By Whitney Akers, See the Triumph Contributor
Just as the seasons change and warmth ebbs and flows, so do our natural cycles of sexual and sensual energies. Take a moment to think about different periods of your life in which you felt your sexual energy wane or grow. During these shifts, it is possible you felt a change in your need or desire for connection with your partner. Were you able to communicate this change in a way that resulted in you feeling heard and respected? Were there feelings of frustration and resentment from you or your partner? Were there times of pressure in which silencing your needs seemed to be the easiest option?
Regardless of your past patterns or you current level of sexual energy, exploring how to communicate our sexual and sensual needs can increase safety, trust, and fulfillment in our relationships. However, within a partnership with another person, we sometimes find it difficult to state our needs, especially if our needs clash with our partner’s. Let’s explore some tips for those times you might feel less like connecting sexually.
Tip One: Listen to your body, heart, and mind
As discussed in the previous blog on communication, opening the doorways of communication within the self, without judgment or pressure, can help us to genuinely connect with our true wants and needs. This can help us connect with loved ones with a sense of compassion and care.
Tip Two: Create a space in which you can safely talk
If you are in a space that feels non-threatening, you will be able to more-clearly and effectively communicate your sexual needs to your partner. For some, this may be in the bedroom, in the present moment where you are asked to connect sexually, and for others, it may need to be a separate space, providing some distance between an intimate and possibly emotionally-charged space. Also, if your partner does not ask, you have the right to state your needs and wants in that moment. You also have the right to say “no” or “stop” at any time, even after sex has begun. You also have the right to request that something be done differently if it is painful or emotionally uncomfortable.
Tip Three: Honor your voice
Use “I language” (i.e., “I do not feel in the mood”, “I want to hug instead”, “I don’t feel turned on right now”, etc.) instead of blaming language as reason to stop. If your partner is doing something that causes you discomfort, tell them. Let your partner know how you feel and what you would like to see different. You have a right to expect these requests to be honored. When you are saying “no” or “not now”, you might feel an increase in pressure form your partner, but trust that you are making the right choice for you. If you force yourself to engage in sex when you didn’t want to, the sex will likely be mediocre, at best. More importantly, a sign of a healthy sexual relationship is when partners respect set boundaries and understand that your boundaries can shift and change as you do. Be aware if you feel emotionally or physically pressured by your partner. If you have stated your boundary, and it is not respected, leave the space if possible. Controlling one’s actions sexually or demanding sex is a sign of abuse and a violation of your personhood. Also manipulation (i.e. “You would do this if you loved me”) is also abusive and violating of you as a person of worth. Please see below for resources if you are experiencing sexual pressure from an intimate partner.
A healthy sexual relationship will never come with pressure, manipulation, or force. Sexual connection can provide a space for you and your partner to explore, grow, and adventure together, equally, respectfully, and lovingly.
Resources: If you feel you might be in an abusive sexual relationship, please reach out for support. You are not alone.
If you need immediate assistance for a crisis-related domestic violence situation, please contact your local authorities immediately. In the United States, you may call the National Domestic Violence Hotline: http://www.thehotline.org/; 1−800−799−SAFE(7233), or TTY 1−800−787−3224.
National Coalition Against Domestic Violence : http://www.ncadv.org/protectyourself/GettingHelp.php
National Online Resource Center on Violence Against Women: http://www.vawnet.org/