Hey Bestie: My partner makes me uncomfortable about sex. He’s always asking for more degrading sex acts and it feels like he doesn’t care about me. Lately he has escalated his attempts for me to engage in these acts by nagging me and sexting me at work and gives me the cold shoulder when I decline. It wasn’t always like this. I just want my kind and understanding partner back. What should I do?
Thank you for your question. It sounds as though the relationship started off differently than it is now. It sounds as though you felt your partner was kind and understanding and somewhere along the way, the sexual acts that your partner is interest in or turned on by has shifted.
Firstly, let me begin by telling you that this is not common, but important to discuss.
Yes, couples typically will test out new or different sexual acts together to see if they like it. A ‘Yes, No, Maybe List’ is always a great starting point to see what you and your partner are willing to engage in with each other.
If however, your partner’s sexual interests are evolving at a different rate to yours and they simply no longer align with yours, it’s time to have a real and respectful conversation with each other.
"You need to be clear with your boundaries: what you are willing and not willing to engage in.
You’ve stated that it feels as though your partner doesn’t care for you anymore and is escalating the frequency that they are requesting those acts, even though you are declining the requests.
From a sexology perspective, research has shown that the more hard-core pornography that people actively watch and sexually engage with, the more skewed towards those types of sexual behaviours they will become. This is because those behaviours become normalised in their minds and the behaviours become sexually reinforced for them.
It is important to talk about your desires and your dislikes with one another — even the ones that seem difficult to talk about.
If they do not align, you need to tell your partner.
You need to be clear with your boundaries: what you are willing and not willing to engage in.
A respectful relationship would mean that your partner would listen to your requests and respect them.
If for some reason your partner feels as though they are not able to shift their sexual behavioural preferences, then it’s pretty clear what the status of your relationship is.
If you feel that there’s more to this behaviour, maybe it’s time to make a suggestion to see a therapist that specialises in sexual behaviours or relationships.
A space where you would be encouraged to discuss your wants and needs and vice versa and either learn a way to collaborate together or understand that the differences might be too much to sustain the relationship.
Get clear on what you are willing to do, talk to each other, listen to each other and when in doubt, call on someone with expertise to walk you through this situation because after all, everyone deserves to feel heard, understood and sexually respected within their relationships.