How To Tell Your Partner Your Sexual Needs Aren't Being Met

Sex is too good to not be out here enjoying it to the fullest.


If you're a diehard Girlfriends fan, you probably remember the episode when Joan had sex with her boyfriend Sean for the first time. Although she wasn't all that thrilled about him being a sex addict, what she didn't see coming was that he was going to totally suck—and not in the good way—in bed. Ugh. He ended up being one of those bang-bang-bang brothas and while luckily, those have been far and few between experiences for me personally, unfortunately I can recall what that kind of selfish, immature and egomaniacal sex is like. It's the worst…the absolute worst.

Anyway, a part of what made Girlfriends such a great sitcom is the writing was so much like real life. And believe you me, there have been countless conversations that I've had with people who love—or at least really like—their partner, but when it comes to loving (or even really liking) the sex…they can think about at least two dozen other things that they'd rather be doing. That's sad. Tragic, even.

Personally, I think that good sex consists of great communication. That's why, when someone is sexually dissatisfied, I don't encourage or support faking orgasms (more on that in a bit), only venting to their friends and/or quietly resenting their partner (or cheating). Sex is too good to not be out here enjoying it to the fullest, but there is a better way to go about getting what you want (and need). If you are sexually dissatisfied, here's how I advise handling the matter.

Do It Outside of the Bedroom


They say that timing is everything. You know what else is pretty important? Environment. Oh, and implementing the Golden Rule while you're in it. When it comes to having a sexually dissatisfied chat, think how you would feel if, while you were in the bed, giving your all to your partner, he paused, looked at you, sighed and then said, "Yeeeah, I'm not really feeling this. I haven't been for a while now." Talk about embarrassment. Talk about slight trauma. Talk about either being "afraid" to have sex with him again or not wanting to be in a relationship with him, period.

Does this mean that I'm encouraging you to grin and bear bad sex?? Absolutely not. But it is important to avoid having the convo in the very spot where all of the magic happens. Instead, do it on neutral territory like the living room or kitchen. Or even better, while taking a walk together outside of the home. That way, the conversation won't have to be associated with any area where the two of you regularly hang out—or are intimate.

Speak in Specifics


"Bad in bed". What does that even mean? I mean, we all get that bad is, well, bad, but what makes it that way for you? Is he a selfish lover? Is he a minute man? Is he a bang-bang-bang kind of dude? I'll tell you what, if there's one thing that constantly comes up in my sessions with couples, it's that a lot of women want their man to read their mind and a lot of men want their women to be specific when it comes to what it is that they are trying to say.

That's why, it's also a good idea that, before you embark on having this kind of conversation, that you spend some time alone so that you can figure out exactly what it is that you are so displeased with. He can't read your mind. He also can't change what you don't clearly (and lovingly) articulate.

Avoid Making Comparisons


Mama told us to think before we speak; I've got a great example of why we should take her advice. The first time I had sex with a particular partner, right when he pulled his pants down, my initial response was, "That's it?!" Le sigh. I didn't say it in my head either. He heard me. I didn't mean for him too…it's just that—peep this—in comparison to some of my other partners, let's just say that he wasn't what I was accustomed to.

That's kind of my point. As you're in the middle of processing how sexually dissatisfied you are with your partner, be honest about what it's really all about. Is it based on what he's not doing, or is it that he's not doing what ole' boy from before used to do? You've got to always keep in mind that, even when it comes to sex, no two partners or experiences are exactly alike. If you're not mentally and emotionally processing this fact, it might not be that your partner isn't holdin' it down. It actually may be that you are still caught up in your ex (or a few of your exes).

By the way, that guy that I just mentioned? It's some of the best sex I've ever had. Sometimes the best things don't come in the biggest packages. Words to live by.

Avoid Any Passive Aggressive Behavior Too


When it comes to addressing issues, I'm definitely more aggressive than passive aggressive. That's probably why passive aggressive people get on my last nerve. How can you know if you are a passive aggressive type of person? If you make backhanded compliments ("I mean, you were much better tonight than you usually are."). If you use sarcasm to get a point across ("Oh, I'm the one who needs to be more spontaneous? Yeah, that sounds about right."). If you say nothing after sex but, instead, give your partner the silent treatment and then roll over and go to sleep. Or worse, when your partner asks you if anything is wrong, you shrug and say "nothing" when, clearly, it's something. Another example of being passive aggressive is when you downplay your needs and say something along the lines of, "I know this is probably going to sound petty but…" Hmph, now that I think about it, a cryptic form of being passive aggressive is faking orgasms. You're acting like you're satisfied when you're not. And if you do that often, it's only going to lead to resentment.

From what I've read, a past history of childhood abuse, harsh punishment or neglect, or even low self-esteem can be what causes someone to deal with others in a passive aggressive kind of way. Problem is, it's a really ineffective and counterproductive form of communication because it requires others to have to try and read between the lines or play mind games with you.

Good sex is all about healthy communication. If you want your sex life to get better, being passive aggressive is not what's going to get you there.

Be What You Desire


One time, while sitting in a session with a couple, the husband brought up that although fellatio is important to him—like really, really important to him—he was getting irritated because his wife was pretty bad at it. While he was in the midst of breaking down the particulars—her not acting enthused, teeth getting in the way, rushing, etc.—I noticed that his wife was hemming and hawing and rolling her eyes. When I asked her if she was irritated, embarrassed or both, she blurted out, "Maybe if you went down on me every once in a while, a sistah could get more excited about giving you some head." I mean and I'm sayin'.

I have sat in enough sessions with couples to definitely vouch for the fact that some folks are sexually dissatisfied because, contrary to what their ego may be telling them, they aren't exactly doing what makes their partner climb the walls either. One of the main reasons why is due to their own selfishness—wanting to receive what they are not willing to give.

Do you deserve earth-shattering sex? Most definitely. But you are significantly decreasing your chances of experiencing it if you are wanting your partner to do or be what you are not willing to do—or be.

Don’t Harp on It


One more. There are all kinds of ways to have performance anxiety. One way is in the bedroom, and sometimes this happens when a partner is stressed out or anxious. Something that can get your partner there is nagging. I'm not kidding. I actually read an article on a licensed therapist's site that stated that nagging does more damage to a marriage than infidelity or financial challenges. It also said that the ones who are prone to nag are anxious or obsessive types. Who wants to have sex with a jittery person or control freak?!

Rome wasn't built in a day. For many of us, great sex isn't either.

Besides, this ain't a sex scene from your favorite chick flick; this is the real world. If you're diggin' him, there's chemistry and the relationship is going well in every other room of the house, don't assume that things are totally doomed just because you are currently sexually dissatisfied. Sometimes, a part of the fun of sex is figuring things out together. Be patient. Be open. Be creative. Give things a little (more) time. If he values you, he's going to want to please you. He's definitely not gonna wanna leave you out here all…sexually dissatisfied. NOT. AT. ALL.

Feature image by Giphy

Want more stories like this? Sign up for our newsletter here and check out the related reads below:

10 Things You Didn't Know About The Male And Female Orgasm

Sexual Compatibility Is As Important As Spiritual Compatibility

What GROWN Women Consider Great Sex To Be

I Only Have One Rule In The Bedroom: I Come First.

This article is in partnership with Xfinity.

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