Sexual Assertiveness: How To Get What You Really Want in Bed

How comfortable are you about telling your partner what you want in bed?

Sexual assertiveness is the respectful expression of your sexual beliefs and desires directly and honestly. Sexual assertiveness has a lot to do with sexual confidence and a positive self-esteem and body image. It is about respecting yourself and your body by validating your feelings, desires and core values. This means acknowledging your needs and wants and openly sharing them with your lover. 

“I didn’t want to do it, but I didn’t feel I could say no or tell him to stop”, or “I told him I had an orgasm but I didn’t”, or “He has absolutely no idea how to get me in the mood for sex.”……All too often conversations like these can be heard being exchanged between female friends about women compromising their own sexual pleasure, feelings, needs and values out of fear or lack of confidence,  a sense of powerlessness, or just your general ‘Nice Girl Syndrome’. This leaves a woman feeling upset, angry, ashamed, and even violated or abused. Such experiences can be prevented by implementing sexually assertive behaviours to ensure that your sexual needs and wants are validated, and your personal sexual values are respected…. A.K.A: You get what you want!!!

Below are three simple tips to help you get what you want in bed:

1. Use Effective Communication Skills: Using positive I-statements to express your message will help to ensure communication is delivered in a respectful and positive way.

The general formula for making I-statements is:

Describe your feelings, describe the context which causes you to feel those feelings, and state why that particular context results in you feeling those particular emotions.

 Example: I feel (insert what you are feeling here) when you (insert context or behaviours which bring about these feelings) because (insert reason why the context or behaviour triggers these feelings in you). 

…..Statements like:  “you’re not doing it right!” or “you never even bother to try and satisfy me!”are neither helpful nor healthful, and will leave your partner feeling hurt and offended. Statements like “whatever you like is fine with me” or “I’m not that fussy about what I want in bed” don’t help either.

Alternatively, try actually telling your partner exactly what it is that you do want, and how they can do it for you!


“I would really love you to tie my hands behind my back when you make love to me next time, because the feeling of being restrained and surrendered gives me so much more pleasure ” or ;

I feel so good when you play classical music and massage me before sex as it relaxes me and helps me enjoy the experience so much more ”.

Use of positive I-statements which are clear, specific and detailed will allow you to reveal your feelings and needs confidently while encouraging and informing your partner.

 2. Honour Your Core Sexual Values & Express Them Directly: There is no need to be shy when it comes to your personal viewpoint on sex and sexuality. For example, you may be a person who strongly feels that sex is an act reserved for two people in a committed relationship, while your prospective partner may consider sex to be a recreational activity to be shared with an unlimited number of people. Maybe you are a person who believes in complete monogamy, whereas your lover may prefer open relationships. Or what if your partner is ‘anti-condoms’? …..Whatever your unique sexual policy is, express it with a potential mate well in advance to prevent a misunderstanding down the track, or in the heat of the moment. If you don’t openly communicate your sexual values with your partner or potential lover early on in the relationship, challenges are sure to arise at a later date.

3. Take Responsibility For Your Own Pleasure by Playing an Active Role in Your Sexual Experiences: If you remain passive throughout your sexual encounters, you risk relinquishing your power to the other person. In waiting with anticipated expectation for your lover to please you without guiding, showing or expressing to them how and what you like, you place your own sexual satisfaction in the hands of someone else. If you want an orgasm and your partner is not performing actions conducive to you having one (or two or three or more, should I say!), then don’t just lie there waiting for a miracle. Our lovers are not mind readers (as much as we all admittedly wish they were at times), so take charge of your sexual gratification and communicate how you like and want it through verbal and non-verbal gestures.

The foundation of sexual assertiveness is sexual confidence coupled with a healthy degree of self-esteem.

Try these techniques and notice the way it changes the way you interact sexually with your partner.



Miya Yamanouchi is  an empowerment counsellor with specialist sexual health training who has extensive experience assisting men and women across Australia to discover and embrace their authentic selves.  Unconventional, cheeky, and a little audacious at times, Miya Yamanouchi is not your typical health professional. Vivacious counsellor, passionate artist and model, creative social activist, heartfeltauthor, spirited sexual health advocate, pro-BDSM and pro-sex work feminist, unashamed selfie-taker and self-professed “closet child” with a love of all things Disney Princess; who delights in challenging stereotypes and being a paradox. She is also Reference Group member for The Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society, a Blogger for The Kinsey Institute,  A Sex and Relationships Expert at YourTango, and Social Media Content Creator (Instagram) for The Sydney Feminists

This article was originally published at Suite. Republished with permission from the author.


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