December 10, 2023


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How do I say he’s doing it wrong?#hes #wrong

My partner is quite proud of his prowess and doesn’t respond brilliantly to direction (in or out of bed). I was probably too ‘over-enthusiastic’ in the early days, which means I now often find myself climaxing in spite of him rather than because of him. Seven years in, it feels too late to tell him what he’s been getting wrong for so long. What should I do?

You say that he is the one who is getting things wrong, but I would argue that you are equally responsible. People are not psychic, and if you don’t tell them what you want, how are they supposed to know? As you are now discovering, it is unbelievably difficult to tell someone you have been having sex with for seven years that you don’t like their technique. That’s why I am constantly banging on about the importance of establishing clear communication about sex from the outset.

You could try telling him that you have become a lot more (or less) sexually sensitive, and so you’d appreciate it if he could dial things down (or up) a bit when you make love. You could try suggesting a game of swapsies, where you’ll do whatever he wants and he will do whatever you ask. Because it is much easier to change yourself than it is to change anyone else, I would suggest that instead of focusing on his inadequacies as a sexual partner, you instigate change by pursuing your own sexual development. 

The easiest thing to do is to read some good sex books. I can recommend Come as You Are by Emily Nagoski, She Comes First by Ian Kerner, Love Worth Making by Stephen Snyder, or Better Sex Through Mindfulness by Lori Brotto. If you leave them lying around the house, your partner’s curiosity will be piqued and it will definitely spark a conversation.

That might be enough to trigger change, but you could also try Sex Talk cards (€22.80; They are nicely designed and each card contains a single question that is designed to make you and your partner think and talk. Some of the questions are funny. Others are more challenging, and they can encourage much deeper, more meaningful conversations. 

Sex education is not just for teenagers. Most adults never got decent sex education at school so it can be hugely beneficial to couples who find themselves stuck, bored or dissatisfied. Years ago I wrote The Sex Book as a way of making sex education accessible beyond the classroom. As part of the project my team spoke to hundreds of adults all over the world who shared their stories about the various ways that they had compromised themselves within their relationships in order to accommodate mediocre sex. 

It was a salutary lesson in the importance of being brave and risking the possibility that your partner might find you bossy, or directive, or even defective at the earliest possible point in a sexual relationship. It is ironic that at the moment when a new sexual partner is likely to be at their most forgiving and accepting, we are the least confident about revealing vulnerabilities. 

It’s too late for you to turn back the clock, but there is still time to turn over a new leaf.

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