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How to respond to an unusual sexual request

Everyone has different sexual preferences, and it's a good idea to discuss these with your partner


Written by SpunOut | View this authors Twitter page and posted in health


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There may come the time when your partner asks you to do something that makes you feel nervous, embarrassed, turns you off, or makes you feel uncomfortable. Saying no might feel difficult, because you don't want to hurt them, or you may not know what to say.

Your reaction can depend upon your personal preference, the nature of the request, and how it is made. If either or you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs, suggest discussing this when you are both sober.

If someone asks you politely and respectfully, and their request isn't breaking the law, then bear in mind that they have trusted you enough to ask. What might seem unusual to you could be normal and enjoyable to them. Everybody has different sexual preferences, and it's normal for you and your partner to have different sexual interests and fantasies.

No matter what, always make sure you have your partner's consent before engaging in any kind of sexual activity.

How to react to an unsual sexual request

  • If you're not ready to respond straight away, tell them you'd like to think about it for a while, rather than doing it right away.
  • You could take some time to find out more about what they've asked you, so that you fully understand what they want to do.
  • If it's something you're really not into and don't want to do, clearly let your partner know how you feel.
  • If you are comfortable enough to give it a try, let them know you could try it once, but make sure it's clear that you can tell them to stop at any time.
  • Think about a compromise that might suit both of you, if you're not comfortable with everything they've asked but would be willing to try some of it.

How to say no to an unusual request

Your personal preferences are as valid as anyone else's, and you have a right to say 'no' to anything that you don't like the idea of. You do not have to fulfill every one of your partner's fantasies. Here are some tips on how to talk to them about it:

Be respectful

  • Don't be dismissive or make a joke out of their suggestion - you want your partner to be able to openly discuss sexual preferences with you.
  • Thank them for being open with you, and tell them you're happy they feel comfortable sharing things with you.
  • Say that you really enjoy other aspects of your sex life together.

Things to look out for

It's important that your partner respects your feelings when it comes to sex. If you notice any of these signs, they may be trying to pressure you:

  • They continue to ask you frequently after firmly being told no.
  • They become verbally or physically abusive if they don't get their way.
  • They use emotional blackmail such as “If you loved me you would”.
  • They make you feel guilty or upset after saying no.

Remember it is always okay to say no to sex, and no one should make you feel pressured to do anything you don't want to do. Learn about consent and how to recognise it.

Remember: The age of sexual consent in Ireland is 17. If you're over 16, you can consent to medical treatment including any treatment or tests needed.

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Published May 14th, 2013
Last updated April 5th, 2018
Tags sexual health safer sex sex
Can this be improved? Contact editor@spunout.ie if you have any suggestions for this article.

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