How can we ask for the sex we want?

How often do we feel frustrated that we want our partner to know what we want in bed but can’t find the words? We then decide to ‘leave it this time’, let them have their fun and resolve to say something next time.

We might worry that they’ll get fed up with us if we’re too demanding or that they’ll get bored spending too long focusing on us. Or perhaps we feel the weight of performing in the ‘expected’ way stressful and worry that we are being a ‘disappointment’, so we avoid sex altogether.

But the truth is, our partners are far more likely to enjoy sex with us if we do state our sexual needs and wants. It saves them having to guess and get it wrong.

But how do we ask for what we want?

Well, if you can truly believe that you’re responsible for your own pleasure and your partner is responsible for theirs, then that’s a good first step. Our partners are not responsible for our sexual pleasure, we are.

If you are going to get the sexual satisfaction you want, then you can try to be positive and encouraging, complimentary of your partner’s technique and then add that if they put their hand there or do X, Y or Z, that would be great. Help them to discover what pleases you. They will probably be delighted to oblige and enjoy your sexual confidence.

We can be incredibly fragile about what others think of our sexual technique. If our partner thinks that they are disappointing us, it can become demoralising and turn them off sex. So preserving our partner’s dignity and confidence, at the same time as getting what we want is a win-win situation.

It helps if you try not to convey your disappointment: ask for what you want in a gentle way, rather than tutting or sighing from frustration. Don’t tell your partner what you don’t like, ("I don’t like that!" or "Ow! That hurts!"), just state what you’d like, or move them in to a different position and let them know when it feels good.

However, it’s also worth thinking about our expectations. Sex can’t always be fantastic. Sometimes it will be great. At others, it may be ‘average’ or a disappointment for one, or both of you but that’s realistic and ‘normal’. You’ve always got next time...

Sex, of course must always be jointly consensual. If one of you isn’t enjoying something, it needs to stop immediately and may require discussion. Couples counselling can offer one or both partners the opportunity to talk or gain confidence in the relationship. 

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Counselling Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

Share this article with a friend
Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS8
Written by Ruth Murtagh, Relationship Therapy-Couples/ Individuals: MA,MBACP, Relate
Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS8

Ruth Murtagh is a relationship and parenting counsellor based in the Leeds area. She also runs sessions on skype or phone. (

Show comments

Find a therapist dealing with Relationship problems

All therapists are verified professionals

All therapists are verified professionals