Ongoing Pressure To Try Something Different

My partner keeps pressuring me to do something I’m not comfortable with in bed. What should I do?

"It's enough" written on a blackboardWe’re all about consent here at Conversation and Consent, so let’s focus on the consent part of this. You didn’t say how pressured you feel about this, so I’m going to focus on the middle of the spectrum, where your partner brings something you are uncomfortable with up regularly and you’d like them to just take a final no. If you feel threatened or in danger if you turn this down, this may be abuse and you need to look into domestic violence resources, not follow the advice here.

Your body is your body and what you do with it is under your control. If you don’t feel comfortable doing something sexual or otherwise, you have the right to say no. If this is a hard limit that you absolutely don’t ever want to do, tell your partner and tell them that you expect them to honor that.

If this is a soft limit that you might be willing to learn more about or think about in the future, you can think about what and when you might be willing to it might take to make you feel comfortable with the idea. You might tell your partner that you’d be willing to discuss it again at some specific time in the future. (And when that time comes, feel free to tell them you aren’t ready yet.) You might tell your partner that you’d like some more information about it. You can combine the two, asking them to point you to some resources and then studying them on your own for a period of time (or finding your own resources.) If it is something that scares you but you’d be willing to try it, looking for safety information might be helpful. (Fell free to ask me for resources on specific topics.)

Again, it is your body and you don’t have to do anything that makes you uncomfortable. And you have the right to change your mind at any time, even in the middle of sex or other activities (or alternatively to say, hey, I’d like to try that thing I said I didn’t ever want to hear about again.) If your partner can’t respect this, this is a problem in your relationship that you probably need to address sooner rather than later. (And it might be abuse, but only you can determine whether your relationship is abusive and what you want to do about it – also, I’m specifically not talking about situations that are that extreme here.)

And if you are the partner on the other side, you will never get what you want (or it will backfire eventually) if you continue to pressure your partner. Also, if your partner does agree to explore your interest, don’t take it too fast and be sure to be extra safe. If you overwhelm or hurt your partner they will probably never want to do that again and may not be interested in stretching their limits with you in the future. You too should feel free to ask me about ideas for safely and cautiously stepping into these areas with your partners.

Image attribution: gerlalt

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