How to Support Your Partner’s Sexual Desires with Cam Fraser

by Cam Fraser

on Mar 14, 2023

From clear communication to compromises.

Supporting partner's sexual desires - summary image

All of us have sexual needs, whether we desire lots of touch and affection, or none at all. But despite these desires being universal, not all of us have the words to express or respond to them. After all, this type of communication was never taught in school.

However, being on the same page sexually is a critical part of any relationship. If your partner is someone who struggles with expressing their intimate needs, or you yourself are unsure how to pick up what your partner is putting down, then this blog is for you. I will be sharing with you some ways in which you can support your partner and their sexual needs.

Strengthening your sexual communication know-how

Sexual communication know-how

Your capacity to support your partner and their intimate needs is what I call your sexual confidence. In this sense, confidence comes from being comfortable talking about sex, pleasure, fantasies, boundaries, limitations, and non-negotiables.

If talking about desires and fantasies feels new to you or evokes some serious anxiety, then building up your sexual vocabulary is the first place to start. A great place to begin is by listening to podcasts about sex and relationships, paying particular attention to the language the hosts use around sexual desires. I suggest listening to the Shameless Sex podcast, the Savage Lovecast, and the Sex is Medicine podcast for inspiration.

If podcasts aren’t your thing, you may like to read some books, like Esther Perel's Mating in Captivity or Justin Lehmiller's Tell Me What You Want. There is also an endless list of resources online for you to read or watch if none of these options are for you. You’ve made a great start by being here and reading this, so you’re capable of exploring further.

If you're curious to go deeper into your partner’s personal desires, then I would recommend the Yes, No, Maybe So activity. This exercise encourages open communication and honesty around sexual interests, allowing you to learn more about their wants and desires in a constructive way. Lovehoney’s Kinky Confessions Card Game is another great activity for fostering communication about sexual fantasies and limitations, while also introducing a level of fun.

In addition to these recommendations, I also suggest watching documentaries with your significant other. The Principles of Pleasure and Sex, Love & Goop are both entertaining and informative docuseries that delve into pleasure, sex and intimacy in insightful ways. Watching documentaries like the ones I mentioned above with your partner will not only foster more openness around sexuality, but also prompt conversations that you may have felt uncomfortable initiating previously.

Establishing a judgement-free zone

Judgement-free zone - image

Practising nonjudgmental listening is critical when having conversations like this. Communicating with your partner about their sexual likes and dislikes can be very daunting, so it needs to be done with respect and acceptance.

One way to remain respectful is by suspending your judgement and reactions to your partner’s sexual needs in the moment. At the start of the conversation, you may like to explicitly reassure them that you’re not going to shame them, in order to establish a level of trust.

However, you’ve also got to uphold this promise throughout your discussions. Be prepared to possibly hear something that may not match your own sexual needs and interests. What your partner shares can sometimes come as a surprise or maybe even make you feel rejected or judged, which can be difficult. It’s here I’d like to note that accepting your partner’s sexual needs doesn’t mean you’re obliged to fulfil them. Instead, it means you accept, love, and support your partner. That unconditional acceptance will protect your relationship, even if their sexual needs cannot be met.

If you’re unsure of your ability to handle one, big open conversation without getting overwhelmed and defensive, then try initiating lots of little discussions with your partner about their sexual preferences. By breaking the conversations up, you will have a greater amount of time to process the information and acknowledge their desires in a way that values them. Remember, your partner may fear you’ll reject or judge them for sharing their sexual needs, so try to remain curious and engaged.

Negotiating your sexual needs

Supporting sexual desires - negotiation

Most of the time, you will find places of overlap with your partner when you talk about your sexual needs. It’s these places of overlap where we can accommodate and compromise to let our partners know we care about their sexual needs. There may be places where you can push your own limits and find your edges, just as there may be similar places for your partner.

Experimenting with and negotiating the ways in which you can meet your partner’s needs doesn’t mean engaging in sexual behaviour which crosses your own boundaries or leaves you feeling traumatized. Instead, it means exploring all the erotic space in between, which can help your partner feel accepted and supported.

I’ll run through an example to give you a clearer idea. Let’s pretend your partner expresses a need for a certain sex act beyond your comfort zone. Rather than telling them they’re weird or deviant for desiring such things in response, you may choose to acknowledge the request and negotiate with them. Try suggesting some ways in which you don’t need to engage in that specific sex act but still fulfil the core need - perhaps through role-play, fantasy play or via the medium of pornography.

Sexual confidence is key

At the end of the day, being sexually confident is about how well you navigate these conversations, negotiations, and experiences with your partner. It’ll take some practice and you may not always do it with grace. However, the act of initiating these vulnerable and important conversations with your partner is the first step in building sexual confidence and supporting your partner with their sexual needs.

Delve further into your desires...

Cam Fraser

Written by Cam Fraser. Lovehoney Australia's Resident Sex Coach
Answering all your queries on pleasure-oriented sexual experiences for people with a penis

Originally published on Mar 14, 2023. Updated on Mar 15, 2023