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How to Help Your Partner Get More Comfortable Receiving

Vanessa Marin Dec 12, 2018. 4 comments

Many people have a hard time receiving time, attention, or stimulation in the bedroom. For so many of us, it can be easier to give than to allow ourselves to receive. If you’re with a partner who struggles to receive your attention in the bedroom, there are some ways you can help them relax and understand that they’re deserving of your focus.

Let’s be clear: your partner gets to make their own decisions about their own body, and you should never pressure another person to let you do something they’re not comfortable receiving. But if you want to create a more comforting environment to help your partner make those decisions, here are some tips you can follow.

Emphasize Consent

Just as I mentioned above, your partner should always have the ultimate authority on their own body. If they don’t want to receive oral sex, that’s their choice. If they don’t want you to help them orgasm, that’s their prerogative. Letting your partner know that you understand this dynamic can actually help them feel more comfortable receiving. When you introduce the idea of wanting your partner to feel more comfortable receiving, make sure to first emphasize their own agency. Say something like, “It’s your body, you get to choose what you feel comfortable with. But I just want you to know that I would love to spend more time paying attention to you.”

Get Curious

It may also help to ask your partner the specific reasons why they feel uncomfortable receiving. It’s not your job to be your partner’s therapist, but your partner may appreciate you trying to get a better sense of their experience. Start with something like, “I’m just curious to understand what this is like for you. When I offer to focus on you, what kind of response does that bring up?” Then listen to what they have to say. You don’t have to try to fix your partner. The most powerful thing you can do is listen.

Help Your Partner Understand Why You Love Giving

A lot of people struggle to receive because they worry about the experience of the giver. Your partner might be worried that you’ll get bored focusing on them, or that you’ll just be waiting for your turn. They may even worry that you don’t really want to be giving them attention in the first place. You can help set your partner at ease by letting them know that you do truly want to lavish them with attention. Share specific details of why you would enjoy that.

If you know your partner has specific body issues, you can also try addressing those fears, too. For example, most women struggle to receive oral sex because we’re socialized to believe that our genitals smell and taste bad. If that’s the case for your partner, you can help her feel more comfortable by telling her that you genuinely love the way she smells and tastes.

Don’t Make it About Your Pleasure

It’s awesome to be a giving and generous partner. But what’s not so awesome is pressuring your partner to receive so that you can feel like you get a gold star in the bedroom. Of course it feels satisfying to bring your partner pleasure, but you should want to give to your partner for their pleasure, not just for your own. Your partner may be resisting receiving because they can sense that your attention has an ulterior motive.

This comes up particularly around orgasm. I hear from a lot of women that their male partners tell them, “I need you to orgasm in order for me to be satisfied with our sex life.” That’s not an example of you wanting to give and your partner being uncomfortable with receiving; that’s an example of you being self-centered.

Start Outside the Bedroom

If your partner has a hard time receiving attention inside the bedroom, it may help to practice helping them get more comfortable receiving outside of the bedroom. Spend some time brainstorming how else could you be generous to your partner. You can even ask your partner what you could do to help them feel pampered. Maybe you could do more than your fair share of the chores. Maybe you could plan a special date night. The more your partner gets used to you taking care of them outside of the bedroom, the easier it will be to receive inside of the bedroom.

Try One-Sided and Two-Sided Giving

Some people may feel more comfortable with receiving if they can just focus on receiving. Other people feel more comfortable receiving if they know that they are going to give back to their partner in return. You can ask your partner what you think they would enjoy, but it’s worth experimenting with both. For example, one day your partner could get to be “king for the day,”and you’ll do anything and everything for them. (The role-playing aspect of it can also help. Your partner can pretend to be someone who has no problem receiving, or who even feels entitled to receive.) Next time, you could try giving your partner focused stimulation for 30 minutes, then switch off and have them give you focused stimulation. Or try letting your partner focus on you first, so they can relax when it’s their turn to receive. See which variation your partner enjoys the most.

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