What you’ll learn:
- Many women wonder if using sex toys or asking for what they want in bed is OK.
- Sometimes we play ourselves small in the bedroom because we are afraid our partner will think we are “too much” or he’ll be intimidated.
- In our culture women are not supposed to be too demanding, especially in the sexual sphere.
- Ask yourself if downplaying your desires is serving you and helping you have better sex.
- Learning to communicate your needs is the first step out of this self-sacrificing trap.
Men. I’ve been thinking about them a lot lately. On the outside, our culture has built this image of a strong macho guy. Nothing can get him down. He has confidence in himself and his abilities.
On the inside, in the privacy of our bedrooms, women seem to believe the opposite. If I could count the times I heard from a client:
“I’m afraid to suggest using a sex toy when we’re together. I don’t want him to feel bad”.
Others play down their own desire and follow whatever he’s doing, adapting themselves to his signs of pleasure. As a result, he happily comes and she’s left with nothing. Or not much. No wonder women complain about low libido!
I see so much worrying in heterosexual couples. She doesn’t want to intimidate him. She’s afraid she might hurt his ego by asking him to lick her pussy.
Why are we making ourselves small and sacrificing sexual pleasure?
Here’s my list of possible reasons, but it’s definitely not exhaustive:
Treating men like children
I still cannot believe it whenever I read it. I’m in several women-only groups on Facebook and not a day goes by without me seeing a statement like:
“He’s such a big baby”.
“I feel like I’m raising three children. And only two of them are small. My husband is like a third child to take care of.”
It looks to me as these women don’t see their male partners as powerful. They see them as fragile and in need of protection! And trust me, this will always backfire in the bedroom.
To make the most out of sex you need to focus on what you want. You can’t cater to your partner’s needs all the time. And you shouldn’t worry you’ll intimidate him by using sex toys or asking him to touch you the way you like.
Thinking a man should lead
Humans have a dangerous tendency to generalize and oversimplify. For example, we take the advice we receive on something and transfer it to another aspect of our life. This is the case with dancing and lovemaking.
Remember the film “Dirty Dancing”? That erotic energy between characters, that seamless connection of two bodies on the dancefloor. And the man leading the show.
Yes, it’s useful for only one partner to take the lead in dancing (and it doesn’t have to be a woman by the way). Do the same in sex, and you may get a disaster.
If you let a man lead all the time, chances are high you won’t have an orgasm. You may not even like the whole thing.
Sure, there will be times when one of you will be more active and dominant during sexy play. But to make it work for both of you you need to communicate before, during and after. More on that in a bit.
Believing that female pleasure is not important
Think of those times you sacrificed your needs in bed. You think you don’t do it? Are you sure? See if any of these examples apply to you:
- You felt pain but he was so close to coming, so you didn’t tell him you wanted to change positions not to distract him.
- You wanted him to go slow and lick your vulva for half an hour but instead, you told him you’re good after five minutes and encouraged him to start penetration.
- You pretended to have an orgasm.
- You thought about using sex toys, you even got one. But when you wanted it you didn’t take out that vibrator from the drawer, feeling he might be intimidated.
Most cultures of the world have focused on male pleasure. Females existed for the entertainment of men. Their bodies were (and still are in some parts of the world) property of their families, and later husbands.
Even if you live in a progressive country, you carry it in you one way or another. And men believe it too!
Since I became a mom, I notice how boys are brought up to be proud of their sexuality and girls aren’t. Have you ever noticed in a family situation, or even in films, how people react when little boys touch their penises? It’s a bit funny, a bit embarrassing, but everyone accepts that as a fact of life. Boys will be boys.
Now let’s reverse that situation. Imagine a little girl at a family gathering, sticking her hands in her underwear, or worse, taking it off. The reaction will most likely be negative. And it’s not just about protecting the kids from abuse.
It’s something deeper – the way we think about women’s bodies and pleasure. And we pass it on to girls at a young age. It’s never “girls will be girls”. It’s “little lady shouldn’t touch herself down there” rhetoric. There are no smiles and winks. There’s condemnation of curiosity and interest in exploring one’s body.
Fearing you’ll appear too demanding
This one is connected with the way we are raised as boys and girls. The same qualities which we praise in males, are condemned in females.
There’s this word in Polish, my native language. “Babochłop”. A manly woman. It means a woman who looks and acts like a stereotypical man. And this is regarded as negative, and should be avoided.
“Don’t act so bossy”, we hear from co-workers.
“Don’t call him because he’ll think you’re too needy.” This is the advice we heard from well-meaning friends when we were single and searching.
And this fear of appearing too demanding, too assertive, radiates into the bedroom.
- When was the last time you asked your lover to do something exactly the way you liked it and for longer than usual?
- When was the last time you scrutinized yourself thinking “I can’t ask for that much” or “I can’t bring it up or he’ll think I’m selfish”?
Do you play yourself small in bed?
Now think about it for a moment. Especially if you’re a woman, sleeping with men (but it applies to all sexual identities).
- How many times have you made yourself smaller in bed, to make your partner feel good about himself?
- How many times have you moaned or even pretended to have an orgasm not to disappoint him?
- How many times have you bitten your tongue and not said what you wanted because you didn’t want to intimidate him?
- How many times have you thought of using sex toys together but you never mentioned it, out of fear of being misunderstood?
Now, ask yourself: does this serve you? Does it help you enjoy sex, have amazing orgasms, and have fun?
How to get the sex that you want
Here are some ideas on how to claim what you want in sex.
Practice radical honesty
I am a believer in radical honesty. This is what I practice in my relationship and sexual connections. It’s not always easy, but it’s fair.
By saying what you want and don’t want in bed, you are showing respect to your partner. You’re not treating him like a small baby, in need of protection. You’re treating him like an adult. Like an equal partner in pleasure.
Let’s take the example of using sex toys. You can just take one out from a drawer and start playing with it. If your partner has questions or concerns, he’s an adult and can just say so. And if he asks something like “does this mean I’m not enough for you/I’m too small/you don’t love me anymore”, be prepared to answer him honestly. You can say something like “I enjoy making love to you but adding a toy to our play gives me extra pleasure.”
Forget sex is about sharing
Forget the sandpit advice of “you gotta share your toys, sweetie”. You’re an adult now and you have permission to be selfish. That applies to your bedroom too.
Most people think that good sex is about two lovers equally focused on their own pleasure and the satisfaction of their partner. But it’s more about each of you focusing on what you want and allowing your lover to do the same.
Think of the 69 position. Personally I hate it. It’s supposed to be a win-win but to me, it’s a distraction. When you both try to please each other at the same time, you can’t focus on the sensations you’re feeling in your own body. Sometimes it’s better to take turns and allow yourself to concentrate on your pleasure.
Learn how to say what you want
Denying or forgetting your own needs in bed is not serving you or your partner. If he cares about you, he will want to do the things that bring you pleasure.
But he’s not a mind reader so if you don’t say anything or if you pretend everything’s OK, he doesn’t have a chance to learn and improve. If you want to start using those sex toys, you have to say it out loud. If you want longer caressing or to try something new, you have to communicate that too.
I know that finding the courage to talk about your needs in bed is hard. That’s why getting professional help makes the whole process easier.
As a sexologist I talk about sex all the time with my patients. I also practice intimate communication in my intimate life. I can guide you to feel more confident in saying what you want. Click here to book a free consultation today.
I want to hear from you! Reply to this email and share your thoughts. Do you feel you fall into that trap of making yourself small for him?
Nice article, Anka! I’ve been always wondering if such toys were totally safe. How to prove this safety? Have you ever met in your professional life a person who had a bad experience or even some kind of trauma because of sex toys?
Thanks for the question! If you buy a toy from a reputable producer, they use body safe materials. Better not get these cheaper from China or so as you don’t know what they are made of.
In terms of safety, pain is always a sign to stop or slow down. I haven’t heard of any problems from my clients but I did read case studies of male injuries after using penis rings. So these are best made from stretchy material that can be easily cut or taken off. Also, it’s good to be careful with any anal toys as the tissue there is thin. Hope this helps!