Print Edition: January 21, 2015
I’ve been wanting to try some new things with my partner for a while. He’s a little conservative in bed and since the honeymoon phase has faded I’ve been getting a little bored of what he has to offer in that way. I’m pretty adventurous in that regard and have been in previous relationships, but I’m pretty sure I’m one of the first he’s been with. I’m worried I’ll shock him (not in a good way) if I bring up my interest in light bondage / anal play. How do I bring up that I want to try different things without hurting his feelings? Do I break up with him if we’re not sexually compatible?
Dear Sexually Frustrated,
My first concern with your letter is that you don’t seem to be in-the-know about your lover’s sexual history. This is problematic when it comes to your desire to be a little more adventurous in bed. How many partners have both of you had? What are some experiences you liked and didn’t like? What do you want to share or avoid with your current partner? This conversation is vital to the health of your relationship, and it’s a good way to open up the discussion of new things you’d like to try. Start the conversation by talking about your own history, and he’ll return the confidence. When you bring up your desire to spice things up, be positive. You can say that you really enjoy being with him, and you’d like to try some new things together. Make sure that you aren’t putting pressure on him to do something he’s not comfortable with.
If he’s totally not into any of that, do you break up with him? It really depends on the type of relationship you have. If this is a sex-not-love type of relationship and it’s just not doing it for you, it may be time to let him down easy. If it’s something more, don’t make any rushed decisions.
According to sex and marriage clinicians David Schnarch and Ruth Morehouse, sexual compatibility is the ability to adapt to your partner’s needs. Couples aren’t just either sexually compatible or not, and it’s not a matter of preference in liking some sexual behaviours and not others. This type of compatibility can be “nothing more than simply finding someone who has similar sexual hang-ups and limitations, and promising never to grow,” write Schnarch and Morehouse (NBC). This flexibility becomes crucial when the sexual honeymoon you mentioned wears off; as Scharch and Morehouse write: “think of sexual compatibility as two people being willing to stretch themselves sexually, rather than stick with the same old things they like in common.”
Communication can bring about that sexual compatibility you’re looking for, if you’re willing to be patient.
Next week with Yours Truly:
There’s this guy in my history class that I’m really hitting it off with. At least I think so. We’ve been assigned the same discussion group. I want to show him I’m interested, or ask him out, but I’m worried that if he’s not into it or things go south, it’ll make things incredibly awkward in class. Please advise!
Do you have a similar experience you’d like to share? Want to contribute with your own advice? Feel free to write in and be published alongside my advice in the next issue of The Cascade.
Send your questions, scenarios, or responses to: