Communication Breakdown: How to Ask for What You Want in Bed

One of the magnificent things about sex is that it holds endless possibilities. The way we have sex, who we have sex with, why we have sex, what “sex” even is; the rabbit hole never ends. Within the realm of sex, we get to create our own fantasy, carving out a sacred space to explore our erotic side with power and intention. All we have to do to get the golden key is ask for what we want. Communicating in general? Tough. Communicating in bed? Even tougher. Why is it so difficult to ask for what we want in bed?

During a long period of intentional celibacy, I made the conscious effort to become my own lover and explore my erotic side more seriously. In this time of deep reflection, I realized how much I had missed simply by neglecting to mention what I wanted to my partners. Instead of leaving my rendezvous completely satisfied and fulfilled, I’d later regret not asking for what I was looking for, remaining silent only to leave disappointed. I realized I was tired of this, that I deserved more than the bare minimum. So I stated my intention to the universe; that I would step it up on my end and make an effort to really communicate openly with the next partner I had, seeing them as conscious collaborator in helping me get what I want. I decided it was finally time to face my fears and ask for what I wanted in bed.

This intention worked, albeit in unexpected ways. I did have to be a clear communicator with the first partner I had after this intention was cast; because he didn’t communicate enough. Asking for what you want is scary, and although I forced myself to ask for what I wanted (like the one time I laid out all my sex toys and some rope and crops on the bed), he wasn’t receptive. I eventually ended the relationship by communicating a firm boundary with him. I learned my lesson. The partners after this, however, were receptive and helped me own my experiences. Because I knew I needed someone who was willing to communicate with me, who was willing to engage and accept my desires, I stopped accepting partners what didn’t reflect these values.



Asking for what you want includes knowing what you like, and what are interested in. It also comes from knowing what you do and don’t deserve. If a partner isn’t willing to listen to your wants or needs, then they probably aren’t worthy of your energy, sexual or otherwise. If a partner shames you for wanting to try something, then that’s a whole separate conversation (and one which calls for firm boundaries and explaining that we don’t kink shame in this house!) Communicating our desires and what we want means being honest and vulnerable; it means exposing ourselves to our partner. It means the possibility of getting rejected. But in spite of all of this, if we don’t ask for what we want, how do we expect to get it? Here’s what I’ve learned in my own journey in asking for what I want in bed.


Give yourself permission to want what you want

Letting go of shame is the first step in communicating your desires. If you grew up in a patriarchal religious household, this can be especially true. While there are certainly more “taboo” ways to have sex, if two people are consenting and communicate, nearly anything can be done and be done ethically (in kink this is called being safe, sane and consensual.) Processing your own internalized sexual shame and whorephobia is something that will help you come into claiming that one freaky thing you really want to try but have been too scared to ask! Self-acceptance and self-validation for your fetishes, kinks or interests also means the pressure is off when you ask your partner; their “yes” or “no” doesn’t validate or invalidate your curiosities, it just gives you a safe space (or not) to explore them in.


Knowing what you like can help you get more of what you want

Sexuality is a journey, hopefully one you’ll be riding for the rest of your life! The easiest way to lose the joy of sex is by letting it go stale, but not exploring, and by not taking your longings, desires or urges seriously. You can’t ask for what you want if you don’t know what you want. Something that surprised me in my own erotic exploits is that the more I spent time by myself exploring my sexuality, the better sex I would have. The more I figured out what I was interested in, or what I was turned on by, the more I’d explore that on my own. Knowing what I liked and pursuing it solo also gave me the confidence to ask to try that with a partner. Give yourself permission to invest in and care about your sex life! Keep a list of all your fantasies, make a yes-no-maybe list of what you want to try, and make an effort to explore what you’re interested in even without a partner. You don’t have to know everything that you like (in fact that’s impossible) but even having a few things you know you want to try can give you a starting point to ask and begin exploring in the first place.


Practice makes perfect

If you want to try something new in bed, but are scared as hell of doing this, start small. Ask for something low pressure. Ask for something you know you’ll be able to give or receive. Practice the act of asking, if you’re not comfortable with that already. You can also practice by looking in the mirror! Breathe as you do this, feeling into your body, really feeling the earth underneath you supporting you. Look into your non-dominant eye and practice what you want to say, getting used to the words in your mouth. If you want to get learn more about communication techniques, you may wish to take a BDSM class, as negotiating is a huge part of the process of creating a scene and setting up power dynamics. Another fun way to practice asking for what you want? Sexting! Not only can this be super sexy, it can act as a baby step in getting you to have these conversations in real life. Plus, dirty talk is fun and can help you open up and feel safe to express yourself around someone you’re intimate with.


Ask for it anyway

So you know what you like. You’ve done your best to release shame around this. You’re comfortable asking for small things, and you’ve practiced in the mirror because you were extra nervous. Now you feel grounded and confident, but you’re still scared as fuck to ask for what you want. Now what? Well you should ask for what you want anyway. If you’re with a good partner, they’ll want to support you in your pursuit of pleasure. They’ll probably be happy to tag along for the ride. The Catch 22 is that you’ll never feel ready to ask, you just have to. And once you do this once, it will never be as difficult. The more openly you start to talk to and ask for what you want in bed, the more second nature it feels. Take the plunge in, and know it can’t be scarier than staying quiet and ignoring the yearnings you so wish to explore.


Trust your intuition

Last but not least, trust yourself! Listen to your gut! Your intuition won’t leave you alone, and it will persist if something feels off. If your partner isn’t willing to listen to you, or can’t communicate their feelings, then you know that’s a red flag. You don’t have to ask for all your desires from all your partners right away, or even at all. Allow your process to unfold as it must, on your own timeline. There’s no rush, but communicating is a skill that you can practice and get better at. But remember, you may have to give yourself space to mess it up to get it right.

I know that as I’ve continued on my journey of being loud mouthed both in and out bed, I’ve started to have the sort of sex I’ve always dreamed of. With the help of friends, sexting and lots of self-love and compassion, I feel comfortable asking for what I want, or comfortable enough to do it even when it’s scary. Because of this, I feel more comfortable in communicating my boundaries and desires out of the bedroom too. You deserve to have an abundantly rich sex life- whatever that means to you. I hope that by asking for what you want, you get more of it. Don’t be afraid to speak and claim your truth; there are plenty of someone’s out there who are ready to say “YES” to your dreams. Happy sexing!