: we can and should take up space in that way, no matter our gender. So instead of twiddling your thumbs and wishing you could find the courage to ask for what you want in the bedroom, just go for it. You have nothing to lose by being honest.


Choose a location other than the bedroom

Although talking about sex, especially in an explicit dirty talk sort of "I want you right now" way, in the bedroom is fantastic, when it comes to talking about sexual needs in a serious communicative way, you want to do it outside the bedroom. Talking in bed about what you want and need sexually, which can be misconstrued by your partner as they're not fulfilling you sexually, can backfire. Also, if you're in bed, there's a good chance that you're both naked, and in being so, it brings even more vulnerability to the equation. Not only are you in a vulnerable situation by trying to tell your partner what you want in bed, but they're also in a vulnerable situation because they're equally naked and listening to you tell them about their shortcomings, so to speak. 


So do your partner, yourself, and your sex life a favor and have that chat anywhere but in bed.

Figure out what you want to explore

If you know you want to try something different, but you're not sure what that difference is, then you want to figure it out before you talk to your partner. "If you are going to ask for something to be changed, a more effective way is asking for something more direct," sexologist and relationship expert Dr. Nikki Goldstein tells HelloGiggles. "[For example,] 'I would really love to try these two positions I was reading about.'"


Whether that means, as Goldstein points out, mentioning new positions you read about, talking with your friends and seeing what they've been exploring, or touching yourself in new ways to see what you like, the point is you can't sit your partner down to ask for what you want in bed, then stare at them mouth agape and at a loss for words. If you thought you felt intimidated about starting the conversation in the first place, just imagine sitting there without any examples, ideas, or suggestions.

Use the word curious

When it comes to asking your partner for what you want in the bedroom, language is everything. For example, saying "I want" can come off a bit demanding, making the conversation intimidating for not just you but your partner too. Also, while "I" statements are always a good way to convey what you're interested in exploring, if you take that "I" and turn it into "we," it will take less pressure off you because you'll be initiating trying something new or different together. Then, to really seal the deal and take the edge off whatever is going through your head, is to use the word "curious."


"By using the word 'curious,' you're opening up a dialogue that doesn't require a partner to agree or reject the activity but rather to learn more about it," director of The Center for Love and Sex, an NYC-based therapy practice, Sari Cooper tells Bustle.

Once that dialogue is opened up, you may find that your partner has some curiosities of their own that they'd like to explore. Which brings us to ...

Don't make it all about you

Sure, you may be the one who's initiating the conversation about what you want in bed, but don't assume you're the only one of the two of you who has desires that maybe aren't being met. Your partner might be just as intimidated as you are to bring up things they want in bed, so they haven't said anything. Because this could be the case, give your partner the space to share their thoughts too.


"Experience is the only way to know what we like or don't like," author and relationship expert Susan Winter tells Elite Daily. "Begin the conversation by focusing on your partner's needs. As you listen, stay open and unruffled by whatever you hear. The moment your partner feels that you don't judge them, you've just established the perfect platform for your honesty as well." Because you certainly don't want to be judged, definitely don't judge your partner and what they might be curious to explore as well.

Start with positive feedback

One of the best techniques when it comes to telling your partner what you want to try in bed is by starting with a compliment, then suggesting the particular thing you want to explore, followed by another compliment. People like to feel reassured when it comes to their sexual performance, so to minimize any tension or insecurities on their end is to start with what they're really amazing at — it's the best approach when it comes to softening the blow when you suggest you might want spice things up a bit.


"Start with an affirmation and end with an ask (i.e., 'You know what feels good? When you do _____. And you know what else would feel good?')," sex and love coach Shelby Sells tells Popsugar. "Affirming pleasurable things your partner does in bed helps keep the attitude playful versus constant criticism. This framework helps people feel excited to try new things versus feeling defeated." In fact, this framework works for most scenarios, even ones that aren't related to sex. 

If you can't say the words, then write them down

Some of us just can't get through a full sentence without stumbling over our words, pausing, and inundating it with "um" — a lot of us are like that, so you're not alone. But if you happen to be one of those people, then writing down what you want to say about your sex life and what you're curious about, can really help. You can take notes on what's been piquing your interest, then compile those notes to share with your partner.


"Pay attention to what thoughts come up in your mind that turn you on, what your body responds to, and what you feel turned on by," sex therapist Jesse Kahn tells Bustle. From there, you can actually turn it into a sexy game where you ask your partner to do the same, giving you both a chance to delve into new things you want to try out.

Remind yourself you have a right to pleasure

Although you've probably heard it hundreds, if not thousands of times, pleasure is a human right. It's something that every living being is entitled to, and this is something we should never forget — whether it's our partners, ourselves, or any other sexual being. It's a fact, but a fact that some women just haven't fully embraced because of how society treats female pleasure. "I think pleasure [is] a God given right," sex therapist Dr. Megan Fleming tells Redbook, "and yet so many women ... take it or leave it."


If you know that you want something else in bed, whether it's a minor shift or something more that you happened to read about in some erotica you "stumbled" across online, you shouldn't feel ashamed to have those desires and want to communicate them to your partner. While it may seem intimidating at first, reminding yourself that it's your right can help you find it within yourself to just put it out there — gently, of course. You don't want to damage your partner's ego while asking to try something a little more on the experimental side in the bedroom.