Unfair sexual demands

You want me to do WHAT? One partner's sexual fantasy can be another's nightmare. If your sex buddy wants you to do something...unconventional, what do you do? Here's how to stand up for yourself in the bedroom.

boy and girl upset in bed

"You should've really asked first."

What is an unfair sexual demand?

Sometimes an old or new lover will ask you for a sexual favour that would make a hardened professional blush and walk away quickly. It can be very difficult to say ‘no’ to them without hurting their feelings, or frankly panicking (“Oh my god, I’m dating a pervert!”).

Your reaction should depend upon the nature of the request, and how it is made. If someone asks you politely and in good faith, and their wish isn’t breaking the law, then bear in mind that they have trusted you enough to ask, and have taken the risk that you might be shocked or even horrified.

Keep an open mind. Is what they’ve asked for:

  • A bit unusual or silly?
  • Not something you’d think up yourself?

Is their fantasy frightening, dangerous, or revolting?

No? If it’s anything other than scary or gross, you might at least want to think about trying it. After all, how are you going to know whether you like something or not if you don’t experiment? It could be a pleasant surprise for both partners. When you don’t mind either way, but it makes them ecstatically happy, then you could try it once, and afterwards it’s your turn to ask them to do something special for you.

What do I say if I’m not sure?

You could say that you’d like to think about it for a while, but that you don’t fancy it right now, which will give you some time to gather your thoughts and perhaps do some research on the subject. Make an informed decision, and take your instincts into account as well, don’t ignore a nagging gut feeling. But remember not to say ‘maybe’ if you really mean ‘no way!’

Perhaps you might be able to negotiate a compromise that suits both parties reasonably well (“no, darling, the riding crop is out of the question, but a feather duster/bunch of celery/stick of liquorice would be lovely…or maybe “toe sucking just doesn’t do it for me, but I’d go crazy for a good foot massage instead…“). If someone has a serious fixation, rather than a passing fancy, this may not satisfy them, but it’s up to you whether or not you’re happy to fulfill their request.

How to say NOOOOOO!

Your personal preferences are as valid as anyone else’s, and you have a right to say ‘no’ to anything sexual that you don’t like the idea of. You do not have to fulfil every one of your partner’s fantasies, and some fantasies should never become reality anyway. Here are some tips on how to turn them down gracefully:

Be nice:

  • Don’t call them names or pull ‘disgusted’ faces;
  • Say that it really isn’t your thing and probably never will be, or it’s not something you want to do right now ;
  • Say that you really enjoy other aspects of your sex life together;
  • Suggest an alternative activity if you think that’s appropriate.

When sexual demands are unhealthy

It’s time for a serious sit-down talk, or sometimes getting the hell out if:

  • They are unable to get aroused or have an orgasm without this unusual sexual favour, especially if you can’t help feeling repulsed;
  • You suspect they are just trying their luck, or want something to brag to their mates about;
  • They pester you frequently after firmly being told ‘no’, or become verbally or physically abusive if they don’t get their way;
  • They start doing something very unusual to you without asking, especially if it hurts or is otherwise unsafe (“sorry, it just slipped in” is no excuse);
  • They do not return favours, or show concern for your sexual pleasure;
  • It’s very early in the relationship and they want to be violent.

If you feel like any of the above (or anything similar) apply to you then changes most definitely have to be made. Get in touch with Brook, the sexual health charity, or Relate, the relationship counselling service, if you feel you need extra support. You deserve the very best in your relationship and shouldn’t have to put up with any unhealthy, or even dangerous, behaviour.

Next Steps

  • Relate is an affordable relationship and sex counselling service. 0300 100 1234
  • Brook provides free sexual health and wellbeing services for young people in the UK. Brook's services include local clinics and online digital sex and relationships tool.
  • Do you want to understand your relationship better? Love Smart helps you work it all out.
  • Chat about this subject on our Discussion Boards.
  • Need help but confused where to go locally? Download our StepFinder iPhone app to find local support services quickly.

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Updated on 29-Sep-2015